Wot I Think: Stardew Valley

After my second nearly sleepless night, I think it’s safe to say that I’m hooked. Only this isn’t the “just one more turn” of Sid Meier’s Civilization, it’s the “just one more day” of Stardew Valley [official site], a honkey-tonk love letter to the Harvest Moon series. But Stardew Valley isn’t trapped by its obvious affections for Harvest Moon. It uses them as a foundation to expand from, to create something that is as rewarding as stepping foot outside your door to see a crop of bulbous melons ready to harvest. Here’s wot I think:

Like Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is a rather on-the-nose commentary about abandoning the relentless pace of city life for the rural charms of the countryside. But Stardew Valley wears its message without subtlety as the introduction sticks you in a cubicle confronting another day in a lifetime of stale corporate existence. Seeking a way out, you open an old letter from your grandfather that foretells of this quarter-life crisis and offers you an escape by inheriting his farmstead and embracing a more rewarding life. Before you know it, you’ll be stepping off the bus and into the rustic charms of Pelican Town.

From day one, Stardew Valley wasted no time with upending a bucket of possibilities into my lap, and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of ways I could spend a day once the training wheels were taken off in the first month. Time and stamina were my greatest enemy, and there’s a satisfying challenge to planning routines while working towards larger objectives like upgrading my home and tools.

There’s a really great feeling of progression to Stardew Valley. Your farming enterprise will start out humble, but with a little effort and some strategy, your business will blossom into a titan of industry. Pumping out a steady stream of produce, artisan goods, and whatever else you can pick up that isn’t nailed down to sell off feels rewarding when you remember the humble crops you started with.

Each money-making activity you pursue will filter into one of several branches of progression like foraging, farming, or mining. You’ll level up as you keep playing, becoming more proficient while also unlocking new crafting recipes.

Crafting is a huge part of being successful in Stardew Valley, as just shipping off raw produce is rarely ever the most economical way of making a living. Once you unlock more crafting blueprints, you can expand the operations on your farm in a multitude of ways. By the end of my first summer, I was churning out jars of mayonnaise and jelly, tending to bee hives, tapping trees for syrup, feeding livestock, and spending the evening casting my fishing line in the ocean. Though I always felt inspired to move at a decent clip throughout the day, spending a quiet evening taking in the crash of waves while fishing feels genuinely relaxing. Stardew Valley’s romanticism of farm life is captivating.

Unlike Harvest Moon, which tends to preach that hard work in itself is a reward, Stardew Valley is absolutely giddy about patting you on the back every step of the way. Whether it’s the bounty from a big crop or saving up for an exciting new addition to your farm, there is a constant stream of rewards to look forward to.

The amount of farmland available is staggering, and I cannot imagine how anyone could put all of that space to use without turning Stardew Valley into the most stressful time management game ever devised. There isn’t a whole lot of automation that you can set up to help you either. Sprinklers can be crafted to water your crops, but you’re still going to need to get your hands dirty on a daily basis. Overextending yourself can have consequences, like the time I used all my money to plant a massive crop of blueberries and then spent the rest of summer resenting having to care for them each day.

Your farm isn’t the only area with a lot of space, and that can feel like a curse when you set off to visit your neighbours. Pelican Town is almost too spread out, and getting from place to place can begin to feel like a chore—not the good kind. This is perfectly exemplified in the public bathhouse, which features two empty and functionally pointless rooms you have to walk through just to get to the pools and restore your stamina—something I came to hate when I was racing against the clock to get something done and had to waste precious seconds.

Finding villagers as they mosey about their days can also be a pain. There’s no indication of where they might be, so you’re best bet is to memorize their schedules or find a written guide online—neither feeling like adequate solutions to a problem Harvest Moon solved a few games ago by indicating which area of the map villagers are currently in.

Where Stardew Valley really comes alive is in the interactions with the local townsfolk, a much adored Harvest Moon tradition that Stardew Valley mimics to great effect. Each of the twenty-plus residents of Pelican Town are distinctive personalities that you can befriend, opening up deeper possibilities and new twists to the formula like shacking up and getting married. While there are tangible benefits to playing nice with all your neighbors, the greatest reward comes from slowly peeling back the layers of their lives and understanding them on a deeper level. Here is where Stardew Valley reveals that it isn’t just another Harvest Moon clone, as the way it treats some of these relationships can feel poignant and self-aware in ways that Harvest Moon never has.

