I made a small post on Facebook a while ago about how much I was addicted to Stardew Valley, and although my ravenous desire to be playing the game constantly has somewhat subsided, it remains a great game to always check back on and retains value in my mind. Every time I see the thumbnail on my Xbox I’m thinking about my farm and what I want to be doing with it. I’ll sure let you guys know when I’m sick of it, but it doesn’t seem to be anytime soon. I’ve seen people pump hundreds of hours into this game and I’m only partially to the point of “completion”
But what makes to so addicting? The game-play is nothing special, just moving a character around so he can place objects, water plants, reap them when they’re grown, mine, and fight cave monsters. And the combat system is nothing to goat over since it’s just a “Swing your sword and the enemy moves back and takes some damage” kind of top-down Link to The Past combat.
Here’s what I think are the game’s strongest draws once you start playing. The charm, and the progression.
What I mean by charm is that the game has tons of characters in it, each with their own dialogue and personalities. There is enough dialogue to where it’s entertaining to talk to everyone you see. Doing this is beneficial to the friendship system, where every villager has their own gauge you can observe to see how much they like you. I haven’t gotten to this point, but you can marry among the single villagers if their friendship bar is high enough and even have some kids! There are also tons of items in the game that each have their own descriptions after you’ve donated some to the local museum, which gives you rewards for turning in new objects.
When I talk about the game’s charm, both the animations and the graphics also come to mind. Stardew Valley is a beautiful game, and every inch of it is delightful to look at. It’s impossible not to feel some joy from observing the relative paradise that you get to live in. Plus, you characters animations feel satisfying when he’s watering, fishing, chopping, ect. This coupled with the catchy and cheery music creates quite the addicting atmosphere while doing pretty much anything the game has to offer.
Now, the other draw of the game to me is the progression. You start off with literally the messiest and most unkempt farm they could give you. It’s your responsibility to slowly work up the farm’s capabilities by buying buildings for animals, creating paths and fences, crafting various product-making machines like looms, oil makers, kegs for beer and wine, preserves jars for making pickles and jam, and cheese and mayonnaise makers. All the while, you’re trying to maximize your profits and efficiency by upgrading your tools, making them cover more ground or work faster, and crafting sprinklers so eventually you aren’t spending a huge chunk of your day watering all of your crops.
I’m roughly 70 hours in and I still have a ways to go before I’m satisfied with my Stardew Valley experience. It’s a great game to play while listening to podcasts or what have you, but you may need to pause every once in a while to figure out what you should be doing. A lot of the fun in the game comes from maximizing the time and energy you have in one in-game day.
And that’s about all I can say about this game. It’s charming and addicting. Defiantly give it a try if you like Harvest Moon or Farmville. I hear they’re adding co-op soon, so you’ll be able to play with your equally nerdy friends.
I give Stardew Valley a 10/10. It does what it sets out to do perfectly.
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