Longing for a simpler time..
Have you ever looked at the comforts of the modern world and said, “Fuck it, let’s move to Georgia and start a radish farm! I’ll be broke as shit, but at least I’m outside!”
No. No, you haven’t, at least not with a healthy mind. Nobody wants to do 90% of the work required to become a farmer, just to be outdoors.
If you still crave the outdoors or at least want to get away from modern life, then i have the game for you.
Stardew Valley is a revisioning of one of those old farming sims from the early 2000s, most notably the game Harvest Moon, just with much better graphics, a relaxed and chill atmosphere, and more depth.
You play as a random, depressed office worker who inherits a farm in Stardew Valley from his dead grandpa. Your task is to clear roots, plant crops, and raise livestock. The gameplay is a slow burner, with you having to wait a certain number of in-game days for plants to grow. It’s hard to pull off, making plant growing fun, but it does it in a few ways. First, it focuses you on long-term planning and logistics, which becomes a mind game in it itself, as you only have so much land to sacrifice. Second, the game is extremely chill, from it, color pallet to its relaxing music. Third, there seem to be a billion little side activities that completely stray from the farming aspect of the game. There’s fishing, in which it’s possible to pick up an anchovy and a Lovecraftian water god from the same pier.
This can get insanely addicting to the point I abandoned my farm for a week straight without realizing it. You can mine for materials in caves and fight monsters with swords and slingshots; it’s quite overwhelming.
Overall, the strength of Stardew Valley is its ability to lull the player into a trance, making hours seem like minutes as you float from one task to the next. It’s certaintly not perfect though
If there was one aspect of Stardew Valley i hated I would probably point to the superficial character and relationship elements.
You are given several bachelors and bachelorettes to seduce, which often leads to stilted, awkward conversations where they regurgitate how their day is going before meandering off.
You can seduce them faster by giving them gifts, making yourself a simp, as they become interested in you when you give them copious amounts of berries and diamonds. It did make me laugh when I would run up to a potential suitor, hand them a jar of honey, and disappear into the forests like a horny Lorax.
But other than that the characters arent very intriguing beyond which guy/ gal is the #1 hottie of Pelican Town, as they all fall into bland stereotypes that i barely feel the need to explain. From goths to jocks to nerdy engineers, it hits all the stereotypes with one blast from the Literary shotgun, leaving every character feel like a character from a late 2000’s Disney Channel Original movie.
Pro: Chill Quality
I’ve always said that always said that the gaming industry needs more games focused on relaxing and healing. I mean video games are recreation right? It stands to reason that there is a market for games that help someone turn off for at least a few minutes. So if your stressed about finals, and want a chill down game, i’d recommend picking this up as a t. The game seeks to be a soft, melancholic experience, from the sound design of trees breaking and falling, to the way the ocean crashes on the shore. Its beautiful and relaxing in every sense of the word.
Overall, Stardew Valley is a proven great time, perfect for relaxing or just wanting to play something while listening to a podcast or two.