Stardew Valley Initial Thoughts (21 hours played)

More like a warning about this game. Plus my excuse for not doing anything…

So warning… This game is EXTREMELY addictive and you will lose your life and gain a new one. That doesn’t technically mean you WANTED a new life of course but who wouldn’t want to live on a farm with chickens?

(You don’t actually need to live with Chickens but I love chickens so I have three. Matilda, Sophie and Madam Cluck…)

EDIT : Just to add when I started writing this review I had 21 hours on the clock. I’m so obsessed with it that I got bored writing about it and went back to playing it. Two to three days later and I’ve amassed 36 hours on this game now. So that warning up there? Please be ready to give up your life before playing…

It isn’t going to be a real in depth look at the game because I still haven’t found half the things I have to do. It’ll be a quick over look which I guess describes most of my initial thought blogs anyway.

Stardew Valley looks and feels like the love child of all those farming games you’ve ever played, Animal Crossing and Minecraft.

It blends so many different parts of those games into one and comes out with such a addictive game. With quite the charming story to!

Your grandfather is dying and leaves you with a envelope. You can’t open it right away, he tells you only to open it when you are fed up of life. Years later, sitting at your desk at work, you open up a drawer in your desk just to find the envelope. Inside that envelope you find out your grandfather has left you a farm!

So off to the farm you go.

I think it said it was something like 20 years later so obviously the farm is in a bit of a state. You are met by the local carpenter Robin and meet the Mayor before being left to it. You have a assortment of equipment all designed to help you with the farming. You have a energy bar which de-pleats as you do things such as chop wood or mine rock. The map of Stardew Valley is actually rather big, as you get used to where the paths are it’ll feel much smaller but at first it just feels like a giant area.

And THAT is before other areas become available!

The village is home to a bunch of interesting characters. Very soon you’ll find out that some are single and some have no relationship status at all or are in relationships. Why is this important? Because as well as having a social bar (a little like Sims I guess) of up to 10 hearts and having to gift things to people and do tasks for them to make them your friend, you can also fall in love and get married. A interesting part of the game and one I think is actually rather important as one of the messages your grandfather departed on you was that sometimes going back to something like being on a farm will help you connect with other people more.

In the village you have a empty building, a hospital, many homes and two stores. One is the mega chain on the outskirts and the other is the small local business ran by Harvey. In his store you can buy that seasons seeds as well as ingredients to help you cook after you get yourself a kitchen (which is something like 500 pieces of wood and 10,000 gold? Robin does your expansions as well as building your barns and stuff…) I haven’t brought anything from the big chain market yet so can’t really comment. There is also the pub where you can find a group of the villagers every night having a quiet drink.

That empty building gets opened up in a random cut scene. Its the old community centre and its been taken over by a group of apple like spirits who (you find out after visiting the local wizard.. I know.. I know) want you to go out into the wild and bring them back a whole load of stuff. Crops, stuff from your animals, things you bake, things you find… As you fill up their requests they give you presents as well as mending the rooms when you’ve completed a full set.

Its important to do this. When you unlock the vault I think you should work towards getting all the prizes from it as the vault room when completed is how the bus to the desert gets fixed.

That is not all though. There is also a mine and a guild of adventurers. They give you a sword and you can make your way through the mines mining up ores and fighting monsters. Be careful as if you run out of life down there you’ll be transported to the top but lose all items that aren’t required (so any fancy swords you might have found and all the ores and stuff) plus some of your money.

Like Animal Crossing you have a museum/library. You’ll find random things to put into the museum as you do more in the game and again will be rewarded after bringing back a certain amount of items. Books are hidden all over the place and will automatically transport back to the shelves of the library after being picked up.

TIP : if you see something wiggling around on the floor it IS worms. Hit them with your hoe and they’ll throw up a item. Sometimes its as simple as clay other times its artefacts or books or seeds. Another tip is that if you don’t want the ground to have a mark where you’ve just hit them with the hoe just change to the pickaxe and hit the ground again and it’ll go back to normal.

All of this is only half of what I’ve found so far. There are events, fishing, cut scenes…. There is a sewer that at some point I’m bound to unlock, a hidden door in the desert which again I’m sure to unlock at some point, quests and all sorts. There is enough going on constantly that it’ll give you a good couple weeks to a month worth of gaming without ever feeling samey or boring.

Visually it is very simplistic but in its simplisticness its beautiful. As the seasons change so does the visuals. The soundtrack is also nicely put together, its something you wouldn’t mind hearing all day long whilst playing it.

I have been reading that they plan on updating it a bit and are looking for suggestions on how to improve the game and the happy thing is that there are a world of updates that they could put to the game to make it so much more. It already is a wonderful little gem but there are so many other bits they could add to make it even better. More crafting items, more fish, more recipes, more collectable items… Maybe the museum could grow and add on a aquarium (unlike Animal Crossing you don’t collect fish you just catch them to eat or sell.) More animals… Different quests, add more areas via the bus… So much could come of this game that if they do really keep adding on to it its worth going out to buy right now so that you can enjoy it the way it is.

Scrap that. Go out and buy it anyway as its just a wonderful game and you won’t regret it.

It is £10.99 on Steam. Go check it out.

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