By James Reid
Indie developers are constantly proving to the gaming world that they can create games that are just as good, if not better, than any AAA title made by a big name company like Bethesda, EA, or Ubisoft. We got to see the true extent of success an indie game can reach last year when Undertale took the world by storm. Well it’s happened again, this time with Stardew Valley.
Stardew Valley might just look like a Harvest Moon rip-off to some, and to an extent, it is. A lot of people, myself included, would actually describe the game as a mixture of Harvest Moon and Terraria. By taking farming, relationship building, and fishing elements from Harvest Moon and combining them with crafting and combat elements from Terraria, this game has become a huge success.
The game starts off with you quitting your big city corporate job to move to a small town and take over your grandfather’s old farm. As you can expect, the gameplay largely incorporates classic farming elements such as harvesting crops, raising farm animals, gathering resources, fishing, mining and more. Along with this, the game also adds enemies to fight while in the mines, relationships to build with the townsfolk, a marriage system, children, festivals, and so much more.
The best part about this game is that it is extremely relaxing and addictive. You can play at your own pace, plan out what you want to do, and pretty much spend each day doing whatever it is you want. It’s low-stress in the sense that there isn’t one clear objective you have to meet or you lose, and it’s not competitive in the slightest. That being said, you will likely find yourself wanting to do everything and only having so much time in the in-game day to do it. This will likely cause the classic “one more day” syndrome, in which you keep saying that and then play for hours on end without stopping.
The most impressive part about Stardew Valley is the fact that it was made by one guy over the course of 4 years. Developer ConcernedApe did everything from the character designs to the ambient music himself, all while working part time as an usher at a local theatre. In a recent interview, he stated that the game has sold over 400,000 copies since its release on February 26. At $15 USD a copy, I think the guy can probably afford to quit his day job now. The last notable indie game made by one developer to gain this much success in such a short time was Notch, creator of Minecraft; who now has a net worth of over 1.3 billion dollars.
Aside from the incredible success story of this game and its creator, it really is an extremely enjoyable game with so much content to play. ConcernedApe also plans on releasing loads more free content in the future, a multiplayer mode, and is consistently listening to player feedback on bugs and disappointments. For $16.99 CAD, you absolutely cannot go wrong with buying this game. For what it is, what it costs, and what is yet to come out for it, it honestly gets a perfect rating from me.