Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is the latest edition in the Story of Seasons franchise, due to be released on 23rd March 2021. With the one year anniversary of Animal Crossing: New Horizons approaching, it makes me wonder if we need something just as entertaining and enveloping to get us through what is hopefully the last leg of lockdown?
Character customisation is always a big part of life sims, and Pioneers of Olive Town is no exception. You have more variety than in previous Story of Seasons games, with five skin tones, and a wide variety of hair textures, styles and colours to play with. As a result, you can play around with the customisation for a good while until you’re happy with how you look in-game. Customisation doesn’t end with your skin tone and hair though, as you also have the chance to make the very thread and fabric to build your wardrobe, with the help of the local stylist, Karina. There’s also the choice between two difficulty settings – ‘seedling’ and ‘normal’. Seedling is essentially the easier mode, with items selling for more money and skills levelling up faster, as well as a selection of other benefits that’ll make it more approachable for younger players, or those looking for a more relaxed experience.
Your character grows up hearing tales of their grandfather’s farm, and as they grow tired of city life, they decide to return to their roots and run the family farm. Unfortunately for you, what once was a farm is now a literal forest, and it’s up to you to return it to the glorious farm it once was. It’s up to you to clear the land and develop it into the farm of your dreams. Do you want livestock or an orchard? It’s up to you!
There are a wide variety of skillsets that you can develop from just working on the farm, from mining to fishing, there’s plenty to keep you busy on your farm. Even with all of your hard work, nature finds a way to persevere, so keep on top of weeds coming back through, and you may even find more plants you haven’t seen before! Sell these on in your dedicated box for a bit of extra money, and soon you’ll be able to buy the seeds from the grocer’s to cultivate properly on your farm.
Of course, all work and no play leads to a deeply mundane life, so you can take a break from farm life and visit the neighbouring Olive Town. This sleepy beachside hamlet has a lot going for it, from its unique citizens to its bumbling tourists and its excitable mayor, Victor, who takes time out of his day to help you settle in, and in return asks for your help developing the town. On the far north side of the town, there’s a museum that boasts a large empty space, so you may be able to help fill it up with new exhibits to help attract more tourists to the little town. As you get to know the residents of Olive Town, you may also find the chance to fall in love. With a wide variety of bachelors and bachelorettes, you’ll be able to find someone who’s just your type, and you could even end up hearing digital wedding bells.
Time literally flies in Pioneers of Olive Town, with a day passing in about 20 minutes. Each day you wake with a set amount of energy, with tasks taking a little bit out of you each time. You can cook up a meal to keep your energy up, or visit the Bistro in Olive Town, however at the end of the day, you’ll need to go to bed for a proper night’s sleep. Either way, your warm bed is much better than passing out in your field at 3am from exhaustion.
Sprites also return in Pioneers of Olive Town, as you work on your farm you can collect these little friends, and unlock mini-games and help from them on your farm as well. There are mini-games in the real world too, with Olive Town holding events every few weeks, so there’s lots of options for being distracted from your simple farm life.
With such a wide range of produce to grow, livestock to tend, rocks to smash and neighbours to woo, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Olive Town. You’ll have every opportunity to make your farm entirely unique to you. There’s so much to see and do that even the smallest of life sim fans will love making their own world in Pioneers of Olive Town, and if you’ve tired of Tom Nook’s ridiculously expensive shenanigans, this could be a worthy next step to experience life outside your home’s four walls.