Monday, June 17, 2024

Stardew Valley is Probably One of a Few Games I Can’t Say Anything Bad About.

( ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley is an open-ended RPG and farming sim. However, it could be considered a life sim. I tend to call it a “chill game” and I’ve heard “cozy game” used. I’d say those are fitting because even the combat for the most part isn’t intense but it isn’t easy either. Your farmer/fisher/cook/adventurer can die in the mines and caves of Stardew Valley if you’re not well prepared.

The thing about that is that combat plays a role in Stardew Valley but it isn’t the main thing. It can drive some stuff in the game but you can still enjoy your experiences without being super hardcore in the mines. Hell, the farm is your priority, honestly.

Stardew Valley is Probably One of a Few Games I Can’t Say Anything Bad About.

Started Valley Draws Inspiration from Other Great Unique Games

Stardew Valley is inspired by the Story of Seasons franchise—which pretty much came out of the Harvest Moon franchise. SDV takes the pixel approach of the early Harvest Moon games which were purely farming and slice-of-life and mixes it with Rune Factory and Story of Seasons’ mix of farming and adventure.

There is a very small pool of games in this vein. Throw in Graveyard Keeper and the mobile title Harvest Town. Some fans and veterans of this genre might include Animal Crossing in there but these games always had more depth to them. I know I’ve invested hours into Stardew Valley across PC, Android and PlayStation 4.

It’s a game that keeps you engaged when you make progress and can invest more in your farm or take the time to adventure and fish. There’s a little something for everyone without being intense or forcing the player into a grind.

I’ve always found this game and American Truck Simulator to be incredibly chill and a bit of a stress reliever from the more involved and intense games I play. Even in relation to other RPGs, the element of just farming and managing your resources is a break from say Dragon Quest or Diablo.

You’d think “Oh, I have to manage resources and money? Sounds involved.” It’s actually pretty simple. If you grow it, you can sell it. If you want more for something, you’ll have to invest what you made in stuff to improve the quality. The crafting aspect does add a little more involvement and resource management but I also found that to be direct.

Getting used to the farming, foraging and mining will see you with what you need for what you want to make soon enough. Building relationships adds some story and goals to your character’s life as well! Perhaps it’s that mix of simplicity, progress, goals, and freedom that results in me sinking so much time into the game.

Well that and having stats that can be followed, bonuses, and crafting. As you know, I love crafting. It’s also what saw me sink time into Harvest Moon games. If you play on a PC, you have the extra freedom of utilizing mods to really customize the game in different ways but playing on console is also a very enjoyable experience each time.

The Senses

Stardew Valley has a clean pixel art style that takes me back to playing Harvest Moon on a ZSNES emulator in the early 2000s. It’s very nostalgic if you started playing games in the early 1990s and I’m all for the retro stuff, obviously. I tend to play games with the music muted but even the music reminds me of the early Harvest Moon games.

It’s a great presentation and honestly, it’s my preferred look for this type of game. Story of Seasons, Rune Factory, and the post-Harvest Moon console games took the 3D route but I always enjoyed 2D HM more—even if HM64 and Rune Factory really blew me away on my first playthroughs.

At the moment, ConcernedApe is working on Haunted Chocolatier which seems like it will be in a similar vein but centered around a confectionary shop. However, something on the side in Stardew Valley such as the fishing or mining are worthy of their own titles. Hell, the Harvest Moon series kind of spanned the Legend of River King series and fishing was never so adventurous.

If you’ve played SDV, what was your experience with it? Let us know in the comments!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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