There’s themes of corporatism crushing small business, like the clashes between Pierre’s general store and the Joja supermarket just a few doors down, and even of homelessness. Late one night I stumbled upon Linus, a homeless man, rifling through the trash. We had a brief conversation where I was given the option to sympathize with or chastise him. Given how I had already started taking a liking to Linus, the interaction really struck a chord with me because it wasn’t already awful enough that he was caught in such a situation, he now felt the need to justify himself to me.

I also can’t decide if it was intentional that Linus’s tent is the only personal space in Stardew Valley that you can enter without first receiving permission from the owner. Needless to say, I’ve started sparing a few crops from every harvest for him.

Where Harvest Moon seems to be almost puritanical in its treatment of relationships, Stardew Valley feels much more grounded in honesty. One day mayor Lewis sent me a letter asking if I could—very discreetly—find his purple shorts that he had misplaced, and I was a bit confused why he seemed so distressed over them. That was until I found the shorts in Marnie’s bedroom, the unmarried livestock vendor who had been loudly complaining about being single at the last village fair. They weren’t just shorts, I realized, they were underwear.

By taking the time to read between the lines of each character’s mundane life, a sparkling subtext begins to form that transformed them from pixels on a screen into endearing personalities that live on in my head. Watching those character arcs evolve as I play is a richly rewarding experience.

Taking a step back, I’m sometimes a bit mystified that everything Stardew Valley was assembled by just one person over a number of years. There’s a coherence of design that balances so many moving parts and activities, tempting you with each of them while never allowing you to accomplish all of them in a day, giving Stardew Valley a great sense of anticipation for each new morning. This boundless enthusiasm is further driven by a wonderful soundtrack and pixel art that evokes nostalgia while feeling well suited to the rest of Stardew Valley’s simple charms. My only complaints with the art is that certain characters don’t always feel as expressive as their dialogue implies. Also, the darkening effect of nighttime cranks the contrast up to gross levels, making being out after dark plain ugly.

Stardew Valley is the rare kind of imitation that breaks free of the boundaries of its inspiration, becoming more than just a clone but an experience that thrives independent of its origins. I suspect some of these feelings come from a deep familiarity with Harvest Moon, thus an appreciation for the subtle ways Stardew Valley differs. But that doesn’t stand in the way of the fact that Stardew Valley is a great game in its own right; one that might very well steal the floral crown Harvest Moon has been wearing for so long.

Stardew Valley is out now for Windows via Steam, GOG and Humble.

From this site

95 Comments

  1. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I’m going to have to wait a bit to buy this, and it’s killing me. It looks great and it’s exactly the type of game I need in my life right now. Great review, too.

  2. Laurentius says:

    What a peculiar way to start review. I played tons of sim game back in the day but never heard of game called Harvest Moon before. So i googled it and it turned out why, it’s a console game that has never been realeased on PC. C’mon it’s PC gaming site.

    • Aerothorn says:

      While this is a PC gaming site, most of the people on it have some knowledge of, if not experience with, console games. Additionally, this is a PC gamer overtly built as an iteration on a console game series; to talk about it without mentioning Harvest Moon would imply that it has invented something radically new, when that thing was only new to the PC space.

    • ikehaiku says:

      I’ve never heard of Harvest Moon either, and the since the review makes the assumption that I have, I still have no real idea what this game (Stardew) is about

      • Bradamantium says:

        It’s about maintaining a farm and various relationships with townspeople. The review makes this fairly clear. Even if it didn’t, you’re likely reading this article on a device connected to the Information Super Highway ready and willing to provide you a brief summary of Harvest Moon.

        • Morgan Joylighter says:

          Wrong! He could have accessed the article through RSS and then downloaded it for future offline consumption as he went to his job prospecting for oil in Antarctica. Obviously!

