What irks me most is that I had to take time out from playing in order to get this article finished!
Stardew Valley was one of those games that turned up under my radar, I was regrettably oblivious to it until the day of release, however, since purchasing it I find myself unable to put it down, as so to speak. Initially it didn’t seem like my usual type of game and I was right, needless to say; after playing 30 hours, I am completely hooked. First impressions leave an aftertaste of browser-based farming, community based social and exploration games, alas, it is so much more.
Developed by Concerned Ape and published by Chucklefish (known for Starbound, among others); Stardew Valley takes all of the above, adds a relationship system, combat and more, throws them together (with a large dash of charm and a pinch of humour) and hits them repeatedly with the mallet of perfection. It’s refreshing being presented with a product that, so easily, blows away my expectations and charms me to this extent.
The opening sequence tells a little back story and then dumps you right in at the deep end with all the tools you need, there is a quest type system that gives you a rough idea of how to proceed but the decision ultimately stays with you; which crops to grow, exploration, fishing, which villager to attempt to date, it’s all on you. The freedom of choice extends to character customisation too, a surprisingly large number of options for a game that is deceptively simple-looking. Depth is the order of the day and Stardew Valley certainly delivers! From the gentle progression of seasons to character building cut-scenes, it’s the little touches that bring it to life!
I could go on forever about how truly brilliant this game is, however, I have it alt-tabbed and I would dearly like to get back to playing it soon. If I had to compile a list of my favourite games Stardew Valley would already be on it and probably in the top 10 if not 20. While the trailer gives a brief taste of the game, it’s not a full representation, it’s only around £10.99 so why not take a chance (and lose your social life as a consequence)?