Stardew Valley (Xbox One)

Stardew Valley (Xbox One)

Note: This game is more widely known for being available on PC

Stardew Valley is a very interesting farming sim game to say the least. It’s like Harvest Moon, but it was created with the intention of fixing Harvest Moon’s mistakes. And it succeeds in doing that, with a lot more on top.

Stardew Valley was never created to be like other farming simulators where the main goal was to earn money. The theme is supposed to be about taking a break from the busy city life and relaxing in slower farm life. You aren’t supposed to be spending every single spare moment of your time earning money. You’re supposed to be adventuring in the mines, chatting with the townsfolk, or caring for your animals. Stardew Valley starts out with your main character receiving a letter from grandpa, who says to only open it when “you feel crushed by the burden of modern life”. Twenty years later, your character realizes that his job at Joja, a mega corporation, where each and every worker sits in a cubicle all day and works, just sucks the life out of him. That’s when you take advantage of your Grandpa’s letter, which ends up being a land grant for his farm. And so your new life in Stardew Valley begins!

Like Harvest Moon, the player has an energy bar that is depleted by activities, and if it runs out then your player will faint. Those activities include mining, fishing, and chopping wood.  There are differences, though, such as there being monsters in the mines that try and stop you to from mining precious ores and gems, and fishing is a more complicated, addicting mini-game.

Befriending villagers is also one of the main goals. I found that the NPC villagers in Stardew Valley were immensely different from the ones in Harvest Moon. In Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, for example, villagers are always in certain locations at certain times, and always say the same thing, such as commenting on the nice weather. In Stardew Valley, each villager does different things on different days, doing different things on rainy days, and saying different things when they are in different places. Interacting with the townsfolk introduces intriguing stories, such as helping a shy artist reveal her work to the rest of the town or helping a pessimistic alcoholic get his life back on track. Just like in most games like this, you can get married, and your character can get married to candidates of your sex or the opposite sex.

In the middle of the town, there is also a run down building known as the Community Center. It was once a center of Stardew Valley, but then fell into disrepair. Your character can help repair the building by donating specific items to forest sprites who collect them, and use them to fix the center. Those bundles are specific collections of items that the player can donate. Ooooor you can purchase a membership from Joja, the same company that  you quit, and transform the Community Center into a Warehouse. Should you choose the community center route(the hard way), completing specific bundles repairs certain rooms in the community center, and also repairs some run-down portions of the town, such as repairing a broken bridge or destroying a boulder blocking your path, and completing . Should you sell yourself out to Joja, you can pay a truckload of cash to repair those places instead. Completing all the item bundles in the community center repairs the community center, and is one of the biggest accomplishments of the game. Let me tell you, it feels good. Note how I underlined and bolded good. Pay enough money to Joja, and you will get a special reward too(but it doesn’t feel as good). Oh yeah, did you know that purchasing a Joja membership is also known as selling your soul to the devil?

Now to get to the activities, such as mining, fishing and combat. Mining is extremely simple, with your character using a pickax to mine ores. Although, as I previously mentioned, there are monsters that will attack you in the mines. Once you take damage, a second bar will appear on screen. This represents your health points. If  that bar depletes completely, you will be removed from the mines, items will be removed form your inventory, and you will lose some coins.

Fishing is relatively simple. When a fish bites, a mini game will appear on screen:The mini game will look like the one above. There’s gonna be a fish icon, and also a green bar. The goal of the mini game is to move the green bar so that it is touching the fish icon for a period of time. This is difficult, although, because the fish icon will move all over the screen. Once the bar is not touching the fish, the other green bar, seen above next to the fish icon and bar, will start to go down, which means that the time you have to hold the fish in the bar will also go up. If the second bar reaches the bottom of the mini-game, then the fish will escape. Okay, I admit, it sounds really complicated, but it’s actually really simple once you start playing.

Now, I would tell you more about Stardew Valley, but I feel like you should really play it so you can find out for yourself. It’s a great game. You can get it on Steam, Xbox One, PS4, and even on the Switch!



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