Hello fellow gamers! Sean here, with what I imagine most of you reading this already have already experienced it, and for those of you who haven’t, perhaps this will help give you a better understanding of what the excitement has been about since it released in February…. STARDEW VALLEY!!!! At it’s core, a farming simulator, but honestly it’s so much more than that. The concept is simple, especially if you are familiar with Rune Factory, Innocent Life or the Harvest Moon series (all of which I’m a big time fan of!). You start off an average city dweller going through the grind until you decide to open a letter from your now deceased grandfather revealing he’s left you the deed to his farm in Stardew Valley! You pack up and head to the valley to begin a new life and see what kind of opportunity farm life has to offer!
In addition to growing and harvesting various crops, the availability of which is dependent on the season, there’s animals to raise (also a staple of the harvest moon series), fishing, mining, gathering various food, flowers and objects found in the wild. There’s various objects to craft for aesthetic purposes to make your farm look nice but most creations serve a very useful function on the farm, such as a keg for turning hops into pale ale, barley into beer or various fruit you grow to make wine, mayonnaise machine for turning eggs into mayonnaise and so on and so forth. You can do whatever you want. Hate growing crops? Go fish or forage or mine for things you can sell in your shipping box to turn a profit. How you choose to spend your time is up to you, so managing your time also becomes your responsibility. The day begins at 6am, and typically you want to be in bed before 12, staying up past 12 will result in you waking with less energy, which is your bar shown on screen that allows you to use tools such as your fishing rod, watering can to water your crops or axe to chop down trees. 2am is the absolute cutoff, you do NOT want to be caught outside bed at that time, or your character will drop to their knees and wake up in bed, with a letter from the local doctor with a bill for assisting you or sometimes from a local villager who claims they found you but not before someone was seen searching your pockets robbing you of some fundage!
There’s also an entire town of people who you can make friends with, each with their own likes and dislikes and personalities, and it’s fun to get to know their stories and interact with them on a daily basis. Gifting them food or objects they like will earn you hearts under the social tab of the menu, a maximum of 10 which will change in how they speak to you and after achieving a certain amount, they may even start sending you recipes, which you can make use of after you purchase your first house upgrade and earn a kitchen extension. There are also 10 eligible bachelors/bachelorettes available for wooing and ultimately marrying if you so choose to. ALL are available, regardless of your gender, which is also completely up to you to choose when you first start your game along with looks and name. I like that anyone can marry anyone, it’s 2016, about time! I will admit, the males don’t seem to be developed as well as the female characters, but that’s also a male’s opinion so maybe someone else disagrees, all I know is there are a lot of relationships to develop and I’m enjoying getting to know the townsfolk (some more than others of course… I’m talking about you of course Abigail).
I’ve played through an entire year as of writing this article and while I’ve seen and done so many things…. there’s still so many things I know I have yet to unlock and experience. Plenty of bundles to complete at the town community center (basically various items you donate as per a listed request which unlocks various things, such as the bus to the desert or mine carts which allow for faster travel around the town) as well as legendary fish which I need to hunt down and conquer…. because reasons dammit! I’m hooked and it’s honestly a miracle I pulled myself away long enough to write this out, there’s still so much I want to accomplish in the game it’s staggering!
The game’s creator, Eric Barone who also is known as ConcernedApe, worked on this game tirelessly for 4 years. After the amount of time I’ve already put into this game, to even imagine one person coming up with all of this is not only impressive, it’s inspiring to think about what indie developers are capable of in this modern age. He also can be found on his twitter directly talking to players when they send crash reports and he works very hard to fix problems, even going so far as to fix save files when the game initially released! That’s a level of dedication I’ve never seen, and he continues to improve the game, with updates (as of now, free) and what I’m most looking forward to is the multiplayer feature. Initially it was intended to be included upon release, but after 4 years I can imagine wanting to give players at least a taste of what he had finished and it blew expectations! Multiplayer will be just another fun way to enjoy a game like this with a friend, and I’m all about fun with friends. Check it out on steam right now, $15 is not a lot to drop on any game and that money stretches quite far with all the features this game has to offer you. I hope this gamer’s opinion has helped sway some of you, thanks for reading!