When I think farming sims, I inevitably default to Harvest Moon as the perfect example. But in recent years, there has been one indie game that has surpassed even the entire back catalogue of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games, and that game is Stardew Valley.
Not only does Stardew Valley take the winning formula of the Harvest Moon series and build on it, but I’d argue it exceeds the original and offers more content and value than even modern Harvest Moon releases. There are many elements which make Stardew Valley truly special; the variety of gameplay specialisations, the sheer number of things to actually DO, the amount of freedom and customisation, the multiplayer and co-op options, the wonderful quaint characters and world, the constant free updates by developer ConernedApe.
But what impresses me the most is that this epic game was created by a single indie developer who worked on the pixel art, the soundtrack, everything! And it is honestly one of my favourite games of all time! When I think of how outstanding indie games can be, I definitely think of Stardew Valley.
What I’ll whine about:
Nothing. This game is truly perfect. There are so many options, so much customisation available, that I fail to get bored. If anything, Stardew Valley’s biggest flaw is it’s too addictive and a real time killer.
Oh, and I want to marry Clint. Please can that be an option one day? What can I say, I like grumpy blacksmiths!
What I’ll gush about:
I could spend days gushing how great this game is, but I especially love the customisation. There are multiple starter maps to choose from, which I believe no Harvest Moon game has ever offered. ConcernedApe are constantly releasing new updates and content for free. And if that wasn’t enough, Stardew Valley also has mod support which means you can tailor your experience even further. If you play the PC version, you can find a whole bunch of great mods over at Nexus Mods.
I also love that this world is inclusive, too. Like other Harvest Moon games, your farmer can marry a villager and start a family. There are many available candidates in Stardew Valley to woo, and sexuality limits none or gender.
If you love farming sims, you will love this. And even if you don’t, it’s well worth giving a go! Play it YOUR way, either solo or multiplayer.
Find Stardew Valley on Steam – also available on console and mobile