STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life Review
STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life brings back a classic farming simulator with modern upgrades. Officially launching this month, the upgraded A Wonderful Life comes with updates that create a better experience for audiences today. Remaining faithful to the source material, STORY OF SEASONS: A Wonderful Life continues to deliver quality farming (and dating) for the new generation.
As the story goes, you are new to the Forgotten Valley and are settling down with the help of your father’s friend, Takakura. You move into a farm and start growing crops and raising animals with his help. While farming is your full-time job, you always have time for fishing, digging for artifacts, and building friendships with your fellow neighbours. In true STORY OF SEASONS fashion, there is also a good-sized dating pool for you to meet your future spouse. Sure, you want to save your best crops and sell them for money, but remember to set some aside for gifts. You’ve found your true calling in the Forgotten Valley, so don’t forget to find your true love, too!
Farming for Today’s Generation
With the upgraded visuals and inclusive options to choose from, A Wonderful Life speaks to today’s preferences in gaming. It doesn’t have mind blowing graphics or music, but it offers nostalgia that’s easier on the eyes with better performance. It isn’t perfect and NPCs can get in your way, but this is a relatively minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things.
The timeline in A Wonderful Life moves quickly too, encouraging players to marry within one year and making it easier to purchase and breed animals. Some of the STORY OF SEASONS entries require more work to make money, however it’s pretty easy to afford things in A Wonderful Life.
You can also design your own character and select their gender. The designs are limited but should be enough to create a satisfactory icon for yourself. Whatever face and gender you select, you cannot switch this partway through the game. I wish there was this option too, but that’s probably how the game was programmed. It doesn’t really affect your future partner though, because the entire dating pool – men and women – are open for you.
The story develops quickly in A Wonderful Life meaning there’s something to do every day. You could dedicate an entire morning to the farm and spend the afternoon at the dig site. You have a stamina bar, so back-breaking work can deplete this fast. Consuming food and beverages can help boost your energy though. Keep an eye out for recipes or go to the local cafe and grab a slice of cake – there’s even a cute girl behind the counter if you’re interested.
The year is split into four seasons with each season being 10 days long. It’s perfect for gamers who want to farm and enjoy this classic agricultural simulation with minimal grind. One of the upsides (or downsides?) is the small map, making it easy to walk around without wasting much time. However, this also means there aren’t many places to visit. It could feel boring when staying in one area, but as long as you focus on the farm and your love life, there’s enough to do.
Cozy Farming (and Dating) Simulation
Dating is a must and luckily there are many eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in the town. You are free to woo both men and women but remember to really impress someone. Eventually, you will have to marry so don’t only focus on making money (even though that is also important!). If you’ve played A Wonderful Life before, you’ll see some familiar faces with some new additions to the dating pool. In my opinion, the bachelorette options were still superior to the bachelors, but I’ll leave that to your judgment.
While the game is mostly about farming and love, it also encourages relationship-building with the townsfolk. Always make time to talk to people in town and not just your potential soulmate. There are seasonal events to attend as well to improve your relationships with the townsfolk. Once you start leveling up in your relationships, you can get frequent cutscenes which give your silent protagonist a little more personality. There is a meter for how much someone likes you platonically, so don’t neglect your neighbours!
A Wonderful Life extends beyond your farming and dating prowess – it also allows you to experience parenthood. One of the highlights is being able to start a family in the Forgotten Valley. You can watch your child grow up and experience the changes in town. It still brings a happy tear to my eye when I watch some cutscenes and see my virtual, fictional self making progress in life. If only inheriting land and building a family were that easy in real life, am I right?
Being my favourite entry in the STORY OF SEASONS series, A Wonderful Life is a wonderful game. If you are new to the STORY OF SEASONS series, A Wonderful Life is an excellent place to start. Having previous knowledge of how the game works can be an advantage but there isn’t anything you can’t learn. All you need to do is work hard and make the most out of every day – but most importantly, have fun while doing so. And if you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with everything the game has to offer and find the Forgotten Valley is truly an unforgettable place.
*** A PS5 review code was provided by the publisher ***
- Achievable and attainable goals
- Excellent timeline and pacing
- Updated performance on an improved classic
- Small map
- Bachelor options lacking