Stardew Valley provides a level of comfort that I’ve rarely found in other games. The music, which changes with the seasons, complements the mellowness of the 16-bit countryside town perfectly. Multiplayer, new items, buildings, farm types, events, and relationships improve the foundation of Stardew Valley. The five new farm maps provide players with a better focus than when the game first launched. The people of Pelican Town and beyond are a charming bunch, but improving your relationships with them is rather superficial. The story of the game is simple, yet satisfying, and spans about two years.
Despite the system’s simplicity, learning about each person’s dreams, passions, and challenges in Stardew Valley is rewarding. If you catch them at the right time and place after reaching certain friendship or romance levels, a special character scene will play. The 12 romanceable characters have more scenes than the others, and if you marry one, they move into your home and help out around the farm. With the varying weather, crop types, NPC schedules, birthdays, fish, and fun festivals that keep things interesting, each season has its own enjoyable pace. The changing of seasons is one of the most exciting events in the game, and because each season lasts 28 days, figuring out how to best spend them becomes a great challenge as each in-game year passes. I was confident in my daily routine and farming strategies by the end of my second year. Farming isn’t particularly complicated, but the methodical nature of it is soothing. It does take some time in the first year to earn enough money to buy the best seeds, optimize your farmland, and devise a watering system to keep everything running smoothly.
Stardew Valley still has the minor issue of having too many things to do and not enough explanation for how to do them. The in-game TV show Living off the Land offers helpful hints on mechanics and seasonal changes. Mining and combat are a little easier to understand. The fishing minigame is easygoing fun for the little ones, but it can be frustrating for some of the more rare fish. It keeps track of everything you’ve had in your collection, so there’s a strong incentive to try each major activity. The main mine has a few enemies that get stronger with each of the 100 levels, and an additional cavern in an unlockable area has even more difficult monsters and a seemingly infinite number of floors. Because the combat consists of simple button mashing to swing a sword, combining monster fights with the challenge of delving into a mine makes it more enjoyable and rewarding.
Stardew Valley multiplayer is an excellent addition to the game that completely alters how it can be played. It allows you to get a lot more done in a day if you have a cooperative farmhand, but it doesn’t feel like a cheat code. I haven’t complained about making more gold every day since the updates added some incredibly useful but expensive items. If you think your co-op save is making too much money, you can change the profit margins. If you’re adding new players to an existing farm or creating a new character from scratch to get the most out of your farm, it’s not too difficult to get them up to speed. The multiplayer mode of the game maintains the balance between difficulty and power, and it’s entertaining to share money with up to three farmhands/friends who can tamper with your belongings. It would have been nice to be able to import a character with all of its stats and upgraded tools – perhaps at a cost – but starting over is the more balanced trade-off for having multiple people on a farm.
If you’re starting a new farm with a partner, breaking down each task may make that first difficult year go more smoothly. Farmhands own their cabin and have relationships with NPCs in your game. Communication takes place via a simple in-game text chat that is stocked with a plethora of cool emojis. Stardew Valley’s easygoing nature also makes it a wonderful place to hang out with friends. The fantastic multiplayer is the icing on the cake for this fantastic farming RPG. Stardew Valley is a lovely, enjoyable game that, when all of its components are combined, creates a wonderful countryside adventure.