New indie game tops Steam; farm genre attracts gamers
Photo courtesy of YOUTUBE.COM
by WILLIAM WONG
As fighting and shooting video game fan bases grow and become increasingly competitive, Stardew Valley is reviving a classic genre of games that offer casual play.
Originally conceived in 2012 by Developer Eric Barone, known online as ConcernedApe, Stardew Valley was created in attempt to revive the cult classic, Harvest Moon, in a modern design. First released on the Super Nintendo platform in 1996, Harvest Moon was a farm simulation game in which players could build relationships, eventually creating a virtual life as a farmer. Likewise, Stardew Valley takes many of these aspects and translates them, like marriage and technology, to appeal to a newer generation, topping the Steam sales as of February 2016.
After being bombarded with work and growing pressure to quit their jobs, players receive a letter from their late grandfather, giving them the deed to his farm and a chance to start a new life. Players then arrive in Pelican Town, where they can learn to “live off the land.”
In recent years, independent games have been decreasingly valuing graphics turning to simple pixels, like those used in Minecraft and Undertale, from the over-detailed HD norm. Stardew Valley continues this trend, combining a colorful natural palette with surprisingly detailed pixel art.
The game features several character customizations, as well as many different skills in which players can become proficient, like farming and fishing. Players can grow and harvest several resources ranging from starfruit to sardines. In addition to this, in order to simulate a more lifelike experience, Stardew Valley uses seasons to regulate the different crops and fish that can be farmed or caught at certain times.
In addition, players can also create relationships in the game and can marry other characters, creating the ability to start families. In comparison to Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley’s features are almost identical but take a slightly modern spin.
Stardew Valley’s gameplay is both calm and relaxing, but it can also be ridiculously repetitive. While the soothing soundtrack combined with the realistic causal focused gameplay is extremely attractive, the continual need to tend crops and manage a farm can become somewhat boring over lengthy periods of time. This is understandable, however, because the game’s goal is follow the Harvest Moon style.
Although Stardew Valley’s repetitiveness slightly hinders its appeal, its calm and casual gameplay, along with its realistic take on farm life, and its appeal to a wide range of audience with simple game mechanics, all come together to create a very promising game.
Stardew Valley is currently available on Steam for $14.99.