Stardew Valley is probably the best farming simulator game on all of steam. Developed and designed by ConcernedApe and published by Chucklefish Games, this awesome video game allows players to build up a farm in ways that put other farming simulators to shame. There's a whole town to explore, plenty of unlockable areas, a mine, fishing, and so much more.
One of the primary goals in the game is making money, but aside from that there are a lot of other potential goals as well. Players can focus on making friends in town and discovering all sorts of social secrets and events. There are also town events every couple of weeks or so such as the egg festival, flower festival, and so on.
There is no direct story-line in Stardew Valley; however, there are a bunch of miniature story lines. Players can investigate the community center and meet the wizard which in turn can lead down its own miniature story. The more adventurous players can explore the mine and meet the adventurers guild.
There are also skill levels in Stardew Valley for each profession: farming, fishing, mining, combat, and foraging. As players do anything in these fields they slowly level up, unlocking new abilities and crafting recipes.
There's also crafting in this game. Players can take materials such as wood gathered from trees, and stone gathered from rocks to make a variety of useful creations. Storage chests to put items in, sprinklers to automatically water crops, fertilizer, and so much more. Crafting is one of the best parts of Stardew Valley and opens up so much potential for innovation and fun.
Players can also upgrade their farm with new buildings with the help of the local carpenter, Robin. With some money and enough materials she can build a new chicken coop, barn, storage shed, and much more on the farm. She's definitely one of the most useful NPC's in the game. Without her, players cannot get farm animals.
The story begins with the players grandfather apparently in his death bed. He/she gives the player a note and tells him to only open it when the woes of modern life become too much for him. The player is then seen working in a cubicle at the infamous Joja corp where he/she seems like he can take it no longer. He/she opens the letter to find out he/she has been given the deed to the grandfathers farm.
Upon moving there the player is met by a few NPC's who explain where they are and what the town is like. From there the plot becomes very open-ended where players can go whatever route they want. There's a small underlying goal of making the town great again and making joja corp obsolete. Even in Stardew Valley, joja corp has an imprint with its local supermarket. This supermarket is where players can buy seeds for crops at the farm however.
At this point players can choose to live a life whichever way they want. They can be an isolationist and farm all day for money, rarely leaving the farm. Or they can be a social butterfly spending the majority of their time and money meeting the townsfolk, giving them gifts, helping with quests, and unlocking the towns secrets. Or instead players can be miners or fishermen. There's also the most likely option which is to live a hybrid lifestyle of doing a variety of different things, which most players are likely to do.
In Stardew Valley there are five different farm maps players can choose from when they start their game. Each of these farm types offer their own unique benefits and limitations. Each of the farm types also encourage the growth of one of the five different skills available to the player. Below are links to the five farm types, each with their own short summary here, and more details on their respective pages.
The standard farm has the most available land for growing crops and raising animals. There are two small lakes for some basic fishing, but the primary focus of the standard farm is on growing massive amounts of crops. This farm type has the most space out of all five farming maps.
The riverland farm is hands down the best for fishing. While in reality, there aren't many advantages of fishing at the farm, vs walking over to the river or ocean, it's still very fun in its own respect. This farm type has the least available land for farming. On the other hand, from an artistic standpoint this is the most interesting and fun farm map type out of the five. There's something magical about living on a series of connected islands on a lake.
The forest farm is great for foraging and farming wood from trees. This is the only Stardew Valley farm type that has bushes and other shrubbery. This farm type has a decent amount of usable land; however, a lot of it is covered with grass. It also has the standard large and small ponds as are seen in a few of the farms. There are a lot of trees on this map, and it even has its own renewable source of hardwood. This is the best farm for anyone wanting to level up the foraging skill.
The hill-top farm has the second least usable land out of all five farm types. On the other hand it has its own renewable source of copper and geodes. This is the most difficult to get started with, but is one of the most visually pleasing farms to live on. It's the only farm with a river flowing through it. It's also the only farm that isn't flat, there are multiple hills and inclines to go up and down on this Stardew Valley farm.
The wilderness farm is a very unique farm type. While similar to the standard farm, the wilderness farm has a little big less usable land. It's also the only farm type with a third, bigger pond to the bottom left. Overall the wilderness farm has around the same usable farming land as the forest farm. The main point of interest for the wilderness farm is that monsters spawn after dark here. It's a great place for training combat skills, but kind of frivolous because players can simply go to the mine to fight monsters.
