Stardew Valley – Our Review and First Steps

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Stardew Valley – your new life – is at its core basically a farming simulator game. And with this little review and guide, we will make you feel at home in on your new farm pretty quickly.

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So dive in to your lifelong secret vocation (many seem to secretly hold this dream, otherwise the success of farming simulators cannot be explained). You are not alone!

What is SV about?

As soon as you set up your character and inherit your farm – your new home -, you will encounter a range of interactive and fascinating activities, such as fishing, mining, exploring, making friends and even more.

These all play into your keep your farm afloat, from the basic (watering your plants in the morning) to the more advanced crafts.

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Hundreds of hours of Gameplay

While at first, it may seem overwhelming, the real value of the game is to be able to step back, starting small, and enjoying the little things.

Eventually, you’ll start getting the hang of it and the hundreds of hours of gameplay will pass by smoothly.

While there will be daily routines and chores to complete, I also found something new to do each day, especially as my farm grew.

Your Humble Beginnings

When you start Stardew Valley for the first time, you do so by customizing your character, indicating the game’s RPG element right away. This is also when you are supposed to choose the map you’ll interact with for the rest of the game.

As your new home, there are five maps and farms to choose from: the Standard Farm, the Riverland Farm, the Forest Farm, the Hill-Top Farm, and the Wilderness Farm.

Choose your Farm – Choose your Craft

Each of these farms represents a major aspect of the game:

  1. the Standard Farm focuses on farming
  2. the Riverland Farm focuses on fishing
  3. the Forest Farm focuses on foraging
  4. the Hill-Top farm focuses on mining
  5. the Wilderness Farm focuses on combat.

The furniture, flooring, and wallpaper of your house will match the theme of your chosen map as well. However, the exterior will be the same no matter what map you choose as your new Stardew Valley home farm.

If you don’t like feeling locked in, or you change your mind about the ideal map mid-way, then don’t worry. You can still play the other aspects of the game even if you did not choose that aspect’s map.

For example, if you choose the Standard Farm, you can find lakes and fish there. However, the water will be much smaller when compared to their designated map – the Riverland Farm.

Stardew Valley Logo
Stardew Valley Logo

If you’re diving into your first game, it’s highly recommended to start with the Standard Farm. This will help you familiarise yourself with the various concepts of the game.

Once you’ve set up your character and the map, you’ll be thrown straight into the game.

The plot? Your character’s grandfather dies and leaves his farm on your shoulders. The place is a rather dismal piece of barren land. You are supposed to take care of the whole farm; learn to fish, mine, forage, make friends, and get in a relationship with Lead or any of the 12 singles; and fight against the Joja Corporation – all by yourself.

Each day takes about 20 minutes of real-world time. You must go to bed by 2 am – at a maximum – or your character will collapse from exhaustion. If they do, you’ll have to play through the entire day again. All of that may seem inordinate and formidable at first.

Start up Strategy Guide

So, here is a guide that will float you across the first season like the Santa María across the Atlantic.

1. Invest in MVP (Most Valuable Plant)

Each of the four seasons of Stardew Valley has an MVP, a seed which gives you the highest yield against your efforts. For spring, which is the first season you’ll face, the MVP is cauliflower.

2. Craft and Plant Scarecrows on Your Farm

All saplings and seeds you plant (except for those that grow from Wild Seeds) are under the threat of crows. So, craft a scarecrow as soon as you can. A scarecrow will protect a circular area of almost 248 spaces on your farm.

3. Foraging and Fishing Will Provide the Much Needed Extra Funds

At the beginning of the game, you’ll often feel low on funds. However, stuff like leeks, dandelions, and wild horse radishes can be found scattered across the forest.

Gather and sell them to get the much-needed extra money. Clams, oysters, coral, and sea urchins (which are found on or near the beaches) can be sold for extra money as well.

4. Do Favours to the Town Folk

Doing favours and completing tasks for the locals will provide you with extra coin. You can find these on the notice board in front of the general store.

However, it’s worth noting that all of these tasks are time-bound; if you do not complete them within the given time, you won’t receive the reward. The time limit is generally two days and, in rare cases, just a single day.

Moreover, sometimes the reward may not be sufficient; it’s better to skip such tasks.

5. Explore the Mines, But Don’t Overdo It.

After a few days of hard toil on the farm, the mines’ doors will open wide for you. Within their depths, you’ll find minerals such as copper and other resourceful materials, which will help you to upgrade tools as you progress in the game.

However, don’t go very deep into the mines; danger lingers there. You’ll run out of life and energy soon, fainting out of fear and exhaustion.

Once you’ve reached an even collection of resources, you can simply make a living out of fishing, mining, or foraging without ever needing to touch your farm.

