With the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, TechRadar looks back on the games that made this generation so great. What’s your entry this week? Star Dew Valley.
Ever wanted to leave your busy city life and move to a small rural town? There are no more Starbucks queues. Healed by subway. Only you, the clean country air, and the locals who can’t die when you accidentally meet them.
It’s a dreamy thing, typically reserved for Hallmark movies, brimming with clichés and usually in front of urban slippers who learn to love their local roots. But somehow Eric Barone’s Stardew Valley stopped it.
Star Dew Valley is an indie gem that not only survives this fantasy, but also has humor and emotional depth, making it one of the best games of this generation.
Escape with a difference
(Image credit: ConcernedApe)
The assumption of Stardew Valley is very simple. From the bustling city, take over an old ruined farm from your deceased grandfather and then move to the suburbs of Sleeping Pelican Town. In honor of your grandfather, your goal is to clean the farm and make it a thriving agricultural enterprise.
On the surface, Stardew Valley appears to be a typical farming sim similar to Harvest Moon, but it’s not the only one. Stardew Valley plays all roles in farming sims, dating sims, dungeon crawlers and adventures. The beauty of Stardew Valley lies in its versatility. You are not just limited to farming, you can instead get to know the locals, reach their goals, explore caves and enjoy fishing.
Moreover, you will not compete with watches. Despite the seasonal system in Stardew Valley that only grows certain crops in certain seasons, don’t panic. If you find it as easy as you like, you can relax the game in your own time. There is no inevitable competing goal (even if a small goal is given along the way). Instead, you decide what you want and when you want it.
In something like an animal forest: new horizon, if you haven’t caught up with others, you tend to feel late. There is always a minimum way to earn a debt to pay and a bell to pay it. But at Stardew Valley, you can simply enjoy the surroundings if you want. Want to spend the day just cleaning up rocks and trees? here you go. You can move as fast or slowly as you like each season. It is an escape from the turmoil of the world.
A complex cast of characters
(Image credit: Catchafish)
It would be reductive to look at Stardew Valley as simply as a game about escape and relaxation. Especially when one of the most interesting aspects of the game is cast characters.
When first arrived in Pelican Town, each inhabitant of the town seems to reflect some stereotype. Jody: Single mother. Sebastian: Recluse. Elliott: Writer. However, when you get to understand the character better, mainly by giving gifts, you start to dig through the layers of the character and dig for the true nature.
For example, Shane looks like a rude pig. But as you try to get to know him, you will find that he has alcohol problems and suffers from severe depression. Abigail disagrees with her mother about her “alternate” lifestyle. Then there is the unfortunate old George. He is often felt angry when he is in a wheelchair after a mine accident and is often frustrated by not being able to actually do certain things for himself.
Pelican Town is full of friendly residents (you can even get married). The more you play Stardew Valley, the more you can invest in that character. Getting along with them provides the key to their lives. And, again, you’re not in a hurry to talk to anyone.
(Image credit: Chucklefish)
It would be wrong to think of Stardew Valley simply as a pixelated farming simulator. Not only that. Stardew Valley offers the escapist fantasy that many of us dream of, but it’s not a stylistic way it can present, and without the remaining pressure, many of these games often May be involved.
Stardew Valley doesn’t punish you if you don’t play and there is no right way to play. Instead, you need to sink into that fascinating aesthetic and lose yourself.
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