The new hotness: Stardew Valley


Black Desert Online? Oh, that was SO last week. The game everyone’s been talking about over the past few days is Stardew Valley, and for good reason — this game is seriously, strangely addictive.

Heck, I hadn’t heard word one about Stardew Valley before, oh, last Thursday. I guess it had been building up quite the cult following in testing prior to last week’s launch, but the release pushed it into a higher stratosphere of attention and discussion. After reading a few pieces on it and having my fears that this was not just another FarmVille clone, I snapped it up and waved goodbye to chunks of my life’s time.

Sort of like Harvest Moon (a game I haven’t played but heard it’s similar in design), Stardew Valley is a farm simulator of sorts. You inherit your grandfather’s run-down farm and then go about building it up while making contact with the locals in the town nearby. It’s all done very much in the style of a SNES-era game, complete with a chill soundtrack and adorable sprites.

As a player who loves to build as much or more than destroying/killing, it’s a perfect little game to squeeze in when I have a break here or there. I’m not terribly far in, only having done a half-dozen days and cleared enough land for a modest farm plot (cabbages and potatoes, mostly). I’m hoping that the game will be teaching me everything I need to learn, although I suspect that sooner or later I should look up some guides to get things running more smoothly.

So far my attention is more focused on my farm and less on exploring and interacting with the townsfolk. There’s a lot of people in the town, too, and one of the first missions is to meet 28 of them, which kind of made me cross-eyed (especially when you’re down to the last few and can’t figure out where to find them or who you’ve already talked with). There are hints of more to this game than just farming, with a combat skill and a weird alien-thing that popped up in a community center and some big purple blob that sits on my farm. One thing at a time, I suppose.

It’s strangely satisfying to till the land, fertilize the soil, plant crops, water them, and tend to them over several days until they get ripe enough to sell. I’m trying to save up for a chicken coop but I don’t want to be selling all of the crafting mats that I’m getting from clearing out the land around my farm, so it’s slow going on the gold-making side. Potatoes are going to have to get me there.

I like that there’s a lot of potential for various activities, including housing (yay), fishing (boo), and even wooing a suitor. I heard that this was all done by a single developer, and its success so far and popularity reminds me of Minecraft in that respect. It’s always good to see the little guys getting as much attention as EA’s mega-franchises.

There are a couple of things that I think the game could do better. Targeting squares for building/farming can be fiddly, and I really wish that you could just click on town houses on the map to transport or automatically walk there — it gets tiresome having to trek into town every day for various things.

Playing Stardew Valley? Have tips? Let me know!


10 thoughts on “The new hotness: Stardew Valley

  1. Grant March 7, 2016 / 9:17 am

    I am loving this game! Several nights this past week, I’ve glanced at the clock only to realize its two hours past when I normally go to bed. XD

    As far as overall tips, make sure you check out whats on TV every day. “Livin off the Land” will give you game tips, and the cooking show will let you learn cooking recipes (though this won’t do anything until you can buy a kitchen)

    I would also build a Silo before you build a coop, as chickens eat hay and grass. Hay costs 50g a piece from the animal trader so you definitely want to get your own source first. Once you have a silo, every time you cut grass on your farm it is automatically converted to hay.

    I’d love to see some screen shots of your farm as you get farther in. I’m terrible at decorating so its always cool to see what people come up with who are more creative than me 🙂

  2. bhagpuss March 7, 2016 / 9:46 am

    Not you as well…

  3. SynCaine March 7, 2016 / 10:47 am

    Watching TV every morning is huge. The weather helps you plan the next day (rain = no energy spend watering, plus certain fish only come out when its raining), the luck thing is good to know when going foraging (higher luck day = more rare drops) or fighting in the mine (rare drops), and as mentioned the Livin’ show has great tips, while the cooking show is how you open some of the recipes that will build up until you buy the house upgrade to get a kitchen.

    The biggest tip however is around doing as many of the community center objectives as you can during a specific season. The easiest one is the foraging goal during the spring. If you don’t collect the stuff, you will have to wait until next spring, which is a long time. I’m not terribly far into the community center, but I believe it’s the only way to open up certain areas, and those areas are the only spots for certain resources, which then feed back into community center goals.

    Also make sure to give a gift to anyone who is having a birthday, its a big relationship boost. I looked up what each person liked online, as its very hard to figure it out in-game.

  4. Venzur March 7, 2016 / 11:13 am

    If you haven’t already — click the “Always Show Tool Hit Location” option in the settings menu — may help with some of the square targeting issues. 🙂

  5. Stargrace March 7, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    My biggest tip is the same as @Venzur up above, make sure to turn on the “always show tool hit location” option, it will stop a lot of the weird target issues you might be having.

  6. Mattexl March 7, 2016 / 12:55 pm

    I am hooked on it as well! TORE through my first three seasons this weekend, playing non stop. Including an up until 2:30 AM session on Saturday that I’m paying for now on Monday.

    I agree with Syncaine, the Community Center is great to give a little structure/goals to complete stuff during a specific season. The icon on the right when you pop up your inventory is GREAT for reminding yourself what you still need to meet certain objectives.

    I obsessively watch the tv every morning to plan out my day. And one additional tip that I found in my research – preserve everything! Save all your generic veggies/fruits, and preserve them before selling. I’m making my way through winter by pickling the mountain of corn I grew all summer/fall.

  7. Aywren March 7, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    I really want to play this game as I adore Harvest Moon and other games of this type. I just have too much to play right now.

    However, my sister picked it up and she gave it her stamp of approval. That’s hard to get, so it must be really good. 🙂

  8. Jeromai March 7, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    I resemble one of those comments I saw on Steam. Bought a farming game, spent 80% of the time fishing.

    Or trying to fish. Or dang it, determined to figure out how this durned fishing system works, rather than fail all the time. Maybe if I fish in a different spot? A different time? If I keep banging my head against it, eventually I’ll level up fishing and it’ll get easier, right? Right?!

    Amusingly, I think muscle memory has kicked in and it’s almost reliable-ish now.

  9. Rivalyn Crimson March 9, 2016 / 2:43 am

    Fishing will either induce a deep-seated rage that drives you away from ever attempting it again, or will inspire you to spend an entire (real life) day trying to catch fish.

    It gets easier as you level up and unfortunately it’s one of the few points in the game where you hit a hard wall on ability, as it’s entirely possible to get hit with a level 10 fish on your first shot at fishing, which is literally impossible to catch at level 0. When you gain fishing skill the target bar is larger and the fish are less twitchy.

    There are a few fish that tend to stay near the bottom and don’t need a lot of effort to catch. These are your only real chance at levelling Fishing up – but the shop on the docks sells a food that buffs your fishing level. That will help.

    And don’t even try to fish on your farm, all you get is trash.

    I still find fishing terribly frustrating but I absolutely refuse to go with the Jojamart warehouse version of the bundles.

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