My favorite video game

Last week I talked about playing MMOs. I love playing MMOs and it’s been one of my favorite ways to meet people on the internet. That and through Team Fortress 2 lobbies back in the day. I think back to those days very fondly. Somehow I was in a terrible place mentally yet playing that game every day never failed to cheer me up. For the longest time it was easily my favorite game. Then I spent some time playing a bunch of different games, eventually getting stuck in another MMO again. But now that I’ve once again uninstalled that game (I don’t have a problem, I swear), I needed something to fill my time with until uni picks up its pace again in September. So I went back to where I always go back to. To the place I belong. Stardew Valley, Pelican City, take me home, country roads. (Don’t copyright strike me please).

For those unfamiliar, Stardew Valley is a farming simulator. The game starts with a cutscene from your grandfather who is dying. He leaves you the deed to his old farm in the valley and tells you to open the letter when you feel like the crushing weight of society is getting to you. I definitely haven’t experienced that, I’m not panicking. Either way, we cut to our character in an office job, miserable. We open the letter and find the aforementioned deed.

Fun fact, there’s a series of mods for this game that turns grandpa’s bed in the introduction cutscene into more and more scuffed beds and lack thereof and it’s so funny to me.

So you get on a bus and find yourself at the new farm with the mayor of the town, Lewis and the local carpenter, Robin. They help you get situated and then you start your first day on the farm. The game has ingame years, consisting of four 28 day seasons. Every day has a timer and you also have an energy and health mechanic. It’s up to you to clean up the farm, start planting some crops, getting some animals and many more things. I’d personally say that Stardew has four main mechanics, and to really explain to you why it all works so well, let’s go over each of them.

No surprise to anyone, the thing you’ll be doing initially is setting up the farm. You hoe the ground, plant crops and then water them as you slowly upgrade to having sprinklers or better tools to water them more quickly. You sell the crops and buy new seeds, all pretty straightforward. As the game continues you eventually get animals as well and even a greenhouse where you can plant crops all year round without having to pay attention to what season it is. You can turn some of your crops and animal goods into more expensive stuff like cheese, wine and truffle oil. 

If farming isn’t your thing, that’s okay too. You’ll probably have to do some of it but once you get later into the game you end up automating most of it and you can even choose to get a greenhouse setup that requires next to no input. You can instead follow your passion of becoming the world’s best fisherman or woman. There’s different locations to fish and the fishing minigame is straightforward but pretty fun nonetheless. I love fishing minigames in many of the games I play (shout out to Torchlight 2 for having a great one) and the one in Stardew Valley has my approval. You can buy better fishing rods, make better bait and get better lures. There’s also legendary fish that are only there in special locations.

Fishing does get old after a while, at least in my opinion, which is where the mines come in. There are several mines in this game, but my favorite is the skull mine. It’s a mine you unlock later in the game and where there’s no bottom. You bomb and mine your way from floor to floor, fighting off enemies and finding ores and gems. Some of the deeper floors have treasure chests as well. What makes this so fun is that because the days have limited time, you can try to get as deep as you can get in the time limit the game gives you. Once you upgrade all your stuff and have more materials you can start really deep diving. 

And if you’re bored of all three of those things, do not worry, there’s another mechanic you’ll likely be interacting with while all of this is going on; the story. You see, Pelican Town has a large array of people living there. They all have their own small story and there’s events that the entire town goes to like ice fishing and a summer fair. There’s also a community center that requires you to find and harvest a whole bunch of items to clean up the place. You can also date and eventually marry a wide array of bachelors with different personalities. The game doesn’t discriminate at all so you can marry men or women alike, regardless of your own gender. Your partner will help out in and around the farm sometimes and gives you gifts as well. There’s cooking, a museum, a witch, an island, a casino and so much more to explore. After being developed for quite a while, this game has truly become a gem amongst gems.

Having talked too much about the mechanics, let’s take a quick moment to appreciate the framework of the game. The artstyle is a very nice 16 bit style that works well. The sound and music are phenomenal and I urge you to listen to some of the OST on youtube to see for yourself. The dialogue is witty and the game runs well. My favorite sound is the watering can. That sounds like a silly thing to say, but it’s true and you won’t really find out until you play the game yourself. While the developer is working on their next game (which I’m very excited for) I urge everyone who hasn’t played this game yet to give it a go. You won’t regret it.

And that’s all I have to say about Stardew Valley today. I’ve been wanting to write about some more positive things, so this is an attempt at that. I hope you guys enjoyed my little review, and as always; thanks for reading.

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