Jane Foster had a strange, nagging sensation of displacement when she was on Asgard. She put it down to culture shock, actually it was because the stars were in unfamiliar places.
A Hometown Story Review (kind of)
Let me start off by saying that, by all rights, I should hate this game and yet I can’t stop playing it.
Anyone who knows me knows I have been a Harvest Moon fanatic ever since I was old enough to play it without getting bored or frustrated because let’s face it for all it’s a kids game I’ve always found it damn near impossible to play without a guide (at least for things like wooing and unlocking certain things). Ever since I got my hands on Harvest Moon DS I’ve been hooked, bought every game since and even started building up my collection with the more ‘retro’ games in the series so naturally when this game was announced I was excited.
A shop simulation game from ‘the family of Harvest Moon’ considering how much I loved the shop simulation areas of Grand Bazaar, I had hoped I’d be in for something similar as I could never understand why they never brought back the ability to run a shop in any other harvest moon games as there was something, just so rewarding about growing/making your own produce and then taking it to a bazaar and selling it yourself. Now I understand that Grand Bazaar wasn’t the greatest game in the series but I could quite happily pluck the bazaar system out and stick it in almost any harvest moon game (thinking mainly about DS (cute) and ‘a new beginning) and have my IDEAL harvest moon game.
So here we have ‘A Hometown Story’, basic rundown of the activities in this game is: buy items, sell items, buy more items, sell more items, buy key items, use key items to raise friendships/unlock new people, sell more basic items in order to afford new key items in the hope of raising the friendships of one of three, yes, THREE of the marriage candidates, none of which, (from a female players standpoint) are particularly appealing. Apparently the reason for the depressingly low amount of marriage candidates according to developers was ‘quality over quantity and a want for deeper more sentimental relationships’ which would be fine if (speaking from the view of a female player) any of the male bachelors were either deep or interesting.
Now I’ve read a few other reviews for this game and one of the main criticisms is you can play the game quite happily and never have to leave your store as often main characters and merchants come to your store to do their dealings, which I do disagree with, you do have to leave the store in order to complete deliveries, view events and pick up some items that your 14:00 merchant doesn’t necessarily stock and I feel it would be more appropriate to say you never WANT to leave the house as the controls and map navigation are just so counterintuitive and frustrating, “oh the path you want to take on the map is left to your current position? Better press down on the analog stick and walk straight into the camera!”👍 to its credit the map is quite big which is good, however it’s also creepily empty and impossible to navigate without practice. And on top of all of this, the one thing that really gets my goat, there is a calendar in your room, not a big deal, right? Except there are no festivals, no birthdays, no anniversaries, no nothing, it’s a useable calendar with sweet F all on it.
To summarise, this game is infuriating, the unrewarding gameplay, confusing controls, navigation and not being able to marry who I wanted SHOULD prompt me to power down on this game permanently and wait patiently for ‘Story of Seasons’ and yet I just can’t stop playing it! Maybe it’s because of my long term loyalty to the Harvest Moon series and my desperate want for it to be what I expected and maybe that’s where I’m going wrong, though there are similarities this ISNT a Harvest Moon game and they have set the bar so high for themselves already and to credit them they are trying to take it in a new direction and have kind of done that. Maybe a non-harvest mooner will pick up this game and love it, and maybe it will pave their way into the world if the best loved farming simulation game that is Harvest Moon which is always great. So I think I’ll continue on this self destructive path that is ‘A Hometown Story’ and consider this just a rough patch in my relationship with Harvest Moon because it has given me so many good years before now.
🌽🌽 2/5 corns (because it’s sort of a Harvest Moon review!) overall bad but strangely addictive.