Marvelous just released Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town for the PlayStation 4, and for fans of its genre it’s an excellent port. Here’s our review.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town originally launched on the Switch and PC last year, but where the farming/slice of life genre is still booming on Nintendo’s console (largely thanks to Animal Crossing) it’s relatively underrepresented on the PlayStation. Story of Seasons fans especially haven’t been spoiled, although Marvelous has been looking to remedy that with the 2021 launch of Friends of Mineral Town and this new port of Pioneers of Olive Town.
If you’ve played Mineral Town before, then you’ll get comfortable with Olive Town very quickly, with a similar approach and only subtle changes to the formula, which still relies on the player making a serious time investment towards seeing your farm and community thrive. In order to do so, you organically move through a story that (once again) starts out with a farm that’s seen better days and is waiting for you to move in. You’re a total stranger to the work involved, but the game is happy to teach you, introducing you to the locals in the process – they even send the mayor out to help you.
The mechanics are drip-fed to you, so even though you’re juggling a dozen things at once eventually it never feels overwhelming as you’re learning things. You’ll chop down wood, plant crops, harvest them and take care of the farm’s animals. And while some tasks stay the same, you slowly gain access to additional/better tools and skills as well. There’s a freedom to this too, as you’re not forced to do one task after another but you can specialize and focus on a particular area if you want to, choosing to branch out to other things later on.
These other things don’t always involve tending to the farm either – there’s a mild adventuring element too, which sometimes has you searching for rewards and has you forming relationships with locals as well – even to the point of romantic ones. There are optional challenges and rewards, upgrades to your tools and house, and nearly all of these upgrades open up new avenues for you to discover. Before you know it, you’re ten hours in and have no desire to head for some kind of endgame.
As with any game of this type, it’s a double-edged sword, as Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town does very little to draw in players who don’t enjoy this particular genre. For those who do, it’s another well-crafted example with a wonderful balance between the various tasks and activities you can undertake. If you felt like you were done with the series for a while after Friends of Mineral Town then Pioneers of Olive Town will likely not rekindle that flame, but for those looking to pour a few dozen hours into a similar title there’s a lot to love here.