Game Review #300: Stardew Valley (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: ConcernedApe

Writer: Chucklefish LTD

Class: Function-Taking part in, Simulation

Launch Date: 10.05.2017

Worth (at time of evaluation): $14.99

Purchase Stardew Valley from the Nintendo Swap eShop right here.

If You Construct It They Will Come

After I first purchased my Swap, I used to be so joyful to check out this hybrid system that so many had instructed me was the “IT” system to have transferring ahead. So, as soon as I received it in my arms, the following query I began asking everybody was what video games had been the should personal video games that I simply needed to have. In fact, I heard the large weapons like Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, however one recreation that saved arising over and over was a small indie title that was digital solely, and likewise not unique to the Swap. That recreation is Stardew Valley, which was solely developed by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone, and revealed by Chucklefish.

What made this such a scorching merchandise on the Swap had been two issues, with the primary being that this was a cellular console and it appeared to pair very effectively with the cellular play-style on the go. Sure, this finally noticed a launch on the PS Vita as effectively, and don’t stone me to loss of life, however that system is lifeless within the water, and the Nintendo Swap is the hottest-selling console on the earth. Now, this usually wouldn’t be my go-to recreation, however after the hype, I requested to present it a go, and that is my tackle Stardew Valley.

Oh Yeah, A Harvest Is Coming Now

So, I discussed earlier than that there have been two causes that made this recreation such a scorching ticket, and now I’ll soar into quantity two: Nintendo is thought for having a good knit following for sure titles—and never a small-in-numbers following in any respect—and two of these titles are Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. Now, solely Animal Crossing is a Nintendo-owned property, however that doesn’t imply that most individuals don’t consider Nintendo instantly after they consider Harvest Moon. Positive, it’s seen life on different consoles, like PlayStation, but it surely’s a mainstay on the Nintendo consoles; so, when that house isn’t stuffed, somebody will fill it, and boy oh boy, Stardew Valley fills that Harvest Moon farming void, and much more so with the Animal Crossing group intertwining—however extra on that later.

This isn’t the primary time that Chucklefish has made this transfer, as their newest title, Wargroove, stuffed the void left by not having any presence for the followers of Advance Wars, with not solely having the cutting-edge fortitude to leap into this vacant house and develop new IPs, however to additionally pour in a lot love and dedication that it makes their titles overflow with 100 hours—or normally extra—of gaming bliss.

Who Wants “The Man”? Time To Get Away!

Our story begins off easy, and it’s one we’ve heard earlier than that rings true to many in numerous methods. Your grandfather is mendacity on his loss of life mattress, and as you’re spending your final moments with the one you love, he tells you to take this letter and to open it when the world’s received you down and also you want a change, as was the case for him at one level.

The sport fast-forwards a bit to you sitting in an workplace, in a tiny cubicle at an enormous company, and as work is piling up and life is beginning to actually get you down, you keep in mind the letter that your grandfather gave you. When you open the letter, you discover out that he left you his farm in Stardew Valley, the place he himself retreated to years in the past when the rat race of the world received him down and he selected a less complicated life. Now you may have chosen the identical, as you allow your 9 to five to dwell a extra content material life in Stardew Valley.

Get It Collectively & Begin Working

So, I’ve to preface one thing earlier than leaping into this half: as soon as I began, I performed for about 6 to eight days in recreation days earlier than I made a decision I used to be going all about this recreation all mistaken and determined to scrap issues and begin over all the best way from the start and take a unique strategy. I say that as a result of I went in pondering it will be open in some respects, however very linear in gameplay or targets, and oh was I so mistaken!

So, in the beginning, you select your identify, gender, and what you appear like, all the way down to eye coloration, facial options, and what you’ll put on—I even gave my man a beer stomach, and he appeared fairly spot on—and I used to be shocked by how I felt I used to be within the recreation getting issues carried out. Earlier than lengthy, you arrive by bus in Pelican City, which is situated in Stardew Valley the place your farm is situated.

