If you’re getting ready to swap your real life for a virtual farming fantasy with Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, first of all, who can blame you? (And if you’re not sold yet, why not check out my review here…) But secondly, perhaps you’d like a few pointers on how you can make the most of your time in Mineral Town, and enjoy the experience even more? Well, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of things I wish I knew sooner when I started the game, as well as a few general tips for money making, relationship building and more, to help get you settled into your first year in Mineral Town. I hope it’s useful!
I personally found that planting a bunch of crops with multiple yields was the most efficient way of earning money from spring through to autumn, especially if you’re not as bothered about your crops and tending to them as you are other aspects of the game. Although the crops that can only be harvested once can definitely earn more gold, it’s good to have a big area of crops that are going to keep on giving throughout the season to give you a stable income.
Early on in the game when money is tight, animals like chickens and cows can seem really expensive, and they’re definitely not investments to be taken lightly. Even though they’ll definitely earn you your money back eventually, your money at the start of the game is precious and would be better off going towards more crop seeds or even things like a bigger bag. For example, chickens only lay one egg per day, and even when you’ve reached the highest affection level, you’ll still earn less than 100G per egg. While this does add up (and eggs make great gifts for people), crops are going to give you a much larger profit much faster, so you’re better off waiting until you have more money to spare before investing in animals.
As a bonus tip in autumn, if you have a silver upgraded hammer (or higher) and take a stroll up Mother’s Hill near the lake, you’ll find a secret path blocked off by two boulders. Smash one of the boulders and follow the path, and on most days you’ll be able to find a rare matsutake mushroom beneath the trees that sells for 500G! Doing this every day really adds up, and particularly in your first year it’ll give you a real boost to your savings.
What to do in winter:
When winter comes round, you’ll be unable to plant any crops in your field, and any grass you had growing for your livestock will also disappear, so make sure to stock up on that if you don’t want to pay for fodder at the Yodel Ranch (although it regrows in spring if you didn’t harvest it beforehand, so you shouldn’t necessarily harvest it all).
“But without crops, how do you make a good income throughout winter”? Well, if you take a trip up Mother’s Hill, you’ll find the lake is frozen over. Huzzah! You’ll finally be able to access that cave in the middle of it, which is actually a new mine full of gemstones like amethyst and topaz. Delving into the Lake Mine and excavating gems each day is a great way to earn money, and it’s really exciting to see what else you might find too!
Tool upgrades, and which to prioritise:
After you’ve been down the Spring Mines and collected some ore, you’ll be able to go to the Forge to upgrade your tools (that is, if you’ve used them enough and gained enough experience). Some upgrades allow you to use the tool on a larger range of tiles at once (such as the watering can), and others, like the hammer, are given a powerful ‘charged swing’ that can destroy larger boulders. However, some upgrades are more useful and necessary than others, so I thought I’d run down which ones are better off being prioritised near the start of the game when you have more limited resources. Keep in mind that you’ll not be able to use the tools while they’re being upgraded; you can check how many days an upgrade will take before paying for it.
I’d also like to note here that as of the ‘gold level’ upgrades (as I haven’t been able to get any further at the time of writing), a charged tool uses just as much energy as if you’d used the tool the same amount of times separately (e.g. the watering can uses the same amount of energy to cover nine tiles at once with the fully charged gold watering can as it does to water them all separately with the regular watering can). Therefore, it would seem upgrades that simply cover more tiles at once are purely for saving time, not stamina (you can see what upgrades do before committing to them by looking at the preview images in the Forge).
The axe and hammer upgrades are definitely worth investing in right away. Some boulders and tree stumps are indestructible without highly upgraded tools and their powerful charged uses, so you’ll be able to declutter your farm as well as collect resources more easily. There’s no reason to hold off on these, although it’s probably best not to upgrade your hammer in winter, as you’ll need it if you’re relying on the Lake Mine for income. In my opinion, these are definitely the upgrades you’ll want to prioritise first.
