S is for Stardew Valley

I’ll admit that I was initially tempted to cheat a little bit and call this entry ‘S is for (Metroid:) Samus Returns’, because that’s what I’ve been playing most over the past week, but I was able to play enough Stardew Valley to write up my impressions on it as well. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Stardew Valley is a farming simulator RPG heavily influenced and inspired by the Harvest Moon series. In fact, I’d describe Stardew Valley as Harvest Moon meets Animal Crossing with a dash of The Sims and a pinch of the waifu simulator portion of the recent Fire Emblem games. For some of you, that’s probably enough to know if this is your type of game or not. If that gaming stew sounds like your jam, dive in, Stardew Valley is great!

Guys, I’ll admit, this one wasn’t a favorite of mine. I suspect that it’s more a matter of genre mismatch than a statement on the quality of the game itself though. The game starts off kind of slowly. You inherit a farm from your grandfather and are dropped onto it with minimal guidance as to what to do. I appreciate open ended games, and in fact one of the things I really enjoyed about Breath of the Wild was the ability to go anywhere and do anything. However, I also prefer games to have some kind of ‘main quest’ line to follow. I have yet to see one of those in Stardew Valley.

I think another thing that irked me slightly was the lack of visibility into how I can make progress in areas other than the farming aspect. Clearly I can chop down trees and clear land on my farm to plant crops, but how can I tell if I’m making friends with the townspeople? How do I know which crops are profitable to plant at this time versus later in the year? How do I even catch anything when I go fishing? Fishing was the most obtuse mechanic in my opinion: it was overly difficult and not very rewarding.

In conclusion, this is another game that will be entirely up to your gaming preferences whether you enjoy it or not. I’ve got friends who tell me this is their favorite game. Personally, it wasn’t my jam. Your mileage may vary, but I’d say at least give it a try. Perhaps you’ll find you enjoy it after all.

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