The updating and modernizing of the original Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town to re-release on modern consoles as Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town was an exciting development that allows long-time gamers like me who grew up with those games to re-visit a classic that introduced most of us to the farm-sim genre. But I’ll tell you what, after 20+ years, I can’t be the only one who needs a Friends of Mineral Town strategy guide to get through some of the
For many of us older gamers the first introduction to the farming-sim genre came back to two main games that can, in many ways, be considered the “grandparents” of all the games that would follow, including the new gold standard of Stardew Valley. Those games were either Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town or Harvest Moon: It’s a Wonderful Life.
I was with the Friends of Mineral Town group, with fellow Assorted Meeple Phil introducing me to it all the way back in 2002. Needless to say, I was hooked from day one and although after the whole Story of Seasons vs Harvest Moon drama that would unfold a decade plus later, the love of these games was in my heart even if the genre was stale to non-existent to most of us not paying super close attention over the next decade.
No disrespect to Rune Factory 4, which came out in 2012 and is a great game, but it was Stardew Valley in 2016 that not only caught the attention of all former Harvest Moon (later to become Story of Seasons) players but made the genre mainstream, and the main inspirations were the earliest Harvest Moon games such as Wonderful Life and Friends of Mineral Town.
This Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town strategy guide focuses on the modern re-release that came out on Steam and other platforms bringing back the classic cozy farm-sim game along with two main characters, some important quality of life upgrades, and updated art/graphics to allow the game to work on modern platforms without surrendering that old school feel that made so many of us fall in love with the game the first time.
So for those of us without perfect memories to remember how everything worked 20+ years ago, here’s the Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town Strategy Guide to get you back to your best farmer selves!
Early Game Story of Season Friends of Mineral Town Questions
Once you’ve gotten used to more modern farm-sim games like Stardew Valley or Graveyard Keeper you tend to expect certain mechanics and it makes sense. After 20+ years of these games there are certain activities that have become standard in pretty much every game in the genre.
But Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, re-released as Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, was the grandfather from nearly 2 decades before anything was standard in the genre.
So here are some common early game questions that might seem silly at first glance, but honestly aren’t as intuitive as modern gamers would expect from modern games in the genre.
Where Do I Store Wood In Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
There is no obvious storage spot but since you need wood to build upgrades you know there must be a place to store wood. The answer if the re-released version is you store wood in the cabinet inside your house. Unlike your backpack you can store more than 9 wood in one space so don’t worry when starting with the small cabinet – you have plenty of room for storing wood there.
This isn’t intuitive, but the good news is that most raw resources in Friends of Mineral Town can be stored in the cabinet inside your house, and time doesn’t run while you’re inside so you can make more than one run in and out of your house during the day without too much trouble.
Where Do I Store My Building Stone in Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
Building stone is stored in the cabinet inside the player’s house in Friends of Mineral Town, in the exact same place as the wood. There’s no specific stone storage for the house or outside anymore, and like with wood you can stack the stone much higher in the cabinet slots than in your backpack so don’t worry about storing a lot as you save up for those building upgrades.
Why Can’t I Store Food in the Beginning of the Game?
Because you only have a cabinet and need a refrigerator to store food in Friends of Mineral Town. The refrigerator only becomes available after upgrading the house, and then you have to wait for the letter that informs you that it’s available for purchase.
This can be annoying for those gamers who have become used to Stardew Valley in the decades since then, but that is how it works in Friends of Mineral Town so it’s important to watch that TV, upgrade the house, and then go visit Jeff’s shop to buy it from his shop and have it put in your home.
This happens at various points in the game. Unlike many modern farming-sim games where you can cook anything from the kitchen or buy everything you need at once, with Friends of Mineral Town the cooking utensils come out in a piece mail sort of way.
Unlocking “Premium” Crops
Each season has some special crops where the seeds cost more and the crops pay more. There are two types of “premium” crops that appear: those that Huang sells out of Jeff’s house, and then there are those that arrive in the regular store manned by Jeff and family.
