When most people think of video games they think of a blandly handsome white guy gunning down endless hordes of aliens/nazis/brown folk. However video games can be about more than violence. Sometimes they are about matching rows of colored blocks together, deciphering puzzles, or farming parsnips.
As a kid, one of my favorite games was Harvest Moon, a classic series about owning a farm, interacting with townsfolk and… well, not a whole lot else. Still, it captured the heart of millions of gamers. Today, that dream lives on in Stardew Valley, a game many have called a spiritual successor to Harvest Moon.
Like the classic Nintendo game, the story centers around you inheriting a farm and growing crops and animals through the seasons. However, there is much more that Stardew Valley has that it’s successor did not. For one thing, you can customize your appearance, allowing you to create, say, a creepy robot farmer
Another is the addition of combat. No, you can’t rampage through the valley hacking your fellow residents to bits, but there is a surprisingly deep, procedurally generated mine filled with slimes, bats, skeletons, and weird little witch doctor things for you to slay as you mine for minerals and ore.
You can also fish via an incredibly frustrating minigame, give gifts to the townspeople (many of which can be romance and later married), or just explore the valley, collecting wild plants. Doing all this will alsi level up your farming, foraging, mining, etc., unlocking new crafting recipes and abilities, as well as making those routine tasks easier and more efficient.
The characters also have surprising depth, from the quiet tutor who lives with her alcoholic mother in a trailer and is secretly ashamed, to the wizard who lives on the outskirts of town but sets up a fun spooky maze at halloween-time, to Linus, the homeless guy who lives in a tent.
There’s also a pretty hefty amount of content, dozens and dozens of fish
In fact it’s such a good game, the problem is figuring out how to stop.
If you didn’t watch that, Ross mentions logging 56 hours in this game. I myself have racked up similar playtime. Part of it is because the game doesn’t save until you go to bed a t the end of the night, and you always wanna get as much done in the day as you can. Then, once you’ve saved you awaken on a fresh new day. Have your chickens laid eggs? Did your crops grow in the night? Did you unlock a new cuts cent with your sweetheart? Well the only way to find out is to hop out of bed and check! And while you’re at it, you might as well check your crab traps down by the river…. Before you know it, you’re well into thw afternoon, so you might as well finish this day too.
This is the first game in a long time I have played until my fingers have hurt and I have no regrets. At 14.99 on Steam, it’s definitely great value and I recommend picking it up, especially if you’re a Harvest Moon fan. So while you go get that, I’m just going to get a couple more days in before work. Or hell, I may as well just finish winter… but then I need to start planning my crops for Spring…