When The Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town debuts at the end of the month, Harvest Moon game One World will lose to it. It’s unfortunate that this will be the case since, although not being up to the same calibre, One World is still a fun, soothing, and fulfilling experience.
We should rejoice since this is unquestionably Natsume’s greatest use of the Harvest Moon lyrics property to date (remembering that the early-era Harvest Moon game titles became Story of Seasons, and Harvest Moon game itself, since the Nintendo 3DS, has been a completely separate property).
One Environment’s unique selling point is the freedom you have to move throughout its expansive world without being confined to one particular spot. You are given a unique machine early on that has the ability to relocate and downsize your whole farm, including all of its structures, to a different part of the world.
One World encourages you to experience wanderlust and explore the world while still maintaining a farming lifestyle. Whereas the entire series has been based on the idea that you’re settling down in a rural little village to raise crops and live a simple life, the “special machine” is a silly plot device.
Harvest Moon Game: One World
At first, you’ll only be able to go to one place, but as time goes on, the world will grow, and you won’t be able to leave your farm on any given day. The only way to get everything done is to often travel around and lead a fairly nomadic lifestyle, because each location in the world has various resources to gather and people to help.
The flat, featureless world isn’t the most inspiring, even though the concept is excellent and fascinating. While each region is unique, they are all made up of twisting “corridors” that lead you in different directions without offering many noteworthy sites to see or activities to engage in. Also, the structure of the game might have been better if it didn’t keep moving up and down, which gets annoying and feels like an absurd amount of backtracking compared to the worst Metroidvanias.
The fact that the game treats every location as temporary—a stop along the way—may be the most obnoxious of all. This means that the people you see only have a brief effect on the story and experience before disappearing into a few repeated phrases in the background for the rest of the time.
While this may have a nostalgic appeal to longtime Harvest Moon game fans, the Story of Seasons series has done a far better job of developing characterization. Even your future spouse doesn’t appear interested in speaking more than a few catchphrases again. You no longer need to purchase seeds in Harvest Moon game One World, which is an intriguing anomaly.
Although you may still buy tools and medications for your animals in stores, the world is now studded with sprites who will always offer you seeds as a present. Before you know it, you have a lot more seeds than you can possibly use in the agricultural area you have available. This is a significant change from earlier Harvest Moon game, which required you to manage your budget and make sure you had the money for those seeds (especially in the early game).
It’s a good way to streamline the experience because it guarantees that you’ll never run out of money or resources, but the way the system is implemented has a significant drawback: you never know what seeds the sprites will give you. Say you need a certain kind of seed to finish a quest for a character; in that case, you’ll need to chat with every sprite you come across until you ultimately receive the correct pack of seeds from them.
In the final stages of the game, I undoubtedly wished that I wasn’t so dependent on these sprites’ whims and their arbitrary seed-gifting methods. The quest system is one last problem with One World’s implementation. The requests from the people of the world start to pile up, and I do mean pile up.
The issue is that each of these requests is for a predetermined quantity of a certain food or item that you can provide. To put it bluntly, completing all of these requests in a loop, which is necessary for a lot of what you can do in One World, is a boring chore and not the most motivating way we’ve seen of setting goals and making progress.
Why then do I find One World to be so enjoyable in light of the aforementioned?
It’s because playing is simply so very calming. My favorite morning ritual in games is to When you first get up, go outdoors to water any existing plants and harvest those that are ripe. Then, wherever there is space on the plot of ground, plant seeds. After that, go check on the animals and feed them. Then, spend the rest of the day trying to reach your goals or, for a while, going on dates with potential partners.
The game retains its cathartic character for the whole duration of its play because of that initial segment. Because of One World’s very limited range of activities and the rapid pace of in-game time, watering virtual turnips and flowers is a delight that swiftly resets and restarts. In order to relax with One World and feel like you’re making good progress in what you’re doing, a quick play session of 30 to an hour is more than plenty.
The game is appealing as well. Certainly on a smaller scale than Seasons, but the charming vintage Harvest Moon game style is still present. The several creatures you see along the route are all really adorable. On my first-play stream (above), you can see how happy I was to see a fox for the first time and begin to interact with it. There are many adorable animal friends to meet and pet in One Globe’s vast world.
It’s fun to learn exactly which friends they are since you don’t know who they are yet. Even though Harvest Moon game One World is ultimately pointless and short, I didn’t regret spending the time playing it. As someone who has played a tonne of these games, One World’s effort to stand out by allowing you to travel and streamlining the farming mechanics so you can concentrate on the best parts is commendable. However, it’s possible that this is just because I love these anime-casual farming sims and have since the “genre” first appeared on the SNES.
Although Natsume and its production teams have a long way to go before they can catch up with Story of Seasons, and I wonder whether it was wise to release this game at the same time as the next instalment in that series, it is still a truly enjoyable little world to immerse yourself in for a while.