          ;)

        • ikehaiku says:

          Yeah…here’s the thing: I am indeed connected to the information, highway. Meaning, if I want to learn to learn more about Stardew, I am also one google search away from that, instead of reading this article, then searching about Harvest Moon, then coming back to this article.
          And that fact that the game is some kind of farming RPG is only introduced in the third § with “Your farming enterprise will start out humble…”, so it kinda assumes you already knew that. Beside, like I said, I still have no idea about the gameplay. Is it real-time? Turned-based?
          I do not think it is “wilful ignorance”: I could research it for myself…but one might say that is why I am here reading RPS in the first place. That is all.

          • makrus says:

            This is what people complain about. The vast majority know what harvest moon is and because a couple font the review is terrible. The first time I played harvest moon was on pc. I’m sure there are games out there I haven’t heard of and reviewers would use it to describe a new game. Instead of complaining about it I’d just go download a rom and have a look at it.
            First world problems man.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        When did missing out through wilful ignorance become a point of pride?

        Jesus, I get the rivalry for the sake of fun, but no one likes people who get arrogant over fucking video game platforms.

    • HopeHubris says:

      Due to the magic of emulation, plenty of Harvest Moon games are available on PC

    • airknots says:

      Harvest Moon will always be a PC game for me cause I discovered it while looking for games for Zsnes/Snes9x.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      I’ve been a PC gamer for nearly 20 years, but spent several of my early years with Nintendo systems. I suspect many 30-something gamers have had similar backgrounds before ascending making the jump to PC.

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      Harvest Moon is a fairly underrepresented game. I played it on the SNES when I was a kid and since then there have been some middling quality sequels which killed its relevance. In current years popular spiritual successors like Animal Crossing, Fantasy Life, and Rune Factory came out that make Harvest Moon even more of a relic.

      • SaintAn says:

        Especially now that they changed the name of the series to Story of Seasons but their old publisher in the US still has the rights to the Harvest Moon name so they pump out games that aren’t Harvest Moon under the brand name. Even big sites like Kotaku have no idea about this and still report about Harvest Moon games and ignore the real Harvest Moon game which is Sory of Seasons.

    • trashmyego says:

      Or you could have, you know, kept reading a few more paragraphs and you know, understood what was being talked about. All the information is there, it doesn’t take a giant leap from the title of something called ‘Harvest Moon’ to find some context. Let alone is it any major issue finding that information out, if for whatever reason it’s so hard for you to decrypt from within this piece. Reading comprehension is your friend.

    • GWOP says:

      “So i googled it and it turned out why, it’s a console game that has never been realeased on PC. C’mon it’s PC gaming site.”

      I dunno what a ‘console’ is so I googled and found it’s not-PC, c’mon it’s PC gaming site keep your comments within the purview of PC gaming have a good day thank you very much

      • makrus says:

        First time I ever heard about it/played it was on pc. Reviewer can’t help the fact you have been on Mars with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears :).
        Seriously though if you get past the harvest moon reference something a lot of people would understand h does go on to describe what the game is about. Man why get hung up on one point when the rest of the info is there.

    • Paul.Power says:

      No platform is an island, and plenty of PC games owe their inspiration to console games.

      Heck, think about how many times RPS have mentioned something like Advance Wars, say.

    • OscarWilde1854 says:

      I don’t see how that’s relevant? The whole point is that it’s nostalgic for him, and will be for MANY others. He’s suggesting that anyone who has played HM (like he has) will probably feel ‘x’ thing.

      I understand you haven’t played it… but why should that matter? It’s no different than a metaphor for something else. Not everyone is going to have experienced your metaphor, so how is it useful? Because some will…

      HM is really the ‘grandfather’ of farming games. If you haven’t played it then you’re either too young, or maybe farming games aren’t your thing. But not mentioning it because some won’t get the reference is just dumb.

      It’d be like Goldeneye in the FPS genre. It’s right up there with Wolfenstein as one of the ‘premiere’ games in the FPS genre, but that doesn’t mean everyone has played it…

      • makrus says:

        I think they’re just whinging for the sake of whinging. I.e it wasn’t on pc why should I know about it. nothing even remotely entertaining has come out on anything but pc. It wasn’t pc why bring it u on a pc site blah blah blah. While I am predominantly a pc user I can’t stand the holier than thou pc user who turn his nose to anything non pc.
        Its called gaming get around it.

