Doraemon Story of Seasons (PC) Review

By Lilly K. 02.12.2019

Review for Doraemon Story of Seasons on PC

Doraemon Story of Seasons was released for both the Nintendo Switch and PC. Released on the 13th of June 2019 in Japan, and the 11th of October 2019 internationally, this is a crossover between the Stories of Seasons games and the Doraemon series. Story of Seasons (or Harvest Moon) is a video game series created by Yasuhiro Wada, and produced by Victor Interactive Software - now Marvelous Inc. and it is a farming simulation in which the player character tends to a farm. This commonly includes growing crops and raising livestock. Doraemon originally started out as a Japanese manga series. It was written and illustrated by Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko. Doraemon is a blue robot cat that travelled back in time from the 22nd century, and lives with a boy called Nobita Nobi. The series was adapted into an anime and a large franchise. The Doraemon series has been adapted into 63 video games, which are available in Japan only. Doraemon Story of Seasons is therefore the first Doraemon game to be released in the West.

The game starts by introducing the player to the character they are going to play as: Nobita (nicknamed Noby) and his blue robot cat Doraemon. Noby is on his summer holiday, and needs to think of a summer project for school. Trying to find inspiration, he wanders outside to find a mysterious seed which he decides to plant and grow as his project. He is joined by his friends and Doraemon. Upon planting the seed, they all get transported into a different world and end up in a small village called Natura. Because Doraemon lost his gadgets, which could have been used to travel back, they decide to stay in Natura until they can find a way to make their way back home. Everyone finds a place to work at, and Noby is given a farm he can use to plant crops and raise livestock.

This is where the actual gameplay begins. The intro is incredibly long with little to nothing to do for the player but click through long conversations. This could have been done easier in a single long cut-scene, as the player may begin to wonder when the actual gameplay is going to start. Noby starts out with nothing for his farm but a handful of seeds and tools to start farming. You can start out by clearing up the field. Trees, weeds and boulders have to be removed using different tools. Using a tool will decrease stamina, of which Noby has a finite amount. That means that there is only a finite amount of actions he can do using tools per day.

Screenshot for Doraemon Story of Seasons on PC

Stamina can be recovered by eating or napping during the day. It also gets restored every night when he sleeps in his bed. Food has to be bought or can be harvested. Collecting different things makes a big part of the game. Noby can collect different plants or shells. He can also destroy boulders to attain building stones, chop trees to attain wood or work in the mine to attain other materials. These can all be used to upgrade Noby's house and tools. However, his amount of stamina does not increase over time, and upgraded tools may work faster but still use the same amount of stamina as before. In other words, upgrading a tool does not mean one gets done more using less stamina which was a very disappointing discovery.

A clock at the top of the screen shows what time of day and year it is. Noby can stay up late, but will recover less stamina if he stays up for too long. Using up all the stamina requires Noby to rest in the hospital the next day, so it is always worth having an eye on how much of it is left. A calendar tells the player what season it is and how many days are left in said season. Different crops grow in different seasons, and different crops take different amounts of time (in days) to grow. This means that the player needs to have an eye on the calendar when planting crops. For example, planting a crop that takes 15 days to be ready for harvest will spoil if the season changes in nine days.

Seeds for growing crops can be bought in the shop, but the player will need money for that. At the beginning it was difficult to earn enough money to keep buying what was needed. Noby can sell any materials, crops, bugs, fish, or shells. While farming should be the main focus, it was far easier to just mine all day and sell off those materials for plenty of money. The ease of which mining outdoes farming makes the goal of the game, the farming, a bit useless. As for the menu, it is quite elaborate. A map, stamina overview, people overview, calendar and options are just a few parts of the menu, making it a bit complicated at times to find what the player is looking for.

Screenshot for Doraemon Story of Seasons on PC

The game is definitely quite relaxing, and players can enjoy growing, collecting and selling. At the same time, Noby can work on relationships with the townsfolk and his friends. The only confusing thing here was that Noby did not seem to be friends with his friends. While it is understandable that he needs to grow his relationship with the townsfolk, it would have made more sense to start at a higher level with those that travelled here with him. Generally, forming and enhancing relationships with everyone is not as easy as it could be. To enhance a relationship, Noby can give someone a present. However, it has to be right present. With lots of possibilities and little guidance of what to give, this is a rather complicated part.

Noby and his friends do want to return to their own world eventually. However, once Noby decides to take over the farm, the player is left at that. There is no indication whatsoever as to how to reach the ultimate goal of returning home. Even when continuing to play, there are no hints at all until later. Additionally, once hints are dropped, the player is left alone at figuring out how to go about the problem. This game is very much a simulation, which can be played over a very long period of time by just farming and living the farm live.

Screenshot for Doraemon Story of Seasons on PC

Note, however, that this started out with a story, and the story needs to continue periodically. This does not happen. It seems that by certain actions the player accidentally advances the story, but there is no indication as to why and how. It could be the time of year or a certain action. This makes it difficult to decide on whether or not it is smart to set goals. What if a goal is only halfway achieved but then the story advances and the goal can no longer be fully achieved? There is definitely a lack of guidance.

The gameplay itself is quite well designed. The different buttons for different actions are well chosen and a little reminder of which button does what when approaching an object is very reassuring. The loading times are very short which is great. While the visuals are more artistic than realistic, they make for a beautiful, anime inspired environment. The background music changes according to time of year and place where the player is. It is not intrusive at all but rather very relaxing.

There is no spoken conversation. Instead, the player clicks through written conversations accompanied by Japanese sounds or short words (such as "Ohayō!" for good morning). This may have been a budget choice, but those little outbursts do the trick anyways. That way, each conversation has some sound, but the player is not obliged to concentrate on what he hears and can just read.

Screenshot for Doraemon Story of Seasons on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While there is a lack of guidance and some confusion about the story, Doraemon Story of Seasons is a beautiful game in a beautiful setting. Its relaxing music and easy gameplay make for a pleasant and calming game experience. It feels as though a lot of love has been poured into making this game, and little details like the seasons changing in the menu according to where in the game the player last saved makes it rather adorable. A wonderful title to relax with, over a longer period of time.

Developer

Brownies

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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