The watering can upgrades are also useful though, as they let you water a much larger area of land at once, but surprisingly, they aren’t actually all that necessary in the long run. Once you’ve befriended the Harvest Sprites you can ask them to water your crops for you, so if you don’t want to, you’ll never even have to water them again! More on the Sprites later. Overall, your money and resources can definitely go elsewhere early on, but you’ll definitely want to grab a better watering can at some point.
The hoe upgrades aren’t useless, but not far off. An upgraded hoe can till more soil tiles at once, but once soil has been tilled, it won’t need to be re-done until after winter, so it’s not a task you’re doing often (and certainly not at the start of the game, past maybe making some more space for crops). It can also be used in the mines to uncover the ladder to the next level down, but as previously mentioned, it won’t help you conserve energy, and because of time not passing in the mines there’s no time limit, so there’s not really any extra benefit to using an upgraded one. You’ll definitely want it at some point when you’re beginning to really expand your space for crops, but there’s no urgent need early on.
Now, the sickle is a bit of a tricky customer; having an upgraded one would be the most useful at the very earliest part of the game when your farm is covered in weeds, but by the time you’re at a point where you can afford it, you probably won’t really need it. Since you need to actually use the tools to gain enough experience to even be able to upgrade them in the first place, chances are you’ve already slain a good chunk of the pesky weeds on your farm anyway, and in fact, if you wait until winter, any remaining ones will be killed off. Of course, you can still use the sickle to cut any grass you’ve planted for fodder, but this isn’t really something you’ll need to do on an industrial scale, so I’m not even sure if upgrading the sickle is really necessary at all. Definitely don’t dump all your precious money and resources into it, anyway.
How to meet the Harvest Goddess:
You can give the Harvest Goddess offerings by throwing them into the water next to the Spring Mines once per day. It’s definitely worth making a habit out of this, as you’ll see some benefits later down the line!
Befriending the Harvest Sprites:
The Harvest Sprites are colourful little fellows who you can meet by entering their hut around the back of the church (look for a hidden path at the back, to the right). You raise your friendship with them just like you do any of the other townsfolk, and once you’ve reached a high enough level, you can ask them to play and do chores for you (watering and harvesting crops, as well as taking care of livestock).
If you ask one of them to play, you can choose between one of three mini-games themed around their chores, which will increase their proficiency in that specific chore. When asking them for help with chores, you can specify for them to help you for one, three, or seven days, meaning you can schedule different sprites to keep coming when the others are done with their task for a day. Make sure to keep rewarding them for their efforts though, as their friendship with you will drop if you don’t, and then they’ll stop helping you out until you’ve improved your relationship again.
How to cook and get new recipes:
You won’t be able to do any cooking until you’ve upgraded your house at Gotts’ Workshop, as doing so will give you a new kitchen! You’ll still need cooking equipment though, which will steadily become available for purchase from the General Store over time.
You can get new recipes from watching the entertainment channel on your TV, the best source being “Tasty Time” on Tuesdays, if it’s on. Sometimes, you’ll also get recipes from interacting with townsfolk; on a few different occasions, I was rewarded with a recipe for giving a character a birthday present. Don’t forget to check when they all are on your calendar!
How to give gifts and throw items:
This might seem like something incredibly basic, but it took me far too long to figure out myself the first time, so I thought I’d share. Use your right joy-con stick to move between items in your bag. When hovered over something, your character should be holding it. You can then press ‘A’ to give something to someone if you’re stood next to them, or throw something somewhere like in the lake or spring.
Improving relationships and viewing heart events:
The best way to improve your relationships with the townsfolk is by giving them gifts daily. Experiment with different things to see what they respond most positively towards! Sometimes gift choices might be obvious, like the chicken family liking eggs, but others might just take some trial and error to figure out. Try to look out for themes in different characters’ likes and dislikes; some might be a fan of crops and vegetables in general, while others might feel the complete opposite! Discovering these things is all key in getting to know your townsfolk.
