The first time I saw the Stardew Valley PC game, I noticed there was something similar about it. I experienced a deja vu or a vague recollection of a game I played in the past. I dismissed the memory and focused on the game in front of me. The first time I found this game showing up was a trailer on YouTube from September of 2012 and a request for those interested to upvote the game on Steam Greenlight. The game was obviously greenlighted and a new, updated trailer was published in January 2016 ahead of the February 2016 release. You can watch the trailer below.
One of the stand out things about this game, in my opinion, is that it’s an indie game developed by one guy. This guy, ConcernedApe (aka Eric Barone), spent years making this game exactly as he envisioned it. The game also includes all original music created by the developer (something that I’d say he seems pretty proud of), samples are available on the website in Update #16 from April 20, 2014. ConcernedApe has now partnered with Chucklefish to help meet the demand the game has seen. Chucklefish has stepped in to take over some of the more technical requirements. They are specifically handling porting and localizing as well as the promised and much anticipated Stardew Valley multiplayer. ConcernedApe will continue to handle all of the creative aspects such as new content and patches and bug fixes. Enough about the game development, let’s get to the Stardew Valley review.
Stardew Valley Review
At its core, Stardew Valley is a farm sim game. You have inherited your grandfather’s farm and must build up the farm while also dealing with the Joja Corporation who is destroying the way of life in Stardew Valley, including the community center. You can fight against Joja Corp. and rebuild the community center or you can decide to join their empire. You begin with little knowledge or experience but you gain that through the seasons and as you interact more with your neighbors and other members of the community.
You can plant crops and trees for an orchard, you can raise animals, and build machines to use on your farm. You develop a mastery in five areas: farming, mining, combat, fishing, and foraging. With more skills, you have access to new places and different jobs. The underground environment has its own set of monsters and weapons, raw materials, and gems that can be donated to the local museum. Your neighbors are NPCs yet the developer took the time to create lives for each of them so they aren’t simply shop owners but someone’s husband or wife, someone’s parent or child. Marriage is available with several of the characters, after you have wooed them. There are mini games scattered around, including an arcade game in the saloon. You can find recipes for food and instructions for crafts. You can live an entire life in Stardew Valley, take a break, and play some more later.
If you want to go beyond playing the game, there are forums you can join to discuss the game, post issues you’re having, make suggestions for the developer, and post fan art and fan fic. One forum is specifically dedicated to Stardew Valley mods where you can post a mod you created or request that someone create a mod for something you’d like to see in the game. The Wiki is also worth checking out. It includes a key to everything you see in Stardew Valley. The graphics are shown with a description of the item, places are described with a list of items available and costs. The characters are also shown along with their families, their likes and dislikes, their typically routines, their dialogue, and their cutscenes – pretty much everything you need to know. For the latest, visit the website or follow @concernedape on Twitter.
Stardew Valley Verdict
I, in all honesty, enjoyed Stardew Valley immensely. You can easily lose hours playing this game without realizing the amount of time that has passed. Starting out is a bit slow, but once you get started there are plenty of things to do, places to go, and people to talk to. The fact that the developer sees this as an ongoing venture and continues to provide new content gives this game long term appeal. The gameplay seems to be almost endless.
As much as I do enjoy it, there are a couple things I don’t love about it. I would love a manual save feature so I know I can come back exactly where I left off. The save feature in general has proven a problem for some people who have repeatedly lost an entire day’s progress. The other thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the lack of instructions or tutorials, you kind of just have to figure it out as you go which also contributes to the slow start.
After I played for a few hours, I made the connection to what this game reminded me of – Harvest Moon. I played Harvest Moon on SNES around the time it was first released in 1996. I want to stress that it only reminded me of the game. I know other players have complained that this game is a knock off or simply the PC version of Harvest Moon. Of course, other players love the similarity and enjoy the good memories Stardew Valley brings back.
Where Can I Buy It?
February 26, 2016