Stardew Valley deserves all the praise it’s received

3 min read
44

Stardew valley 1

I’ve been vaguely following Stardew Valley’s success for a while. I first wrote about the game two and a half years ago, when it was looking polished and interesting and promised co-op farming. While the co-op aspect seems to have been put on the back burner for now, the game has seen its full release and sat towards the top of the Steam charts for ages. Now that it’s come out on Mac, I’ve been playing it more than I care to admit, and enjoying every moment with it.

The premise of the game is incredibly simple, and really familiar if you’ve ever played Harvest Moon. Your grandfather has died and left you his farm. It’s run down, but with some TLC you can fix things up and get it all running again. Beyond growing crops, building farm buildings to tend animals and cutting down all the trees, there is a whole town to explore and make friends in. With two festivals per season, and options for romance and friendship, the game is already full of content. But wait, there’s more.

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Stardew Valley is very much an RPG. If you spend all day foraging for fruit in the nearby forest, your foraging skills improve. Same goes for if you spend your time fishing, fighting, farming, or mining. With my crops taking ages to grow at the start, I spent many days just fishing in the nearby river. My skills improved, I caught some high quality fish and made enough cash to buy a chicken coop. Once my chickens were laying eggs, I learned that a mayo machine resulted in even more cash. Oh, and let’s not forget the community center than needs some of my goods so that it can be rebuilt and restored to its former glory, revitalizing the town.

There is so much to do in the game, I’m excited for each day I wake up. My days might all begin the same (water my crops, tend to my animals and check my crab traps), but then I have new plans and goals, from making friends with the carpenter lady to romancing the guy who lives on the beach and sort of looks like Fabio… or should I go for that young guy who is always on his skateboard? In the tradition of turn-based gaming, I will often plan to only play for a few more minutes, only to look up and realize I’ve played for hours. Just. One. More. Day.

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The aesthetic is very similar to that of the original Harvest Moon. It’s charming and beautiful despite its pixel graphics. Plus, with plenty of original music, you’ll become lulled into the simple pleasures of farm life.

At the time of writing, I have about 22 hours on record in the game. There is still so much that I want to do. I find myself thinking about my farm and my plans during the day. I find myself planning how I want to approach the new season or how I want to play the coming days. Yes, it’s “just” a silly farming game, but it is also a zen experience with some incredibly deep RPG elements. Plus, at R160 on Steam, it’s really not a risky proposition. Sure, you could wait for the next Steam Sale, but if you enjoy farming simulation, cave diving, friendship sim, romancing random and weird characters and exploring an intriguing world, this probably belongs on your wishlist. I just hope that the developer still plans to bring co-op to the equation, at which point I will probably need to quit my job and become a full time Stardew Valley farmer.

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Last Updated: October 20, 2016

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Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Pariah ???

    65 hours before the slew of changes included in 1.1

    • Pariah ???

      And I’ll be back for more soonish.

      • Skyblue

        224 hours, stahp!!! I hate this game!

        • Pariah ???

          No you don’t. 😀

          • Skyblue

            Digital heroin I tell you, unhealthy.

          • Pariah ???

            510 hours into Path of Exile, I started a bow using tank character last night.

          • Skyblue
          • Pariah ???

            I have 540 hours in Terraria. Thousands in various Pokemon games.

          • Skyblue

            Is Terraria worth playing? It just looked too “Minecrafty” for me when I looked at it.

          • Pariah ???

            Minecraft is sandbox. Terraria is 2D action platformer sandbox.

            It’s fun. It has goals, bosses, a vague story (still more in your face than Dark Souls’ story). And you can build some really cool stuff. I personally love it. And I don’t have any interest in Minecraft. Not now, not ever.

          • Pariah ???

            @disqus_RTVUEcBB6N:disqus And it’s more deep than Stardew Valley. If this game caught you, approach Terraria with the expectation of losing a lot of time to it. Time you’ll love spending.

          • Skyblue

            Not sure if I’m excited or terrified ;-p

          • Pariah ???

            Both is also fine. But don’t let either stop you. It’s a 64mb download on PC and it’s dirt cheap.

          • HairyEwok

            Pokemon destroyed my childhood time.

          • miaau

            I feel you. Mine would be higher than the 550 odd hours it shows BUT my steam hours reset about three years ago, dunno why.

          • Skyblue

            Trust me, I’m not proud of this. It’s a badge of shame ;-p

          • Admiral Chief

            You should see my Skryim and FTL hours…

  • Sounds cool. Looks like Secret of Mana. Would rather play Secret of Mana 😛

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Why don’t you play dead instead!

      • And make you happy again? In only 2 years? NEVER!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          That wouldn’t make me happy, you’re only playing. You silly goose.

          • Nothing will make you happy! I’ve mentioned this before!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

    • Dungeon of JJ

      You and your secrets.

    • Skyblue

      Upvote just for mentioning a SNES game.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    It’s the early unlock game for the next Humble Monthly bundle. Which reminds me, I need to pause my subscription.

    • Dungeon of JJ

      I unlocked it early. Been wanting to try Stardew Valley for a while now.

      • Pariah ???

        Lol. It’s good fun.

        • Dungeon of JJ

          The moment I saw that was an early unlock, I just had to.

  • And here I am trying to figure out how to get KSP multiplayer going with less stuttering.

    I will eventually try this game.

  • Skyblue

    You should probably have a disclaimer warning off obsessive compulsive’s. I fell hard for this damn title. Also, I’d highly recommend Kingdoms and Kingdoms: New Lands.

    • miaau

      so, you offer a warning AND then new fodder the OC crowd. Nice!

      • Skyblue

        Am I not benevolent OC deity?

  • Original Heretic

    Now this is the sort of PC game I should get playing.

    It reminds me a bit of the game from Community, that Pierce’s dad had made.
    Come to think of it, can anyone recommend a game that’s more like that one?!

  • Dungeon of JJ

    I just started Stardew Valley and it’s excellent.

  • miaau

    I have found that I simply cannot play games like this, the interface bores me, I just struggle.

    • Pariah ???

      YOUR FACE BORES ME!

      • miaau

        Well ok then.

  • ElimiNathan

    Ive burnt plenty hours on this game

  • HairyEwok

    If you ever longed to play Harvest Moon on PC then this game is for you!

    • Zoe Hawkins

      i did play it on PC… on emulator 😛

      • HairyEwok

        **If you ever longed to play Harvest Moon legitimately on PC then this game is for you! XD

  • Viper_ZA

    Price drop at the Halloween sale?

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