Huang’s seeds are available from 3 Spring on when he arrives in Mineral Town and introduces himself to you. As for the premium crops in Mineral Town that need to be unlocked there are three:
Crops you can unlock:
- Ship 100 turnips, potatoes, and cucumbers (100 of each) to unlock strawberries
- Ship 100 tomatoes, corn, and onions (100 each) to unlock pumpkins
- Ship 100 yams, carrots, and eggplants (100 each) to unlock spinach
Unlocking Cooking Utensils
Unlocking cooking utensils sometimes happen via cooking a certain amount of dishes, watching a TV program that announces a new product via the shopping network, or just plain waiting for a new letter to come from the General Store. If in doubt, just keep cooking and you’ll find more and more kitchen utensils being unlocked to expand your kitchen.
Why’s There Nothing at the End of the Secret Path in the Woods?
In all likelihood it’s because you unlocked it in the wrong season. South of Jennifer’s Tent, there are two boulders blocking the way and you’ll need at least a Level 3 hammer to break through.
If you break through in Spring, Summer, or Winter you might feel disappointment because while the extra stone for building is nice, it seems to be a path that leads to nowhere.
But looks can be deceiving! Where this path really shines is in the Autumn! In the Fall Season if you follow this secret path up to the end you will often find a rare (and valuable) matsutake mushroom. This is the only place on the map where these mushrooms are available outside of the Church Forest, which requires a high level of friendship with Carter to unlock.
Speaking of the importance of seasons:
Related Article: Check out our What To Do in Winter in Friends of Mineral Town so you take advantage of the many amazing opportunities to improve your character and game during the cold winter months.
How Do I Unlock the Woods Behind the Church in Friends of Mineral Town?
You need to become good enough friends with Carter the Priest. There are three heart events that involve him, while giving gifts and talking is the fastest way to speed up the process.
Fortunately, once you have the farm in even moderately decent beginning shape it isn’t hard to find gifts that he loves. He is a huge fan of milk and eggs, both of which are favorite loved gifts.
Once you get enough friendship he lets you know the righthand door will remain unlocked, giving you access to the back woods which are often a hot spot for mushrooms and even the rare matsutake mushrooms which are quite valuable.
Common SoS Friends of Mineral Town Questions
While these are often bigger problems for Steam players than players playing on control, the many common changes that have happened with farm-life sims over the past decades have also led to situations where you expect something to work a certain way because it’s a “standard” in farming-sim or cozy games..but that wasn’t the case back in 2000.
Because of that here’s a list of some of the most common questions I’ve seen, and run into myself, regarding the re-release of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town and the solutions to each of them so you can spend less time stressing and more time enjoying the nostalgia of the old school influence behind the modern farm-sim and cozy game genre.
How Do I Get A Fishing Rod in Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
Unlike Stardew Valley and other games that came later and really guide you straight to all the tools and mechanics, you can go a surprisingly long time in Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town without a major tool or hitting an important area of the map.
The fishing rod is one of those tools – and one which I’ll embarrassingly admit I didn’t figure out how to pick up until mid-summer when I fired this game back up again.
The answer is that you need to go visit Van in his house on the beach. When you do this you’ll get a starter fishing rod and a discussion about fishing. Doing this early is better than late not because fishing is a great source of income (it’s okay) but there are major special items, fish, and other things you can go after with an advanced fishing rod, and it takes a lot of time to upgrade that fishing experience.
How Do I Get Off My Horse in Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
What an annoying and stupid problem to have…but it is a problem and it’s one that can pop up because of a variety of quirky reasons, especially if you are playing with a keyboard and mouse on the computer.
The most likely problem is that the key was reset either through a glitch, on its own, or you reset other key bindings (this includes even just going into the settings to do so and hitting accept without changing anything). In this situation instead of back clicking or hitting Q or R or any other commonly used button, you must hit the backspace key to get off your horse in Friends of Mineral Town.
This has solved the problem in 99% of cases where the player can’t get off their horse once getting on it.
How Do I Get Rid of Stuff in My Backpack in Friends of Mineral Town?
Ah, this is almost certainly referring to that annoying and nearly worthless scrap ore that fills even a large backpack well before you’re out of food or energy drinks.
