Stardew Valley is a game whose development I have been following for a few years now. I’ve always had a soft spot for Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and since switching to PC gaming, I’ve always been searching for something to fill the void in the “Life Sim“ department. Eventually, I stumbled across the interesting bundle of joy that is Stardew Valley. Many years have passed since I found this game and I have been worried that this game would fall in to a state of permanent development, meaning that we’d never actually see it. It’s happened with many games in the past and this was shaping up to follow the trend, so I thought. Thankfully, I was a bit wrong. Rather like the reaction I had to Firewatch’s release: I did a dance that I’m glad no-one else saw when I found out that Stardew Valley was actually coming out.
GRATUITOUS HARVEST SHOT! LOOK AT DEM CROPS!
Stardew Valley could easily be summed up by calling it Harvest Moon: PC edition. You’d know just about as much as the wider public does, based off that description alone. Dev blogs have always been few and far between, probably because of the workload, and it’s really the trailers accompanying the blogs that give anyone any idea of what this game’s about. The game seems to employ the best parts of a lot of good games, whilst bringing them together in a way that works well. There’s a bit of Terraria/Minecraft in the crafting, there’s a clear Harvest Moon influence in the farming and there even seems to be combat elements reminiscent of some old RPG’s thrown in for good measure. I wish I had more to say about the features and mechanics but I’ll have to play the game before I can comment on them. Trailers only give away so much. What this game really seems to be bringing to the table, however, is story. A story of escape and adventure. We all love escape and adventure, right? This game seems to have that by the shedload.
Day/Night Cycle: More or less confirmed. Terrifying lightning based death: More or less confirmed.
In true Harvest Moon fashion, you are left a farm by a random family member. Pretty standard “Harvest Moon“ fare so far. The thing that seems to set the game apart from Harvest Moon, however, is the sheer amount of other things on display as you go about running the place. NPC’s seem charming and full of character, a huge amount of areas are open for exploration and there seems to be a big focus on customisation; meaning that as you explore, you can also leave a mark. I know for certain that you can customise your own house and land, but I’m hoping that you can affect the surrounding town in a similar fashion, Animal Crossing: New Leaf style. That kind of thing is a really drawing point, personally, and I feel would be for a lot of others too.
Do we get seasons too? That's actually pretty cool. You know what else is cool? Winter... because... because it's cold...
The pixel-y art style that was so big when the game started development has thankfully aged well and is still really quite charming to look at. Not only that but there’s so much colour everywhere! The art style really lends to the games overall aesthetic of a calm but vibrant experience and I think it’s a big part of the game’s appeal. All the sprites are really well drawn and are all a joy to look at. Furthermore, all the locations seem varied enough to keep the player interested for long periods of time. It’s got a very “Terraria“ feel to it in the art department. I think my use of the word “charming“ sums it all up. It is just that. Charming and calming.
Is it always lovely? We'll be the judge of that, mr Governor! Your propaganda won't work on me!
In short, I can’t really say much about the game. Throughout the development period we’ve been shown so much and yet told very little. If you appreciate my opinion on games, then perhaps you’ll take my word for it and give it a look. If you’re split on my opinion on games: still take a look at this game. I’ll give it a full review once I’ve had some time with it but for now, I can’t wait for the release. Check out the trailer for more information and check the game out on the 26th of February 2016.
Oh, and here's a link for the website. The developer, ConcernedApe, is a gift.