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I think, one thing I’ll mention is that Stardew Valley is not as convoluted as Story of Seasons or Rune Factory Frontier, so you sort of always know where you are heading with what you are doing.

If I were to rank games of this sort, it would be:

1. Rune Factory Frontier
2. Stardew Valley
3. The handheld Harvest Moon era Story of Seasons.
4. Tides of Destiny
5. Handheld Rune Factory
6. Home console Harvest Moon Story of Seasons
7. Non-Story of Season Harvest Moons (and this is a distant distant last)

Just my personal opinion without getting too granular. And I think Rune Factory Frontier has a comfortable lead in #1, and Stardew Valley a comfortable #2. If it weren’t for the Runey system annoyance, I’d say no question in the #1 game, but for some people the Runey system will spoil Frontier - for others (like me) either a minor annoyance or trivial issue.

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.