You’re greeted by the native carpenter and the mayor, the place you then see your farm—I named mine Purple Rooster—and it’s in utter disarray, because it has been uncared for since grandpa handed and hasn’t been round to handle issues. Proper in entrance of your farm home there’s over grown grass, uncontrolled shrubs, tree limbs scattered round, full-grown bushes, rocks, and boulders.

The Lengthy & In need of a Working Day

Now, as I stood outdoors, I instantly realized nobody had given me route and instructed me what to do, and this by no means adjustments, as there isn’t any hand-holding right here. You’re left to your individual gadgets and made to go at it the way you see match. You get up each day at 6 a.m., and the day ends at 2 a.m.; and you need to be in mattress at the moment, or your character will simply cross out wherever they’re, and you can be penalized.

Every in recreation day lasts roughly 20 minutes, however even with that, you need to control your power meter, as doing duties will chip away at it, and if it runs out, you’ll cross out. So, as you look out on the land, you should use the instruments you need to start clearing the land, utilizing your backpack to hold objects you obtain. I personally cleared away every little thing instantly in entrance of my farm home, after which tilled some land so I might plant seeds and farm.

As I awoke every day, I’d discover letters in my mailbox welcoming me to city and letting me know when one thing was going to occur, and that is what peaked my curiosity. I used to be completely content material with being a hermit and staying near dwelling, simply farming and stress-free, however the second I received these letters and I lastly stepped off the farm and into city, I discovered that that is way over only a farming simulator, this can be a life simulator, with what felt limitless in the best way of content material.

Life Is Occurring To Us All

So, saying that is extra of a life simulator tells the story, as you get out of Stardew Valley what you place into it, identical to life itself. It didn’t take lengthy to seek out out the sport’s depth of content material and gameplay simply saved giving again an increasing number of, and that was a staggering feat coming from such a small developer. So, with in my first two weeks (in-game), I’d already began transferring round city, assembly the city folks and discovering that everybody is like individuals you’d meet in actual life. Not all NPCs are variety and useful, some are simply regular individuals having a nasty day, so perhaps they’re grumpy. However, by interacting and giving items, you’ll be able to construct relationships that final, and bonds of friendship that repay identical to in actual life.

So, very quickly in any respect, I used to be buying seed on the native retailer, the place there’s additionally a calendar telling you of the native city occasions and when the shop could be closed for sure occasions or holidays. Very quickly after that, I used to be launched to the outdated man on the pier who gave me my fishing pole—with which, by the best way, you’ll be able to catch and log every sort of fish, which can take fairly some time—which is simply one other instance of the depth of the sport, as I used to be simply scratching the floor and I’d already gained the flexibility to farm, scavenge, fish, and socialize with the NPCs.

Talking of life, you’ll be able to construct up extra than simply your farm. As your relationships develop, you’ll be able to date and even get married. The sport lasts 3 years in recreation years, and takes round 100 hours to finish, from what I’ve gathered. Although I haven’t reached this feat but, I look ahead to doing so, as I knew only some weeks in, after I had been invited to the city’s Easter pageant the place I received to hunt for eggs, that this was so completely different than what I anticipated, and I couldn’t wait to seek out out extra.

I got here throughout some ore on accident, and earlier than I knew it, I had a person telling me he might assist me use it to make issues. This ability will assist, as you’ll be able to strengthen your instruments, and it left me questioning the best way to discover extra ore. I then discovered the caves the place you’ll be able to mine for ore, and once more, nobody tells you something. Even the story must be finessed out, and it’s carried out so organically and naturally. As for the story—which splinters into many instructions, however primarily is outdoors of your day-to-day life—you need to assist rebuild the leisure heart on the town, and likewise assist battle again in opposition to the mega-corp threatening to take over the city. Now, none of that is required, however why wouldn’t you battle in opposition to “The Man” to avoid wasting this stunning little city?