When you’re in the backpack screen arrow over to the item that you want to throw away (usually scrap ore in my case) and then hit the C, select the number to dispose of, and hit enter.
Important: Do NOT select the item otherwise you will not be able to throw it away. Just arrow over so it’s outlined and push C. It will ask you how much to throw away and then you can. This will NOT toss things on the ground but get rid of them permanently, so be aware of that part of the mechanic.
How Do I Unlock the Lake Cave in Friends of Mineral Town?
This is all about the weather. You don’t have to get a special key, donate enough to the Harvest Goddess (though doing this daily is always a good idea), or hit a deep enough section of the first mine. All you need to do is wait for winter.
The lake freezes over in winter and you can walk right up and start mining. Which you should do year one because not only is mining this cave very profitable, it’s your only access to Mithril and Orcalium early in the game – not to mention adamantine for farm machine commissions.
How Do I Give Offerings to the Harvest Goddess?
Head up to the river just under the waterfall. Throw in your offering. Flowers and eggs are always a good choice. Save some of those many, many flowers you can forage off the mountain in summer and fall so you have more in winter and can sell good eggs for a larger profit.
So what are the rewards for giving offerings to the Harvest Goddess? Turns out your local farming Patron can offer quite a bit.
- 10 gifts gets you a Power Berry to permanently increase your energy
- 20 gifts gets you +3000LP with a marriage candidate or your choice, or in some special cases a bag of Relax Tea Leaves
- 30 gifts gets you a White Grass – this will also be the reward you get for every 10 gifts to the Harvest Goddess unless you get to a “special” gift number
- 50 gifts gets you an Interesting Book (skips 1 hour of time)
- 75 gifts gets you the Really Interesting Book (skips 2 hours of time), and sets up meeting a new character, Lou. She shows up on a sunny Sunday between 6 a.m. to noon and you can meet her Sundays at the Inn to learn new cooking recipes.
- 100 gifts gets you the Super Fascinating Book (skips 3 hours of time – I know, what a surprise!) and much more important: she installs an elevator system into the mines. Unlike Stardew Valley, the original here allows you to go after 50 floors you’ve reached, plus the bottom floor.
- 150 gifts is the last reward you get and that is the Seaside Cottage on Mineral Beach.
That’s a lot of value coming out of a lot of gifts!
What Do I Do With Van’s Favorite Thing in Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town?
When you accomplish various things in the game you get a letter informing you that you have won a drawing or a raffle and the reward is one bottle of Van’s Favorite Thing.
So what is Van’s Favorite Thing in Friends of Mineral Town and what should you do with it?
You have two main options:
Option 1: Sell to Huang for 57,000 each, which is a HUGE amount of money in the early game.
When you have one of these this can be game changing to get important upgrades to tools and buildings and start that process of expanding and growing. The first time I started playing the Steam port of this game after nearly two decades away, I had FIVE by the time that I figured out how to get Huang to like me enough to sell to him.
Note: Huang must have at least a blue heart before he will buy from you. The best way to do this is to gift him with gold ore from the mines. He loves gold ore and this will rocket up the friendship after only a few gifts. You’ll get a letter the next day once you’ve reached that friendship level and from then on you can sell to Huang.
Option 2: Give as a gift to Van.
Ready to wreck the Story of Seasons economy completely?
Once you’ve acquired over 1,000,000g you can take the bottle of Van’s Favorite Thing to Van and by giving it as a gift Van will offer to sell you a special item, a Remote Control, for an insane 10,000,000g. This remains available every time you see Van.
So why would you consider buying a remote that cost 10 million? Because Huang will buy it from you for 50 million.
That should cover anything you could ever want and more.
What Are Rival Marriages in Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
One of the very interesting aspects of the Story of Seasons / Original Harvest Moon games that many fans of farm-sim RPGs and cozy games wish would pop up more often are the rival marriages. Mineral Town felt like a moving and evolving world because if you weren’t romancing characters, they’d pair up and get married over time.
In other words, you snooze, you lose.
At least that’s how it worked in the original games.
