What school project should I do? This bean looks interesting let’s see what it does! That’s exactly how this story turns out. Believe it or not, unlike most other farming games you turn up in this town by accident. You haven’t inherited anything from your relatives or won a farm in a contest. No. You plant an interesting looking bean and it grows a giant tree instantly. With your friends by your side a big storm shows up and you all take cover under this giant tree. While the storm is getting stronger, thunder and lighting intensifies bringing the tree up and transfers everyone through a time portal where you end up in a brand new town called Shizen Town. Thankfully if you had to be sucked into a new life in a new town this is definitely the friendliest town to be in. But all that wackiness being said, thus is the way of the world in Doraemon Story of Seasons. Any fan of the tried and true farming simulator, cutesy stuff, and Animal Crossing is going to feel right at home here.
Title: Doraemon Story of Seasons
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Game Provided By Bandai Namco for the Purpose of This Review
Right away you are greeted by a friendly townsfolk named Harmon and his grandma Ravi who agreed to let you all stay the night at their house. Once everyone is well rested you learn that everyone who stays in this town has to work. Including children. After searching everywhere for a job you end up back where you started. Although you get your own little house and a big plot of land to clean up and make your garden.
As the days pass there are different things you can do to pass the time. Just like our beloved game Animal Crossing the mechanics work the same here. You don’t have romance or anything in this game because well… you play a kid. But it is easy to build your friendships with everyone in the town. Just like other games like this you’ll want to pay attention to what everyone likes and give them those gifts. Makes it exciting when you find someone’s favorite object and you see your relationship with them grow. Which comes in handy because while in this town, you realize your friend Doraemon lost all of his gadgets during the storm and he needs those to return everyone back to their world.
Farming is a big part of Doraemon Story of Seasons, and rightfully so. The tools at your disposal, including sprinklers, sickles, axes, etc. are all designed to not only make your farm more easily to grow, but to help you at all stages of planting and harvesting. One of the best features of the game is the simplicity and efficiency of the tools you have. By upgrading your tools you can spend less time clicking and cover more space.
It is such a calming and relaxing game that everyone is happy. It’s nice to play a game in just a serene environment. When you’re done tending your garden you can spend your days however you want. You can go fishing, purchase a bug net so you can collect different types of bugs, talking to everyone in town to build your relationship with them, cleaning up your gardening area, going to the mines to collect different minerals, and quite a bit more fun activities. Plus the town does different holidays at the square that are fun to do.. if you remember that they’re happening. One thing I noticed was that you never get a reminder that an event is going to happen. So make sure you check the town board or check your calendar on the menu to see what events are going on that day.
Once the town folks get used to you they will start asking you for favors. Like someone might ask you to make something for them, or to find something for them. It’s easy to say yes but you do have a date and time it needs to be done by or you won’t complete it. And if you do complete it you’ll get an extra bonus on your relationship with them. So make sure you get the task done. The better you build your relationships the better chance you have on going home or even just unlocking cute cutscenes to help bring life and individuality to the town folks. Plus as you continue your life on the town you really start to bring to life everyone’s story.
I definitely find myself getting excited to go home just so I can play Doraemon Story of Seasons. There isn’t any combat, you don’t have crazy hard quests, you don’t have an intense storyline to follow. You just simply enjoy the game. You move at your own pace and decide how you would like to spend your days.
Graphically, Doraemon Story of Seasons is one of the most colorful and childlike worlds we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in a game so far in 2019. Using an art style inspired by watercolor paintings and the way everything naturally and seamlessly blends together, it’s quite breathtaking and a sight to behold. Every aspect and every area is carefully crafted down to the smallest details, so your farm isn’t going to look better than the local mine, which itself isn’t going to appear better than the shopping district, for example. The music and sound effects also are joyful and hypnotic, the perfect mixture for what you want when you just want to let your mind wander and tend to your farm.
There are certainly juggernauts in this genre, such as Stardew Valley, Story of Seasons, and even to an extent, Harvest Moon (though the last true good game in that franchise was before the teams split and we ended up with Story of Seasons here in the West). Doraemon Story of Seasons does a well enough job holding its own while delivering on a beautiful word that consistently calls out for you to explore it, even when you’re not physically sitting there playing it. While I don’t see myself sinking as many hours into this as I have and still continue to do with Stardew Valley, it’s certainly going to keep me occupied on the Nintendo Switch for months to come.