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Video Game Review: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

I bought Stardew Valley for the Nintendo Switch last month, and I’ve basically been a hermit ever since. If you like simulation games like me, Stardew Valley is an all-consuming love affair that can take up hours of your time. I was obsessed from the first minute I picked it up — I made my family watch me play, and I even put down Breath of the Wild to spend my time running around the cute little valley. Since its release in February 2016 on PC, Stardew Valley has been compared to and draws inspiration from the game Harvest Moon. For those looking to relive the nostalgia through 16-bit graphics, Stardew Valley is the perfect candidate.


The premise of Stardew Valley is simple — you’ve inherited a large farm outside a small town and moved to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Between farming, fishing, mining, and flirting with the quirky cast of characters, it’s very difficult to get bored. At first, it’s even a little overwhelming. There’s so much to do, and so many things to unlock. You start with an overrun plot of land and a tiny house, which you can upgrade to build various structures that can turn you a higher profit. You also work to help rebuild the declining town and build friendships with everyone from the town drunk to the snotty city girl (spoilers: she becomes more bearable), and YES, romancing is a thing.

Stardew Valley has a charm only indie games can achieve — it’s open-ended enough to keep you interested, but has enough structure to keep you going. Before you know it, you’ll have the Wiki site bookmarked on your phone and have the schedules and food preferences of the characters memorized. However, if you’ve played similar games like The Sims or Animal Crossing, you’ll eventually realize that it’s a game to play nonstop for weeks at a time and then forget about for a few months before you pick it back up. After a while, it gets a little boring planting and harvesting crop after crop, or making wine after wine. Fortunately, the game makes up for this in replayability. There are endless options on how to structure your farm, who to romance, and what to focus on.


I bought Stardew Valley on the recommendation of a friend, not really expecting much, but it blew me completely out of the water. The controls on the Switch are fairly seamless, the 16-bit graphics are charming, and the music is adorable. Even better, Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe, (who did all the coding, music, and pixel art by himself) has announced continual updates and a multiplayer mode later on this year. If you like simulation games or were a big fan of Harvest Moon, have an extra $20 to spend, and aren’t planning on doing anything major for the next few weeks after you buy it, I highly recommend ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley. Just make sure you don’t buy it before exams.

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