New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 11.03.2017 1

Review for New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo systems have always had quality relaxing resource management and farming sims. Series like Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons spring to mind, especially. Continuing the trend, Nintendo Switch is getting a launch title in this genre, with Arc System Works stepping up and doing the honours in bringing its 3DS title back in a fresh, updated form. The question is, though, whether or not it can stand side-by-side with some of the greats both in the genre itself, and on Nintendo Switch so far, or is this merely farming sim shovelware?

This version of New Frontier Days - Founding Pioneers offers three gameplay modes to choose from: Story, Survival, and Free Play. The Story mode is, frankly, not a story - it's an extended tutorial sequence that takes a few hours to complete. Survival offers five different levels of difficulty to overcome, and Free Play is pretty self-explanatory.

The town starts simple, with a town hall and a few villagers. Tutorials introduce some of the basic mechanics and the many types of resources that need to be gathered throughout. At first, this means dispatching villagers to the (surprisingly small) map to chop down trees, mine stone or iron, fish lakes, or hunt animals. There are some natural progression steps that develop through the game and they are well designed. The chopped down wood can be used to build a Sawmill, and within the Sawmill harvested wood can be turned into lumber and, later, other types of wood as the Sawmill levels up. This lumber can be used to build new structures, like a quarry to work with the mined stones. These stones can be used to develop new structures, and so on. The buildings can also be used to sell the resources collected for cold hard cash.

Screenshot for New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers on Nintendo Switch

It would all be a little too simple and brief if that's all that was here, though. The game also runs on a timeframe; at the end of each year is a "Festival" that applies a cost to everything built, and all of the townsfolk being used… usually subtracting a significant chunk of money. This becomes another aspect of the resource management, having to gather up so much extra so that at year's end there is enough to foot the bill. Another extra level of difficulty is thrown on by adding random events, like rampaging animals and earthquakes that can throw all of the developments and plans to hell. There are also "Invention Cards," which are rewards that can grant permanent bonuses or stacks of resources upon completing various quests or objectives - they are another resource that needs juggling.

All in all, the resource managing mechanics are well done and very addictive. The problem is that the further you dig into the game, the more you realise this is quite a hollow shell. The story has no real story, there is very little freedom to building the town, and everything feels more and more like a gargantuan grind.

New Frontier Days feels like it was made for a touchscreen or a mouse, with having to click on numerous items in the environment and in menus, and as such this works much better in handheld mode on the Switch where the touch screen can be utilised, whereas this looks and plays much worse docked and on a TV. Speaking of how it looks, it all looks very generic, lacking any unique style or charm to set it apart from the multitudes of similar games scattered across Google Play and iTunes, and if the graphical presentation isn't bad enough, the audio is equally as mediocre.

Screenshot for New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Like many others of its ilk, New Frontier Days - Founding Pioneers is full of the types of mechanics that make for very addictive gameplay - the type that have that "just one more minute" gameplay. Despite how it makes the hours fly by, though, this is ultimately a boring grind with no real depth, no heart, and nothing special here. With the superb Stardew Valley on the horizon for Nintendo Switch, fans of these types of games should try holding out until then and give this one a pass. Heck, you would even be better off with Farmville to tide you over…

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

Arc System Works

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This makes me long for a Theme Park revival!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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