‘Stardew Valley’ has you crafting, combating, and revitalizing a farmFiled inside: Games
Ever since I first loaded up Minecraft, I’ve been enamored by building and crafting games. There is something supremely relaxing and satisfying about exploring and creating. Minecraft may have started my obsession, but Terraria and Starbound exacerbated it. I fell in love with the simple pixelated art styling and found myself running to these releases every time I wanted to unwind from a long day. Because of this, whenever I see a new Indie crafting release pop up on Kickstarter or Steam, I immediately add it to my list and wait anxiously for its release. The latest release in my cross-hairs is Stardew Valley.
If Stardew Valley looks familiar to you, it’s because it’s being partially developed and published by Chucklefish, the creative minds behind Starbound. The rest of development is in the hands of Concerned Ape, a new developer with some impressive aspirations. The finished product promises to be an enjoyable crafting and building adventure with storylines and character interactions sprinkled in. Think of Stardew Valley as the child of Terraria and Animal Crossing — if video games could mate and bear children.
You’ll spend the majority of your time working tirelessly on rebuilding an old forgotten farmland that you inherited from your grandfather. The land itself is teeming with weeds, trees, and other obstacles, which can make it difficult to grow anything in the beginning. It’s your job to clear the land of nuisance items, building and crafting new tools to help you eliminate the obstructions in your way. Once you’ve freed up enough space, you can till the land and begin planting flowers and vegetables. The goal is to revitalize the farm into a self-sustaining and functioning entity that will allow you to live off the land. On your journey to becoming a master farmer you’ll gain access to five different “skill trees” that must be leveled up and progressed. Performing certain tasks will reward you with experience in combat, foraging, mining, fishing, and farming. Growing these trees (see what I did there?) will grant you access to new crafting recipes and areas to explore.
It may not seem like much from the outside, but there is a lot of depth hidden within Stardew Valley. While your main focus lies in rebuilding the farm, you’ll often find yourself distracted by the events around you. Certain seasonal festivals like Hawaiian luaus, haunted mazes, and something known as the Feast of the Winter Star. Stardew Valley is currently a single-player experience, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be entirely alone throughout your journey. Much like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley features a wide array of NPCs for you to interact with. There are over 30 different villagers, complete with their own unique cutscenes and dialogues, that you can pester whenever you’re feeling social. As time progresses and you become a more proficient farmer, these individuals may come to you for help and offer you tasks to complete. If you really feel like sharing the experience with someone you can even get married, and there are twenty different individuals for you to court.
At first glance, Stardew Valley looks and plays like Terraria, but features a top-down view (similar to the original The Legend of Zelda). The mechanics are simple, and combat consists of slashing at the enemy while dodging their unique attack patterns. You’ll be required to master all the facets of Stardew Valley if you plan on having all the craftable items at your disposal. Some rare and unique items and resources can only be found in specific areas or drop from unique enemies. The gameplay elements in Stardew Valley combine perfectly to create a fun and adventurous experience that is one part excitement and one part relaxation. This is the perfect type of game to load up when you’re looking for the simplicity of a retro top-down game, paired with the depth and user customization of a modern crafting and building title.
Stardew Valley is currently a single-player affair only, but Concerned Ape plans on releasing a multiplayer add-on sometime in the future. For now, there is a lot of single-player game to explore, and a great amount of depth for you to uncover. Between the customized farm, tons of decorations, over one hundred different things to craft, and a ton of NPCs to interact with, Stardew Valley offers up a sizable adventure at release. Stardew Valley plans to hit Steam store shelves on February 26th — today — for $14.99. If you’re interested in getting more information about this release, be sure to check out the dedicated website here.