        • Laurentius says:

          Dude, I call it ‘peculiar”. That’s it and that’s my opinion about opening review with reference for what is imo a pretty obscure game. Like you know , hyperlinks exist, and RPS’s using them all the time even when referencing to well known games like Doom or Tie-fighter.

          PS. When it comes to “whinging” I think you could give a few lessons though as you are a clearly far better at it then me.

    • Someoldguy says:

      I’d never heard of Harvest Moon either, but he gets past that point pretty quickly. I do agree one more paragraph about the core gameplay would have been helpful for those of us who haven’t owned a console since the IBM 286 came along. You can say that about most reviews, of course.

  3. Axess Denyd says:

    I wonder if this is something my wife would enjoy. So far the only PC game she has ever spent much time with is Little Inferno, which she played through 5 times ina row. She did used to like some Smurf farming game on her tablet, but it was one of the ones where progression becomes nigh impossible without spending real money after a while so she gave it up.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      The only game my wife has really enjoyed on her own was The Sims franchise. So, I am similarly curious. This is an eventual buy for me, even though I haven’t played Harvest Moon to be sure I’ll like it. The addition of co-op would be a plus for playing with my wife.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        I gave here one of the Sims once (I think 3) and she got annoyed by the micromanagement.

        • Alenthas says:

          The game is absolutely fantastic, but it get’s a bit stressful to manage your time and energy efficiently. Even when it rains, which frees you up from having to water your crops, you wake up so early that you have to wait till 9 AM if you have any business with the villagers. And it feels like such a waste of time meandering through the town if you want to go to the mine that day.

          So even when the game helps you out it still manages to be stressful. But without that, this game wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as it is right now.

    • hagglunds says:

      My wife really enjoys this game, and is the only game that she will watch me play, and in fact even encourages me to play so she can watch. She was already a fan of the Harvest Moon games though; the N64 version is pretty much the only video game she’s ever played.

      Works fantastic with a Steam Controller and the Link and has native 360 pad support so once you’ve created your character it’s a great game you can both play from the couch.

    • Siimon says:

      Firewatch, Life is Strange, Brothers, and Portal 2 (splitscreen co-op) were all great hits with my gf who previously had only played Mario Kart 8 a few times with her kid brother.

      She never had any interest in games until Firewatch, which I made her sit through the intro for just to see how she’d react to the intro/prologue thing and she ended up playing the whole game straight through the whole evening until she finished it.

  4. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I can warmly recommend. 38 hours since release minus some hours I had to leave it running in the background.
    Custom game engine and assets, no RPGmaker. Game is bug-ridden but dev fixes almost daily.
    The best Harvest Moon we never had on PC. (sorry World’s Dawn)
    Now make a Zelda-clone next.

    • RedViv says:

      Or a full Rune Factory.
      Or My Life as a King.

    • Shadow says:

      “bug-ridden” is a bit of an exaggeration.

      • elevown says:

        It’s wonderful :) I’m half way through year 2 – getting close to marrying, (you can play as a girl or boy and it lets you marry any marriageable character btw) done a lot of the community center upgrades but finished only 2 – and not got a lot of the farm animals yet – and still no access to the last 2 areas – the desert or the mountains.

        Also – Its not bug ridden – though it sure had some i saw very few – all minor- thankfully there’s been multiple patches.

        Also I’m surprised you didn’t mention the mine – I’m down to level 100 and not got the the bottom yet :) It has combat in there and a few other locations.

        P.s one of the upgrades you earn unlocks the trams which are short cuts to places – makes getting about the village faster – as do totems.

      • figvam says:

        Well, I’ve bumped into a game-breaking bug: tools stop working after a certain cutscene. No fix yet, though it has been reported five days ago:
        link to community.playstarbound.com

        Look over that forum to get an idea of the amount of bugs in the game.

        • jrodman says:

          It’s new software. It has bugs. If you know anything about software this should be a total non-surprise. Source: I fix bugs in software all day long every day.

