In the current state our world is in, it’s easy to start looking for distractions to pass the time and keep you from getting the S.I.P blues. While searching the app store for such a distraction, I came across Stardew Valley — a farming simulator that is much, much more than a farming simulator.
I paid the $7.99 charge (trust me, this is a very small cost for a very large game) and got to work. You create your character, select the farm you’d like to live on and are thrust into the small community of Pelican Town with 15 parsnip seeds and a small cottage. It can be a little intimidating at first to see how much work your farm will need after being abandoned for many years but the game gives you a good amount of time to settle in.
While the main premise of Stardew Valley is to upgrade your farm and make as much money as possible, there are much deeper elements. A vibrant social system that can get you a spouse, fixing the old community center in town and mining the local mine are just some of the major aspects of this game.
Because crops don’t grow in one day, you’ll find yourself needing something to do in the meantime. This is where fishing, foraging, mining and combat come into play. For a bit of extra cash, you can fish the various bodies of water in Pelican Town. There are a different variety of fish based on what body of water you’re fishing, the time of day and the season. Fishing is strangely addicting! I’ve spent quite a few hours trying to get every fish I can while waiting for my crops to grow.
Also, for extra cash, you can forage across the entire town. Different plants and fruits are able to pick up from the ground and can be good gifts for the townspeople. When exploring Pelican Town it’s worth picking up every foragable you see.
To upgrade your basic tools, you’ll need some good materials. This is where the mine comes into play. With many, many levels to delve into, the mine gives hours of gameplay in itself. You can gather stone and better ores like copper, iron and gold. These ores can upgrade your tools and make life a lot easier for you. There are also monsters in the mines, though, like slimes and squid kids. Monsters can drop valuable items and give you combat experience.
To me, the social system is one of the best things about Stardew Valley. With 28 citizens in Pelican Town to befriend and learn about, there are hours worth of content in trying to become everyone’s best friend and learn everything about them. As you befriend more citizens, they will speak to you nicer and even send you helpful items in the mail. As said before, you can even have a spouse.
As you get closer with certain citizens, you could trigger a heart event. A heart event is a cutscene that plays between you and another character and will often give opportunities to become closer to that citizen. I’ve spent hours on this game just trying to get everyone to like me and to learn everyone’s likes and dislikes.
There isn’t much of a “main storyline” in Stardew, mostly because you are in charge of how you spend each of your days. However, the closest thing to “beating the game” is fixing the community center. There are 30 bundles of items to complete that’ll most likely take you at least a year to finish. There is no time limit though, because again, Stardew gives you the choice to choose how you spend each day.
Additionally, there is a museum where you can submit valuable artifacts you find across your adventures in Stardew Valley. The museum can give you rewards and is definitely something to spend your time on.
Although everything I’ve talked about has made the game absolutely amazing, I haven’t gone into the best part yet. In my opinion, the best part of Stardew Valley is the sense of community. In each season there are two town events you can go to that provide activities and potential items. For example, in the fall there is a town fair that provides mini games and a grange display to partake in.
With the S.I.P in place it can often feel like you’re cooped inside. Stardew Valley provides a getaway from that feeling. It gives you a sense of control and lets you dictate how you’ll spend your time. Also, the mobile edition allows you to carry the game wherever you go. Take it from someone with 50 hours of experience: you will not regret picking up Stardew Valley.
I give Stardew Valley 5 out of 5 Swoops.