I’ve been vaguely following Stardew Valley’s success for a while. I first wrote about the game two and a half years ago, when it was looking polished and interesting and promised co-op farming. While the co-op aspect seems to have been put on the back burner for now, the game has seen its full release and sat towards the top of the Steam charts for ages. Now that it’s come out on Mac, I’ve been playing it more than I care to admit, and enjoying every moment with it.
The premise of the game is incredibly simple, and really familiar if you’ve ever played Harvest Moon. Your grandfather has died and left you his farm. It’s run down, but with some TLC you can fix things up and get it all running again. Beyond growing crops, building farm buildings to tend animals and cutting down all the trees, there is a whole town to explore and make friends in. With two festivals per season, and options for romance and friendship, the game is already full of content. But wait, there’s more.
Stardew Valley is very much an RPG. If you spend all day foraging for fruit in the nearby forest, your foraging skills improve. Same goes for if you spend your time fishing, fighting, farming, or mining. With my crops taking ages to grow at the start, I spent many days just fishing in the nearby river. My skills improved, I caught some high quality fish and made enough cash to buy a chicken coop. Once my chickens were laying eggs, I learned that a mayo machine resulted in even more cash. Oh, and let’s not forget the community center than needs some of my goods so that it can be rebuilt and restored to its former glory, revitalizing the town.