The Story of Seasons series has been my go-to game in the farming genre since its first title was released. After that one fateful day when I picked up my copy of Tale of Two Towns, I just couldn’t stop playing these amazing games. So when I heard that Doraemon, a very popular anime figure, was collaborating with one of my favorite series, I could not resist the curiosity to see what this fantastic collaboration has to offer.
Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom is a stand-alone sequel to Doraemon Story of Seasons, a collaboration between Marvelous’s Bokujou Monogatari IP and the Doraemon IP. If you are perhaps worried that you need to play the previous game, then no worries! This is pretty much the same game, but with some changes, which I’ll list in the upcoming paragraphs.
▍Off to an Unknown Land!
The story of Friends of the Great Kingdom starts off with Noby on summer vacation. After an argument with his parents, he and his friends decide to run away from home. At his suggestion, they decided to go to a world beyond the stars with Doraemon’s spaceship.
If you’ve played the original Doraemon Story of Seasons, you’ll notice that is similar and yet different. Instead of finding a seed that takes him to another world, Doraemon agrees to take them on his rocket.
After that, the five arrive on a strange planet, where they meet a wounded young boy named Lumis. Thanks to Doraemon’s Doc-in-a-Box, he’s soon healed. It turns out that this was once a prosperous land but after the passing of Lumis’s father, the farm has been long since forgotten to time.
However, the Queen of the Kingdom quickly takes notice of the situation and confiscates all of Doraemon’s gadgets, including the spaceship that is required for the five to get back to their home planet, because of the fear that they might cause the Daemon’s Breathing, an incident that basically reset the civilization back to scratch.
Lumis then suggests that by reviving the run-down farm that his late father used to tend, and by helping the townsfolk, they would be able to convince the Queen to return their Gadgets so that they can hopefully return to their home planet.
▍Slightly Slower Time Flow
As I’ve mentioned previously, there are some changes that have been made from the first game. Some of them improve pain points that the game had, but whether they are good changes or bad changes…it’s all subjective if I’m being honest.
The first notable change is how the clock works. In the original Doraemon Story of Seasons, time moved at a 1 second per 1 in-game minute proportion, which was in sync with how Story of Seasons had always done it. However, this time, the clock was slowed down to 2 seconds to 1 in-game minute.
This isn’t exactly a bad point, but that does mean that days feel twice as long, so you might find yourself with a lot of time on your hands during your early game hours or so. Furthermore, there are no deadlines or time limits to bog you down. You can do everything at your own pace! Which thankfully, is on par with what I expected. (I’m looking at you, Innocent Life…)
▍Over 80 Gadgets to Use!?
Yeah, that’s right! There are over 80 Doraemon gadgets featured in this new title of Doraemon Story of Seasons, just for you to unlock. While some are utilized only for the story, some completely change the gameplay.
Some of these include the Time Kerchief, which speeds up the hatching process of an animal egg, and the Adapting Ray, which allows Noby to explore the deep underwater to explore other locales. And how can we forget the Anywhere Door? Hop into it and you can warp to any place you’d want on the Map. Very handy if you’re into doing things quickly.
I’ll also confess that many of the features in this Doraemon Story of Seasons game are nowadays absent, such as bug catching. I haven’t seen a well-implemented bug-catching mechanic since perhaps the original Story of Seasons on the Nintendo 3DS, and even then, you caught them with your bare hands.
▍A Helping Hand Goes a Long Way!
One of the earliest Gadgets you’ll unlock is the Cordless Can Phone, which enables 2-player co-op mode. By connecting a second controller, you can have one person control Doraemon while you control Noby, and divide your tasks for a more efficient farming day in Doraemon Story of Seasons.
It should be noted however that it is a bit limited. For one, this mode isn’t split screen, meaning if you leave the area with Noby, Doraemon will instantly follow, and their stamina is shared, so if Noby collapses, so will Doraemon, and vice versa.
However, despite its limitations, considering that you cannot do such a thing even on the most recent Story of Seasons titles…it’s really well designed and thought out and is actually something many have requested from its predecessor.
But even if you don’t have someone to tag along with, there’s still the Buddy System, which you unlock after your first house expansion. It’s the same as the 2P Mode, but instead, the characters move by themselves, and if you start watering a crop, they’ll follow your actions and help you.
The same applies to other activities such as mining and fishing. Considering how early I managed to unlock this feature, it made the game a lot easier than the original Story of Seasons games I’m used to playing.
▍No Romance Might Be a Downer for Some
The next thing is, because of the collaborative nature of this game, and the fact that Doraemon is a series directed towards children, there are no romance options or mechanics in this game. This means that if you liked that aspect of the original Story of Seasons, then you might not like it that much.
However, given the fact that Noby and his friends are but children, I completely understand the reason such a mechanic was not included, and hey, even so, it’s not that bad of a choice, because you can still partake in fun minigame festivals and get to know the townspeople better through the various Friendship Events.
Increasing their relationship with you is relatively easy. By the time I was halfway through the first season, most of the people I interacted with were already at a blue heart.
▍Lackluster Online Functionality
The online features of Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom are incredibly lackluster, however. Pretty much all it allows you to do is post a message and show your items off to others, and you can even visit other farms and award likes to them. That’s…about it. To begin with, the messages are pre-set, and because of how I imagine the original Japanese was, it just doesn’t look like natural speech.
There’s no way to have someone else visit you, or even a trading game like you had in some titles like Trio of Towns. I suppose this does help balance things out so you do not get hacked items or maybe crazy items that may ruin your experience, but considering that Trio of Towns had a good grip on what items you could trade, there’s a lot they could’ve done here. Although it is sort of fun to see what designs people have created online.
▍Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom is a Standard Farming Simulator with QOL Elements
Overall, Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom is a great stand-alone sequel, and although I have not played much of its predecessor, I still recommend this over it. There were lots of quality-of-life improvements and the developers took note of what people were having trouble with in the previous game and used that feedback to improve it significantly.
While it doesn’t innovate wildly on the farming aspect, Doraemon’s gadgets still bring a nice mix to the gameplay, and if you’re willing to accept the fact that romance is not really a thing, you might just enjoy Doraemon Story of Seasons a lot as I did.
And I may be going off on a tangent here, but after seeing this Doraemon Story of Seasons’ mechanics, I can’t help but yearn for a mainline series title where you can do everything from this game, and interact a lot more with the townspeople…sigh. One can dream, right? Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom has a rating of 4 out of 5!