Genre: RPG, simulation game, single-player and multiplayer game
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and PS Vita
My Playtime: 40+ hours
Stardew Valley follows your own customisable character who inherits a farm from your dear grandfather. The farm sits in the quant mountain filled area known as Stardew Valley. Wanting to escape the monotonous ways of the city, you decide to move out into nature and begin your life as a farmer within the small town of Pelican Town where your grandfathers farm lives. Although your grandfathers farm is a little worse for wear, with some TLC you’ll be a flourishing farmer in no time who not only has a successful farm but also a whole range of new friends and possible love interests!
Stardew Valley is one of those games which has been on my plan to play list for some time now. After seeing multiple people talk about how good it was and how many hours they had invested into the game I decided that it is probably worth a shot. Plus, for the price I couldn’t really say no as the game came to a total of £10.99 on the Nintendo eShop.
If I could compare Stardew Valley to any other game I would say it is a strong reminder of the various Animal Crossing games which have blessed out screens over the years. It has a sweet and relaxing vibe to it which soothes the soul of whoever may be playing. One of my favourite things about the game is when first opening up to play you can customise your character and farm setting to your preferences. All the basics such as gender, hair, eye and clothing options are available alongside some other fun options including your “favourite thing”. I, stuck for what to put down decided to choose anime as my favourite thing (since it kind of is anyway) and that choice comes in a little later to hopefully make the player smile. Choosing your choice of farm land is also another fun element to the game as there are a range of options including setting up your farm in the forest, by the river and even where monsters are supposed to lurk.
Stardew Valley is an easy and highly addictive game to play especially if you’re a sucker for building and collecting within a game instead of a game which is heavily story focused. The game allows the player to build up from the bare minimum and customise things to their liking so each player has a pretty unique gaming experience even amongst Stardew Valley’s gaming functions which are the same for everyone. The game focuses mainly on the idea that your time within the game is your time to do as you please. There are few restrictions other than that of the energy and health bars which have to be maintained and replenished in order to make progress. The game will punish players who basically ignore the energy and health bars and I found that out the hard way. A few times. Because I’m too busy to sleep or care about my characters health apparently because my crops need watering or I’m too busy exploring the mines. Other than those few restrictions, the game is what you make of it. You want to spend time growing and selling lots of quality crops? You can do that! You want to mine for gold, diamonds and other goodies? Go for it! You want to save up to buy some animals for the farm? Save that money up my friend! Basically do what you want, when you want and that is a super appealing element to the game.
The graphics are also an appealing part of the game. I’m usually a sucker for high quality 3D graphics but the pixelated characters and graphics are rather sweet and add to the relaxing atmosphere the game gives off. The only downside to the pixelated characters is that from far away, it feels rather difficult to appreciate your own character along with the rest of the characters and their designs. The music adds so much to the overall vibe of the game. The main theme song for Stardew Valley is both relaxing and addictive to listen to. The main theme gets stuck in your head so easily that your brain will probably be playing it on repeat for days like mine did. Again, very similar to Animal Crossing in the fact that the soundtrack is so lovable.
My criticisms with the game lie within certain mechanics as well as the character development of the townspeople. The mechanics of navigating the inventory of the game can sometimes be awkward and a little tedious. Maybe it is due to playing on a Nintendo Switch Console and it is a little sensitive when it comes to the controls. For example, if I want a watering can to water my crops I have to scroll all the way through my inventory depending on where I have placed said watering can. I usually have all my necessities placed together in the front of my inventory but it can still be a bit tedious if I’m trying to accomplish a lot of tasks within one day. I also find myself accidentally trying to use my tools in the wrong spots. For example, if I want to chop down a tree I have to get right next to the tree but sometimes the sensitivity of the controls will mean that I miss the tree and end up chopping nothing. It can be a fiddly problem which probably lies more within the controller than the actual game itself.
The other criticism is the characters within your town. Most of the character interactions become repetitive fast which in turn, depleted my interesting in interacting with NPCs on a regular basis. As the hours and days are short in the game I would literally go for days without interacting with anyone because I was busy mining or fishing. My only real motivation to continue with NPC interactions was the fact that you can impress and woo certain characters into liking you if they are classed as being ‘single’. I knew immediately that Sebastian would be the guy I would be trying to woo with my womanly farmer charm but even that was tricky to begin with. As the game allows you to give gifts in order to impress people I ran straight for the best thing I could find to give to dear Sebby, and he hated it. I was mortified as I’m used to the sugary sweet Animal Crossing set up where you can give an animal literal garbage and they’ll still be grateful and happy. It was a guessing game to figure out who likes and dislikes what and made it pretty tricky when it came to befriending the townsfolk. I ended up doing some googling (cheating I know) to find out who likes what in order to make some more informed decisions when gift giving instead of playing totally blind and just hoping for the best. I’m glad I did use Google in the end since I have made much better progress since learning of what people do and do not like.
Overall Stardew Valley is a total gem. Whilst I have a few minor criticisms with the game, I absolutely adore it on the whole and it has given me over 40 hours of fun so far. It is not only well worth playing for the price but is also a game which almost anyone and everyone could play and have fun with as it is easy to pick up and play whenever you’re in the mood.
Overall rating: 8/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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