The farm life might not be for everyone, but some time in Stardew Valley will change even the biggest critics mind. Stardew Valley captures the day-to-day tasks of farm life by having players build relationships with the local townsfolk, fighting monsters in the mines, foraging through the wild, as well as constructing a farm from the ground up. The game places a great emphasis on time management creating a refreshingly slower paced title that rewards planning and exploration. The ability to play- on-the-go, with a multiplayer mode to be released in the coming months allows the Switch’s version of Stardew Valley to separate itself from previous ports. Stardew Valley provides a multitude of things to do early on, however, the game’s lack of DLC stops the campaign from finding longevity post game
The game can be purchased on the official Nintendo website here for your regional price.
The adventure begins with your custom created protagonist working for the Joja corporation, in what seems to be a frustrating career. Your character’s grandfather gives them a sealed envelope telling them “There will come a day when you feel crushed by the burden of modern life” prompting your character to open the letter. The letter holds a deed from your grandfather to a farm in Stardew Valley; a place of purpose and the beginning of your journey.
Stardew Valley’s greatest strength is in its narratives ability to provide powerful moments in subtle ways. The decisions to leave a job and start a farm isn’t the best idea, however, Stardew Valley focuses on making a decision, in opposition to a decision being right or wrong.The protagonist is on a journey to find themselves and the scenarios that play out across explore this. There’s a point in the game when your characters witness a homeless man being yelled at for trying to find food in someone’s garbage. Despite the upbeat nature of the game, I couldn’t help but feel I had just experienced a serious injustice unfold before my eyes.
There will be moments when you are required to make a dialogue choice in order to move the game forward. These decisions range from minor to game altering. In the scene above the dialogue choice, you make will affect the relationship you have with Linus, yet there are other decisions that can have greater ramifications. If you purchase a Joja membership you will be given a discount at there store, however, the local community center will be destroyed to make room for the Joja Warehouse. These decisions have no right or wrong answer, giving the player to make impactful decisions to the progression of their story.
Every second of the day is precious and Stardew Valley does not shy away from giving you something to do. Players shuffle between farming, foraging, mining, fishing, building relationships with the local villagers, special events, and combat. Players have a skill tree attached to each activity that levels up by utilizing certain actions or tools. There are 10 levels for each skill; once a player reaches level 5, and level 10 of a perspective skill they are able to pick a profession. These professions add nice bonuses that are immediately useful and worth the investment.There is a surprising amount of depth in each skill, and the game use of these skills ultimately allows it to avoid being repetitive.
Living off the land
Armed with a set of tools and a desire to create a wonderful future you begin to shape your farm. Stardew Valley doesn’t explain its many intricate systems in the beginning, but over time players are able to piece things together through trial and error. The beginning hours of the game had me focusing on growing crops and generating money. When I reached Fall, in the 1st year of my game I found myself constantly picking crops, purchasing new buildings to aid the productivity of my farm. I got to a point to where my farm work was no longer holding me back and I was able to venture into the surrounding areas to find special items as well valuable resources.
Stardew Valley introduces a resource management system that allows players to utilize certain tools to gain resources from the environment. These resources are used to purchase upgrades for a number of things such as new farming facilities, home upgrades, sprinklers and many other helpful creations. In the later stages of the game, these resources become essential to building some of the most advanced structures in the game.
There are numerous bodies of water scattered throughout the Valley, and these are prime locations to fish. Fishing in Stardew Valley is handled as a mini-game where players keep a fish icon in a green rectangle until a meter fills upon the right. If a player is unable to keep the fish icon within the green rectangle then they lose the fish.Fish aren’t the only thing awaiting you in the waters of Stardew Valley. Occasionally players will hook trash, broken cd’s, and other items out of the water. These items can be converted into better items once you unlock the “Recycling Machine”
It might come as a surprise but Stardew Valley gives players the option to marry 1 of 10 eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. In order to take things to the next level players must have 8 hearts in the friendship meter filled up and players must find 2 secret items to present to their significant other. In a happy marriage, your spouse will help out with certain farm activities. Neglecting your spouse can cause your relationship to become harder to maintain and create some problems down the road.
To the Mines, Cavern, and Farm…
The dungeons in Stardew Valley hold a number of hidden items and vital resources waiting to be claimed by those brave enough to overcome the creatures that wait within. Combat is as simple as pressing the Y button to attack and the A button to defend. In order to progress through the dungeons, players must find the staircase that will take them to the next level. For every 5 levels you complete in a dungeon you are given the ability to fast travel back. The first dungeon boasts over 120 levels making those fast travel points very important.
Dungeons require strategic planning to get the most out of them. Your character is given a health bar alongside your energy bar that is used carry out tasks. In order to be successful players must ensure they have enough inventory space, food to restore health alongside energy, and a weapon. Losing all your health will result in your character passing out losing money and the last 10 levels you discovered in a dungeon.
Occasionally Pelican Town will hold special events to celebrate festivals, special visitors, and a number of other things. Special events usually involve some mini-game or competition for players to participate in. These events can give special items or build better friendships depending on the event.
This may come as a surprise but the Switch’s ability to be used on the go is a natural fit for a game like Stardew Valley. The ability to play on the go is a welcome change and is complimented by the Switch’s ability to resume the game wherever you stopped at. The Switch will also feature a multi-player mode scheduled to be released this summer.
Graphics & Audio
The 16-bit art style of Stardew Valley is an aesthetic choice that enhances the title’s narrative and game-play. Stardew Valley’s graphics aren’t trying to blow you away, they’re are trying to get you involved. Without the distraction of photo-realistic graphics, I was able to get a deeper understanding of the games many intricate systems . Stardew Valley utilizes its audio in subtle ways to aid game-play. The sound of the wind whistling off your scythe or the clanking of your pickax as you mine for ore are examples of excellent sound choice.
Stardew Valley’s commitment to providing players with a number of seamless intricate systems has created a game few should miss. The villagers of Pelican Town have their own unique personalities that are simply hard to forget. I was impressed with almost every aspect of the game, however a lack of DLC makes the
end game feel stagnant at times. Stardew Valley is a title worth playing and I recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest.
|+ Intricate Systems||– No DLC|
|+ Portability||– Easy Late Game|
|+ Villagers Personalities|
|+ Varying Gameplay|