However, there are no rival marriages in the re-release of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town due to their unpopularity with Japanese players of the game. You can now take as long as you want to woo the marriage candidate of your choice.
The first two “rival scenes” with each potential couple are still in the game to add content and life in the story, but the 3rd and 4th events that led to characters getting married in-game are no longer there, which does mean there are scenes from the original that are no longer in the remake.
While this does bring it a bit more inline with modern cozy games, it is a bit of a shame as it takes out an interesting mechanic that many modern player might welcome back – or at least have it in settings as something that can be toggled on or off.
The original “rival” pairs:
- Ran and Cliff
- Elly and the Doctor
- Marie and Gray
- Popuri and Kai
- Karen and Rick
A more in-depth guide on this aspect of the game will come in the future but needless to say, but unlike the old Play Station or Game Boy Advance days, if you take a fancy to a bachelor or bachelorette early, you no longer gotta put a ring on it early.
Other Common Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town Questions
There are so many questions that have popped up while diving into this classic cozy game once again, and here are the answers that you’ve been looking for!
What happens if I tell the Mayor “No” in the beginning of the game?
For the eternally curious if you answer “No” in the very beginning when the Mayor asks if you are up for the challenge, you get a frowning mayor telling you he understands, then you get to sit through 15 minutes of developer credits as the game ends. Which is pretty funny.
Do you still get kicked out if you don’t do well enough in 3 years?
This was a part of the original game where you needed economic progress, friendship progress, and perhaps a spouse to be allowed to stay by the townspeople after 3 years. This wasn’t hard at all to achieve as the bar was set low and let’s face it: this is a fairly small world by modern game comparisons.
This mechanic was not included in the re-release, allowing a player to just do their thing at their pace, a clear nod of influence to the changes that games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley made.
What’s the best gifts for Huang?
Gold ore. It’s easy to get a lot of this from mining and you only need one per tool to upgrade. This is one of Huang’s favorite things so a couple good mining expeditions means you not only have enough gold ore to upgrade all your tools but also to give Huang plenty of gifts to get him happy with you.
How do I get Huang to like me enough to sell him things?
Lots of gold ore was my method. Basically in the beginning you can only buy from Huang but as you gain friendship points you can also sell to him. Huang likes many things, but the easiest way to go is to collect a lot of gold ore and instead of selling it, keep gifting him until he will buy from you.
One gold ore a day gets the job done pretty fast!
How do I get rid of the curse on cursed tools?
Those who remember swinging a tool 255 times in the Game Boy Advance (GBA) version might be surprised to learn that this doesn’t work in the rerelease. A curse can temporarily worked with a blessing from the priest Carter when he’s in confessional.
To remove the curse permanently you’ll need to do different things based on the tool you’re un-cursing.
- Cursed Hoe and Cursed Watering Can – You must pay Carter to bless the tool 5 separate times
- Cursed Sickle and Cursed Hammer – You keep the tool equipped 5 days in a row and that will make the curse run its course to cure the curse from these tools
- Cursed Axe and Cursed Fishing Pole – You need to swing the cursed tool up and down 50 times to remove the curse
This adds some new wrinkles into the game that can throw off some of the OG players of this game way back in the day.
How do I upgrade my axe in Mineral town when there isn’t enough low level wood?
The short answer is to just swing at the air repeatedly, get your energy back in the hot springs, then repeat until you get enough experience to level up.
If you want to know all about the mechanics that show you how to quickly and effectively upgrade every tool in your inventory at any time, take a look at this article which explains it all in detail:
Related Article: How do I upgrade my axe in Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town?
It really is that simple!
Friends of Mineral Town: The Conclusion
While Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town isn’t the front runner or bellwether of farming-sim games anymore (that definitely belongs to Stardew Valley), it was the inspiration that led to millions of gamers getting into the genre and dozens to hundreds of programmers dedicating themselves to making their own farm-sim or cozy games in the future, leading to a golden age for a once very niche genre of games that have gone mainstream in a big way.
Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed all this critical key information to help make your playing of Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town as enjoyable as possible!
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.