More than a year after it debuted on PC and Switch, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town finally comes to PS4. And for fans of laid back, relaxing life sim experiences, it’s been well worth the wait.
If you’ve played a recent Story of Seasons game, you’ll be able to hit the ground running with Pioneers of Olive Town. It’s not entirely different from Friends of Mineral Town, but feels slightly more refined somehow. This is a series that has gone from strength to strength, with each new entry tweaking its successful formula ever so slightly. Obviously, this isn’t the type of game that’s going to suit everyone; it requires patience and perseverance, but for those wiling to sink time into it, there’s nothing quite like seeing your farm – and the surrounding town – flourish under your control.
The plot to Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is much like any other. A run-down farm has been bequeathed to you by a family member and you, a hapless youth who knows nothing about farming, has to learn the ropes quickly. Thankfully, the town’s mayor is on hand to teach you the basics. But most of what comes to pass in Pioneers of Olive Town you’ll learn as you go along.
There’s a lot to get to grips with, but thankfully you’re not overloaded with too much information at once. Your first few in-game days will be spent tackling one new mechanic at a time, be it cutting trees, planting seeds, watering them, or caring for animals. You’re only given the very basic foundations, and it’ll be a while until you can improve your tools or learn new skills. But that’s the joy of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. Rather than being pushed in any one direction via a linear narrative, your progress is controlled directly by your own desire to explore, learn and do.
This isn’t a game all about farming, either. There’s a mysterious mine to explore with secrets to be uncovered. And there’s a beautiful town waiting to be discovered, filled with wonderful characters to meet and befriend (and, perhaps, fall in love with if you so wish). Poke around in the right buildings and you’ll uncover challenges to be completed and rewards to be earned. Upgrade your house, and you’ll be able to start cooking with vegetables you’ve grown and fish you’ve caught yourself. Providing you want to, of course. Nothing is essential in Pioneers of Olive Town. You’ll get out of the game what you put into it.
That’s both a blessing and a curse. It takes a long time to really feel like you’ve hit your stride in Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. But if you’ve played a game in the series before, you’ll already know to expect that. For newcomers who might be expecting more instantaneous gratification, it can be a little off-putting. It’ll take several hours of busywork until you feel like you’ve achieved anything, or can even afford a simple upgrade. But as we’ve said already, perseverance really does pay off. This isn’t a game to be rushed through; it’s to be savoured and enjoyed.
For fans of the genre, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a great example of a life/farming sim at its finest. There’s a mixture of everything here: farming, town building, exploration, relationship building, fishing, cooking, crafting – and it’s all blended together so well. If you’ve got the time to sink into it and you’re looking for something seriously relaxing, you really can’t go wrong.