I wasn’t quite aware just how well I knew Harvest Moon until I played Stardew Valley. This is in no way a bad thing.
Excepting the visual design and the particulars of the dialogue, the pacing and mechanics of the game are almost exactly the same. This is because the developer is crazy about Harvest Moon and wanted to find a version he could play on his PC — but there wasn’t one. So he made one. What began as a programming exercise in C++ became one of the most fun, involved and busy games I’ve ever played, not to mention the most loving recreation of one of my own personal favorite game series.
The game begins with a late night communication from Grandpa, displayed sleeping in his bed. He has sent you something, but you can only open the letter and find out what it is when the time is right.Thanks, Old Timer! Tired of your corporate job, you open the letter and find the deeds to Grandpa’s old farm. With no hesitation, you pack up your bags and move to the sticks. The mayor of your new home, Pelican Town, meets you from the coach and escorts you to your new farm.
Moving to the sticks is not an exaggeration — Grandpa’s farm is a mess of overgrown trees, fallen branches and all manner of debris that you’ll need to clear in order to make room for your crops and animals. Then you’ll ship all your products and make a bunch of money and make your farm better.
And that’s it. You’ll spend your time divided by seemingly endless jobs but you’ll love every minute of it because everything you do achieves something.
Gaming in general is stressful at times, but the best thing about Stardew Valley is that you can take your time and no-one is trying to kill you.