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Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town review – absorbing rural rhythms

Nintendo Switch, PC; Marvelous/Xseed
In a now-crowded field, this reboot of the noughties farm game retains the original’s gentle dramas and nuanced characterisation

Friends of Mineral Town was originally a Harvest Moon game on the Game Boy Advance in 2003, and was indisputably the best farming-life game around. But since then this genre has become improbably crowded. From Stardew Valley to My Time at Portia, Kynseed to Farm Together, there is no shortage of bucolic video game tributes to an idealised agricultural life, many of them made by developers who grew up playing this one. This Nintendo Switch remake feels like coming home: it’s warm, comfortable and familiar.

The game has been remade in an entirely new engine, resulting in a host of minor improvements to the controls and menus. But there has also been a move from charming 2D sprite art to slightly cheap-feeling 3D graphics. The character art, too, has been redesigned – and not for the better. But with that caveat aside, FoMT’s gentle appeal has been preserved. Where similar games such as Rune Factory involve a dash of fighting or crafting, Story of Seasons sticks to the basics: raise crops and livestock; mine, fish and forage; befriend your neighbours, and pick someone to date and marry.

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