The newest entry in the esteemed Story of Seasons series, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, makes sure to ask players the toughest questions right off the bat. Rather than pulling its punches, Pioneers of Olive Town throws players right into the midst of farmland that’s so overgrown it better resembles a jungle. But before that, you have some choices to make — namely, what do you look like?
Pioneers of Olive Town has the most in-depth character customization the series has seen by far. In addition to dozens of hairstyles and eye shapes, you can choose between numerous skin tones and voices — all of which can be mixed and matched freely. You can even pick between a straighter posture or one that’s more reserved, all followed up with your choice of pronouns. And not to worry: a boutique unlocked later on allows you to change up your look as you please, again without excluding any features based on your pronoun choice.
But before you can unlock the boutique, you have to get used to managing both farming and town activities. It won’t be long before you realize your farm-turned-jungle is larger than the entire town, and you will face some tough decisions moving forward. Opening up new farmland can be done with either your own materials or a very high monetary cost. If you prioritize clearing up space and mining, you might find saving up the necessary materials to be a more feasible task. But if you instead focus the bulk of your attention on raising crops and fulfilling townspeople’s requests, you might find your pockets a bit heavy and can pay the fee to move forward.
All the major townspeople are situated at the start of Pioneers of Olive Town, too. Although a few minor characters won’t make their appearance until specific stores, such as the boutique, are unlocked, all of Olive Town’s local singles are ready to meet you from the get-go. Upcoming DLC will feature returning marriage candidates from previous series entries, but players looking for love from the all-new cast won’t have to wait to start seeking out their future spouse.
Of course, there’s more to Pioneers of Olive Town than the character customization and social-life-building. Farming is similar to past series titles, with plenty of different season-specific crops and new and returning tools to help you set up your farm. Harvesting is streamlined for both crops and livestock — you won’t need shears, milkers, or even a brush to care for your animals, and all crops can be harvested with your bare hands, too. Tools are instead used for clearing up your farmland, with the only exceptions being a leash to take your pet for a walk and a camera to take pictures.
As you clear away trees and rocks and make your way into the numerous mines your farm has access to, you’ll come across all sorts of materials that will help you upgrade your buildings and your tools. You’ll also find animals roaming in the wild that you can tame and send into your barn or coop — as long as you have space, that is. If you’re not keeping up to date with expanding your buildings, you may need to make some rough decisions about which animals to tame and which to leave behind.
Each season also brings with it different wild harvest-ready plants, which can be used in cooking or sold. After selling, their seeds will be available to purchase, so players focusing on farming will find their crop variety growing rapidly. Not only can you find new crops in the wild and the general store, but you can also receive them as rewards. As you fulfill various tasks, such as chopping a certain amount of wood or taking care of your livestock, you’ll unlock “achievements” that reward you with a wide assortment of items, including makers and more seeds.
It also won’t take long to unlock the Earth Sprite Village, where you can gain even more materials. As you take care of your farm, you’ll unearth follower sprites that you can assign to specific leader sprites. These sprites have specializations, such as stones, logs, fish, and more. The more follower sprites you assign to each one, the faster they level up — and the better gifts they’ll give you each day. You have to decide if you want to focus on leveling up the sprites in areas you may be neglecting or if you want to double down and level up sprites in areas you’re already focusing on. The sprites’ leader also has his own shop with a daily changing lineup. From here, you can pick up a wide variety of materials; sometimes you may even find 10-star seeds for sale, offering even more ways to keep pushing your farm forward how you please.
No matter how you want to direct your farm in its early stages, Pioneers of Olive Town gives you many different avenues to approach it from. From raising crops, caring for livestock, and even building your social life, you don’t have to wait until late-game to see the effects of your choices bringing your farm — and Olive Town — to life.