However, if you do decide on this lifestyle, it’s worth noting that you must return back to your home before 2 am – or all your progress will be lost.

A Rather Lose-Ended Story

Stardew Valley does have a story, but it’s by no means the game’s main focus. The main story closes at the end of year-two, when Grandpa’s Ghost Evaluation takes place (more on that later).

After this, you are routinely offered a few quests and many ‘Help-Wanted’ quests.

The story, although snug and satisfying, is not the game’s strongest point. If you’re a gamer who plays mainly for the narrative, then Stardew Valley is not the game for you.

Stardew Valley on Steam

Stardew Valley is available on Steam at $14.99 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is available in 12 languages, including English, German, Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, and many more.

It comes with overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community and an overall rating of a staggering 10/10.

It also includes Steam achievements and can be often found on sale at a low price tag.

Stardew Valley live Screenshot
Stardew Valley live Screenshot

Stardew Valley Download

Stardew Valley can be downloaded from Steam, Humble Store, GOG, the Xbox Live Store, the PlayStation Store, and the Nintendo Switch Store. You can also download the Windows 10 version of the game form the official Microsoft Store.

Stardew Valley FAQ

Can I play Stardew Valley with friends?

Yes, you can play it with up to four friends. However, multiplayer functionality is, at present, only available on PC and Switch; cross-play between the two platforms is not supported.

Stardew Valley Multiplayer Update

On the bright side, all PC players – whether on Windows, Mac, or Linux, Steam or GOG – can play with each other via Steam, GOG Galaxy, or directly via IP address or LAN. Players on Nintendo Switch can play multiplayer on farms hosted by Switch Online friends or via local communications play.

Multiplayer is an especially good choice in the game, as you can concentrate on one aspect of the game (say, farming), while your friends concentrate on the other aspects, such as fishing or mining. Thus, you all are mutually benefitted. However, your multiplayer farm is a completely different one from your single player farm. You cannot bring or take any sort of items from one to the other.  

How many years do you have in Stardew Valley?

The game comes to an end at the beginning of the third year. The Grandpa, who handed you his farm in the beginning of the game, comes back as a ghost and evaluates the farm. Based on your performance, a certain number of candles will be lighted on Grandpa’s Shrine. A minimum of one candle is lit, which represents poor performance, while a maximum of four candles can be lit, which represents outstanding performance.

If you’re not satisfied with your performance, all you need to do is go to Grandpa’s Shrine with a diamond and place it there. The following morning, Grandpa will re-evaluate the farm and give you a new score.

That being said, you can continue to play the game for as long as you like. It will never end abruptly. Many players have over 100 years in the game and their farm is still going strong.

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a lot of fun

Is Stardew Valley free?

No, Stardew Valley is not free on any platform. You have to purchase the game in order to play it. There is also no free trial or demo for the game.

Can you marry other players in Stardew Valley?

Yes, you can marry other players and have children with them in the co-op mode of the game. You will need to craft a wedding ring, which will cost you five iridium bars and a prismatic shard if you have the recipe. The recipe for the wedding ring can be bought at the Travelling Cart.

Additionally, you can also marry any other NPC who is marked “single” and have children with them.

How to invite your friends to your farm?

You can invite your friends to your farm in the co-op mode. You’ll need to select the Invite-Only Server and send your friends the ‘invite’ code.

You can find the invite code in the multiplayer area of the settings menu. In the multiplayer area, click on the “Invite Friend” button to invite them to your farm directly, or click the “Show Invite Code”.

Remember that you will have the safe file, but your profits will be shared among your friends. Moreover, you’ll need to make cabins for all your friends, so that each of you can sleep at night and progress the game to the next day. Luckily, building a cabin is cheap and easy. All you need to do is talk to Robyn and spend a hundred gold and ten stone.

The Stardew Valley Navigation on PC

The navigational keys on PC are pretty standard and as follows:

  • W – Up
  • A – Left
  • S- Down
  • D – Right
  • left Mouse button + C – use a tool or place something
  • right Mouse button + X – check something or engage
  • Escape key + E – go to the menu
  • F – open journal
  • M – open Map
  • LEFT SHIFT – run
  • 1-0, – , + – inventory
  • SHIFT + LEFT CLICK – move inventory item to top row
  • SHIFT + LEFT CLICK – buy things at a shop window
  • RIGHT CLICK – buy 5 items
  • SHIFT + RIGHT CLICK – buy 5 items at once
  • RIGHT CLICK @inventories – choose one
  • SHIFT + RIGHT CLICK – choose half of inventories

More about Stardew Valley navigation for PC here

The Stardew Valley Creators’ interview

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