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Return to PopoloCrois: A Story Of Seasons Fairytale

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Marvelous
Release Date: March 1, 2016 (US), Feb. 18, 2016 (EU)

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3DS Preview - 'Return to PopoloCrois: A Story Of Seasons Fairytale'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 29, 2015 @ 12:45 a.m. PDT

Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale is a mix of the PopoloCrois comic book series and the Harvest Moon farming and life simulation series. It features turn-based combat and towns full of NPCs who contribute to a heartwarming narrative.

PopoloCrois might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of JRPGs, but it's a long-running franchise. Based on a manga, PopoloCrois follows the story of a young prince named Pietro Pakapuka and his adventures. It's a pleasant surprise that this oft-overlooked franchise is getting a new chance with a crossover with the Bokujo Monogatari franchise, the Japanese franchise that used to be called Harvest Moon and is currently known as Story of Seasons. Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale is a melding of a two franchises.

Return to PopoloCrois once again follows the adventures of Prince Pietro, who ends up in Galariland while searching for the solution to a disaster. While there, he ends up trapped, alone and friendless, with nobody believing that he is the prince of a distant land. He takes up an abandoned farm, hoping to earn some money and to find a solution for the monsters and corrupted soil that plague his homeland and Galariland. Along the way, he makes new friends and battles danger — all in a day's work for the young hero.


You gather a party of heroes and go into dungeons to fight monsters. The combat system is simple but has a few neat touches. You can target multiple enemies with proper positioning and use special combination attacks between characters to unleash special moves. It feels very much like all of the good elements of a '90s-era JRPG. It doesn't have intensely complex systems, though there are both easy and normal modes (Seedling and Prince, respectively) available for those who are worried about that aspect.

Where does Story of Seasons come into play? Prince Pietro ends up with a farm, so he gains the ability to till the soil to grow plants. These mechanics are more of a diversion and aren't as complex as they are in a traditional Story of Seasons title. You can grow and sell plants, but you're not required to do strict time or season management. Once a plant has been planted, it grows in real time as you play the game. Keep proper track of it, and you can sell it for a big profit. Lose track, and it won't die, but it may lose some quality. Rather than swapping seasons, you gain multiple farms, each of which is tied to a specific season.


There are tons of Story of Seasons-style things to do in the game. Cows, chickens and other beasts can be raised and used to earn a profit. Items can be synthesized, bugs can be collected, and ore can be mined, but all of it has been simplified though they're still recognizable to Story of Seasons fans. There are relationships to form. Marriage is not an option in the game because Pietro is 13 years old and because he already has a true love, but you can form lasting friendships that yield benefits in the form of extra help on the farm or other features.

It's an interesting twist on the formula. Rather than Story of Season taking over the PopoloCrois gameplay, it enhances it by forming the backbone of everything that isn't part of traditional JRPG adventuring. I was told that you can ignore most of the Story of Seasons elements if you want, but they seem like they're a natural part of the game.

Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale has a lot of potential. What we saw of the game was only minimally translated, but it was clear from the dialogue that the game has boatloads of charm. It might not be dripping with melodrama, but for anyone looking for a lighthearted and cute JRPG for the 3DS, Return to PopoloCrois is shaping up to be a real winner.



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