Photo Source: Medium
I will always have a soft spot for relaxed, casual simulation games, games that exist to preview another existence. American Truck Simulator (a game I’ve talked about before on this blog) allows me to live out a burgeoning freelance trucking career (though I also learned that I’m hilariously bad at virtual trucking). I’ll also get eventually caught up in pet simulation games such as Neopets and Flight Rising every couple years to take care of and customize virtual pets. So, I was pretty excited when I got Stardew Valley from a bundle of computer games. However, it took me an extremely long time to finally get around to it (there’s something about getting a bunch of games at once that causes you to procrastinate on downloading any of them). However, once I did download it, I couldn’t put it down.
Like American Truck Simulator, Stardew Valley on the surface doesn’t necessarily scream excitement. In the game, you play as your own avatar and pick your name, gender, and general appearance. You’ve just inherited a farm from your late grandfather, so you decided to move away from the city and into Pelican Town, a sleepy small town in Stardew Valley. From then on, it’s all you. You can make money by fishing, mining, foraging, farming, or fighting off monsters in caves. You also get to get to know, befriend, and even romance the members of the town. Over time, you learn more about each unique character. Part of the magic of the game is that you aren’t forced down a certain path. The biggest threat going on is that the Joja corporation (similar to Walmart) aims to buy the run-down Community Center and make it into a warehouse. You can help save the center by delivering some of the things you find to the forest sprites who took up residence in the center (they are, in fact, the cutest things ever).
Where Stardew Valley shines is its aesthetic experience. The game is extremely relaxing but engaging, and its style does everything to contribute to the tone and experience. The game’s visual style is in a 16-bit pixely style, just enough to clearly differentiate what’s going on but rough-looking enough to draw you into a feeling of nostalgia. All of the colors are generally bright without coming off as saccharine, contributing to the relaxing tone of the game. The original soundtrack of the game really cinches the experience. Normally, I prefer to play my own music in lieu of whatever the game provides, but I couldn’t imagine putting anything else on other than the game’s original soundtrack. The game serves up an easygoing but upbeat soundtrack using accordion, castanets, string instruments, pipes, and other instruments to perfectly compliment the tone of the game.
I would recommend to Stardew Valley to anyone looking for a new game to relax to or any casual video game player looking for a delightful change of pace. With plenty of things to do and learn in Stardew Valley, you’re bound to get plenty of mileage out of it. I have had the game for only a couple weeks, and I’ve already logged 23 hours on it. The game is available for all kinds of computers and the Nintendo Switch, and they have just released an iPhone version (according to reviews, the translation from computer to tablet is not bad). If you’re looking to get a little lost in another world not so far from your own, look no further. Give this game a spin.
If you are interested in buying the game, you can find the PC download here, the IOS game here, and the Switch game here.