Farming sims have all the time been a little bit of a responsible pleasure of mine. Making an attempt to elucidate 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 executed correctly, farming sims can see you sink lots of of hours into them within the house of just some weeks. In Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive City, developer Marvelous Interactive has a captivating 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 secure house 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 You inherit your grandfather’s outdated farm and get to work making it a stellar instance of an agricultural empire.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 gradual. There are such a lot of issues to do in a day — planting crops, tending to livestock, foraging for random gadgets 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 could have a excessive likelihood 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 likely to livestock, use their produce to make processed merchandise that promote for extra, after which rinse repeat. You’ll dive into one among three mines in your farm for various ores to improve your instruments, farm’s constructions and craft varied different gadgets.
As soon as I’d reached midway by 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) all over, planting fruit-bearing timber 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 day by 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 large 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 sport alone.
Such an absence of content material comes after 12 months 1 that I managed to roll credit in my first Winter (the fourth and remaining season in every year). The ‘story’ or ‘foremost goal’ in Pioneers of Olive City is to assist rejuvenate the city heart itself.
To take action, Mayor Victor will publish up ‘City Requests’ that you simply’ll want to finish. These are all the time so fundamental, although, and so by no means actually really feel like one thing it’s important to work in direction of. I typically 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. Nonetheless, you solely want to finish one so as to fulfill the request and progress the ‘story.’
This seems 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. Exterior of the confines of your farm, you’ll be able to chat with the villagers, romance one among 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 pictures of wildlife you’re taking along with your digital camera.
This initially appeared overwhelming, however earlier than lengthy it turned clear that Pioneers of Olive City has one elementary flaw. Nearly each mechanic or system within the sport 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 constructions on my farm, amassed over 500,000G, and was nicely on my strategy to grinding out the remaining Orichalcum instruments I had but to get. It’s too simple to amass cash by way of crops and produce to the purpose this rapidly now not turns into a priority.
The shortage of depth is made abundantly clear in the case of conversing with the residents of the city. Having settled on the native barmaid Blaire as my romance choice, I targeted 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 whenever you attain sure relationship milestones.
The writing, nevertheless, is simply so poor that even the tailor-made romance cutscenes really feel fundamental and fail to present these characters any semblance of persona. After confessing my like to Blaire, this was the road she got here out with when speaking to her for the primary time sooner or later.
It doesn’t actually get any higher than this, both. Each character seems to have a handful of traces 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 apart from showering my love curiosity with presents, I gave up conversing with the opposite characters after some time.
Likewise, the ‘occasions’ occurring 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 fundamental mini-games the place you’ll compete towards the opposite residents.
After you’ve executed every of those as soon as, you’ve seen ’em all and apart from the minor financial reward, they function little apart from a distraction… and a motive 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 characteristic did handle to stop unsaved progress.
Past these reasonably particular crashed, the sport’s framerate each in handheld and docked mode is… terrible. The framerate will get so unhealthy when merely transferring round your farm or Olive City itself that you simply’ll query whether or not this was a port of an intense PC title.
However the visuals, nor the dimensions of the sport do something to elucidate 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 like 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 better longevity, it’s troublesome to advocate this rough-around-the-edges tour to Olive City.
Reviewer: Chris Jecks | Copy offered by Writer.
- Compelling farming gameplay loop
- Similar-sex romances attainable
- Simply accessible for learners
- Characters are uninteresting to speak to
- ‘Story’ goals are short-lived
- Little motive to proceed enjoying after the primary 12 months
- Lack of depth in most mechanics
- Poor efficiency
March 23, 2021
Marvelous Interactive Inc.
XSEED Video games, Marvelous Interactive Inc.