I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw Doraemon: Story of Seasons. The game looked nice especially the art style and it seemed to carry its charm. This was supposed to be a crossover between the Doraemon franchise and Story of Seasons, which is the current name of Harvest Moon after the original creators lost the trademark. It was a farming simulator that was Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons in disguise. This is how I feel about the final game as well.
I am not that familiar with Doraemon aside from watching some of his animated show episodes. I do know the cultural impact the series has in Japan as a popular children’s show there, so it has also developed quite a lot of video games. Doraemon: Story of Seasons feels like a combination that is a perfect fit for kids who like the Doraemon universe but don’t want to deal with a typical farming simulator. It is also intended to be easy for newcomers with detailed explanations being given for every task.
The story begins when Noby discovers a mysterious seed which he plants and waters along with Doraemon and friends. This ends up opening a portal that transports Doraemon, Noby and their friends into a world called Natura. It has a mysterious tree and features a town and other locales full of natural resources. Doraemon and his friends have to look out for jobs around this town while Noby ends up inheriting a barren piece of land that he has to tend and grow into his farm.
As you start the game, it immediately puts you in a half-hour long tutorial that almost made me rage quit. It will take a while before you are finally able to start taking control of your farm and I don’t think there was an option to skip the tutorial. As a result, the opening is easily the weakest aspect of the game. Once you get into farming and maintaining your farm, this is when the game finally opens up. The pacing of the story is quite slow though since the game takes its time in explaining every mechanic or story details, which makes it feel like it was designed with kids in mind. It doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy it too.
If you have played any of the Harvest Moon games, the gameplay will feel familiar. You are immediately given tools like an ax, hammer, sickle, and hoe. You have to clear the farmland which is full of rocks, logs, and grass that has to be cut before any type of farming can be done there. It is all menial work for Noby who has limited stamina so it will take some time before you can clear off most of the farm. In this timeframe, you have to find sources of income that can range from farming products, harvesting for resources, or animals including cows and chickens.
Farming is not the only thing that can be done in this world. Noby can explore the town, tackle quests, do side activities like minigames, and take part in the social life of the town which also has festivals and other important events. Noby begins to develop a relationship with the townfolks while tending to his farm and gradually discovers the world and its secrets. Stamina limits what can be done in a day so you also have to take care of his survival by keeping him well fed, slept, and making sure there is a good source of income to purchase any goods.
This might sound like a standard Story of Seasons game but there is some uniqueness to it with Doraemon and his gadgets. As you progress through the main story, Noby will be able to use the various gadgets of Doraemon to make his farming life easier. At the start, you will have to run across the town to purchase from shops or perform quests but later it will be possible to use fast travel by unlocking a gadget. Similarly, other gadgets can help you control the weather, make your crops grow faster, and so on.
Honestly, this is one of the most enjoyable entries in the Story of Seasons series that might strip away some of the complicated stuff like relationships or marriage but despite keeping it simple, there is a lot to enjoy here. The game has the perfect balance of tending a farm along with basic RPG elements that let you build new tools to help you farm efficiently. The progression system is all around great but the pacing is still incredibly slow and a lot of the dialogue ends up feeling a little too long.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons is one of the hidden gems of this generation that needs to be given a chance. It is a game for all ages and not just for kids with a solid amount of replay value. Whether you want to get it for your kids or play it yourself, this is a solid contender for a new Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon game.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Doraemon Story of Seasons[a] is a farming simulation role-playing video game for Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows which is a crossover of the Story of Seasons series of video games and the Doraemon franchise.
Final Score - 8.5/10
Doraemon Story of Seasons is a surprisingly fun game that is tailored to satisfy both adults and kids. It is an enjoyable farming simulator set in the Doraemon universe while offering the charm and gameplay from the Story of Seasons.