          It’s also has 4 bugfix releases in the first week, and another is now in the works. The experience of the typical player at this point isn’t very broken. “bug ridden” suggests that this game offers an unexpectedly bad experience as compared to other games, and I think that’s false. Maybe I’m wrong, but linking to a forum to say “some people are reporting bugs” doesn’t support the idea that this is a game offering an unexpectedly bad experience as compared to other games. That’s just normal.

        • Jaeja says:

          Oh come on. Every new game, particularly on the PC, has a bugs forum full of bugs – because that’s where people go to post bugs and newsflash, games have bugs in them. Yes, games can be more or less buggy. But the argument that “look, they have a bugs forum with bugs posted in it, the game is super buggy” is utter bollocks and needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and gently massaged with an axe.

          • figvam says:

            Looks like you’ve invented “the game is super buggy” argument and reasoned against it successfully. I only mentioned that it *is* buggy so far for me. I can’t play it, that’s a fact.

          • jrodman says:

            You were supporting the buggy proposition in a thread descending from a claim that it is “bug ridden”. In the context and manner which you posted, your words reasonably would be read to be suggesting that a forum with bug posts supports the idea that this is an unusually buggy game.

            That the bug you’re complaining about was fixed over a week ago is sort of ironic.

        • themindstream says:

          That particular one should be fixed as of a couple patches ago: link to twitter.com

  5. Tycow says:

    Sounds like a PC version of Fantasy Life from the 3DS… Sold! :D

    • airknots says:

      I love Fantasy Life, sucks that the sequel is gonna be an F2P mobile game. Stardew Valley is more like Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons though.

    • draglikepull says:

      I would say it’s not actually very much like Fantasy Life. Stardew Valley is very heavily focussed on your farm and your crops. You’ll spend a good chunk of the game just tending to your farm, and you basically set your own goals. It’s very relaxed.

      Fantasy Life is more like an action-RPG that happens to include a few elements from Harvest Moon. It’s got much more travel, much more (and deeper) combat, and much more of a quest-based structure.

  6. tehfish says:

    I am so utterly addicted to this game. (currently just about to hit the second year)

    I’ve always been a fan of the harvest moon style console games, but this one seems to round up the best features of them all and distil them into one wonderful package.

    There’s a couple of bits that may catch out completely new players to this kind of game (main one being, as in harvest moon, most of your crops wither and die off between seasons so watch when you plant things). All in all i’d greatly recommend it to anyone who has a vague interest in it from looking at the screenshots. This really is a true masterpiece IMHO.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Xan says:

    ..public bathhouse, which features two empty and functionally pointless rooms you have to walk through just to get to the pools and restore your stamina..

    Wait, what?

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      If you hang out in the steamy waters of the bathhouse your energy zooms back to full in a few seconds.

      • Premium User Badge

        Xan says:

        I’ve played for 12 hours and I have no clue what bathhouse are you talking about.

        • AceJohnny says:

          It’s north of Robin/Dominic/Maru’s house, a screen left of Linus’ tent. It starts off blocked (landslide) at the beginning of the game, and clears up after an earthquake, or a letter from JoJa Corp announcing they cleared it up (in a typically assholish way. It’s cute how the game’s so transparent about its opinions).

          • jrodman says:

            Joja are intended as the Bad Guys, so it’s sort of part opinions, part normal game motivation stuff. Choosing to work with Joja is one of the more interesting “play as evil” options I’ve seen in a game. It works a lot better than “murder this puppy” type stuff I’ve seen elsewhere.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            Joja isn’t really evil – it’s just the formless amorality of a lifeform created by but not beholden to humans – but the Stardew Valley Community Satisfaction Representative is a terrible jerk.

  8. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I too, can warmly recommend this game. Hotly, perhaps, as I’ve sunk about 70 hours in it so far. I’ve been looking forward to the dev finally, FINALLY releasing the damned thing, but the wait was very much worth it.

    Everything just clicks, it’s fantastic. There’s a wealth of options, well presented, and gated (a little) to prevent you from drowning in the first month.

    At first, some things will be frustrating – time flies, you really have to plan ahead. Fishing is a pain, the Community Centre confusing, NPCs hard to find, etc.

    Then, as you improve your and your character’s skill, the world will open up more and more, until the point it gets a /little/ easy if you know what crops to grow.

