Video Games Weekly: Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a popular indie game that had been released on consoles earlier this year, although it has been available on PC platform since 2016. It’s a role-playing farming/country life game, and while that sounds pretty boring, it’s actually pretty fun!
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Single or Multiplayer: Single
Storyline: You have inherited your now deceased grandfather’s shabby farmland in a small town called Stardew Valley. Not only is your farm decaying, the village’s Community Center is in ruins and a large company called Joja is trying to take over the town!
Gameplay: There isn’t a good or bad way to play Stardew Valley. Players generally try to fix up the Community Center because they can get special items and unlock special areas around town. The second thing players try to do is get married. There are certain villagers whom you can marry if you have enough friendship hearts, and it doesn’t matter what gender the player is. I chose to marry Elliot, a sensitive soul who lives on the beach who is trying to finish writing a novel.
Players have to strategize how to spend each “day” because they have a certain amount of energy. There is plenty to do in one day like raise animals, plant crops, go fishing, mine the caves, collect items to fix up your farm and town, or talk to villagers. Some villagers have their own mini story arc, but there isn’t an overall way to “beat” Stardew Valley because the game is open-ended. Most players try to make money as fast as possible so they can expand their farm and purchase expensive items.
Players also have to consider what items are available during the day because some items are available during one season like Fall. There are 28 days in every season, and four seasons are in a year. Every month has two celebrations where players can get special items.
Now, if this game sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s like an indie version of the popular Nintendo game known as Harvest Moon. In my opinion, it’s better than Harvest Moon because it improved the game mechanics and leveling system that made Harvest Moon so frustrating to play.
Like I said, there isn’t a way to beat Stardew Valley. I got as far as about the end of my third year before I got bored of it, which translates to about 60 hours of gameplay. What I liked most about this game is the casual pace (although the start of the game is very slow and you just have to trudge through), and that I could listen to the radio or an audiobook while playing the game. I listened to both books in the An Ember in the Ashes series while playing Stardew Valley, and I will probably pick up the game again once the third book in the series comes out!
Audience: Like any role-playing game, Stardew Valley will have a niche audience because it is a slow paced, relaxing game. If you are a gamer who liked Harvest Moon, I highly recommend Stardew Valley. However, if you are a player that likes video games with a lot of action, I do not recommend playing this game.
Verdict: I recommend getting a copy or two for circulating collections. This is not a game for programs because of its slow pace and the fact that it is single player.
Pricing: $30 on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stardew-Valley-Collectors-PlayStation-4/dp/B01N199PG7
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By: Alanna Graves
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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