The computer game, Stardew Valley, first released in 2016 is now available on the Nintendo Switch as of Oct. 2017. The role-playing video-game is similar to Animal Crossings and Harvest Moon in content and graphics. As the player, you create the appearance of your character and choose a name.
The player is acquainted with the game during the beginning story line when the player’s character is given a letter from his or her passing grandfather that he has said to only open when tired of the repetitive and over complicated city life, when the character needs a lifestyle change. You, the character, open the letter one day at work and it has a deed to your grandfather’s farm in Pelican Town. Tired of the city bustle and mind-numbing work you pack up and move to the large farm now overgrown. As the player, you pick from five farm maps to occupy; each one has it’s benefits and style.
The town mayor, Lewis, shows you to the tree, weed, boulder, and stick covered land that your one bedroom house sits on. There are 12 characters that you can build a relationship with and eventually marry, 21 non-marriage candidates that you can befriend, and 9 characters that don’t build friendships with you. In order to increase your friendship level with a character you give them gifts, but some gifts can lower the level if it is something the character does not like. You also earn friendship points by completing tasks for the character when you receive them in your mail box.
Each character has a daily schedule that varies depending on the day of the week and time of day. Each villager has unique likes and dislikes, and will react to the gifts in their own manner.
Not only do you farm the land, work in the mines, and gather in the woods, but you also build relationships and help battle the impersonal, monopolized JojaMart that is trying to change Pelican Town and put Pierre’s General Store out of business. In addition to those, there is a subplot of rebuilding the town Community Center and solving a small scale mystery with the help of the town Wizard, M. Rasmodius.
You can expand your house, collect items, design your farm, and rebuild Pelican Town all in one game. There are festivals that happen in each season, and the game runs on a time system where each day cycle is 13.5 minutes in real time and 18 hours game time. Farming expends the character’s energy and fighting small creatures at night can lower the health bar, but both restore after a night of sleep. The character will pass out if awake past midnight and if he or she has gone to bed with less than half energy and health, then they will only be partially restored after a night’s rest. Food can be consumed to replenish energy during the day if you are farming or clearing land.
The game begins on Day 1 of Spring and moves through a season up to day 28 before the next season, for example after the 28th of spring it will be Day 1 of Summer. This seasonal cycle makes up the year and each season changes the weather, wildlife, and crops. Years are tied to a few events, but there’s no limit on the number of years which can be played. Years are tied to a few events, but there’s no limit on the number of years which can be played and character’s daily routines can change each season.
The art style makes it so that the game is easily mistaken for Harvest Moon by those looking over your shoulder, but the game is it’s own story completely.