Sometimes, after work you want to play a relaxing video game. You don’t want to be playing a competitive shooter or a very involved role-playing game. Several games fall into this category:
- The Sims
- SimCity/City Skylines
- Animal Crossing
- And finally Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is available on all modern consoles and PC. The ideal way to play this game is on the Nintendo Switch as it is a perfect pick up and play game. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide (Source) so I’m not alone.
The game starts with the main character abandoning the monotone city life and moving into a decrepit farm that is overgrown and has a very small farmhouse.
With a very short tutorial, you then have the freedom to clear, plough and sow your farm to create a steady income. While waiting for your first seeds to grow you can explore the village and get to know the local populace.
More Than A Farm Simulator
Like Harvest Moon, there is more to this game than just farming. The first methods of making money early on are foraging and fishing. Both of these have a quick turn around and the fishing element had its mini-game. Money made from these two activities can then be used to buy more seeds to increase the number of profits in the long term.
There is also the social aspect, where once a day you can gift each villager an item and will react depending on their preferences. The more ‘good’ items you provide a villager, the more they will like you. A few of the villagers are single and once progressed to a relationship level you can marry and they will move in to your home.
In the northern area of the map, there is a cave that leads to a series of caverns which holds many monsters and rewards for the adventurous. The further down you go the more types of monsters you will find and the more rewards you will receive. Most of the rewards that you receive make you stronger, however, the loot that the monsters drop can be sold or smelted into better items.
The more you do specific activities the more experience you receive which levels up your ability in that particular area. Not only do the levelling up rewards boost your abilities they also unlock various crafting recipes which can be used to make useful items, such as the sprinkler. The sprinkler is one of the most useful items in the game and it removes one of the more tedious actions you must take to keep your plants growing. The benefit of this is that you spend less time doing the annoying jobs and more time adventuring.
Graphics & Sound
The visual style is pixel art, which is timeless and is probably why it has been ported to almost every console ever. For a game of its type, it doesn’t need to be going for realism and since the graphics aren’t so highly detailed it makes it relaxing to view. Personally, it would have been nice if they could have smoothed the graphics so they weren’t so pixally but that’s a very small issue.
The soundtrack is very relaxing and the sound effects are just what you would expect. There is no voice acting and the game can be played with the sound muted which I usually do as I’ll have a podcast or video in the background.
It’s a brilliant game to pick up and play. It can just as easily be put down and come back to when you want to. The world is really pretty and the gameplay is relaxing. Since I’m always coming back to it, Stardew Valley received 5 Stars!