    The only annoyance I have with the game is geographical – the town is an impossibility. Cars are stuck in random places, roads magically stop. It’s clearly a idealized village, but that stuff really pulls you out of the otherwise excellently-realized fantasy.

  9. GameCat says:

    As I love Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley is vastly superior than any title from this franchise.

  10. muki0 says:

    I bought this game last night.

    These last couple years, I’ve been having a hard time balancing and dealing with stress at my computer desk job (as a AAA game dev). I also grow indoor veggies, imagine that. This week was particularly tough at work. I bought this game with very little info about it, other than “I like the idea of farming and I want to relax), and the intro actually made me tear up. Like the timing was too perfect. The introduction is a fantasy I actually think about from time to time, just dropping my career and starting over with something more bohemian. The intro was like a glass of water to the face (in a good way!). A reminder that this is something I can do.

    Anyway, back to the game. I’m really enjoying it, spent 4 hours last night getting a feel for the game and building a rough tiny crop, fixing a bridge, talking to townsfolk and saving up for a backpack. At first I was afraid this game might suffer from mobile-reward-stimuli-itis, where it showers you with easy rewards and you become godlike in an hour, but I can happily say it’s not the case. There is a challenge, and reward for saving up, and planning smartly!

    I’m glad it’s friday, so I can sink much of the weekend into it!

  11. proppaganda says:

    My GOTY right here.

  12. a very affectionate parrot says:

    Harvest Moon went down the drain a while ago, although I did enjoy the fantasy RPG-lite spin off Rune Factory.
    Stardew blows the recent HM games completely out of the water, my only real complaint being the huge town and slow walk speed, although I hear you get a horse to compensate for that.
    I am kind of saddened by them not including a butchery feature for livestock though, I know it’d make people kinda squeamish especially with the cute animal sprites but I would still love the option to, for instance, butcher my cows and make high-value goods like smoked meat or jerky.

    • airknots says:

      Just FYI, the Story of Seasons series is now the name of the “real” Harvest Moon games. Something about Natsume and Marvelous Inc. breaking up.

      • Fiatil says:

        Yeah. Story of Seasons is actually a really solid revival of the franchise for those who have been burned by the past 10ish years of Harvest Moon. Right now, I think Stardew Valley did an even better job, but Story of Seasons is still solid.

    • vexis58 says:

      One of the benefits of this being a PC game is that the creator is really listening to feedback and he’d probably add a feature like this if enough people asked for it.

      I’d also love the option to break free of the pescetarian mold created by Harvest Moon, if only to have a roast turkey to go with my cranberries and sweet potatoes in Fall season. That and I really want to raise pigs for bacon.

  13. AceJohnny says:

    Pelican Town is almost too spread out, and getting from place to place can begin to feel like a chore—not the good kind. This is perfectly exemplified in the public bathhouse, which features two empty and functionally pointless rooms you have to walk through just to get to the pools and restore your stamina—something I came to hate when I was racing against the clock to get something done and had to waste precious seconds.

    I took this as being part of the design: a gameday is too short, and you don’t have the energy, to do everything you want to do. Just like in real life, you have to choose what you focus your time and energy on. Today I’ll take care of the fields, harvest everything. Tomorrow I’ll go back to the village to sell things and pay a visit to folks. The day after that, I’ll go explore and fight through the Mines.

    I figure it’s on purpose that there’s a screen between your farm and part of the village that you always have to cross, costing you precious time. You can do anything, but you can do everything.

    • AceJohnny says:

      *but you can’t do everything

      Where’s the edit button when you need one.

    • Shadow says:

      I gathered the spread out nature of the map is meant to encourage you to get a stable and the associated horse, but I haven’t gotten far enough to do so, so I’m not sure how that’s handled.

      • elevown says:

        I saw in a patch he slightly raised the run speed – dunno if these comments predate that – also – i don’t know if you are far enough in – but you can make fairly cheap single use teleport totems to various places – and a variety of shortcuts open up later (the minecarts etc) that will get you quickly to 4-5 locations in town – such as the mine and blacksmiths and farm.

