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!