In 2003, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was released on the Nintendo Gamecube, and later in 2004 Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life was released as the female-character version of the game that brought a few bug and glitch fixes with it. Now, about 20 years later, these titles are being combined and getting a remake called Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life for the Nintendo Switch.
Similarly, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town also received a remake through Story of Seasons in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch that merged both the male and female version of the game. The trailer shows that Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life will certainly live up to a nostalgic remake, as the town, characters, animals, and music are all familiar. Like the original A Wonderful Life, characters will age with each passing year, and there will be fishing, marriage, lots of farming, and raising a child. It looks like there are a few character remodels as well. Hopefully with this remake, the setbacks that made A Wonderful Life lacking will be improved upon.
Don’t get me wrong, A Wonderful Life was an amazing game, but it could be very repetitive and boring at times. The first version of the game that was released had a multitude of bugs and glitches that were later fixed with the female version of the game that was released much later. I would like to see a few additions made to the game that could potentially make it feel more alive and similar to other Harvest Moon releases. This small list will include things I hope they won’t omit.
Unlike Friends of Mineral Town’s monthly calendar being 30 days long which offered plenty of time to amass crops, harvest the local flora, and prepare for the community events of the seasons, A Wonderful Life’s seasons were only 10 days long and there were only four events throughout the entire year. They were much shorter and they passed much more quickly-there wasn’t much to do besides growing crops, caring for your animals, and fishing. I would hope they’d bring seasonal calendar events into the game like a crop festival or perhaps a livestock festival. That’s really wishful thinking, but we can hope there will be more to do in this remake.
Passage of Time
A Wonderful Life was a game about life and death – not only would you and the nearby villagers age, but your farm animals would as well. The passage of time in this game was a significant part of it and everything was on a schedule if done correctly. For example, you’re given a dairy cow at the beginning of the game that will age over time and eventually pass away. As a player, it was up to you whether or not to take note of this cycle and make the most of it.
Cows were perhaps the most enjoyable animals to deal with, as they produce lots of potential money throughout the year and there were different breeds to choose from. They produce milk, which could be churned into butter or into cheese. It wasn’t as simple as purchasing a cow and milking it daily though.
When cows first arrive at your farm, they would be unable to produce milk until maturity-this would take one year. But even after they mature, they still won’t produce milk until after they get pregnant. Cows had to be old enough (older than one year) to become pregnant, at which point they will give birth to a calf about 20 days after becoming pregnant. This was followed by ten days of the calf drinking the specific mother’s milk, and then the cow was ready to produce milk to sell on the farm for forty days. After forty days (or one year) the cow would dry up and require another pregnancy to start the cycle over. After a calf is born, it would take 30 days to mature fully.
As you can see, there was a lot of scheduling involved to have a constant source of income from cows on your farm. I enjoyed this a lot! This is a feature of A Wonderful Life that other Harvest Moon games are missing. I am worried that this life and death feature will be removed since animal deaths and sickness were removed from Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town remake.
If you’re a fan of Harvest Moon, you might be surprised to know you’re given every farm building you need at the beginning of the game and there aren’t any renovations for any of them (excluding the shed where you can install maker machines for butter and cheese). As you age, the farmhouse will be automatically upgraded with additional features such as a kitchen, shower, and washroom to restore stamina. The kitchen would be upgraded to reflect your marriage partners taste in decor.
More To Do
As stated before, the village of Forget Me Not Valley didn’t have many activities to enjoy besides befriending the townsfolk and finding new fishing spots or digging at the nearby archaeological site. However, the areas for gathering and mining were very small. Additional events would nice but hopefully they’ll expand the game overall and make the years more enjoyable.
If you’re curious, here is a list of the features mentioned on the new Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life website:
A Familiar Farm for a New Generation ‒ Revisit this iconic community with updated systems, character designs, and visuals that revitalize Forgot Me Not Valley while maintaining the charm that made the original a classic.
Your Story, Your Way ‒ With the option to play as a male, female, or non-binary protagonist, as well as all eligible marriage candidates available for romance regardless of that choice, players can truly be who they want.
Farming Simulation Evolved ‒ The original farming features have been updated, bringing new excitement to the carefree life of growing crops and raising animals.
Living a Wonderful Life is More Than Just Farming ‒ While taking a break from your daily farm work, befriend memorable characters in the valley, help fellow residents with requests, and experience all-new events.
Due to the changes made from the original Friends of Mineral Town and the Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town remake, I am a little worried that they’ll take too many things away to make this game really feel like a nostalgic remake. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is scheduled for release on the Nintendo Switch in Summer 2023. The game will be published in North America by XSEED Games and in Europe by Marvelous Europe.