Hometown Story was not what I expected, though it did eventually grow on me. The game most similar to it is Harvest Moon, but it really isn’t that similar. Basically, in Hometown Story you move into your grandmother’s house after she dies and run a store. You expand your own shop and the shops of the villagers, and unlock new characters and can eventually use the blue feather to grant somebody’s wish.

You’ll spend most days in Hometown Story stocking your shop, leaving for a couple of hours to forage, visit stores in town and speak to townsfolk before returning to the shop to ring up your nice long line of customers, and then repeating. You’re not expected to stand in your shop all day, and in fact it’s better to let your line of customers at the register get longer as you’ll get multipliers for ringing up chains of people. The game doesn’t tell you this though. The tutorial is basically non-existent – you get a few lines telling you how to stock your shelves and that’s it. This might suit some people, but for me, it took an embarrassing amount of time to realize I had more than 1 shelf in my inventory and I didn’t need to spend my entire day in my shop. At least the gaming community has been playing it for long enough that you can go online and get some pretty good tips (although there seems to be a lot of bad information on the blue feather mixed in with the good).

You stock your shop from vendors in town, forage items (which are pure profit, so are quite useful early in the game), or from the 2pm vendor. The 2pm vendor stocks key items you need to unlock more characters and events, as well as the wood you need to expand your shop. My main issue with this is that the vendor’s products are basically random, so the player has little control over how fast they progress through the game, and there’s very little skill or planning involved. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the random stock of the 2pm vendor which gets really annoying when you’ve gotten most of the key items and have only a few left to buy and the vendor decides to stock no key items for several days in a row.

From: Gameinformer.com

As you progress in the game more people will move into town and you’ll unlock events with them. You start off with only a couple major characters (the people with actual faces), and a bunch of minor characters. As you go on new major characters move in, and events unlock. By the end of the first month I had 24 major characters in the town. The events also come pretty fast as you progress, and you’ll usually get at least one a day and on some days more than that.

You can also increase the friendship of the townspeople by talking to them and stocking items they like (which is necessary to unlock some events). While the minor characters will hang out in your store and wait at the register for a couple hours, the major characters will usually only stay for half an hour, which means you should make sure the item they need to upgrade their store or increase their friendship is stocked before they come in, and you can’t leave them waiting in line too long either. As the friendship of the villagers increases, they’ll also buy more expensive items from you. I didn’t find myself messing with the price of the items much for a number of reasons- the main reason was that it’s a bit inconvenient – when you change the price it doesn’t tell you what the standard price is so you don’t know how much profit you’ll get. It becomes a bit awkward to remember what price sold well and to constantly tweak the prices. Also, money really wasn’t an issue. I quickly had way more money than I needed, and was mostly just waiting for the 2pm vendor to stock wood or key items.

At various points in the game characters will ask you to stock certain items. The problem with this is that they won’t ever ask you for those items again, and the requests aren’t recorded anywhere, so it’s quite easy to forget. So for me, the requests didn’t really give me a sense of having a goal, because I’d eventually forget what I was meant to be looking for. I suppose as the 2pm vendor’s items are random, it doesn’t matter much anyway.

From: Gameinformer.com

The main drawcard for this game would be the characters. You’ll eventually have quite a large cast of characters in the village, all with their own stories which slowly unravel. The game is quite relaxed, there’s no rush, and you can explore things as slowly as your like. If you like all of these things, you’ll probably like the game if you give it a chance and let the town grow a little.

There are a few issues with the navigation, mainly the camera angles. They camera angles change as you explore, which I find quite confusing particularly near people’s houses and in the waterfall forest (finished my second blue feather and I still find the camera angles confusing). The map is also quite big, but I found it a chore to explore as I try to get back to the shop every 2 hours or so. (Later you’ll get an item that makes moving around the map much easier).

So, overall I have mixed feelings about this game and it definitely won’t appeal to everyone. The game is actually quite fun when you’re unlocking a lot of events, but then there are the periods when you’re waiting for the 2pm vendor to stock what you need which can be incredibly frustrating and boring. There are definitely a lot of issues with the game, however if you like the characters and you like relaxed games and think Harvest Moon is too goal orientated, you could enjoy this game (though you’ll also be very frustrated with it at times). Overall, it’s a difficult game to recommend unless you already have it, in which case hopefully you can get some enjoyment out of it- just remember you do not have to stand in your shop all day, and, as this seems to cause people a lot of angst, you can get married on your first blue feather.

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