Simulation games have drastically grown in popularity in the past couple years, giving individuals a chance to simulate driving, being other creatures, and working on a farm. “Stardew Valley,” published by Chucklefish Games, is a recently released indie RPG farming simulator for the PC that allows the player to create his/her own farm and have his/her own unique experience with the local town in the game.
While there isn’t much story to this game, it starts with the players dying grandfather giving them a deed showing they have inherited a plot of land to live and farm. Once there, players will see that the plot is a mess and needs a lot of work done on it before it can be farmed. With tools in hand, it is now the players’ job to farm their story as they talk to the neighboring locals and start building a better farm.
There are an abundance of things to do in this game, such as going into mines. In the mines, the player’s tools get replaced with a sword and pickaxe as he/she mines rocks for special items while fighting off enemies. Another thing the player can do is go around the local town and become more acquainted with the NPC’s. Building friendship can help the player get better deals in shops and can even allow the character to get married.
The game mechanics realistically simulate how to build a farm, such as crops dying from too much water if the player waters them on a rainy day. Snow in the winter time can also kill crops as this time should be used more to talk to townsfolk and mine for items. Besides crops, there is also livestock the player must take care of, which are also affected by these conditions.
Players get a house to live in on the plot of land, and they have a wide variety a ways to customize the house for their own liking. Individuals from the town might even want to stay at the player’s house and help them with the crops and livestock as well.
The pixel artwork of the game looks gorgeous as there are many warm colors used for the color pallet that really give a sense of calmness to the game. Even the character designs look aesthetically pleasing. Looking like something from the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), the game has a retro feel to it.
“Stardew Valley’s” soundtrack is also pleasing to the ears as most of the music played is soothing. This game’s clock is based around in game time with a seasonal game mechanic, so winter, spring, summer and fall change the music.
One thing that has shocked the gaming community about this game is that it was all made by one individual, Eric Barone. Creating and composing the music, programming the mechanics, creating the artwork and every design in game was all done by one man in a time span of four years. Even to this day, Barone is adding more to the “Stardew Valley” and fixing any bugs or issues that players may be finding with the game.
There are only a couple of issues that this game has, given all of its content. Some of the dialogue for the characters can be a little stiff and cliche, especially for the male characters in the town. Another issue is the energy meter. The energy meter shows the player how much energy they have left before they need to go to bed and start the next day. This hurts the game a bit for those who want to continue playing past certain hours of the game and can be annoying when the player wants to do more farming quickly.
“Stardew Valley” has a lot of great things that overweigh the bad, as most of the options to explore in the game are open right when the player gets to the plot of land. This game does a great job of keeping the player entertained and playing for hours with still more to do. It looks and feels like the other, much older, farming simulator game series, “Harvest Moon.” If you are a fan of the “Harvest Moon” games or just want to try something new, relaxing, and addicting to play, then this game is for you. “Stardew Valley” gets a 4.7/5.