The rec heart gave me quite a bit to do, as that was the place I first came upon you may be given duties and missions on prime of every little thing else; and right here on the rec heart is the place I used to be launched to the fantasy ingredient of the sport—which I didn’t understand it had—and at this level, what little of me wasn’t bought was now 100% formally on board. I used to be prepared to assist the spirits of the city and battle monsters within the caves, all whereas coming again to water the crops and construct my hen coop. Briefly, there’s virtually no restrict to the issues you’ll be able to and can do. The sport works to by no means develop stale and is all the time including layers and really deep interactions to maintain you invested.

Audio & Visuals – Updates & Longevity

The soundtrack for Stardew Valley is quaint and intensely charming, with music that actually attracts you in and makes you are feeling comfy as you are inclined to your farm or tackle one of many different duties. There isn’t any voiceover work, as all dialogue is completed by textual content, however the sound results and music nonetheless do such a fantastic job making you are feeling at dwelling whereas enjoying.

The artwork fashion is interesting, with its lovely characters and colourful environments paying tribute to 16-bit and 32-bit video games, particularly JRPGs of previous. I used to be blown away to seek out out that Barone Ailey not solely developed the sport by himself over 4 years in what began out as a fan-made various to Harvest Moon—he’d felt the collection had taken a nosedive over time and misplaced its means—however he additionally created all of the pixel artwork seen within the recreation and composed the entire music himself. As you’ll be able to see, that this was a labor of affection for him, and it really reveals within the last product.

Now I say last product, as Barone had gotten to a spot the place he was snug releasing the sport again in 2016. He didn’t need to launch it early entry, and wished it to be an entire recreation, but in addition wished it to be open-ended so gamers didn’t really feel rushed and will work at their very own tempo. Since its launch on the Nintendo Swap in 2017, the sport has seen a number of updates, with the newest being replace 1.3, which enabled multiplayer, amongst different issues, like new festivals and extra.

Barone is claimed to have employed a choose group of builders to assist him maintain engaged on the sport, and replace 1.4, said by the builders to be one other large replace, is looming. With such consideration given to this title, it reveals you it’ll have legs for years to return, and it gained’t go away you bored or on the lookout for issues to do. With the updates, Barone brings issues like sure objects and artwork which can be solely discovered on the Nintendo Swap.

Even Enjoyable With Buddies

First off, the sport helps four-player co-op, and it’s a blast to leap in with 1 to three buddies on a brand new or present farm. Every participant has their very own cabin on the farm, however works cooperatively, whether or not it’s farming, mining, or the storyline. All the cash you accumulate throughout enjoying in co-op is shared all through all of the gamers, although storing issues in your individual personal safes is safe, as you don’t have to fret about somebody “borrowing” a uncommon merchandise and never returning it.

Your particular person relationships are your individual as effectively, and so they gained’t intertwine, main into some bizarre awkward conditions. As has been established, you may get married within the recreation, however you can too marry an internet participant as effectively, the place, in case you suggest and so they say sure, you turn into engaged. With the multiplayer replace, now you can additionally voice and textual content chat with each other utilizing coloration textual content and tons of Stardew Valley emojis; however if in case you have buddies or household that need to soar in with you and play, you can too select to play native co-op.

It’s A Wrap!!!

What Eric Barone has been capable of do by taking one thing close to and expensive to himself, and by expounding upon it to make a deep and enthralling expertise that avid gamers will love, is actually a masterpiece. At its core, it’s a recreation made with numerous love, and one I can see myself pouring many extra hours into within the years to return, as a result of this one has a lot to do; and on the value level of $14.99 (U.S.), this can be a full-fledged deep recreation at an indie value, and one each Swap proprietor ought to have of their assortment!

Rating: 9.5/10

Purchase Stardew Valley from the Nintendo Swap eShop right here.

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