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Japan SoS: Friends of Mineral Town - October 17, 2019
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The Ushi No Tane websites specialize in information, FAQs, and guides about the Nintendo console versions of the Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Legend of the River King video games. These game genres are created and published in Japan by Marvelous. In other regions, you'll find Natsume, XSeed Games, Marvelous AQL of Europe, and Rising Star involved in the series' release.

The latest version of the mainstream farming series that have been released in various regions of the world are:

The latest version of River King, in all regions of the world, is River King: Mystic Valley (NA 2008, EU 2009).

Since 2000, Ushi no Tane has been run by a grouchy old lady who happens to be fond of video game agriculture along with two one feline intern. The website is not officially affiliated, sponsored, endorsed, or employed by the developers of Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, or River King. This is simply a fan site.

Latest Farming Video Game News


Doraemon:SoS Review and an intro to SoS:FoMT | Posted at 04:33 PM on 18 October 2019

Happy Farm'n Friday! Every year I make an attempt to grow something I've never grown before, which is pretty easy to do with the wide variety of garden crops available throughout the world. This year I picked out a crop that I know Mr.Fogu likes to eat and yet I've never grown it before.

The mystery crop this year was Jicama, or at least an attempt at growing Jicama. It grows similarly to a potato, with vine-like foliage above ground and the tuber below ground. It seemed simple enough; plant the large seeds in the soil and then just give it some water. What I didn't take into account was the unusually cool summer season here in the Portland area. We only received a few days of high-90s (Fahrenheit) temperatures at the end of August, when typically we'll reach into the 100s for a while. Mostly the weather was in the mid-80s the entire summer season. Since Jicama is a tropical crop, it just wasn't warm enough this year for it to grow well. The vines never matured enough to flower and move onto root production. It was an interesting experiment though.



Review: Doraemon: SoS

So last week the SoS spinoff game, Doraemon: Story of Seasons was released in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia for the Nintendo Switch and PC/Steam platforms. This game is a Doraemon story with SoS features, kind of like Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale from a few years ago. Doraemon is not meant to be a full-blown SoS game with all the bells and whistles of the farming series. Rather, it takes basic game play aspects of SoS and melds them into a cute tale staring a group of kids and their robot cat from the future.

The game beings with Noby Nobito, the protagonist of the Doraemon series, trying to decide what to do for his summer project. He stumbles across a large seed and decides to grow whatever plant this seed belongs to as his project; I would do the same thing if I found a weird seed on the ground! Noby fetches his friends Sneech, Big G, and Sue to show them the tree that sprouted from the seed. Suddenly a windstorm blows through their town and sucks the group of five and the big tree into the sky, planting them (ha!) into the unknown world of Natura.

Noby and friends are tasked with trying to find Doraemon's gadgets that were lost in the windstorm and landed in various places around Natura. Hopefully when the gadgets have been collected they can be used to calm the Elder Tree and return the group back home. This basically involves the player triggering cut scenes as friendship is raised with the villagers. There doesn't appear to be day-of-the-week requirements for storyline events to occur, so players shouldn't have too much difficulty unlocking the storyline events if they run around the various areas frequently enough.

There's a lot of lighthearted humor in the game's dialog. There's plenty of quirks with the villagers such as livestock shop owner Taurus' constant sleepiness, Chef Cafet's insatiable appetite, and Mark's obsession with trying to find "Harvest Sprites" in the forest, as he takes off mid-day to go on his sprite hunt and leaves Gennie to mind the store on her own.

In this game, fishing has an interesting trait whereas the fish will take longer to bite the hook the more you catch fish in the same area. It is described in-game as the fish become cautious the more you pull them from the water. Basically, the fish will bite the fishing line's hook fairly quickly during the first few times you fish in an area per day, but then take much longer to bite on your third cast, fourth cast, and so on. There's bait in the fishing shop that is used to entice fish to keep biting if you really want to keep fishing in a particular area that day.

Farming has been simplified to field crops, chickens, cows, and sheep. The field area available on Noby's run-down farm is HUGE, and there are a lot of fence options and decorations that can be added to the field. The tool upgrades from the town blacksmith will help to make farming tasks easier, but these upgrades require a lot of materials. For example, an iron-quality watering can requires 50 building stone, 40 copper ore, and 50 iron ore. That's a lot for a basic upgrade!

There's also a nap feature that allows players to take a on-screen sleep break wherever they desire! The nap can be used to recharge stamina or can be used to pass the time while waiting for shops to open.

Natura's watercolor-like qualities are very pleasant to see, as it feels like playing through a mural. I know some players don't like the Japanese-isms that are voiced throughout the game, but that can be turned down (or off) by going into the game's options and turning down the volume on the voiced bits. The white border surrounding the game's screen cannot be removed, as that acts as the edge of the Natura painting.

In general, this is a cute game with an interesting story and a farming system that is clean and easy to understand. The beginning of the game is an hour or so of dialog, but once you get past that Natura opens up. The controls can be a little awkward sometimes, as the "talk" and "eat" commands are both tied to the A Button. There's been many a times I've walked up to a villager to chat, only not be close enough and end up eating the food I had in my active bag slot that was intended to be given as a post-conversation gift. Likewise the daily villager dialogs don't vary too much from day to day, but that's true for SoS games as well. If you're on the fence about Doraemon, it may be good to wait for a discount before jumping into the world of Natura. I don't see myself playing too much of the game after the main storyline is finished, mainly because I've other games to play such as...



SoS:FoMT Released!

The remake of the 2003 Gameboy Advance games, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is now out on the Nintendo Switch in Japan. I've had a few hours to play it so far, and have made it through the first week in the game (adulting gets in the way!). So I'll have more information as I get the chance to play through the Switch game.

At the beginning of the game you can choose one of the four protagonists as well as three skin tone options. After choosing your name (max limit of 8 characters) and birthday, you can choose to play in Normal mode or in Seedling mode. The easier mode starts out with 2500 G (instead of 500 G on Normal mode), you earn a little bit more money when shipping items to Zack, friendships are easier, and there are 18 Turnips already growing on the farm field (9 ripe and 9 unripe). You can't switch between Normal and Seedling after the game begins. The farmer's clothes can be changed on the first day of the game by using the mirror inside the farm house, and clothing options can swap between old-farmer overalls and new-farmer parka clothing.

So far it feels like a mix of Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town. Both bachelor and bachelorette heart events will trigger regardless of the sex of your protagonist, and events are not tied to one per day. I've seen heart, rival, and random events all on the same day.

One quality upgrade in the Switch game is with fishing. Zack will give a fishing rod when first visiting his house, just like in the GBA game, but knowing when to reel in a caught fish is now easier. The bobber goes into the water as expected, but the joycons will vibrate when a fish has been caught on the line. After the vibration ends, just press the A button once to reel in the fish. No need to mash the A button anymore or watch for the "!" to reel in the fish. Just feel for the vibe!



Stranded Sails Released!

A second farm'n adventure game, Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is now out on Steam, GoG, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Ps4 for $24.99 USD. For a limited time there is a 15% release discount on Steam, GoG, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. So many farm'n games!



Until next time!


- Cher
(It's another rainy weekend, plenty of indoor farming time!)
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