Stardew Valley professions
In Stardew Valley there are five player skills. These skills can be leveled up with experience, which is gained by using the respective professions. With each level in a skill (maximum of 10 levels) players unlock new crafting recipes and gain efficiency for the tools of that profession.
Each level of tool efficiency decreases the amount of energy it requires to use that tool. As for the crafting recipes, they revolve around the profession that gave them. For example, leveling up farming to level 2 unlocks the ability to craft sprinklers, which water 4 nearby crops every morning.
Below are quick summaries of the five main professions / player skills in Stardew Valley.
Farming is the profession everybody would expect to exist in a game like Stardew Valley. This profession is gained by growing crops, watering crops, and tilling the soil with a hoe.
With levels to farming players can expect to unlock the ability to craft sprinklers, fertilizers, speed grow, and more. As for efficiency, the Stardew Valley farming profession increases efficiency for the hoe and the water can.
One of the fastest ways to level up farming in Stardew Valley is with the use of sprinklers. It takes a lot of iron and copper to get enough sprinklers going, but once they've been placed they'll stay there forever. Players can plant the crops around the sprinklers and only have to worry about harvesting them, no more watering plants every day. This is also an excellent way to make money in Stardew Valley.
Mining is one of the most exciting professions in Stardew Valley as it pairs up with the combat profession as well. Players can go mining over in the mines to the north east of town.
Mining is done with the pickaxe. The only good way to level up mining is to break rocks in the mine with the pickaxe. With mining profession levels players can unlock the ability to craft bombs and transmute ores. In transmutation players can turn 3 copper bars into 1 iron, and so on.
At deeper levels of the mine players can actually make a good bit of gold by mining gold and other valuable gems, especially diamonds. Geodes can also be found in the mines which can be broken at the blacksmith. Geodes contain rare minerals and common ores.
While mining isn't the best way to make money in Stardew Valley, exploring the entirety of the mines the first time is very exciting and fun. Mining copper and iron is a requirement to make sprinklers for farming, unless players want to shell out a lot of cash at the blacksmith for the ores.
Foraging is an interesting profession which is leveled by gathering wild plants such as spring berries and wild grapes. Foraging experience can also be gained by cutting down trees with an axe.
The biggest benefit of leveling the foraging profession is unlocking the ability to craft lightning rods. These can be placed on the farm and create battery packs during lightning storms. Battery packs can be used to make iridium sprinklers.
Foraging increases efficiency with the axe which decreases the energy cost of cutting down trees. Also cutting down trees is the fastest way to level up the gathering profession.
The Stardew Valley fishing profession is exactly what it sounds like. Players can use a fishing rod in order to catch fish from any body of water.
Not all fishing attempts give fish, many will yield trash instead. Later on players can use bait with one of the better fishing rods in order to increase the percentage of fish to trash.
Some bodies of water yield more trash than others. The ponds at the farm give trash much more often than the river or ocean. One of the best places to fish is a little ways up the river by the joja mart, the ratio of trash to fish is very good there.
Fishing in Stardew Valley is a mini-game. Players must keep a fish icon inside of a green rectange as the fish goes up and down on a scale. As players gain fishing levels and better fishing rods this green rectange gets bigger making it much easier to catch rarer fish. Also as the players fishing level goes up, the fish jerk up and down more slowly on the bar. All of this makes it easier to catch rare fish as players level up their fishing skill.
The combat skill in Stardew Valley is used and gained by fighting monsters, primarily in the mines. The only other real place to use combat is if players pick the wilderness farm. The wilderness farm spawns monsters after dark.
As players levle up their combat profession they gain health instead of tool efficiency. While the health gain isn't massive, it's still a nice bonus.
Players can get a sword by entering the mines for the first time. Once the adventurers guild is unlocked players can buy weapons from the guild. Probably the best weapon in the game is the bone sword that can be bought at the adventurers guild. It costs 6,000 and does massive damage with fantastic attack speed.
Attack speed is extremely valuable in the mines. If players can swing their weapon fast enough it keeps most monsters from ever getting in range for attack.