Stardew Valley Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Stardew Valley. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Stardew Valley may seem like the story of a quaint farming village but it's really the story of how I lost all of my free time. I meant to have this review done a few days ago but every single time I went to write it I remembered something else that needed my attention. The cows needed milking, I'm still looking to increase my crop production and those town ladies aren't going to woo themselves - heck, the game may even be running in the background as I write this, taunting me to come back. That's no doubt a feat when you take in to account that all of this was created by one person. Stardew Valley is by far my favorite game of the new year and that's no bigger of a surprise to anybody but me.
Perhaps that surprise comes form the fact that I'm not a fan of the source material. Stardew Valley may be a unique creation but it's roots can be traced firmly back to Harvest Moon. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the classic farming simulator but it just wasn't something I got into growing up and that never changed. Maybe I've matured more as a gamer in my old age, but his somehow though, is different. It's incredibly hard to not appreciate what's been built here for Stardew Valley, even if you're not tied to nostalgic memories. It's all presented in a neat 16-bit cartoonish style visuals that animate well, and just try to not find yourself humming the catchy tunes that are found throughout the experience.
Though there is a overreaching story here dealing with saving the community center from being demolished in favor of a big box store, Stardew Valley is very content with letting you do whatever you want whenever you want. Yes, the core game revolves around farming but don't think you'll be in a continuous loop of planting and harvesting crops. Sure, you can do that but the game never really expressly tells you what to do save for a few key instances. Want to spend the day rearranging your farm fence? Go for it. Go hunting for rare minerals in the mountains fending off monsters at the same time? Why not? You can even go into town and try to woo the women of the town, eventually getting to the point where you can raise your own family. To drive the point home, the game features an entire winter season where you can't even farm at all.
That may just be the genius of Stardew Valley, it's filled with things to do but it never forces you down one path. I'm more than sixty hours into my game right now and while I feel like I've accomplished a lot, there are always larger goals out there, and they often take long periods of time to accomplish. The game's creator has done a fantastic job making this not feel like a chore or a grind and instead making it something to really be proud of. Each morning in Stardew Valley I could not wait to get up and keep plugging away at something I was working on. Full disclosure though, I'm not sure if I haven't accomplished some of these larger goals because they take that long to accomplish or because I've spent so much time fishing. I'm almost ashamed to admit just how much of my responsibility I've ignored in order to go fishing in Stardew Valley. It's a neat little mini game with a surprising amount of depth and most importantly, it's a hell of a lot of fun.
Then there are the unexpected events that prop up in Stardew Valley that I still can't explain. I've seen mysterious fairies appear in the rain and found strange crates with weird writing on them that almost beg for a mystery to be solved. Talking with other friends who have been playing Stardew Valley and I hear talk of things like witches and other strange things that don't seem like they belong in a game like this but undoubtedly make it even more of a fun game to get lost in. I was more like a kid, searching for mysteries in Stardew Valley than I have been for a very long time; and that's a feeling that I've missed more than even I knew.
It's hard to describe a game like Stardew Valley to someone who's never heard of it but here goes. It's a farming game where you don't really even have to farm and you can do whatever you want. Also, there's apparently witches. I'll work on it, but for now just know that you absolutely need to play this game oddly enough for all of the things it does right and even all of the things it attempts to do right, which still turn out extremely charming. Stardew Valley is easily my favorite game of the year and if you'll excuse me, I think someone just posted a job they need done around town...
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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