  14. snesbeck says:

    The long wait for this game was so worth it. Everything us lovers of the original Harvest Moon hoped for and so much more.

  15. subactuality says:

    A question for those who already have the game: Is there a hard time limit ending condition (i.e. Game Over after x years), or can one farm be played “forever”?

    I’m certainly going to buy this regardless, but I’m curious!

    • sicanshu says:

      I’m only a year in, so I can’t say for sure. But the steam page describes it as “open-ended”, which to me means, you know, open-ended.

      • sicanshu says:

        For reference, a “year” in-game took me about 37 hours of play.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I’m not sure, but I heard someone say there is an “end” but you get to keep going after it. So no, no hard ending to the game itself.

    • elevown says:

      I remember him saying there is no end – there are ends to certain main plots and by say year 4 or 5 you will have probably done everything but nothing stops you playing.

  16. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    I only scratched the surface, but I hated it. The banality and the horribly cheerful music. However, I strongly suspected it would turn into a horribly addictive, wonderful game that would slap pessimistics like me round the face with a slobbery trout. So I’m wrong, and everyone else is right. I’ll go away now.

    • Zankman says:

      This is, ultimately, a discussion you just had with yourself; A monologue, per say.

      Heh.

      • jrodman says:

        I have two annoying, anal-retentive comments on your comment that kind of don’t deserve airing but I’m stupid sometimes so here they go.

        First, “per se” is a Latin phrase, so it has that funny spelling that is not the same as any English word. “Per say” is not a thing that means anything in Latin or English.

        Second, “per se”, as with most Latin phrases, is more commonly misunderstood than understood, so it’s typically best avoided. Here, for example, you could have said “A monologue, if you will.” or “A monologue, perhaps.” or just “a monologue”, and everyone would know what you meant. However “per se” means “in and of itself, so your words meant “A monologue, in and of itself.” I don’t think the phrase really works ever simply applied to a noun without further context.

        Typical correct use of the term would be something like “Your monologue is not communicative per se, but with wider context it speaks volumes.” That’s an awkward sentence but I don’t have a better example off-hand.

    • jrodman says:

      I sort of think your reaction could be any number of people in a certain mood. I think part of the experience of this game (when it works) is choosing to suspend the cynicism for a while.

  17. SaintAn says:

    Really hope the guy making it adds some easy to use mod tools.

    • jrodman says:

      It doesn’t seem to be on the hot list, but I wouldn’t be shocked if ConcernedApe does do some of that. There are already basic features for replacing graphics and whatnot provided.

      The C# runtime has a bunch of introspection features though that make modding more approachable than in some other languages, and the modders are already shipping basic changes to the game logic.

  18. racccoon says:

    I’m grabbing this game today as I would of on its release day, if it weren’t for me falling for the black desert bullshit, I’m kind of fed up with bdo after only a 5 hrs of play from the start, with its un predicted instant disconnections & un realistic stupidity in the stamina & weight dept. so its on the back burner..
    I was so looking forward to Stardew valley and now seeing everyone in it + friends close by so enjoying it, makes it a far better choice over a hyped (bdo) A major + is also its far better with the added bonus…I DO NOT HAVE TO USE STEAM!!! Thank you developers :)

  19. Icon0fSin says:

    When its dark
    i cant see shit cus its dark.
    Villagers go about their business and if I cant find them, I cant find them.

    Fast travel would kill the atmosphere.

    • Wertymk says:

      Is that some kind of a poem? A haiku?

      • trollharder says:

        The passionless casual gamers
        Jolly for indie an dirt simulator
        Basements filled with content of pixels

    • benkc says:

      Yeah, I was really surprised by the sentence:

      “Also, the darkening effect of nighttime cranks the contrast up to gross levels, making being out after dark plain ugly.”

      When night falls, I can’t see anything. I typically go to bed well before midnight because it’s impossible to do anything in the dark. I did one night craft a torch to carry and light my way to town; when trying to talk to someone at the saloon, I accidentally gifted it to them — they hated it and I had to stumble home in the dark.

      I only started playing this weekend, so I wonder: was this a very recent change, or is the game rendering night very differently on your setup than on mine?

