Stardew Valley is a new indie game from developer Eric Barone. It is based on the Harvest Moon series. Like Harvest Moon it borders between a farming simulator game with RPG elements and a bit of a “life simulator”. It has already received a decent amount of hype from the gaming community, so we took a look at it.
The story of Stardew Valley unfolds at the pace of the player. While there are some more “scripted” events, for the most part how the gamer plays will determine what you unlock and when. You start off as an overworked person, tired of being a cog in the machine. You choose to go to your grandfather’s farm and take it over. As you rebuild your farm, you also meet the people in town. Slowly the story unfolds, allowing you to find out about the people, and the history of the town.
Stardew Valley is mainly a farming simulator. All the other elements really work together for the farming. Through the game you clean up your farm, attempting to make improvements to the over grown land. Each season allows you to grow different crops and trees. With each passing season you will learn the best time to plant, and improve your farming. Things like fishing, mining, and collecting help to supplement your income, and improve skills. In order to be a better farmer, you will need better tools. That is not to say these elements can be completely ignored, nor are they under developed. While farming may be the main feature, all the others are enjoyable and important. Fishing could probably use better controls, but with time people do get used to it.
The town itself is filled with interesting characters. They are each unique, and while some are more fleshed out than others, no one feels entirely forgettable. Not only that but as you work on making improvements everyone seems to show themselves a little more. There is also the interplay between the town and the big corporation. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on it, and it’s not hard to get sucked into it too.
Honestly there is nothing entirely new here. Most of the elements have been used in other games. That being said there are a lot of different elements that are combined in this game. Not only that but the game brings a lot of personality with it too. The music and graphics are aesthetically pleasing. While certain elements can be on their own compared to other games, the entire thing coming together the way it does is rather unique. You can say a few parts are like one game, a few parts are like another, but nothing really stands out as having done everything this game manages to do. It’s also insanely addictive, it’s not hard to sit and play the game for hours and hours without realizing you’ve done so.
Stardew Valley is just a fun game. It might not be your game of the year, nor did it reinvent the wheel. However it’s fresh, entertaining, and has a lot of appeal. Aside from the fishing I find myself unable to complain about anything when playing this game, and even that element can be worked around. If you like simulators this game will likely appeal to you. It’s got a lot to offer and at the end of the day is just plain fun.