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Escape to the Simple Life with Stardew Valley

Escape to the Simple Life with Stardew Valley

​Bored with the hustle and bustle of the 9 to 5 lifestyle? Tired of the same, dull, gray cubicle you see 5 days a week? Wish there was a place you could go relax while getting back to it all? Well, thankfully there is, and this is just how you start in Stardew Valley.

 If you haven't heard of the delightful indie gem that is Concerned Ape's Stardew Valley, then it will be my utmost pleasure to show you around the valley. Like the wonderful Starbound (still in beta at time of writing, but GREAT), published by Chucklefish studios, Stardew Valley is a open ended simulator with a focus on crafting. Add a heaping amount of farming mechanics a la Harvest Moon, and baste with vibrant colorful 16 bit pixelated graphics that are reminiscent of Chrono Trigger or A Link to the Past

Fueled with the player's own curiosity and drive, Stardew Valley lets you move and advance at a pace that each player is comfortable with. This makes the game more approachable by anyone of any skill. It also appeals to a vast array of gamers. For instance: Ex Harvest Moon-​inites and Farmville-agers are going to find a rich farming sim mechanic that not only includes the staple seeds, seasons, watering, harvesting, and livestock, but a day-night cycle that makes you budget your time each day. And that isn't even the tip of the iceberg! Minecraft and Terraria fans will find all that they love and are familiar with here as well. Scavenging for wood? Check. Mining for ore? Check. A deep crafting system? Check!

Create your own custom character and farm.
Fall is the perfect time for pumpkin harvest.

There is a social system with NPCs that should scratch the RPG/date sim itch. Though it basically revolves around giving presents (but don't they all?). You can even get married and have kids!

There is a day-night cycle that starts at 6 am each new morning. Like most games of this style, you don't want to be out too late at night. Ultimately, players are only limited by the amount of energy they have each day, so having an itinerary on my energy for the day did help me stay on course. But there were those days of just grabbing some food for replenishment and heading into the mines to explore…. 

Fishing is just one of many ways to spend your time in Stardew Valley.

With so much to do, from farming, foraging, crafting, cooking, or fishing, to exploring the procedurally generated mines, you would imagine that it all can be a bit daunting at times. Well, I am happy to report you would imagine wrong. While spending my days at Twin Pines Farm (*Spoiler* you get to name your farm) I never once felt overwhelmed or anxious. There was no pressing timer for failure that made me rush things. Though some of the town quest do have time limits, I never noticed any punishment for not completing them and I am pretty sure they cycle through.

With all these small tasks at hand, it would also seem they might get mundane after a bit. Making you just go through the motions. Again, this would be the incorrect. As for me, I enjoyed everything down to the removal of unwanted rocks and stumps to clear room for more crops. Or even a trip into town to check the calendar for birthdays or holidays, or barter off some goods. Don't even get me started on the addiction to the fishing mini-game, and how many days I have lost angling. 

Though dangerous the mines offer rare ores for mining.

Building up your farm will reward you with more than just a sense of accomplishment, you get money as well. In game currency can be used to purchase everything from seeds and gear to upgrades to your gear and farm. There is also a town community center that the mayor task you with renovating that can be quite a chore, but well worth the effort. All paid for with nothing but the fruits of your own labor.

This beautiful darling of a game goes on to display the love and charm of SNES games that some people may have never got to experience, which is a testament onto itself. Picking up where games like Harvest Moon or Earthbound left off all those years ago and evolving it for a whole new generation. Oh...and it was made by one guy!

Stardew Valley is available on Steam, GOG, and Humble now, so don't miss it. Happy farming!


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