  20. Viral Frog says:

    As someone who has seen a ton of Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, etc. but never played that sort of game, I was wary to try this out. I had added and removed it from my cart probably ten times before I purchased it. I finally went and bought it, and I couldn’t be happier.

    There’s just something stupendously nostalgic about this game to me. It’s not at all a mystery to me though. See, I grew up spending my summers on a farm in Utah, and then in Idaho, with my grandma and grandma and my older (and only brother).

    My grandpa passed away about a year and a half ago. But it reminds me of a lot of things I used to do on the farm with him, if a little more simplistic than what it actually entails. And the whole grandfather passing away and leaving an inheritance bit got me to choke up. My grandpa may not have left me a farm, but he left me a lot of good lessons and memories.

    Anywho, probably gonna be my game of 2016 and forever on because of life experience. I think ConcernedApe is, as a hipster would say, my spirit animal.

  21. geldonyetich says:

    I’ve certainly been enjoying playing Stardew Valley over the past few days.

    I do think that maybe there are some Rune Factory games that are generally superior in nearly every way: farm capabilities, central game mechanics, tightness of balance, interesting world, and NPC charisma.

    However, Stardew Valley has its strengths, too, such as a nice skill unlock system, collection mechanics (mostly in the civic center), the ability to craft things such as furniture, and there’s not that subtle disconnected that comes from localizing of a product from another culture. Of course, its greatest advantage is that I can play it on the PC.

  22. Unsheep says:

    After awful games like Devil Daggers and Superhot, there’s at last an RPS Recommendation I wholeheartedly agree with.

    • Wowbagger says:

      It’s almost as if people have different tastes and opinions isn’t it?

  23. SomeDuder says:

    Looks interesting. Back in my SNES days, I loved the original Harvest Moon. Gave the Wii version a try, but didn’t grab me.

    The only thing I want from this reimagining is a bit more leniency regarding time. The original always put so much focus on your energy and the time of day. I wanna do the things I want in a game and not feel (too) restricted by my virtual powerlevel or sped up time of day, dagnabbit.

    Anyway, waiting till its offer for a 75% discount anyway, so we’ll see how development goes.

  24. Antlia says:

    Civilization V = “One more turn.”
    Stardew Valley = “One more day.”

    One of the top rated Steam reviews, posted way ahead of this article, maybe would’ve been nice to phrase it like: “as one Steam user put it…”.

    • jrodman says:

      Seems more likely that both people independently came up with the same construction than plagiarism.

  25. Kitano1314 says:

    So far I’ve played this for 41 hours and yet i’m still in winter of year one! This game has me in some kind of trance or something.

  26. AlianAnt says:

    This game is a stunning achievement. If it’s from one guy, I’m shocked at how polished, thoughtful, and fun this game is. It’s everything I love about harvest moon but it’s so much more fun.

    I’m or and about right now but I can’t wait to return to this absolute masterclass of design and writing. The mine, by itself, could be a game I would pay 15 USD for.

    I used to have daydreams of making a game like harvest moon, but this good, and whoever the person is behind this game should be so proud of their achievement.

  27. Hart says:

    Oh, how I wish this was not produced by Chucklefish.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Separate, in your mind, their work as a developer and as a publisher.

  28. racccoon says:

    I was amounting like a 30k crop in potatoes but the dreaded earthquake squashed my dream as I awoke, so I went poorly back to shop & bought chilies n wheat!
    I love the game nice work devs..

  29. Mister D says:

    I used a trainer go get unlimited gold but the game did not get faster. It really takes a lot of time. I wish there was a fast mode.

  30. SteelPriest says:

    I bought this at the weekend and today am experiencing “I can’t wait to go home so I can play more” for the first time in SO many years.

    It’s really lovely.

  31. benkc says:

    I had been planning to wait for a sale, but gave in and picked it up Saturday night. I’m really glad I did. I, too, found the intro really resonated for me.

    For the first game-week, I found the time scale to be really stressful, and I was constantly missing deadlines and kicking myself about it. Downloaded a mod, changed the time scale from the default ~86x to 60x, and am finding it much more enjoyable now. Annoyed to be at work today rather than at home playing it more. :)

    I am so very looking forward to finally being able to afford the backpack.