Stardew Valley Review
Posted: 16 months ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.
On the surface, this can seem like a simple farm-simulator but players are soon drawn to the wider world, people and relationships that make their village tick. It's a game that can surprise you by the nuance and depth of characters.
There is hope running through the stories of the townsfolk. When you know them well enough to trigger the cut scenes explaining their back-stories this grows more substantial. You can even influence their decisions. It becomes less a game about farming wealth and more about generosity and community value.
Players: You can play this with 4 players online. This is a game you can pour hours into if you wish. The open-ended approach to mastering the farming and relational side of the game means that total play time will vary greatly.
You can play in co-op mode via the menu. Each player needs a system and copy of the game. Then open the farm to other players via the Settings tab in the Inventory.
- PC - Connect via to Steam friends co-op join screen.
- PlayStation 4 - Connect via PlayStation Plus in the co-op join screen.
- Switch - Connect via Nintendo Online account to people on your friends-list via the Join tab. Or connect via local WiFi.
- Xbox One - Connect to other players via Xbox Live Gold. Multiplayer without a subscription isn't supported.
The game was originally rated PEGI 7 for occasional mild non-realistic violence towards human characters. Violence towards human characters is not detailed. When a human character is hit they do not respond either audibly or physically. When eventually defeated a character will spin off into the distance and disappear.
The more recent version of the game include "a casino location and trade in-game money for tokens which can then be used to bet on various casino games such as blackjack and slots with detailed instructions on how to play." This resulted in a PEGI 12 rating.
The VSC also noted that, the player has the option to make alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine and mead. When the player consumes the alcohol, they receive increases in their health and energy statistics. However, a negative consequence is also shown, with an icon indicating that the character is 'tipsy', which temporarily reduces their speed. The player can go throughout the whole game without making or drinking any alcoholic beverage.
ESRB EVERYONE 10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Simulated Gambling, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. Some quests require players to explore caves and battle "cartoony" enemies (e.g., jelly creatures, crabs, flying monsters). From a top-down perspective, players use swords to briefly strike creatures and deplete their health meters. A handful of creatures emit small splashes of blood when defeated. One area contains a casino in which players can wager coins on slot machines and blackjack-style card games. During the course of the game, characters are occasionally depicted smoking pipes or cigarettes; players can also drink mugs of beer, sometimes resulting in a temporary “tipsy” status effect. The word “damn” appears in the dialogue.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.
How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.
Reaction-time Not Critical: Individual game actions don’t need quick reactions.
Low Pressure: Game tasks aren’t time-limited or with a high emphasis on performance. Or there is a low pressure play-mode available.
How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.
Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required.
Large Clear Text: Text is large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.
Large Clear Subtitles: Subtitles are large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.
Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.
Speaker Indicator: Captions or icons and speech bubbles indicate who is speaking.
How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.
Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.
Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.
One Motion Targeted: Play with touchscreen, tap and swipe or hold gesture.
You can customise the controls for the game as follows:
Remap Buttons: Re-map all buttons/keys.
Remap Mouse and Keyboard: Remap mouse and keyboard.
Remap One Action to Multiple Buttons: Map multiple buttons to a single action.
Remap Game Menu Access: You can remap buttons to pause and access game menu.
Specific button operation required to play
Holding Down Buttons Optional: Holding down buttons not required or can be turned off or switched to toggling the action on and off.
Rapid Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing not required or can be skipped or disabled.
Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.
How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.
Bright Colourful Palette: Game uses bright colours and is generally high contrast.
No Screen Shake: No screen shake effect or this can be disabled.
Colourblind friendly: Game doesn’t rely on colour or can switch to colourblind friendly mode.
Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.
How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.
Balance Audio Levels: Set music and game sound effects separately.
Play Without Hearing: No audio cues are necessary to play the game well
How you can communicate with other players in the game and what options are available to customise and control this interaction.
Text Chat: Chat to other players by typing text.
Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.
Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Stardew Valley or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Stardew Valley, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12+ or ESRB EVERYONE 10+ games.
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