Stardew Valley, created by Eric Barone, is a role-playing game which takes place in a very peaceful village. You are the hero in this story about a burned out worker who inherits a farm from his/her grandfather and proceeds to try and get back to their inner peace. This game has been noticed by many and loved by most, but giving it a first glance, it doesn’t look like a particularly original piece. What is it about it that makes it so original? Let’s have a look in this Stardew Valley review.
Stardew Valley feels like a classic farming game, featuring a slightly more story oriented premise. You begin Stardew Valley sitting next to your bedbound grandfather, who gives you a very precious gift: a letter only to be opened when you are feeling completely unsatisfied with your life and want a change. We learn later, as our character becomes fed up with his own gray and boring cubicle world, that the gift is the inheritance of your grandfather’s farm, a welcome return to a rural and “simple” farm life for the protagonist of this story.
It turns out there is way more to this game than meets the eyes at first. Stardew Valley is not solely about farming, it triples as a social game and as an adventure game. The possibilities of what you can do are literally endless as you can try doing almost anything, from planting to mining.
You can thrive in almost anything you put your mind to in Stardew Valley. If you would rather spend time socializing with the many people that roam Stardew Valley, you can do that as well, you could even end up getting married and having children!
If you are not interested in socializing, how about killing fantastical creatures and monsters? You can do that as well! It is this wide array of creation and the number of paths you can choose for your character(s) that makes this RPG so great. Not one game is going to resemble another as you can focus on being a rural person, a family person, a hero or a businessman.
Watching your character grow as a farmer, friend and adventurer feels amazing.
One of Stardew Valley’s great features is its atmosphere and music. The pixel style works fine here as the place looks real and the music transports you into a new universe both very fresh and very familiar. It is a colorful and interesting environment with a very rich visual sense and a lot of things to offer. There is something interesting to see around every corner, something new to discover, something to pick up, to try out or to transform and it is a TOTAL BLAST to play through. The village looks gorgeous on sunny days and new challenges arise constantly, be this, rainy days or the different seasons that come and go. The game is constantly reinventing itself!
The writing in Stardew Valley is among the features that set it apart from most of the other RPGs out there. The game benefits from amazing character development: every single one the 20+ people living in your village has a story and an attitude that makes them unique. They also follow a certain schedule, getting on with their lives while you’re living yours, and you can decide to become part of their life, or to just let them be. In Stardew Valley, you can form relationships with most characters and interact with them in multiple ways.
The actual main goal of the game, farming, remains one of the most fun experiences throughout the game as you can shape the huge piece of land that has been given to you any way you want, even going with the most unconventional choices possible.
Though the game is amazing it is not 100% perfect and has a few flaws here and there. For one, the gameplay is not the easiest at first (fishing for example) and the map is not the easiest to follow in a game. With the cycle of seasons comes the need to restart all of your farming efforts, which is not the best feeling when you managed to grow a huge plantation. Nonetheless, it is fun to discover everything that makes this game great, and it is very rewarding to realize that all of your actions have consequences.
The game has, rightly so, being called a rip off of Harvest Moon mixed with elements from Animal Crossing and Terraria. However, Stardew Valley does still feel like a personal piece with its own heart and soul. It took four years for its creator, game maker Eric Barone to build this game from start to finish. Everything ranging from the art to the game design, from the programming to the music that we hear was implemented by Eric.
• Hours of fun
• Mix of multiple genres
• Good soundtrack
• Single player