The moment I heard (and saw photos of) Stardew Valley, the inner Harvest Moon geek in me kind of imploded. But the truth is, half of me (the Harvest Moon elitist freak) thought it was a complete rip-off, but the other half had a longing to see if it was all the internet has made it out to be.
So, naturally, I bought the game. Here are my thoughts on Stardew Valley.
Let’s be honest, guys. From the moment you see screenshots of the game, until when you actually boot it up, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, literally screams Harvest Moon. From the pixelized art, the colors, and even the sounds of Spring the first time you wake up at 6:00AM in the morning on your farm, Stardew Valley has clearly taken too much inspiration from Harvest Moon, and yet, still finds a way to make the game stand on its own.
Quite frankly, if Harvest Moon (SNES) had been created in this day and age with the same kind of technology that was available back then, it wouldn’t be too far from Stardew Valley.
The game starts you off with a simple story – you move to a farm your grandfather handed down to you when you realized that life in a call center (LOL) isn’t what you thought it would be. Cue your move to a rural town whose locals are threatened by a corporate supermarket giant.
Everything is basically the same but with an updated take. For example, this time you’re actually allowed to customize your own character.
Of course, mine is purple-haired, yet again, LOL. (Also forgive me for giving my character such a boring name, HAHAHA!)
But the daily grind, the day-to-day activities are the same – farming, mining, fishing (which, mind you, is quite difficult!), and making friends with the local townspeople. I heard you can actually have same-sex relationships, YAY!
However, Stardew Valley has these little nuances that make it similar to Harvest Moon, yet still somehow make the game quite different. When we once had Harvest Moon Goddesses and Harvest Sprites, this time you give gifts to the land’s magical creatures called Junimos to restore the community and the land.
Mining is the same – you try to reach the most bottom level but Stardew Valley incorporates adventuring with a weapon and equipment to defeat enemies that flock the dark dredges of the caves. You even get special items after completing special quests that involve killing monsters. 🙂
Foraging can also be the same and yet still unique. To help wild produce proliferate, you have to keep open areas free from weeds, sticks, and rocks! Also, you can dig up things even outside your tillable farm soil! (TIP: Watch out for earthworms poking their heads out of the ground!)
What I like the most about Stardew Valley is that it pays homage to the SNES version of Harvest Moon, the first game that jumpstarted the entire series (AND my most favorite of all the games in the series!). 🙂
In conclusion, after having spent one month in-game (I’m at Summer 8 as of writing), I would like to say that yes, Stardew Valley, is indeed strangely too reminiscent of Harvest Moon. But I was wonderfully reminded that it is still its own game that has its own unique story and quirks. I think it deserves to be applauded for the amazing effort of bringing back to life the kind of games the past used to have.
Also, look at my farm~
TIP: The game starts really slow and you really need to make an effort to keep going until you see the fruits of your labor. Once you’ve established a rhythm, you’ll see your gameplay start to pick up until finally you can’t wait to go home and spend a few days in-game. 🙂