A few weeks ago, I picked up the farming simulator and country-life RPG, Stardew Valley, after seeing and considering its popularity on Steam and Twitch. I had never played Farmville, Harvest Moon, or anything like that, but I decided to give it a try. I had hardly been logging into SWTOR (weeks, even months of not playing that), and I had completed a play through of Pokemon Red on my Nintendo 3DSXL. I wanted something else to play that wouldn’t frustrate me too much about learning how to play. After receiving Fallout 4 and simply not getting into it, I didn’t want to buy anything similarly priced and be disappointed, so Stardew Valley at $14.99 on Steam seemed like the perfect “casual” game to play.
I’ve been enjoying the game! Not only do you plant crops on your character’s farm, but there is fishing, mining (with some light combat against enemies in the mine), chopping trees, crafting, food processing, and befriending your neighbors. I know it sounds utterly lame compared to mauling my enemies from behind with a Sith, but surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying the game.
I think the design of the fishing process is well done. You cast your fishing line, and if you get a bite, you have to click to make sure your fish is behind a bar, and it feels like your actually reeling it in, depending on the difficulty of fish being caught. I would say that sometimes it’s actually pretty hard, and I’ve lost quite a few fish!
Another thing that I like is the cut scenes with your neighbors as you increase your relationship level with them. Ten of the townies are romanceable, and it seems you are able to have a same-sex relationship if you choose. In fact, one of the female characters, Leah, is actually written as having an ex-girlfriend in one of the cut scene conversations. I prefer to play my characters as I am in real life, so I’ve been comparing the different men that are available for marriage. So far, I don’t think I’ve increased my relationship with all of them high enough to properly compare them, but it’s interesting to see how they “flirt” with you.
If I could compare the game to anything I’ve played before, I would say it’s similar to Animal Crossing, but with less house decorating and more farming. There are special holidays and events, and developing relationships with your neighbors is something you do in both.
I don’t like game ratings, because everyone has their own tastes, but I have enjoyed playing so far (I’m in the middle of spring in year 2). The game is simply fun and well-designed (by one person!). If you want something light to play that’s easy to veg out on, you may want to give it a try!