Stardew Valley - It's the farming life for me! | Nintendo Switch Review.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Hello my names El and I love playing farming games, who knew that after all the moaning about Farmville and how I was sick of it that I would now be in the grips of Stardew Valley? Not that I'm complaining! I was pretty lately to the Stardew Valley hype and only hopped on to it to play the game on Nintendo Switch, even though the game has been out since 2016 on PC it was released well over a year later on Nintendo Switch, the popularity that surrounds it speaks for the game itself and is what cemented me wanting to get it, my partner surprised me with it because I was putting off buying the physical copy until I finished my backlog and I'm so glad I didn't end up waiting.

Believe it or not there is a story behind Stardew Valley, you inherit a farm your grandfather has left you in Pelican Town, it's a very different way of life to the office job you was stuck at but it's worth staying to make a better and happier life for yourself. It's not in the best condition and it's going to take time and money to get going but with the help of the townsfolk you can turn things around. By planting crops on the land you have cleared you can then sell them on and make a profit for yourself, expand the farm, buy more materials, farmland and animals and make it a running/working farm that you can live off of and thrive from. Some people have told me that they feel the game is lacking when it comes to the main story and looks very childish, I personally feel that isn't the case, the game as a whole has so many side quests to playthrough which make your story of moving to Pelican town all the more interesting, the graphics may feel childish to them but to me they're charming and stand out.

For those like me who want to play laid back games to relax, Stardew Valley was and is the perfect choice for this, after spending hours watching others play it I knew what I wanted to do in game for my playthrough. When you first play the game you get a choice of farm type, each equally as cute as each other, these were Standard Farm, Riverland Farm, Forest Farm, Hill-Top Farm, Wilderness Farm, Four Corners Farm and Beach Farm. I felt that Forest Farm was the most appealing to me when I first started, my theme in ACNH is a dark forest so it fit very well with that. Each Farm has a different benefit which you can use to your advantage, for example the Forest Farm encourages foraging which is great for finding materials.

Even though I spent a lot of time watching others play the game on Twitch and Youtube it took me a while to get to grips with the game and what was capable so I started off concentrating on getting my farm up and running and mining then I concentrated on developing relationships with the townspeople in Pelican Town. The world isn't set in real time so you will have to keep an eye on what you're doing and get back home by 2am otherwise you will pass out and someone will have to get you home and charge you for it, so long as you plan out what you want to do in game for the coming days you will be fine just watch the clock! On top of this the energy you wasted won't replenish after passing out, you will be stuck with the same amount of energy as you had the previous day, so long as you rectify this by eating you should be good to go.

Being able to play the game solo, online, local and split screen excited me the most, my sister is a big fan of the game too so we created our very own little farm together which we need to get back to at some point. Controls are easy to grasp on the Switch, I usually play whilst the Switch is in the Dock using a switch controller and find myself playing it more than in handheld mode, I prefer it on the big screen as I can see what I'm doing a lot more easily. However there are options to zoom in on screen and zoom out, this doesn't make the game accessible to those with severe vision impairments unfortunately. The soundtrack makes me feel very relaxed, it's one of the most soothing soundtracks I listen to even when I'm not playing the game, as well as having that uncertainty of what I may come across and find makes me all the more excited to progress and grow my farm. I won't lie though having seen all the mods and other things PC players can do on Stardew Valley it does make me a little envious, sure I will end up buying the Steam version but I wish there was a way to mod the Switch version now much like when I used mods for Fallout 4 on PS4.

As someone who suffers horribly with their anxiety Stardew Valley gave me an outlet, it allowed me to immerse myself somewhere other than the stuff going on in my head, I spent hours teaching myself to get to grips with the fishing in game and can finally say it's not as bad as everyone makes out once you get the hang of it. I've come to love and dislike (strongly) certain characters in the game but I'm being as pleasant and kind as I can to everyone to see who surprises me the most, so far Shane is up high on the insufferable side of things but he seems to be coming around to opening himself up and being a little kinder to me.

Stardew Valley is one of them games you can restart over and over again and you find yourself still unlocking more quirky secrets it holds back on. The best part is discovering these secrets on your own, I usually do a little squeal of happiness when this happens, with the possibility of discovering so much and making the story your own I would say it's worth getting on every platform, the countless secrets are what make the game so magical as well as the seasonal events the town hosts. Yes, there are a few new games that have a very similar look and feel to stardew valley but don't be mistaken Stardew has its own charm about it that can't be replicated, the bonds and relationships you make within the game have certainly stayed with me since playing, it has even helped me find new friends online who love the game as much as me so it definitely brings people together.


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