Stardew Valley Review

My first farm in Stardew Valley during the fall

Lately I've been tweeting a lot (or the equivalent in my case) about Stardew Valley. Ravanel noticed that. She also noticed that I haven't made any post about the game. So she decided to blackmail me ask me to write some posts about it.

Since she knew almost nothing about the game I thought a review would be a good idea. I might do a few more posts about Stardew Valley after this but it is something I need to think about.

The shorthand I usually hear the most for Stardew Valley is that it is like Harvest Moon/Rune Factory but better. I never played that game series, only heard about it, so I can't really compare. Another game I hear comparisons about is Animal Crossing but that is another I never got the chance to play. If your case is like mine then read on and I will try to explain what the game is about and why it is so fun.

Basically, what Stardew Valley is about is a romanticized view of farming. That if all you need to be happy is a day of hard, honest work and connecting with your local community. This is expressed right at the beginning of the game as your character leaves their soulless job at a large corporation to go live in a farm they inherited by their long lost grandfather. When they get there the farm is in disrepair after being abandoned for so many years. But as your clear the farm, plant crops and the days go by it starts to become something beautiful, something rewarding in itself.

Then as you progress through the game other options appear for you, like raising animals, planting fruit trees, making sprinklers and other machinery to make your life easier, etc.

The other part of the game, connecting with your local community, happens in the neighboring Pelican Town. As you get to chat with the citizens and give them gifts they will tell you a bit more about themselves. This helps you understand why they are the way they are as well as their relationships with each other. At certain points of your relationship with them you even get a cutscene where you can make some roleplaying choices. Some of those choices will even be reflected in future cutscenes. There is even an option to marry some of the citizens and have kids if you so choose.

Talking with Leah in her house

You can also take on job requests for them from the town board which is usually about delivering them some item or killing some monsters in the local mines. The usual rewards being some money as well as some relationship improvement.

The game is also pretty laid back. If you forget to water your crops for a day, that isn't a problem. The only thing that will happen is that your crop will take a day longer to grow. If you ignore one of the townies for a while you will just lose some affection from them which can be easily remedied by giving them a gift they like. This extends to pretty much all the systems in the game. There is never any pressure to do any one activity or a harsh punishment if you don't feel like doing it. It is really up to you what you will do in that particular game-day.

If that was all that was to do in the game, it would be pretty fun in itself. But there is so much more. There is a pretty fun fishing mini-game. There is the ability to go adventuring in the mines, fighting monsters and mining for ore. There is a local museum where you can donate artifacts to. Seasonal festivals to participate in. Helping to rebuild the community center. Secrets to uncover. And probably a few other things I am forgetting about.

Fishing by the docks

Even if you don't like some of these options there are mods to change them, like some mods to make fishing easier or to stop time when you enter a building. I haven't used any of those myself since I like the game as is. So I can't really say how easy to install they are. But the option is there if you want it.

Now I could go on and on about this game. Suffice to say I had nothing but joy since I purchased it. If you are looking for a very relaxing game, without pressures, that you can just putter around at your own pace then this is for you.

One last note I'd like to make is a shout-out to ConcernedApe, the developer of this game. He did all of this game by himself in the period of four years. That means all of the code, the artwork, the music and sounds, the writing, everything. This is an impressive task for any small team but even more so for just one person. If you feel that isn't impressive or shouldn't matter then let me point to something else. ConcernedApe has been pretty good at supporting the game post launch. He is also pretty accommodating about requests and feedback from the players. From experience, after I bought the game, he added the ability to zoom in and out in the game in an update. That was a request by players so  they could take screenshots of their entire farm. Then in the latest patch (at the time of this post) he made the post-marriage dialogue more unique which was another request from the players. Before that it was very generic which kinda made the point of marrying a certain villager moot. Plus the obvious amount of bugfixes. This is much better support than a lot of big studios give to their games. So to ConcernedApe a double thumbs up from me and my eternal gratitude for this game.

You can find the official site of the game here. As for buying it that can be done at GOG.com, Steam or the Humble Store.

8 thoughts on “Stardew Valley Review

  1. Ravanel Griffon

    I'm horribly late with responding to this awesome post, so sorry about that! No good excuse, just that I really wanted to get my blogging production back up to speed with 3 posts per week. I had to write the last one during a raid in which I was tanking, so it was all a bit hectic. Anyway, I made it, so now I'm super happy and finally have the time to catch up on reading blogs!

    Stardew Valley sounds really interesting. The reason I was confused with a dating sim is that I read a pretty funny blog post somewhere (don't remember where) in which someone describes how they let their character stand in front of the house of a crush NPC every morning with their favourite flower on their head (this sounds odd, but apparently that is a thing?). Stalker alert! They were expecting repeatedly doing things to be a game mechanic. Instead, they were dumped at the harvest festival (or something) when they asked her to dance and she replied with "eeew, no!". It was a hilarious story, but I got a totally different impression about the game!

    Now it sounds more like a pokémon game to me, with the open world aspect and all, but then of course without the battles. It makes me feel like picking up pokémon again! I don't think I'll buy the game myself anytime soon because I have too many games to play and too little time, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I think it's amazing (and near unbelievable) that someone created it all by their own and that it's getting pretty popular amongst gamers.

    *checks the website* The game looks so cute, though! Hmm, maybe I will try it after all, we'll see....

    Reply
    1. Rakuno

      Hey, don't worry about it. The day I start writing posts only for the comments is the day I stop blogging for good. Also, you get some big respect for me for being able to write a blog post not only in the middle of a raid but in one you were the tank!

      That part you described is the part of the game where you get to interact with the NPCs from town. The flower on top of their head is just the item he had selected to give to their crush. It is just an easy way to know what item you have selected and not give end up using/giving away the wrong item (not that I would know about such a thing. It never happened to me! *coughs suspiciously*). That festival is one in... Spring I think and you can ask some of the NPCs to dance with you. If they will accept or not depends on how good your relationship with them are. In the first year I got rejected by all of them since I barely knew them. On the second one I had a few that would accept but I chose to dance with Abigail since by then I think my character was already dating with her and she accepted. It was a cute moment. 🙂

      I find it pretty amazing too that it was all done by one person. And really the guy deserves all the success he gets. There is a lot of heart on  this game, a lot of personality all its own. Something that can only be achieved either by a small team or a game developed by one person.

      Funny that you mention pokemon. Because there is a mod that reskin all the creatures in the game to look like pokemon. I think there is even one where it allows the player character to look like a pokemon trainer too if you want to go for the complete look.

      Do it! Buy the game! Become one of us! If you need more bait, ConcernedApe mentioned several times that he wants to add multiplayer to the game eventually. I didn't mention it in the review because who knows when he will be able to do that and it might not end up being feasible at the end. But considering what he already achieved... It isn't entirely impossible either. So if this feature ends up being implemented you could play with other people! Or maybe visit their farms! Or something! I have no idea what kind of shape his multiplayer will take. But it is something that he wants to add in the future.

      Reply
  2. Ravanel Griffon

    I read that on their website! So exciting! Okay then, deal. If multiplayer is added, I'll buy it so you can show me around! 🙂

    P.S. I prefer healing or DPSing during raids so I can tab out during the trash and finish my blog posts. I'm a bad person. :$

    Reply
    1. Rakuno

      Deal. Although I hope he doesn't implement the multiplayer dependent on Steam since my version is from GOG. Although I guess, I could add a non-Steam game to my Steam library and make it work then. Hm. Wish I had a game I could test that theory with.

      P.S.: Shhh... It will be our secret. Nobody else will know! (except for all the people reading this comment *cough*)

      Reply
      1. Ravanel Griffon

        If a multiplayer version is released for a game that's offered on multiple platforms, I would expect it to work regardless of where you've bought it. Otherwise that would be evil! I don't know if Steam's notorious for messing this up (and if so, I'm probably naive about this kind of thing), but if the developer is as dedicated as you make it sound, I'm not too worried. 🙂

        P.S. Uhh, I'd say that I hope nobody will ever read your blog comments, but that'd be mean. 😛

        Reply
        1. Rakuno

          That would be my expectation too. But it seems Steam offers certain things to make it easier to implement multiplayer in games. Only trade-off is that the player then needs to have Steam running. GOG seems to have something similar but with their GOG Galaxy client. And it is one of those cases where developers go "Well, this will make our life easier and 90% of our PC customers use Steam anyway so let's just use their multiplayer code."

          I don't think ConcernedApe would do that kind of thing since he listens a lot to his player base. Plus the fact that he decided to delay this feature for post-release seems to indicate that he is trying to come with his own solution instead of just slapping someone's else. (Or maybe he is thinking on how the game would work as a multiplayer one). So chances are good that it won't be an issue. But you never know!

          P.S.: Don't worry there might be like only 6 people, including the two of us, who read my blog. And I don't think any of them plays with you. :p

          Reply
  3. Ravanel Griffon

    I quite like the "Join Game" option Steam offers on its friendlist - I use it a lot for ARK: Survival. It's more of a lazyness thing than anything else, though. For ARK I can just as well start the game up and select the correct server myself. So I guess it depends a lot about the game.

    P.S. You deserve more! Go spam people on Twitter when you've written stuff, or something. 😛

    Reply
    1. Rakuno

      I haven't had a chance to try it yet. Though if I can convince my friends to play Tabletop Simulator maybe I will get to experiment that feature too. Before I can do any of that though I need to see if my microphone is working properly. The game I have in mind to play in Tabletop Simulator works better with voice chat. Which will be another challenge for me!

      P.S.: I was kidding! Mostly. The truth is, I have no idea how many people read my blog nor do I particularly care. I am just happy to write and have a place to do so.

      Reply

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