Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town allows you to live all your rural dreams in an adorable and surprisingly in-depth way. Whether you want to spend your days cultivating the farm your grandfather left you, romancing the townsfolk to start a family of your own, or even just repeatedly patting a large roster of chunky animals, this is the life sim for you.
The basic premise of Pioneers of Olive Town is simple: you use various tools to gather materials, rebuild the town’s infrastructure and dilapidated buildings around your farm, all while chatting to villagers in the hopes of getting married one day. However, despite sounding simple, to truly thrive you need to sink many hours into perfecting how you spend each in-game day.
As someone who has played their fair share of life sims, the first thing that stuck out is the numerous character customisation options. From the huge range of hairstyles to an option that allows you to choose different left and right eye colours, you can create a character that perfectly matches your personality. This aspect definitely helps you build a deeper connection with the game from the get-go.
When you make your first trip around the farm with your brand-new avatar, it can feel slightly daunting. Should you cut down the tall trees surrounding your home? Concentrate on fixing the broken-down chicken coop? Or maybe just spend a few hours cutting down the tall grass? It can take a few in-game days to feel like you’re making progress with the farm, but it feels extremely satisfying seeing everything come together in the end.
One of the few gripes I hold with Pioneers of Olive Town is the fiddly harvesting. For example, if you see a stray tree you want gone, you need to stop completely, position yourself in exactly the right position, navigate a menu to find the correct tool, then you can finally harvest. You also need to mash the Y button to continuously keep chopping, and I wish you could hold the button instead to make things easier.
this videogame is one of the very few that includes ferrets!
Once you find your bearings and create a solid foundation on your farm, you can relax slightly. After a few hours of play, my phone was full of notes outlining the materials I need to collect for different tasks, which made each day much easier to plan. Sadly, this also feels a little tedious. Gathering would feel like much less of a chore if the game had a menu to track every item you need rather than forcing you to keep notes or run from one end of the map to the other to double-check what items you’re missing.
Now then, I could write a paragraph gushing about how cute each and every animal in Pioneers of Olive Town is, but no one wants to read that. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my favourites. Firstly, this videogame is one of the very few that includes ferrets! I guarantee you will spend far too long tracking them down in the wild to take numerous artsy photographs in order to unlock statues to decorate your home.
As well as photographing precious, fluffy ferrets, I also recommend you spend time tending to the chunky cows, the rotund chickens, and the bulky buffalo if you need a smile brought to your face. You can pat every farm animal as much as you want, and even breed them to eventually receive some even cuter baby animals that will melt your heart instantly.
Not only do you build relationships with animals, you can also befriend and potentially marry one of ten eligible bachelors or bachelorettes. Every conversation with eligible villagers is fairly light-hearted, but they work well and never left me wanting more out of the relationships I built throughout the town.
The main relationship problem I faced was the difficulty of choosing between the angsty bad boy, Damon, or the sensitive anime boy, Iori. However, in the end, after seeing Damon’s softer side and presenting him with numerous bizarre gifts, he stole my in-game heart.
If you’re looking for a life sim with a bit more depth than Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you will love Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. From the adorable animals to the easygoing relationship building, there is a little something for everyone who enjoys the genre.