There's no shame in looking for Story of Season: A Wonderful Life tips to ease you into the remake of this former Harvest Moon game. They truly don't make 'em like they used to and some of your farm sim assumptions won't hold up here. The remake does try to steer you towards Takakura's Notes in the menu to explain some of its systems but even those hints often gloss over some really important details. Mostly, I'd say A Wonderful Life is a game best experienced at a relaxed pace, figuring things out as you go. But there are some definite early pitfalls I stepped in that you really shouldn't.
Here's how to make the best of your first few seasons in Forgotten Valley by taking great care of your cows, your farmer, and your wallet.
Take good care of your cows, or else
It takes more effort to care for your cows than an average farm life sim and the consequences can be dire. Your cows all have a health bar and a heart rating in your menu and if you fail to feed and care for them properly they'll lose health until they start producing poor quality milk. This can happen in just a few days without proper food and take a whole season to rectify!
Here's how to take care of your cows:
- Snuggle and brush your cow every morning to build love (see below on how to do that)
- Ring the bell in the pasture to let them inside every night and any time it rains
- Make sure you grow grass in the pasture for them to eat outside
- Put fodder in their troughs any time they have to stay inside due to rain
If you care for your cows well, they'll start producing higher quality milk for you to sell. Remember: you can milk each cow twice a day for maximum yield. Check whether the milk bottle icon beside each cow in your menu is lit up to know if they're ready for their second milking of the day.
Buy the animal brush and fishing rod early
Speaking of cow care, you can't brush your cows until you've bought the brush from Van the merchant. He'll visit on the 3rd and 8th of each month and I'd recommend buying it ASAP on the 3rd day of Spring. When you're just starting, it's a pricey 1,000 gold though so be sure to keep some of your starting money in reserve.
The fishing rod is another important early purchase because it's one of your early money-making tools. You can buy it from Van for 500 gold. Since Van won't arrive again for several days, you can sell items yourself at the center of town to make money from fish.
Don't ignore the archaeology dig site
Speaking of earning cash, don't ignore the archeology site that Carter and Flora set up behind Vesta's farm. It takes a chunk of your day to stand there in the dark digging, but scoring a few old items and selling them will help you afford a couple of early expenditures in your first season. Look out specifically for dig spots that have little gold flecks in them after you've used the shovel on them once or twice. Other items are also worth grabbing, but the gold ones will sell for the most cash.
Cook meals for yourself
In most farm sim games, cooking food to boost your energy feels optional. I can normally just budget my daily watering and harvesting accordingly. Not in A Wonderful Life. You have stamina, hunger (fullness), and energy meters in your menu, and even if you haven't wasted all your stamina you could still be in trouble. With low energy and hunger, you'll lose stamina quicker than usual, even doing your usual activities, until you've dug yourself into a terrible burnout hole.
Even though A Wonderful Life doesn't force you to sleep each night, be sure you do so you don't run low on energy. For food, you won't have many recipes starting out. Make yourself an Herbal Soup with the small green Aromatic Herbs you can pick around the farm. You can also make a quick Milky Soup or Egg Soup once you have the recipes, but I'd recommend selling your animal products and using the forage for food instead.
Don't focus on selling crops
I'm not kidding; with the limited field space and short seasons, crops just don't make that much money. Especially in your first year, you'll want to plant a variety of crops and then sell some but keep plenty in reserve for cooking meals, filling requests from villagers to increase friendship and to hybridize in year 2 when you can start breeding crops. In your first year, focus on milk and fishing which don't have recurring input costs like crops do.
Check your love interest's diary
I wouldn't recommend this in real life unless you want to immediately lose a love interest, but in Forgotten Valley you can make sure ahead of time that your marriage proposal will be a success. In your first year, you'll pick a spouse and propose to them with the blue feather you receive from the nature sprites. Nevermind the heart meter in your menu, the real way to know if you're going to get a "yes" to your proposal is by checking your sweetheart's diary. There will be green hearts in each paramour's diary initially saying "I feel 💚 about" your farmer. When that changes to four red hearts, they're open to marriage.
Here's where you can find each diary entry.
- Molly: A sheet of paper on the small round table in the corner of Blue Bird bar where she works.
- Lumina: Inside the small open treasure box on a table beside a lamp in her room, the middle door upstairs at the mansion.
- Cecilia: Upstairs in Vesta's house on the small table beside the bed.
- Nami: In a trash can beside a desk in her room, the left side door on the upper floor of Lei-Over Inn.
- Rock: On the desk in his room, the right side double doors on the upper floor of Lei-Over Inn.
- Gustafa: On the couch at the back of the room in Gustafa's house.
- Matthew: Downstairs in Vesta's house on a small table on the right side of the room.
- Gordy: On the couch inside Gordy's house.