The sun’s out, it’s a beautiful day, and you haven’t finished your summer homework. That’s the set-up for Doraemon Story of Seasons, the farming simulator recently released on the PS4. Noby, Doraemon and the rest of the gang are sucked into another time and age where they have to work in a small town until they can find Doraemon’s missing gadgets to get themselves back home.
Doraemon Story Of Seasons on PS4 is an updated version of the previously released Doraemon Story Of Seasons on Nintendo Switch. This new version has several new features, including secret gadgets, decorations as well as a dolphin pet.
The Storybook Appeal of Doraemon: Story of Seasons
The updated release has no changes to the story or visuals, though that’s not a bad thing. Doraemon Story of Seasons is a good-looking game, with a charming storybook aesthetic. The art style also stays faithful to the TV show, with Noby and Co. not compromising on their vibrant color palettes.
The Japanese voice-over with English text is a nice touch, too. As someone uncomfortable with English dubs, it hits a nice middle ground between the need for a nice voice-over and the need to understand a game. Even then, the game has minimal actual voice work, with most of the dialogue presented in the text boxes without an accompanying voice line. Instead, characters have generic reactions depending on their emotions for their voice lines (Such as Doraemon saying “Good grief” any time his dialogue is commenting on Noby’s actions).
On another note of the localization, Noby and Doraemon constantly bring up all manner of puns and weird similes. It has a nice, child-like feel to it. The localizations evoke many fond memories of Saturday morning cartoons.
Rise And Grind
Doraemon Story Of Seasons is very much a farming sim, following the ilk of Story of Seasons and Harvest Moon. You have to make money by farming, mining, and collecting resources. But it’s not all about the money, you’ve also got to build your relationships with the townspeople.
Standing in the way of your goals is the game’s stamina system. There’s only so many hours in the day, and Noby can only do so much farmwork or mining before he gets exhausted and needs a nap to regain his stamina. On top of that, there’s the game’s NPCs. They have their own schedules, and may not always be at their stores. Smart players would be on the lookout for the storefronts that describe their opening hours, or checking their map for the wherabouts of the game’s NPCs.
The result is a game that absolutely needs to be played with either a guide or your own notebook open. It’s a very immersive experience- you have little time to care about other things when you’re making sure your crops are harvested on time and you’re catching your friends when they’re free. And I highly recommend it to fans of this type of gameplay.
Time’s Arrow neither Stands Still Nor Goes Backwards
The game’s individual activities- farming, mining, fishing etc. – are all very calming. They’re never particularly strenuous, with the exception of fishing making you move spots once your catches start to dwindle. But that’s the extent of it. As a result, the game is pretty laid back, and it’s easy to just play it in half-hour chunks.
Despite this, the game’s real-time clock is a cruel reminder of the unending march of time. Mistakes like forgetting to empty your inventory or bringing the wrong tool are costly, and can set you back up to an hour. The game’s real time clock does not forgive easily, and punishes even idly pondering what to do next if you forget to open your menu to pause.
While the game’s laid-back tone is generally a positive, it does get in the way of progression. There’s no real indicator of the path to progression. The story has key events that require you to improve your relationship with specific villagers, and the game expects you to get it right by chance. In a sense, it promotes the game’s core gameplay loop- befriending all the villagers until you get to the one who moves the story along. But for some players, it could also feel directionless and the more goal-oriented player will probably suffer through it.
Again, this is great from an easygoing standpoint. You never really feel like the game is pushing you into choosing certain NPCs over each other. However, the more goal-oriented gamer will probably suffer from this system as they angrily pace wondering who they’ve got to charm into getting the next gadget.
To further suck you in, the game has all manner of customization available to players with furniture and decorations for your farm. These of course cost materials as well as the game’s money, so you’re going to be taking some story detours to get them. But you can’t really put a price on aesthetics, so who’s gonna complain if there’s slightly less crops for a week or so…
Like A Lazy Saturday Morning
All in all, Doraemon Story of Seasons is a fun time. It’s a good way to idly let the day go by, as you wait for your strawberries to grow and the fishing store to be open. While the game’s amount of guide-diving may be overwhelming at first, it gets really calming once you settle into a rhythm and flow and no longer need to check back on the guide.
You can find more information on the publisher’s website.