Giving a character a present on their birthday will improve your relationship with them even more than usual, so definitely make sure to keep track of those!
Heart events are triggered on certain days, at particular times, and in specific places, so it can feel a bit daunting to think you might have to be fulfilling a very specific requirement to progress your relationship with someone, and it’s fair to say that they can be quite easy to miss a lot of the time if you’re not on a mission to discover them all. I found myself unlocking quite a lot of them simply by walking all around town and the surrounding areas when I had nothing else I needed to be doing in the game; checking all the areas in the morning, afternoon and evening just in case. You’ll probably find yourself with extra time on your hands earlier on in the game, so I recommend doing this when you can.
How to date and marry characters:
Once you’ve reached a certain heart level with any of the marriage candidates, an event will trigger in the general store, in which Basil and Jeff are discussing a rare flower used to convey feelings. A few days after this, you’ll be able to buy the Preserved Flower in the store, which you can use to ask someone to date you.
To successfully ask someone out, you’ll need to have viewed enough of their heart events and also got them to at least a green heart level. Equip the flower like a tool, and use it in front of them. If you’re rejected, you’ll either have to raise their heart level a bit more (through giving them gifts and speaking to them daily) or you might have missed a heart event. Keep walking around the town at different times of day on different days to trigger any you might have missed.
There is no limit to the number of people you can date at once, so feel free to pursue any of the bachelors or bachelorettes until you’ve found ‘the one’!
Once you’ve figured out who you want to be with forever, how do you go about getting married? After you’ve seen an orange level heart event for a marriage candidate, the Blue Feather will become available in the general store, which you use to propose with.
Before your proposal will be accepted though, you’ll need to have upgraded to the “big house” and bought a “big bed” to go in it. Your partner will need somewhere to sleep, after all! You should also make sure that you have a red heart level with them, and have viewed all their heart events (if they turn you down, you’ve probably just missed one along the way, so don’t worry, it’s nothing personal).
The wedding ceremony will take place one week after your proposal, and from then on, your spouse will live with you in your home. Do make sure that you’re happy with your partner before tying the knot; in this game, it’s till death do you part.
How to buy a pet:
In order to unlock the pet shop, you’ll have to be committed to the Harvest Goddess and keep giving her offerings every day (which is worth doing anyway for the other benefits). After some time of doing so, a travelling merchant called Van will show up outside your house in the morning, and tell you that as well as opening up a shop in the Inn every Wednesday, he’ll also have a pet shop open in the plaza on the 15th of every season (unless there’s a festival).
His animals will change every season; from cats and dogs to capybaras and penguins, so be sure to check out his selection each season!
Some last minute quick tips:
- Make sure to watch the TV in your house! As well as recipes, you can pick up some other tips for playing the game, as well as check the weather for the following day.
- When you’re on the lookout for different heart events, don’t forget to re-enter and leave your house at different points in the day; there are some that only trigger when you leave your house at a certain time.
- Make a habit of chopping wood and smashing rocks to build up your stocks of lumber and material stone, as you’ll need loads of these materials to upgrade your house, barn, and coop.
- You can make fences in your crop field with lumber; simply hold the lumber and press ‘A’ on an empty tile to place it.
- You can change your outfit by pressing ‘A’ on the mirror in your house.
- Keep track of the birthdays of different characters by using your calendar; you’ll boost your relationship with them loads if you give them a present they like on their birthday.
- On the 30th of Winter, there are two New Year’s festivals, but you can only attend one. Make a save on the day so you can restart and try out the other festival if you want to. Personally, I recommend the latter of the two events (The New Year’s Party).
My last (and most important!) tip is to enjoy yourself! Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is an incredibly fun experience, and can be approached in many different ways, depending on how you prefer to play. Focus on what you enjoy the most, and immerse yourself in in the wonderful world this game has to offer.