If you’ve been browsing the glorious dark corners of the internet, you may have encountered the name Stardew Valley. Now you’re probably thinking, ‘What the heck is a Stardew Valley?!’ Quite simply, it’s an indie game that skyrocketed to fame… and for good reason.
Stardew Valley is perfect for anyone that wants to be a farmer but doesn’t want to commit to the hard labour. Solo developed by ConcernedApe over the span of four years, this game is considered the best game of 2016 to date. It is wonderfully crafted and any fans of the Harvest Moon series will feel right at home. As an open-ended farming RPG with over two hours of original music (like how?), the possibilities are endless.
When I first heard about Stardew Valley, it was through some online friends complaining about how their blueberries weren’t growing or cheering on how they’d managed to catch a 19 inch chub. Needless to say, I was curious…
The story line: you leave your lousy job at the fictional Joja Corporation and inherit your grandfather’s run-down farm. The town, Stardew Valley, was once a thriving community with resources from agriculture until, ironically, Joja Corporation established themselves nearby and local business dissolved. It’s up to you whether you build the town back up to its former glory, or let the greedy corporate bastards monopolise the town’s business.
The controls are pretty basic: your character moves via standard WASD control and right and left-click is to interact with the environment. The perspective is ¾ view RPG, quite similar to the most recent Pokemon games with pixelated SNES-style graphics. To be honest, this dodgy old farm has so much potential and options on how you want to make a living: fishing, crops, livestock, mining, artisan goods, or a combination of any. You can raise a bunch of animals, plant orchards, make some grog…you feel? You can also hunt monsters to gather materials that help you upgrade or create new things. The game has a levelling system for five skills: fishing, foraging, mining, farming, and combat, all with individual perks at levels 5 and 10. So in a nutshell, you are free to do whatever you please.
While the game may sound a little simple and underwhelming (who wants to wake up every day and water some melons and chop down trees?), if you ask any one of the 550,000 people who have downloaded the game in the first two and a half weeks since its release, myself included, they will say they have no regrets.
With the short-term daily goals and the long-term ones such as upgrading your house or getting laid, you never get bored or notice it’s 3am and you have uni the next day. That is the brilliance of this game – the simple life is addictive.
Speaking of getting laid, Stardew Valley has over 30 NPCs with which you can build relationships with; however, there are only five bachelors and five bacherlorettes, all waiting for someone to sweep them off their feet – will it be you?
Fair warning, it is a long process. At least, for me it has been (I only have one heart with five people… that’s it). Getting yourself to ten hearts requires a lot of appropriate gifts and interaction: you have to learn their likes and dislikes. Yes, you have to talk to your wife. She waters your crops and feeds the animals and cooks breakfast for you. What more do you want?
When I was feeling stressed about writing this review, I played the game and it’s seriously so addictive and relaxing (those two hours of original music helped).
Overall, this game is a must buy for anyone looking to start something new and get absorbed in it or is just into making aesthetic farm land. It’s for everyone. Have fun with it!
My rating: a solid 9/10.