Title: Doraemon: Story of Seasons
Release Date: October 10, 2019
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Genre: Farming Sim
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love Story of Seasons. The almost never-ending gameplay and expanding world is something that peaks my imagination for 100’s of hours of gameplay. Now, I know who Doraemon is, but I’ll admit that I’m mostly here for the Story of Seasons part of the new collaboration project: Doraemon: Story of Seasons. What’s easy to point out is that this is a step in the right direction for the series.
During Doraemon: Story of Seasons players meet Noby and his friends. Unexpectedly, the group gets swept away by a storm and taken to a new world. Evidently, while this is happening, Doraemon loses all of his magical items, and the group must find a way to survive in this new land and hopefully get back home. Luckily for me, that means there will be lots of farming involved.
Once I was able to get past the hour-long opening cutscene, Doraemon: Story of Seasons falls into your typical farm-life simulation. Growing crops, taking care of your animals, fishing, mining, and building friendships with the people in town are to be expected. What’s new in this game is finding the gadgets Doraemon lost at the beginning of the story in hopes of getting Noby and his friends back to their world. The fresh part of this is that these gadgets can be used to help you out on your day-to-day farm life.
As far as your usual farming simulations go, fans will easily recognize most of the systems. Those who have played Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, will take notice of some of the minor differences in menus. For the most part, everything about this game is an improvement to its predecessor. Placing items in a shipping crate or storage box is made more manageable now, saving you time in your day, which is essential in trying to get all your farming tasks done. I still, however, gift townspeople random items accidentally — at least that helps build up my friendship level with them. However, there is no easily visible health bar, so you continuously have to check a menu each time you want to view it.
Beginning my farm life, I noticed my backpack space is minimal and doesn’t separate the tools and items like in Trio of Towns. It’s a minor issue, but you’ll soon realize money will be relatively tight since upgrades cost a lot. Acquiring money is easy enough if you start mining and selling the gems and ores you find. However, getting enough mined goods to sell requires you to use the majority of your stamina, which you also need to split with farming. At least they offer the new feature of napping to bring up your stamina.
When dropping off items in the crate, there isn’t a way to see what the value is of the thing is, so you never know how much you’ll get or whether you should spend more time on mining vs. farming. There also seems to be a discrepancy between the amount made and the prices of goods, but at least you know you’ll be playing this game for a long time to come to get the upgrades and items you want on your farm.
During the year, they hold events in Harappa Square. I missed a few because I didn’t see a notice or an alert for the events. The events I did happen to attend ended up being fun mini-games like timed target practice and slicing watermelons. These offer fun little breaks in the game, and I enjoyed them for that.
The Doraemon storyline is almost entirely told in the beginning, but during the game, some cut scenes felt a little unnecessary or out of place when they happen. However, with everything presented in the beginning, this was something needed to progress the story. For me, they were abrupt little tidbits that popped up in my day to day farming, mining, and fishing.
Players will notice as they continue the game, there is no way to keep track of tasks given to you. The tasks seem simple to get done, but there are so many little tasks that it would have been helpful to have a log for them. Again this is only a minor grievance, but the game relies heavily on keeping a mental note of things you have to do, whom to see, or what to give to someone to illicit the event needed to progress the story. If I had forgotten to provide a Golden Ore to Pent, who knows if I would have received the Anywhere Door? Speaking of the Anywhere Door, travel across the land becomes significantly more manageable when you are finally able to unlock Doraemon’s Anywhere Door. Completing the tasks to find Doraemon’s items is farming with a twist.
The best part of Doraemon Story of Seasons is the illustrations, which resemble the style of a watercolor painting. There is excellent attention to detail inside and outside of the homes. Things like the tiny pots and pans in the kitchen to the cascading Swoosh Falls make the village a joy to explore. The nature scenery is breathtaking, especially at sunset on Mt. Whistle Peak looking over the elder tree. The town is cozy and charming. The crops and animals are still adorable, and there is a broader selection of cute home décor and furniture you can purchase for your home. Not only are the visual aspects aesthetically pleasing, but the sound and music of the game are appealing too. The music is pleasant to listen to for hours of play. And the sound effects, especially of the forest, are realistic and help with the immersion.
If you like Story of Seasons or Doraemon, this mash-up is definitely for you. Doraemon: Story of Seasons has some excellent illustrations all packed in a massive open world. It’s a game that has all the right ingredients from each series to make this an imaginative adventure that fans of each series could enjoy. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Doraemon, the addicting nature of this farming, the beautiful sceneries, and Doraemon’s useful gadgets will make it tough to put down.
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