No one has rated this review as helpful yet
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 183.3 hrs on record (183.2 hrs at review time)
Posted: Mar 23 @ 7:35pm

This is a short version of my review. To see the full review, check out my website[].
Why Stardew Valley?
I have a history of starting Stardew with someone, then stopping shortly after. Maybe it's just me, but it feels like Stardew is the go-to game for people in a relationship. The health of the relationship depends on how far you end up in the game. I've picked up and dropped Stardew with a few different people. I dismissed it as something I'm never going to get into, and it's not a game for me.
The UI & Theme
When I was a teen, I played Harvest Moon for the first time on DS. Stardew reminded me of Harvest Moon, and was initially the reason I was apprehensive to playing. Harvest Moon is great, but I thought I could only enjoy a game like that once. The UI of Stardew is similar to every other game in the genre. This isn't a problem for me, as it's a tried and true UI, and allows you to move through the game seamlessly. The advanced options also allow you to change some elements, as well as tooltips to provide you with extra information.You're a new farmer in town, and it's up to you to fill the shoes of your grandfather, who left the farm to you. It's silly how cliché this specific scenario is, but it works so well that people keep using it in their games. Everything about the style of this game feels very familiar, yet they managed to compliment it with having compelling backstories for the townsfolk.
The Gameplay
You're dropped on your farm with nothing but a few seeds and some tools. What you do from there is up to you. The game loosely guides you into the gameplay by giving you quests, and things to explore, but never forces you to do anything. Stardew is far from a linear experience, but there is a clear way to end the game. Making money and building relationships is your primary goal, and there are a handful of different wants to achieve that. Your secondary goal is to build up the town, and attempt to bring the townsfolk closer together.
The Loop
There are a ton of hidden mechanics that you'll pick up along the way. No matter how far you get into the game, something new is always happening, and everything feels fresh. Eventually, you unlock two new areas; one of which has an entire new farm for you, that isn't affected by the season system. You can effectively plant whatever you want whenever you want. The amount of side stories that you get sucked into is wild for the scope of the game. It becomes so much more than farming, chatting, and grinding the mines.
Final Thoughts
Stardew is a beautiful, creative, and compelling game. It deserves the popularity and praise that it gets, as it's easily one of the best video games ever created. What really blows my mind is that it was made by one person, who still loves and updates the game. The experience reminds me of Minecraft, which has an unending amount of content, but you can do whatever you want at your pace. The progression in the game feels natural, and the gameplay loop was crafted to be smooth and satisfying. I can't give this game enough praise, you absolutely need to play it.
Completion & Master Record
Speaking as a completionist, you owe it to yourself to not only complete this game, but master it. Once you get to the Walnut Room, you're given a machine you can interact with that tells you how much of the game you've completed. Outside the achievements, there is more you can do in the game to master it. Having that clear outline as to what needs to be done, and what you're missing, makes this game a must master for all completionists.There are some frustrations that you have to be mindful of. There's an achievement to cook every recipe. Be sure to watch the TV every Sunday and Wednesday, as this is the primary way of getting new recipes. If you miss out on this, you'll be stuck sleeping over and over to end the game to get these recipes, as you have nothing else to do. Another tip, be sure to start working on your reputation early. There isn't an achievement to max relationship with everyone, but it's part of the perfection tracker, counting towards mastering the game.
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