Looking to build off the success of the first Story of Seasons title, XSEED games showcased the next chapter of the series, Trio of Towns, at their booth during the E3 expo last week. We had the opportunity to spend half an hour with the game exploring the towns, testing out some of the new mechanics, and getting familiar with some of the new features Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns has to offer.
As the title suggests, there are three towns in this Story of Seasons installment, each with a vastly different culture and lifestyle. First, there is the West Town, which looks straight out of a set from a western movie. You can tell by the environment that this town makes a living from mining and foraging. West Town is the town where you start off your farming adventure. The second town is a tropical town known as Lulukoko, with beaches, palm trees, and all new wildlife such as turtles and monkeys. This town thrives on fishing and fruits. The third and final town is Tsuyukusa, modeled after a far eastern village with its Japanese inspired architecture.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “Oh great, another game where I have to mend the relationship between feuding towns. Haven’t we seen this already?”, I thought the same thing as well. The relationship of the three towns was the first question I had on my mind going into the hands-on demo, and the answer was a big relief. I was informed that there is no bad blood between the towns, and you can roam freely throughout all three towns as you unlock them. You unlock these towns by trading them crops, animal products, and items you’ve foraged. Each town has their specialty crops and items, as well as crops and items that they desperately need, so you can potentially unlock these towns faster if you are smart about what you trade with each town. There is also no particular order on which town you need to unlock first, so if you’re more interested in Tsuyukusa town than Lulukoko, you can focus more on trading to them to speed up the unlocking process. Trading between towns isn’t the only option for shipping out items, as a new feature has been added to allow players to connect and trade items and chat locally or via internet connection.
So what else can you expect from Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns? There are several new additions and features, including the post office. The post office can be used to send letters and gifts to other townsfolk, which eliminates the need for tracking down the specific bachelor or bachelorette you’ve had your eye on to shower them with presents. This could come in handy since there will likely be several bachelors and bachelorettes to choose from, and depending on the town they live in it could be quite the trip to drop off a gift. Of course you can still do things the old fashioned way and give them gifts in person if you prefer, but it gives the option to focus more on farming and other tasks while you look for a potential partner to shack up with. The post office is not only for connecting with other townsfolk, but also your family outside of the trio of towns as well. In this installment you can also send letters and gifts to your mother, father, and sister. There weren’t many details given on this new feature, but it will be interesting to see what sort of benefits come from connecting with family outside of the three towns.
There are also several more festivals throughout the seasons, some being festivals specific to each town, while others are celebrated all together as one big community. Many of these festivals involve pets, and there are many different pets to choose from in Trio of Towns. While exploring each of the three towns in the demo I encountered several different breeds of dogs and cats, and was told there are more pets to come, including the hamster Hamtaro. In total there are over twenty different pets to choose from.
Fishing is no longer limited to just casting off the end of a dock. You can now freely walk up to the edge of any river, pond, or beach and fish at will without any restrictions, however the diving for fish that was included in the first Story of Seasons has been removed. The fishing mechanics have been slightly changed as well, and you many be familair with them already if you’ve played some of the older Harvest Moon titles. Once your line has been casted into the water, you will see the silhouettes of nearby fish stalking your bobber. Once a fish has snagged onto your line, rapidly tap the A button to reel the fish in, simple as that.
Overall it feels like Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is going to be a steady improvement over its predecessor. Throughout the thirty minutes spent playing the demo I enjoyed exploring the three towns and their vastly different environments. The subtle new additions and added features should make this the most enjoyable farming/life simulation seen in years. If Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley was more your style, be sure to check out our hands-on preview of Harvest Moon: Skytree Village here.
What are your thoughts on what’s to come in the new Story of Seasons? Which features are you excited about, or what would you like to see added before its 2017 release? Head over to our Facebook or Twitter page, or hit us up in the comment section below to let us know what you think!