I’m back! After a much-needed break from blogging, I (finally) feel inspired to write again. At first, I wasn’t sure I would continue, since I just started a new blog called Wellness by Haley to chronicle what I’m learning about mental health, social work, and grad school. I’m also preparing for a busy year: my first as a full-time grad student!
So, what have I been doing in my free time during this hiatus, besides setting up my new blog? TBH, I’ve been playing a LOT of video games on my Nintendo Switch Lite. You probably already know that I am a fan of Animal Crossing, but I’ve recently gotten into the Story Of Seasons series.
These games are very similar to Animal Crossing in that the objective is to beautify your farm and befriend the local villagers. As someone who loves otome games, I love that there’s a dating/marriage/children component to the series as well! Now that I’ve played both Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (FOMT) and Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (POOT), I have some thoughts about what makes each game unique — and which features I prefer from each one.
Oh, and if you’re waiting for stationery content (because I know I’ve been writing about a lot of video games, etc. lately), don’t worry — that’s coming soon! 😉
Story Of Seasons: Friends Of Mineral Town
In both the SOS games, you play a boy or girl moving to the town — in FOMT, that’s Mineral Town — where your grandfather used to run a farm. After your grandfather passes away, he leaves you the farm, but it’s in a state of disrepair. It’s your job to restore the farm to its former glory.
The most obvious difference between FOMT and POOT is the art style. FOMT is a chibi art style, while POOT is more sophisticated. I prefer the FOMT style because the graphics load more quickly and are less busy. I felt like the art style and number of features in POOT overwhelmed me a bit.
I have played through the first year of FOMT a few times and gotten to about year 3 on my most recent playthrough. I wanted to decide which of the male marriage candidates were going to be the most entertaining! Eventually, I settled on Grey, who is a cute, fiery blacksmith’s apprentice. His dialogue once you get married and have a child is sweet as honey.
In general, I prefer the marriage candidates in FOMT because they each have their own unique cutscenes and personality. More than in POOT, the game goes into the characters’ backstories and establishes their motivations. It really helps you connect with the marriage candidates, making it easier to choose who to start your new life with.
Another aspect of FOMT that’s better than POOT is the mining aspect of the game. You can enter the mines in both FOMT and POOT, but FOMT has a much more sophisticated mining system. There are many different types of gems you can collect during the wintertime, when no crops grow,
Finally, something great about FOMT that’s not in POOT (as far as I know) is that you can hunt down different treasures throughout the game. There are truth jewels, Kappa jewels, and goddess jewels. Some are hidden around town and some are hidden in the mine. Once you’ve accomplished the main objective of the game (to get married and restore your farm), hunting for these is a fun little side quest that I really enjoy!
Story Of Seasons: Pioneers Of Olive Town
Story of Seasons: POOT is the upgraded version of FOMT that improved on the game’s features and art style. In fact, this newer version of the game is very similar to Animal Crossing in a lot of ways. The primary similarity between the two is the crafting element introduced in POOT. As in Animal Crossing, you can craft decorations for your farm, customize furniture, and obtain different hairstyles and outfits in this newer Story of Seasons game.
After playing FOMT, the first thing I noticed about POOT was how much easier the game seems to be (for reference, I played on Normal for both games). For example, it’s a lot easier to sell items for money (you get more money, faster). More money means it’s easier to upgrade your home and your tools, meaning you can acquire things like pets earlier in the game. This definitely made my experience with POOT more fun.
In general, farming is easier in POOT. For one thing, it’s easier to switch between tools and easier to upgrade your tools. The crops are easier to grow, in that they grow quickly so you can cash out on them sooner. And there’s a wider variety of crops to choose from, without needing to unlock them as the years go on. You can also continue to grow certain crops in wintertime. In FOMT, the lack of wintertime activity meant you spent more than you earned almost constantly, making it hard to acquire a big enough fortune to shop Van’s special items.
Van isn’t in POOT, but one feature they carried over from FOMT to POOT is the Makers. Makers are machines that produce different items from animal byproducts. For example, you can turn milk into butter or eggs into mayonnaise. In this game, however, you have to craft the Makers, instead of buying them from the blacksmith’s. They’re a lot easier to obtain in POOT, which contributes to the ease of acquiring income in this version of the game.
In POOT, there’s a lot more to do because they introduced new elements that made things like cooking easier to accomplish. There’s no Goddess Collection in POOT, which does take away some of the incentive to cook. However, they introduced a Grocery Store, which carries all the seasonal crops you’ve ever shipped. This way, you don’t have to worry about saving your crops for cooking and can just head on over to the store like you would IRL.
However, one of the annoyances of POOT that contributes to having more to do is the fact that it’s so difficult to keep your farm clean. Weeds sprout quickly, grass grows errantly, and every time it rains (which is a LOT, in my experience), puddles accumulate. You can avoid this by placing items like roads, which prevent weeds or puddles from spawning in those squares. But, the rest of the grid is fair game. Not to mention, getting the dilapidated farm clear in the first place takes a lot of time and energy — both yours and your character’s!
In conclusion, POOT is a lot more complicated than FOMT. In some ways, I miss the simplicity of FOMT. And, I definitely felt more attached to the marriage candidates in FOMT. But, the new features in POOT keep me busy and make the game a lot more fun. Instead of wondering what I should do to pass the time, I now find myself running out of time in the in-game day to get things done, both on and outside the farm!