Farming sims have at all times been a little bit of a responsible pleasure of mine. Attempting to clarify to somebody that tilling your land, sowing seeds, watering crops and tending to livestock is definitely an extremely compelling gameplay loop is a problem.
And but, as Stardew Valley has proven us lately when achieved correctly, farming sims can see you sink tons of of hours into them within the area of just some weeks. In Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City, developer Marvelous Interactive has an enthralling farming sim, however one which lacks any actual depth to maintain you hooked for the long-term.
Earlier than you even dive into the sport, Pioneers of Olive City has you customise your character. There are a bunch of choices right here to make your cartoony future farmer your excellent avatar.
All hairstyles and voice varieties (although I don’t recall my character ever making any noise over the 50+ hours I’ve performed) can be found to you whatever the different choices you make elsewhere. You even select your gender after creating your character, making Pioneers of Olive City a protected area for trans followers.
After that, issues begin off within the typical farming sim method. You inherit your grandfather’s outdated farm and get to work making it a stellar instance of an agricultural empire.
Throughout these opening hours, progress can really feel extremely sluggish. There are such a lot of issues to do in a day — planting crops, tending to livestock, foraging for random objects and herbs, going fishing, speaking to the residents, clearing your farm, fulfilling requests in town board, going mining, visiting retailers — and easily not sufficient hours within the day to do all of it.
Likewise, your meager stamina gauge and rudimentary instruments imply you have got a excessive probability of draining your stamina and passing out earlier than the day’s finish.
As you sink extra time into your farm and start harvesting your first crops, the gameplay loop units in correct.
You develop crops, promote them, use that cash to improve your instruments and purchase extra crops, are inclined to livestock, use their produce to make processed merchandise that promote for extra, after which rinse repeat. You’ll dive into one in all three mines in your farm for various ores to improve your instruments, farm’s buildings and craft varied different objects.
As soon as I’d reached midway by means of Spring, the gameplay loop had grabbed me. I used to be putting Makers (machines that course of varied completely different uncooked supplies to make higher items) everywhere, planting fruit-bearing bushes as a long-term funding, and tilling each sq. of land I may see.
I used to be spending days within the mines grinding out Iron, Silver, and Gold, escaping with only a sliver of stamina to make it to my mattress.
The extra money you make and supplies you purchase, the extra you’ll be able to craft to ease the every day stamina pressure like sprinklers to water the crops, or completely different processing machines so you may make extra out of your produce.
The grind to reaching the purpose the place your farm is bringing in big quantities of cash with comparatively little effort in your half is probably the most satisfying a part of Pioneers of Olive City, and this lasted the primary two or three seasons. As soon as the cash begins pouring in, although, issues go downhill.
Regardless of this loop initially being very compelling. It lacks the depth to maintain you farming after 12 months 1 within the recreation alone.
Such a scarcity of content material comes after 12 months 1 that I managed to roll credit in my first Winter (the fourth and last season in every year). The ‘story’ or ‘fundamental goal’ in Pioneers of Olive City is to assist rejuvenate the city heart itself.
To take action, Mayor Victor will put up up ‘City Requests’ that you just’ll want to finish. These are at all times so primary, although, and so by no means actually really feel like one thing it’s important to work in direction of. I usually simply had the supplies in my stock or in storage I may full it instantly and transfer on.
To make issues worse, every ‘City Request’ gives you three completely different requests in town board for various supplies. Nevertheless, you solely want to finish one with a purpose to fulfill the request and progress the ‘story.’
This looks like a missed alternative. ‘City Requests’ ought to be harder to finish, or require you full every of its completely different materials requests, versus only one. It’d have given the sport some a lot wanted longevity past 12 months 1.
It’s not all work in Pioneers of Olive City, although. Outdoors of the confines of your farm, you’ll be able to chat with the villagers, romance one in all them, discover the retailers and do a spot of cooking or fishing. There’s even a museum the place you’ll be able to donate treasures, fish and any images of wildlife you are taking together with your digicam.
This initially appeared overwhelming, however earlier than lengthy it grew to become clear that Pioneers of Olive City has one basic flaw. Virtually each mechanic or system within the recreation is undercooked and lacks depth, to the purpose there’s no actual problem right here for farming sim veterans.
By the top of 12 months 1, I’d unlocked all buildings on my farm, amassed over 500,000G, and was effectively on my strategy to grinding out the remaining Orichalcum instruments I had but to get. It’s too straightforward to amass cash through crops and produce to the purpose this shortly not turns into a priority.
The dearth of depth is made abundantly clear with regards to conversing with the residents of the city. Having settled on the native barmaid Blaire as my romance possibility, I centered on elevating our ‘Friendship’ degree indicated by hearts in a menu. Chatting with her on a regular basis and giving her presents she likes will increase this, and also you’ll have a couple of cutscenes once you attain sure relationship milestones.
The writing, nonetheless, is simply so poor that even the tailor-made romance cutscenes really feel primary and fail to provide these characters any semblance of character. After confessing my like to Blaire, this was the road she got here out with when speaking to her for the primary time someday.
It doesn’t actually get any higher than this, both. Each character seems to have a handful of strains they’ll simply regurgitate, and this doesn’t actually change as your relationship develops. When character are so uninteresting, the ‘social’ facet of Pioneers of Olive City feels pointless, and so aside from showering my love curiosity with presents, I gave up conversing with the opposite characters after some time.
Likewise, the ‘occasions’ happening in Olive City all year long are hit-and-miss. Some just like the Egg Hunt are literally simply glorified cutscenes the place you don’t really do something, whereas others contain primary mini-games the place you’ll compete towards the opposite residents.
After you’ve achieved every of those as soon as, you’ve seen ’em all and aside from the minor financial reward, they function little aside from a distraction… and a cause to close each store and repair within the city for the day.
As well as, Pioneers of Olive City suffers from horrendous efficiency points. The sport crashed 3 times after my Swap went into standby when grabbing lunch, although the auto-save function did handle to forestall unsaved progress.
Past these relatively particular crashed, the sport’s framerate each in handheld and docked mode is… terrible. The framerate will get so unhealthy when merely shifting round your farm or Olive City itself that you just’ll query whether or not this was a port of an intense PC title.
However the visuals, nor the scale of the sport do something to clarify why the sport runs so poorly. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has a similar-sized world with extra polished visuals and that runs flawlessly.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City does have that compelling farming gameplay loop that we’ve seen time and time once more in several collection, nevertheless it lacks depth — very similar to the remainder of the sport — to maintain farming sim veterans coming again. At a time the place the likes of Stardew Valley proceed to push the style ahead and supply higher longevity, it’s troublesome to suggest this rough-around-the-edges tour to Olive City.
- Compelling farming gameplay loop
- Identical-sex romances potential
- Simply accessible for freshmen
- Characters are uninteresting to speak to
- ‘Story’ targets are short-lived
- Little cause to proceed enjoying after the primary yr
- Lack of depth in most mechanics
- Poor efficiency
March 23, 2021
Marvelous Interactive Inc.
XSEED Video games, Marvelous Interactive Inc.