Developer: Eric Barone
Publisher: Chucklefish Games
Stardew Valley is a farming simulator RPG game with its core gameplay taken from Harvest Moon. There is A LOT to do, so you need to manage your time well as you tackle everyday farming life.
The gameplay in Stardew Valley is open-ended, and each day, when you wake up, you decide what you want to do with your time. Before you do anything though, you may want to check out the bulletin board for any job opportunities, as well as the calendar for upcoming events. You will also need to be aware of your energy level. If you run out of energy, or it gets too late at night, you will become too exhausted, and you will pass out, only to wake, and find gold or possibly inventory items missing. Your energy is consumed when you perform most tasks. As you do the same tasks repeatedly, you will gain proficiency in that skill, which allows you to unlocks bonuses, such as crafting recipes. You will need to earn gold, and gather resources to build up your farm.
Each year in Stardew Valley is 4 months long and lasts 1 month per season. When the season changes, all of your seasonal crops die. As you progress in the game, you will also be able to build new farm structures, upgrade your home, your tools, unlock new areas, and maybe even get married and have kids.
You can farm the lands to grow crops, or raise and breed animals. You can also go fishing or if you’re looking for an adventure, you can head to the caves, and mine for precious minerals, but watch out for the monsters that live there. If you die, you will lose gold and random items from your inventory as well, so be mindful of your health bar! You can replenish health and energy by eating food, or by going to sleep.
You can also head into town, and socialize with the locals. By giving them gifts each week, and especially on their birthday, you earn friendship with each one person. All of the characters throughout the game have their own unique personalities and routines. As the friendship improves between you, you can learn new things from them, and experience different events with each character, in addition to the seasonal town events.
- controls are fully customizable
- pixel-style graphics are done very well. The characters are cute, and everything looks great
- background music is beautiful, and all of the sound effects fit perfectly with each part of the game
- open-ended gameplay with a lot of things you can do, when you want to
- there are lots of mods for the game that take care of most of the things listed in the “Cons” section
- to raise friendships can take a long time because you are limited to how many gifts you can give to each person per week
- fishing mini-game can be annoying to do
- with so much to do and explore, there were several things I wish I knew a lot sooner (I highly suggest reading the things people ‘wish they knew before playing’)
- losing items randomly if you die can be very punishing, and you may wish to restart your day from that mornings auto-save
The story in Stardew Valley starts off with you moving out to the farm, left for your by your grandfather in order to start a new life, and build something for yourself. The story, its characters, all of the character interactions, and relationship developments are realistic, and believable. You really feel like you have purpose, and a chance to really do some good, not just for yourself, but for everyone else in the community.
There is so much to do, but you have limited time, and energy each day to get things done. The game is very enjoyable, and very addicting! I often found myself saying “just one more day,” only to look at the clock, and realize hours had gone by.
As far as replay value goes, each game can last days of real time, and you can keep playing the same game and constantly be upgrading, and improving. I can’t see wanting to replay it, but that’s because you get SO MUCH out of it in the first place and you don’t want to start over from scratch. So far, I have over 40 hours played, and I am not even finished all that there is to do.
The price for Stardew Valley is very cheap for what the game has to offer. With how much time I have put into the game, and how much more there is still for me to accomplish. I could see myself paying twice what what the game costs, and still be perfectly happy with the purchase. The game is so well done in every aspect. So much passion, thought, and detail went into everything. The fact that this game was done entirely by one developer blows my mind. It’s truly an amazing game, and I would highly recommend this game to just about everyone.