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Aspect Analysis – Little Dragons Cafe makes me understand why Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons works.

Distorted_Illumination_StudiosAug 28, 2018, 2:54:29 AM

There will likely be no review proper of Little Dragons Cafe after this, as I don't know if there is really going to be any point. The short version, I do not like Little Dragons Cafe, though playing through it has finally helped me to understand the appeal of Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons, something I have always had a hard time putting my finger on.

In Little Dragons Cafe your goal is to raise a Dragon because, for some reason, this will help heal your mother. While raising the Dragon it's your job to run the Cafe' and keep up its reputation by creating high-quality dishes and gathering ingredients from the world around you.

The problem, when compared to Story of Seasons, is pretty simple, that being how little work it feels like you are actually putting in. I'd say it just felt repetitive, which it does, but the same holds somewhat true for Story as well. Let's say you are farming ingredients in Story of Seasons. You first have to plan out what you are going to do. You have limited funds, you need to choose what seeds to buy, and you need to take into consideration the time available. Little Dragons Cafe just has you kind of walking around outside and picking things up, with some very lackluster exploration type mechanics.

But even then it's more than just that. For as long as I played Little Dragons Cafe, I finished about four chapters, you don't really feel like much is changing as you do all this. The Cafe remains the same, the dishes you choose to serve have little to no effect on anything beyond what their rank is, increasing your cafe's reputation and getting more customers just give you more busy work in the cafe to do, it just doesn't feel like you are really accomplishing anything. You are just slowly trudging your way to the end goal of the game.

Story of Seasons has you working towards some kind of goal, which varies from game to game, but that isn’t' the only thing you are working for. Improving your home, achieving said goal, learning about the other folks in the town, building a family, and building just a great and successful farm.

There is one other thing I realize makes Story of Seasons great, and that is its well-built sense of community. Definitely, something that improved as time went on, but the town you inhabit actually started to feel like a town. People would interact, they have different things they do as the days go on, and the better ones have a lot of small things that you notice about how characters interact. This lacks entirely from Little Dragons Cafe. The help you get just kind of shows up and starts working for the flimsiest of reasons, and every day all day they just kind of work. I barely feel like these are actual characters with lives.

These three elements really are what make Story of Seasons the series it is. You're hard work and planning is paid off with not only the narrative goal of the game but all the other things you can do in it. And it' s not just you, you are part of this greater community of people. Little Dragons Cafe has you doing very little in comparison with no real goals in sight outside of the one, with no real investment in the world around you. My opinion could well change playing farther into Little Dragons Cafe, which is why I don't really think one should look at this as a review of that game, but these issues seeming clear early on just highlighted something I always had trouble with, and that is pinning down exactly what made the Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons games so much fun.