Cleo has been playing "Stardew Valley" since it came out. He's a huge fan.
Warning: the text below this may contain spoilers. Read at your own discretion.
Even on the title screen, I had a good feeling about this game. The title screen had a very welcoming design that was paired with a lovely tune. It was very calming and I actually sat there for a moment listening to it before creating my character because of this.
It might look rather simple, but for anyone who likes to get in-depth with their character design and is into the whole role-playing thing, it's pretty complex. There are many different hairstyles to choose from with a whole rainbow of colors to color it with. Alongside that, there are 50+ shirt options that really drag out character creation because you're torn between what you're going to wear throughout the game. I'm not entirely sure if that's a pro or a con.
While you may not be able to choose the color of your character's skin on a gradient, they have many different colors to choose from. This also includes more fantasy-like colors, such as, blues, greens, and pinks, for if you feel like your character if less human, and more of some other creature.
Once you're done making your character, you get to choose your character's name, the name of your character's farm, and even your character's favorite thing. I thought that the last one was a very cute addition to character creation.
Starting the Game
After you've created your character, you don't just get thrown into the game (thankfully). It shows your grandfather, lying on a bed. With the way he looks and speaks, it appears that he is very ill and might not have much time left. He gives you an envelope and tells you not to open it until you get tired of the city. After that, it shows your character in a cubicle, with many other people in cubicles. Your character opens their work drawer, and there's the envelope. They open it to reveal that your grandfather has passed down his farm to you. I thought that all of this story was very sad because I feel like I knew the character's grandfather personally, so this yanked on my heartstrings. Other than that, I thought it was a very sweet story and even though it was a tad bit fast-paced, it was the okay kind of fast-paced because of the circumstances of the story.
I was absolutely astonished when I saw the condition of the farm. My first thoughts were, "Wow, this is just a trainwreck." And as you can see from the wonderful screenshot I took above, it is a big mess. No one has been taking care of the farm since your grandfather passed away, so it's become overgrown and the buildings have fallen into extreme disrepair.
Here's where your job comes into play. Your character is armed with a pickaxe, an axe, a hoe, a scythe, and a watering can. You use the pickaxe to break the rocks, the axe to cut down the trees, and the scythe to tear down the huge bushels of grass. The hoe, you use to till the land you've cleared. At the start, you're given 15 parsnip seeds to plant. Be sure to water them every day so they'll grow on time.
It's a lot of work, a heck of a lot of work. However, once you've cleared the land, it starts coming together very nicely. You can build different kinds of fences from the wood and stone you get, and you can decorate your farm with them and the other things you can craft. The crafting system is really simple to use, as well.
Pelican Town has a few shops and a lot more player homes. There's a doctor's office, a general store, a library, a superstore, a run-down community center, a blacksmith, and even a beach. There are many people to talk to, each with personalities of their own, and there are even some people that your character can romance, regardless of gender.
One important thing to note is that all of the buildings, save for the community center, are open during certain in-game hours. For example, the general store is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is closed on Wednesdays.
Inside of the Pelican Town Mine, there is a large bounty of riches to be found. This being said, these riches come with a lot of danger. After getting the rusty sword from Marlon, you can begin your journey to awesomeness. On the first few floors, there are green slimes that attack you, some slowing you down each time they hit you. These are easy to deal with, as are the blue flies that fly in a straight line.
The real danger comes when you go down far enough to where the cave mines spawn. They fly around the area at a rapid rate and they spawn in pretty hefty numbers. Needless to say, I've passed out quite a few times from getting bombarded by these flies and lost 4–5 items and gold. So it's best that you venture down there prepared.
From what I've seen, mind you, I've only made it down to floor 15, there are many minerals to be found. I've found quartz just lying around on the ground. You can also loot geodes when breaking open rocks, which you can then take to the blacksmith to break open for you. You can also get monster loot from killing the monsters in the game.
Overall, if you aren't prepared for it with food, it's not a good idea to venture down there, especially with the cave flies lurking about.
In Stardew Valley, you can acquire skills that increase or unlock certain aspects of the game.
For example, to raise the combat skill, you go into the mine and fight the various creatures that lurk there. When you go to bed that night, upon returning from the mine, it'll show you if you've leveled up the skill or not. It'll also show you what you've unlocked, upon leveling up. Additionally, leveling up the combat skill gives you +10 health each time.
Now you can do this with the other skills, too. To level up your fishing, you use the fishing rod to catch fish. You can also use the crab pots, too, once you've successfully unlocked those.
For foraging, you cut down trees and collect the season's fruits that you find lying around the forest and the town.
For mining, you use the pickaxe and break open rocks in the mine and in your farm.
For farming, you till the ground with the hoe, plant your seeds, and harvest them when they're ready.
The crafting system is pretty interesting and it's fun to craft the helpful things you unlock.
Stardew Valley is a fun experience if you're willing to do the work that comes with maintaining your farm. There are lots of things to do and many interesting characters to interact with. I firmly believe that it deserves 5/5 stars and that its reviews on Steam are overwhelmingly positive for a reason.
© 2017 Cleo Burch