Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town mixes farming and animal care with fun exploration and adventure, filling every day with plenty to do.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is the most recent instalment of the Story of Seasons series. The slice-of-life farming simulator, developed and published by Marvelous and Xseed, is available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town introduces mechanics popular in Stardew Valley, addressing issues seen in past Story of Seasons games like time management, animal care, and farming efficiency. These changes have helped to make Pioneers of Olive Town a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Like in many farming simulation games, the main goal in Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is to restore a farm passed down from the main character’s grandfather. Players will also be working with the Mayor of Olive Town to encourage tourists to come and visit, boosting the town’s economy. To do this, players will need to complete requests for the Mayor to replace benches, rebuild roads, and decorate the Town Hall around their other daily farm chores. Players can also meet, date, and marry a range of different romanceable characters if they are interested in raising a family on their farm.
The farm layout is different from past Story of Seasons games in Pioneers of Olive Town. There are three different areas included in the farm map for players to discover. Two are off-limits at the beginning of the game and must be unlocked by repairing a damaged bridge, and then by clearing debris. Each area includes different resources, including many varieties of trees, grasses, and forage items. There are also run-down buildings lost in the overgrowth for players to find and repair. Each of the three areas has a mining cave that ranges in difficulty. These mines each possess different ores and gemstones, as well as grumpy moles that need to be smacked with a hammer to prevent them from bumping into the main character, resulting in lost stamina. Almost everything a player needs to build up their farmstead can be found in the area surrounding their home, making the acquisition of important resources a smooth task most of the time.
Keeping livestock in Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town has been greatly improved from past games in the Story of Seasons series. Before, players would carry brushes, milkers, clippers, and multiple treats used to care for their animals, resulting in a lengthy process costing hours of in-game time. Pioneers of Olive Town has done away with the long list of tools, replacing them with a mechanic allowing players to simply interact up to three times daily with each animal to obtain their products, pet them, and brush them if needed. This change has made animal care speedy and allows players to keep a larger number of animals, while still having time to water crops and explore their vast farmstead for daily forageable items.
Maker Machines have taken many forms in each Story of Seasons game. These Makers process animal products and crops into a variety of items to be sold or used in crafting. However, Pioneers of Olive Town Makers have a few issues which could be improved upon. Like in Stardew Valley, each one of Pioneers of Olive Town Makers can process one item at a time, with the duration varying depending on the value of the product. Twenty of each Maker can be placed on a player’s farm to help speed up the process, but with dozens of Makers available, this can quickly lead to a farmstead overrun by Maker Machines. The biggest problem is that almost every resource must be processed to be used, including the lumbar for building and ingots smelted from ores. Because Makers are such an important part of gameplay, cutting them back greatly slows down progress. The issue with space could be improved with sheds to place the Makers in, instead of having a player’s farm become an industrial park for processing goods.
Overall, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is an exciting update to past mechanics in previous Story of Seasons games. The focus on farm exploration has put importance back on building up a player’s homestead, rather than solely on the town surrounding the farm. The difficulties with Maker Machines could be improved on during the expected DLC packs coming in future months. However, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a fulfilling and satisfying farming simulation experience perfect for those looking to grow a few virtual potatoes while also scratching an itch for exploration.
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Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is releases today, March 23, 2021 in North America for Nintendo Switch. A European release is coming on March 26, 2021. A Nintendo Switch code was provided to Screen Rant for the purposes of this review.
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