Doraemon Story Of Seasons
A Licensed Story of Seasons Game, Huh?
Somewhere in-between the ongoing renaissance of Story of Seasons titles released during the past several years, this project dropped on PC and consoles. While I don't see the correlation between who I'd like to consider "Japan's Mickey Mouse" and the longest-running farm simulator, someone at Bandai Namco, Brownies, and Marvelous must have been. While I may not be as knowledgeable about the robot cat and his roommate as much as others, I do know a shill when I see one. Doraemon Story of Seasons, unfortunately, is such a title.
According to DualShockers, Bandai Namco producer Kenji Nakajima proposed the idea to Marvelous as a fan of their Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon franchise. He happened to be a fan of Doraemon as a child as well. That's basically how this game came to be, from the headcanon of a man within a position of power. While I will give the concept an A for originality, as most licensed anime games are fighting games, it falls flat for several reasons.
This Is Not Your Usual Story Of Seasons
Fans of the Story of Seasons titles will immediately realize that something is different. There is no character creation, you aren't inheriting your grandfather's farm. You're playing as the protagonist from Doraemon, Nobita Nobi (or Noby in the English localization) as Doraemon finds a magic seed. This magic seed, once planted and watered, grows into a giant tree in which Noby's friends come to observe. As a storm takes place, it affects the magic tree and suddenly everyone has whisked away to another land.
Within this land, each of Noby's friends ends up finding jobs to help out around the town, with Noby's only available job being that of a farmer. After learning the ropes of farming due to a young boy he befriends earlier, Noby begins his farming career while looking for a way out of Natura, the land that they end up arriving in. Yes, Doraemon Story of Seasons is an isekai, much like Pokemon Legends Arceus would eventually become. This "spirited away into another world" business is amusing because I'm fairly sure a Doraemon farming sim could take place in the present time. But, here we are in uncharted territory.
Doraemon Is So 'Beginner Friendly' It's A Snoozefest
I made sure to put 'beginner friendly' in quotes because Doraemon skirts the line between "hand-holding" and "outright boring." There's an introduction that serves as the game's tutorial, introducing the player to the various facilities available. Facilities that are included in other Story of Seasons titles are the general store, the smithy, the cafe, the clinic, the carpenter, and the tackle shop. In other games, players are expected to reach out to these locations of their own free will. These also segue into romance, a key element in the Story of Seasons games.
While the main series encourages players to explore and meet the neighbors, Doraemon Story of Seasons introduces the player to each facility as a cutscene plays, showing Noby's friends each getting a job. Seeing the poor lad suffer knowing that he was cheated out of a job is not only pathetic, but the same music plays on a loop for the duration of the half-hour. That's right, you have no control over your character for a full 30 minutes until you finally are taught what 99% of players have picked this game up for.
The Farming Is Super Basic, Just Play A Regular Story Of Seasons Title
Conventions from previous SoS games are featured in Doraemon including creating a till, planting seeds, and watering the plot. Things like character stamina, selling items by 6 PM every evening, and expanding the farm are also featured. Everything that a player is familiar with in the series is included, but it's introduced in such a terrible manner. The dialogue seems forced, with everyone having at least a witty "funny" one-liner. Pacing while being taught how to do basic functions is also slow, with the game straight up interrupting you should it appear you have "difficulty" in filling a watering can.
Overall, Doraemon Story of Seasons is only for the most diehard fan of each franchise. The Story of Seasons fans will enjoy it as "another SoS title to play that's new and unique." The five Doraemon fans will relish the fact that there's an actual English localized game featuring their lovable blue raccoon dog. I'm sorry, "robot cat." It's best to just play something like Friends of Mineral Town instead.
Doraemon Story of Seasons is available on the PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch