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Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life Review

Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life

Developer: Marvelous
Publisher: XSEED Games
Platforms: PC, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), Switch
Release Date: June 27, 2023
Price: $49.99 USD – Available Here $99.95 AUD – Available Here


When it comes to farming sims the genre has evolved rapidly to the point that players will often be spending just as much time off of the farm than actually on it, delving into dangerous depths or facing off against creatures in the wilderness while automation handles standard labor. The Story of Seasons franchise has tried a few of these new elements in their most recent original release, leaving action to its Rune Factory counterpart, and now Marvelous is returning to their roots with perhaps one of their most unique titles, a 2003 GameCube title called A Wonderful Life. Offering a number of quality of life improvements, additional scenes, localization improvements, and of course better graphics, is Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life still as unique and enjoyable as it was two decades ago?


Players begin their life in Forgotten Valley meeting up with their now deceased father’s old friend Takakura and learning the ropes of how to run the farm that their father once wanted to build. This time around, players can choose to immediately play as either a boy, girl, or non-gendered character as they begin their life on the farm but rather than simply trying to turn it into some thriving business, drive out a rival corporation, or prevent the loss of the land A Wonderful Life establishes a more simple but straightforward goal and plot, one that involves living a happy and fulfilling life.

This is a major element that sets A Wonderful Life apart from other games not only in the genre but even from other Story of Seasons titles as well. While players will be still expected to tend to their farm and take on various little activities, their is a goal throughout everything with the game taking place over the course of multiple chapters, each seeing a time skip in some form as the player’s farmer grows older, the town of Forgotten Valley changes, and other townsfolk move in or move away. Watching the town change as time progresses and seeing your chosen spouse and child grow as time goes on makes for a rather interesting experience, especially since players can make efforts to influence the career path of their child by befriending certain townsfolk or showing them certain items as they grow.

Interacting with the townsfolk in A Wonderful Life is almost always an interesting endeavor as the characters, of which there is a sadly small amount compared to other games in the series, all have set schedules, backstories, and little events that players will witness as they begin to grow closer to each person. Every character in the little village has extra events and scenes, not just the romanceable ones, as well as dialogue that will change and vary depending on the season and location players talk with them, helping to keep things feeling fresh even after countless hours of gameplay. It is worth noting that, thanks to the game’s structure of trying to tell the story of a farmer’s life, there is the possibility of failing should players not marry within the first year as well as the eventual end of their journey, though even this has been opened up a bit in this remake. It is also worth noting that players familiar with the original release will notice a number of naming differences as the company has refined the translation efforts and streamlined a few naming conventions for certain crops. Characters that were once Ruby and Tim are now Lou and Tei, Muffy is now named Molly, and more while various hybrid crops have also been renamed to be a little closer to what one would expect them to be called, removing a lot of the guesswork when it comes to creating certain unique strands. It is also worth noting that while a large number of new events have been added in this remake, older events still remain true and players should plan accordingly.

Marvelous has included a number of new holidays with character interaction for every season to help provide extra content throughout every year as well as expanding the romance options in A Wonderful Life as players can now marry any of the four girls and four boys available, with Lumina and Gordy being the newest additions compared to the original GameCube release. This number of romanceable partners does still come in a bit on the smaller side compared to usual titles but also offers a tighter knit feel to the village, especially since a lot of the new events that appear to be added into this remake involve various characters interacting with one another as well as the player character to help give the residents a bit more life and personality and encouraging players to explore and talk with everyone, offering extra story content besides the gameplay benefits that befriending most characters comes with. 


Longtime veterans of the Story of Seasons games will find that for everything that A Wonderful Life is full of random differences that make the gameplay just a little bit different from what they may be familiar with. Players will still need to plant crops and trees watering them until they are ready to be harvested as well as feed their cows, chickens, and other livestock while selling their eggs and milk but nearly every element here has been given some mechanics that players will need to be familiar with. These little tidbits are noted down through a lengthy notebook that players can browse at any time but those with certain ingrained tendencies may need to relearn certain aspects. It is also worth noting that a number of elements just aren’t explained, such as how the energy and fullness meters play into stamina and how much the player can use their tools everyday.

Crops in A Wonderful Life can be watered twice a day, with proper watering allowing crops to grow a bit faster than average which is something essential thanks to the game’s faster seasons. Along these same lines, soil quality between the two, and eventually three, fields players have to work with will also determine how quickly plants can grow and whether or not certain crops may even grow in that soil. Watering and harvesting crops has been improved in this remake with players having faster animations but it is also worth noting that no plants, including tomatoes and the like, will regrow and must be replanted every time. Fruit trees will drop fruit for quite a few days once they are fully grown and in the proper season, though once they are finished they will return to their flowering stage and must either be chopped down or kept dormant until next season, taking up valuable field space.

As for animals, A Wonderful Life features the expected livestock in the form of multiple types of cows, standard chickens, some ducks, a goat, and even sheep that all can be taken care of with their own produce. A helpful change that longtime fans will be happy to see in this remake is that cows and the goat will always produce milk and no longer require a constant breeding cycle to produce milk, meaning all livestock remains useful regardless of how long it’s been since they’ve been pregnant. Livestock can be fed regular fodder, given improved fodder at the chance of making them sick, or let out to graze if the weather is nice and the better care players give their animals, the better quality produce they will produce, giving players plenty of ways to make money that can be reinvested into making the farm bigger or buying items for their family. 

When players aren’t on the farm tending their crops or taking care of their livestock they will be spending the majority of their time interacting with the townsfolk. As mentioned before, one of the key elements of Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is actually building bonds with the various characters in town and as mentioned there are a number of gameplay rewards that players will eventually receive if they make friends with certain characters. Some of these are as simple as being a unique tool or an extra pet to raise alongside the player’s starting dog while others can significantly improve the player’s farming experience such as offering a seed maker and the ability to create hybrid crops by combining seeds/plants together to craft unique crops. As mentioned, Marvelous has added additional story events and new festivals to help make things more interesting and add more content to the game giving players plenty of reason to interact with villagers even after they’ve received gifts from their friends. Once players marry, and they must or face game over at the end of chapter one, and have a child of their own, the game will offer additional gameplay elements that can involve trying to steer your child down different career paths, though this is a bit on the simpler side of things.

Outside of simply talking to villagers, the actual content is a bit on the slimmer side. Unlike other entries in the series, players do not need to worry about chopping wood or breaking rocks to upgrade their house or add extra pieces of their farm. Instead all farm upgrades are simply purchased or automatically applied between chapters and even most tool upgrades come from simply purchasing them from the traveling merchant Van who will also serve as the primary way to earn money in the game as Van purchases any item players have compared to their shipping box that only accepts crops and animal produce. Fishing is a simple enough affair with players only needing to tap one button to reel in a bite and even the mine is a basic affair with players simply digging at available dig spots looking for various bits of treasure that almost always will be something they can sell or give to a potential friend as actual discoveries are limited to only one per chapter. It is nice to note that the wild life element remains a good signifier of where players should focus their time on such as the turtle meaning fish in the swampy area will be more prolific or the raccoon meaning the lower river might be better to fish or the chihuahua signifying that the mine may have rare treasures that day.

Progress in A Wonderful Life will also feel a bit slower than your average Story of Seasons title, though this appears to be somewhat intentional as many tool upgrades are time-gated behind seasonal purchases or later chapters while the seasons themselves last a scant ten days, meaning players will need to plan their crops accordingly to avoid having a plant die once the season changes. Eventually, players can make use of the tools at their disposal to create hybrid crops, purchase upgrades for their farm to turn milk into cheese, and much more but this is a slow process that will take patience, thankfully this charming title has plenty to offer as long as players plan on sinking the time into it.

Visuals & Audio

Those familiar with Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life’s original version will immediately recognize most character designs as many characters have been simply given upgrades to their original models, including some designs that change through the chapters, bringing them a bit closer to modern expectations but a number of other characters have seen complete overhauls. Gordy and Pui are two that have been significantly improved alongside Matthew while the design of the town is far better looking as well. The game runs silky smooth even during rainstorms in the middle of a full field of crops and the crops themselves look as fans of the series would expect. One thing that is a bit unusual for the series is that the cows in A Wonderful Life are not the usual bubbly cows that the series is known for, instead the game features more realistic looking cows which is a bit of a strange choice as both sheep and chickens still retain the same appearance fans will remember.

The soundtrack for the game also features a number of wonderful tracks that fit perfectly for the theme of the game and relaxing experience that it offers, though it is worth noting that there is no voiced dialogue of any kind with only the occasional sound effect from animals or reaction from a person receiving a gift.


Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life remains one of the most unique entries in the entire franchise as it offers not only a consistent storyline that focuses more on raising a family and living a life as a farmer than simply existing as a farmer within a town. Not only are players rewarded for bonding and interacting with townsfolk, time progression will see various changes happen throughout the town and offer unique elements not found in other games in the series. A number of gameplay elements have been refined and streamlined to be a little less obnoxious compared to the original version and alongside the graphical upgrade make Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life a highly enjoyable experience, albeit one that takes a bit to get used to thanks to its slower pace than usual and lack of side activities as well as a bit more explanation of certain mechanics here and there.

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Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life streamlines old elements of the most unique entry in the franchise and offers improvements to a game with plenty of focus on not just farming but also on family.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life</i> streamlines old elements of the most unique entry in the franchise and offers improvements to a game with plenty of focus on not just farming but also on family.Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life Review