Stardew Valley by Eric Barone was originally released on the PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The game is an RPG/Builder. The main premise of the story is that you are a typical big corporate worker that is miserable of their hum-drum life and receives a letter that you are inheriting a farm from your recently deceased grandfather. You decide to throw caution to the wind, quit your job move out to the farm for a simpler life.
The gameplay is simple at it’s core yet has you constantly coming back for more. Your main objective is to clean up and rebuild the farm your grandfather has left you. Your ability to do so allows you to earn money which opens up new opportunities and adventures in the game. You have the ability to do as much or as little as you want. Some people have chosen to create a simple farm with crops a few cows and pigs, while others have chosen to create a farming behemoth in the hopes of fixing the world food and hunger problems. The thing that makes Stardew Valley so much fun, is that it is not limited to just farming, you have the opportunity to mine, forage and harvest from the wild, and fish to supplement your expenses and needs. All of these game mechanics really helps to impart that feeling that you are getting away from the soul-crushing life found in a corporate job, and just doing whatever tickles your fancy today.
Stardew Valley adds another dimension to the game by introducing the townspeople the intimacy and attachment that comes along with developing and growing the relationship with members of the town community. You meet and get to know the townspeople and along the way you get involved with the town through birthdays, festivals and events. You choose which relationships you want to nurture (maybe all of them) and which ones you don’t care about. You get to create any cliques you want based on who you like and dislike in the game. You also help the town by rebuilding it and providing resources to develop the town further.
Stardew Valley also has several collections that you develop throughout your new life as a farmer. From decorating your house to finding historically significant relics this game will be very addicting and almost impossible to put down if you are a completionist, as there are so many collections and projects to distract you and keep you busy.
Stardew Valley has a great area to explore. The locations and environment has so much to offer, and you need to constantly explore to find gifts and resources that you can’t grow yourself. This makes for a wonderful break from the farming and clearing that takes up a large portion of your time at the beginning of the game. The whole map isn’t opened up to you at the beginning, and this drives you to want to push forward with the game to find out what is behind that blocked path, or broken bridge.
With all of this, Stardew Valley was a match made in heaven for the Nintendo Switch. It was a game that was designed to be on the go. The ability to clear out land or harvest some crops while on the train ride to work, or in an Uber ride is amazing. The Switches controls really provide the player with all the tools necessary to play the game without the weird controls that are found on smart phones. This is because you will need to explore, and manage tools and inventory and the map size would mean a lot of constant tapping on the phone screen to move around, which would become tedious after a while. The Switch is the perfect format, because when I played it on the PC, there were times I wish I had access to the game so that I could clear out another few trees, or harvest some of the string beans I had planted a while ago. Now I can take Stardew Valley with me and build up my empire, but I will miss the beautiful farm I had created on the PC version.
The best way to describe Stardew Valley is that it is a hybrid of Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. Except it takes of the best of both of those games. Because of the simplicity of the game, players who are looking for instant gratification or that quick fix won’t find it here. But for the players that want to get back to their roots and just enjoy a peaceful life of farming and being part of the community this is the game for you. The music is very relaxing and the graphics are a perfect compliment to the whole premise of the game. The ability to play the game how you want makes this a must have in my opinion.