Stardew Valley - Analysis
The ConcernedApe game began its development four years ago and it didn't take long to get the attention of the Steam community in Greenlight, which immediately gave it the green light. His blatantly retro aesthetics and family play style made many people interested in the game since its inception. His obvious resemblance to the Natsume classic opened the door to an audience that already knows the product and knows what he wants to play. If Stardew Valley manages to give that audience what it seeks, it will be here to stay.
One of the first aspects that attracts attention regarding other similar titles is the amount of elements we have to customize our avatar. Although it does not consist of many options, just letting us change the sex, hairstyle, clothes, skin tone and some accessories - where facial hair and glasses are included, for example - it does have a lot to choose from in each one of those sections, being able to count up to more than 100 different clothes or more than 30 hairstyles, for example. Something that may seem very secondary, and that does not directly affect the gameplay, but it makes clear to the first of change the intention of its developers to satisfy as much of the public as possible by covering the shortcomings of Harvest Moon and listening to the community of players, who long ago requested something like that.
In the visual section, the game boasts an artistic direction that has taken great care of the detail . A false isometric view combined with pixel-art graphics affect the feeling of being in a game that could have reached our homes a couple of decades ago, but which is part of its charm. The difference in color as the seasons pass and the specific decoration of the town for each time of the year contribute to making us want to see every corner of the valley.
One of the most negative aspects of the game is that it is not available in Spanish , which already involves a handicap for the smallest players in the house, a potential audience that is out of the fun at the first exchange. This means that for those who do not speak Shakespeare's language fluently, the game becomes somewhat arid, and some of the details and jokes it gives us are most likely lost. Even those who passed English without problem will be forced to consult the dictionary more than once to fully understand any of the missions entrusted.
When you play all your cards to be a kind of clone of a game that already has a historical path, two things can happen. That you end up beating the original and are acclaimed by all or that you stay in another mediocre attempt lacking originality. In this case, although without reaching major words, Stardew Valley is much closer to the first assumption than to the second, but still suffers from a certain lack of personality. We always have the feeling of having already seen what the game offers us.
Like his older brother, we are facing a resource management game limited by the seasons , so we can only plant certain crops at certain times of the game, which adds strategic component forcing us to decide whether to sell everything to make quick money or save part for when winter comes. The same goes for fishing, as species like squid are only found in summer.
Agriculture, livestock, fishing and mining serve as a backdrop to grow our small farm in principle. Our most urgent task is to buy seeds, prepare the land and grow our crops to sell them and buy more seeds. And start over. This base already explored before is on which the foundations of this game are laid and is the excuse to see how our coin counter rises nonstop. But if only that were the case, Stardew Valley could have been solved as a mobile game, so to have us sitting for hours in the chair in front of the PC it takes much more.
The RPG component
This additional point is given to us by the creation of tools and utensils available from the beginning. What in slang has ended up calling "crafting." Although with the limitation imposed by the level of our character, we will use many of the resources obtained in our day to day to invest them in new tools with which to process some of those materials and thus obtain elaborated products that we can sell for a good money. Let's go with another example.