Stardew Valley: The Perfect Life Sim?

Image Credit:

Brian Kataro and Elyse Rivera

When people think of life-simulation games, some of the first that come to mind are the classics: The Sims, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, etc. – and right up there with these titans of industry rests Stardew Valley. Created single handedly by Eric Barone (popularly known by the pseudonym ConcernedApe), Stardew Valley is a passion project over half a decade in the making. It was made by Barone in an effort to improve on existing life sims – like Harvest Moon – which he envisioned could be improved upon.

Like any good game you are able to customize your character and are given a wide variety of options to tailor your avatar to your style. The game begins when your grandfather is dying and leaves you the deed to his farm. You decide to leave your job in the big city and move to a small town called Stardew valley. Players can also customize their ranch to add an extra challenge, but the town is always the same. The people living in the town and the quest you go on make up the majority of the game play. 

Life in Stardew Valley consists of a variety of tasks that can be performed by the player. While the game is classified as a farming game (and meets expectations through offering over 40 crops to choose from over the seasons), planting is by no means the only thing that players can do. For instance, there are also the mines, in which the player explores deeper and deeper within a cavern, discovering ores, gemstones, and beasts to conquer. 

Furthermore, fishing is also an option, with over 60 different aquatic creatures to catch and collect. Ranching is another option, and can have the player oversee a collection of animals (anywhere from cows to chickens to sheep) and their production of goods. You, as the player, have the ability to use your farmland for whatever purposes you want, placing near infinite customization in the hands of the player. 

The world of Stardew Valley is also far more expansive than just Pelican Town (the main hub), and offers a variety of other destinations to discover. Additionally, the player character is assigned the restoration of the abandoned community center — requiring the collection of items gained from doing these tasks. As such, there is never a dull or meaningless moment in the game, as there is always something to work towards in the game.

The story aspect of the game is made of the villagers that live in the town. Some villagers are helpful with quests and unlocking things in the game while others serve strictly for entertainment value. Playing the game you almost feel as though you are watching a soap opera unravel as you see the characters interact with you and the other villagers. 

Overall, Stardew Valley’s expansive gameplay, customization, strong cast of characters, and genuine charm combine to create arguably one of the best life simulation games of all time – rivaling paragons of the industry like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. The world and characters provide an eventful, enjoyable experience in getting to know the other villagers and explore everything that the game has to offer. 

Equipped with 4 player cooperative play on a shared farm (albeit not cross-platform), the game allows players to share their experiences, land, and lives in the same world. By that same token, the community of Stardew Valley offers a very strong modding community – allowing for people to insert countless new items, locations, and mechanics into an already expansive game. 

Finally, it comes at the relatively low cost of only $15 with (as of yet) no extra payments – once you have the game, you have the entire game that can take hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to enjoy. At such a low cost and with so many things to do, Stardew Valley is definitely worth picking up on IOS, Android, PC, Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch.