There aren’t many remakes that I’ve longed for as much as for Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, and it’s been one I’ve been waiting for impatiently since I first heard the news of the remake in July of last year. Now re-branded under the Story of Seasons name, the game is releasing in early July for the Nintendo Switch.
Friends of Mineral Town is a farming simulator which follows your life on the farm you inherit from your grandfather. The game involves a host of familiar mechanics, with the main focus running your farm and becoming an active member of the community, although, naturally there are annual events to look forward to as well – it’s not called Story of Seasons for nothing.
Gameplay follows a reliable pattern, whereby you earn money by shipping produce, fish, and items you’ve foraged. Your tools can be upgraded with resources from the mines, and friendships can be developed by getting to know your neighbours and giving them gifts. This is a classic formula for a reason – it’s deeply enjoyable to participate in the daily routines of farm life, watching your farm progress from an overgrown field to a lush and productive estate, and finally seeing your hard work come to fruition over time.
For those who played the GBA version back in 2003, the 2020 release shows obvious changes. Perhaps most evident of these is the upgrade to the graphics; the original pixel graphics have been replaced with adorable high-definition visuals, with incredibly cute sprites and beautifully drawn character portraits in the game. The game also offers an easy mode which earns you more gold when shipping items and starts you off with pre-planted turnips on your farm; while the game itself isn’t difficult, getting started can be a slow process, particularly if you’re less familiar with the series, so this change will be a welcome one if you’re not there for the grind.
Other quality of life changes such as map adjustments, an improved UI, and improved shipping mechanics have smoothed over some of the jagged edges of the 2003 release, and the ability to romance any of the eligible characters regardless of your gender or theirs is a similarly welcome change. But none of these updates drastically alter what players the world over fell in love with in 2003 – Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town retains the same charm and moreish gameplay of the original.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town launches on Nintendo Switch on July 14 – keep an eye out for our review upon release.