by Azoloth in
Indie Game Market Review

Tired of life in a cubicle Stardew Valley follows the main character as they follow their Grandpa’s letter and moves to the country. Once there the game opens up allowing the main character to find their own path. Do they support the town or the evil Joja Cola? Will they spend their time farming, fishing, raising animals, or exploring? Maybe all of them at once even!  Explore the town and meet all of the people, fall in love. Make your Grandpa proud.

This game is number 1 in my Top 10 Favorite Games List and number 1 on my Top 10 Favorite Game Soundtrack List.

Sargon’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Game Play:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Story:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Visuals:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Audio:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
User Interface:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



Buy Stardew Valley on Humble for PC

Buy Stardew Valley on Humble for Switch

Buy the Soundtrack on Amazon

Buy the Soundtrack 1.1 update on Amazon

Buy the Soundtrack 1.3 update on Amazon 

Quick Note. The soundtrack 1.1 and 1.3 updates only include the new tracks that came in on those updates, they are not the full soundtrack


Stardew Valley Rating 5.0

Stardew Valley has quickly became my favorite video game. When I play, it provides me with a sense of calm and serenity. I grew up in the country and that will always be where my heart is. In fact, in today’s modern world I feel that the loss of the sense of community we used to share is one of our main problems. Stardew Valley brings you that sense of community as you interact with the virtual inhabitants of the world. The pace of the game can be as demanding or as relaxed as you desire it to be. There is no right or wrong way to play.

When I play with my wife I personally enjoy fishing, mining, and exploring the deep dungeons. She on the other hand enjoys tending the crops and animals on our farm. This allows us both to explore our interests and enjoy the game. I also really love getting to know the people in town. I have played Stardew Valley through multiple times and each time I enjoy watching the heart events as they happen.

Game Play 5.0

The game play in Stardew Valley is amazing. I would have expected tasks such as farming in a video game to be boring. However, Concerned Ape is able to make the experience feel rewarding. The same is true for all other aspects of the game in my opinion. Mining is not tedious, it is fun as you see random loot pop up and ladders to deeper level exposed. Fishing can start out frustrating, yet after some practice I now find it a zen like experience. My favorite aspect has to be interacting with the other villagers which I will cover more in the story area.

There are some areas of the game of course which could be improved. Yet this is possible by using player made content for the game. You can easily enable mods that allow you to shape the game to your liking. Also Concerned Ape seems to listen to player feedback and has introduced many awesome new features in the time I have been playing the game.

Story 5.0

Warning some spoilers for the plot ahead.

The story line is not as involved as many of the RPG’s I like. However, for a simulation it has a very expansive storyline. I feel it gives just the right amount of story while allowing us to fill in the blanks with our imaginations. A good story does not always mean we are spoon fed every bit of plot.

As you move through the game your choices will affect the entire town for better or worse. You can develop relationships with the various virtual citizens of the valley. As you progress through scripted heart events with each one you will learn more about who they are. As time goes on each one has become dear to me in their own special way.

My only criticism of the game is the lack of negative consequences. Yet this is very minor because it is not really that type of game. While the ability to make enemies may have added more depth it would also have taken away from part of the games relaxing charm.

There is only one really bad decision you can make in the game. That decision of course is to help Joja Cola instead of the magical beings in the community center. If you decide to do this you are not penalized, you just have to spend money to unlock anything instead of using items. However, I find that scene heartbreaking. You came to this town to escape the evil corporations that were crushing your soul, not help them. Yet, while I may judge the game does not seem to from what I have heard. You just go on playing the game without a local community center. I personally enjoy seeing Joja Cola get shut down when you finish the community center.


Visuals 5.0

I love pixel art in video games. I am more a fan of 2D and 2.5D pixel art than I am of photo realistic 3D games. Stardew Valley does not disappoint in this regard. The graphics are all colorful and vivid. The tone of the visuals mix in perfectly with the gameplay, story, and audio to make it a very unique experience. Everything fist together perfectly and it is likely due to the fact that one person created all of these assets.

In my desire to learn game design, Stardew Valley is one of the games I am leaning on for inspiration on how to make great pixel art. I know they say you should not compare yourself to others, you should just do you. However, I feel having awesome pixel art artists such as Concerned Ape to emulate can be a good thing. It forces people like me who desire to become as good to really strive and learn. While I of course will adopt my own style, this game will influence me as much as other games such as Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy Mystic quest have in my search to become a great pixel artist.

Audio 5.0

I rarely keep my music audio on in video games. Stardew Valley is one of the exceptions to this rule. The music in each area suits it perfectly and really helps set the mood. This is number 1 in my all time favorite video game soundtracks.

You can buy the soundtrack over on Amazon.

You can also buy the additional 1.3 songs as well

I keep these on my phone to listen to when I want to relax.

As I am working on an indie game myself, I would like to make my own music as well. I have taken some courses to start learning how in fact. Just as with Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, and many others; Stardew Valley serves as a source of inspiration for what the music for the game I am working on should be.

User Interface 5.0

The user interface is very well thought out and intuitive. Players are never left wondering what to do next or how to accomplish a required task. Battle, fishing, farming all feel very natural. Most things in the game are point and click. You will of course want to know how to quickly switch between your hot keyed items. I usually use my mouse scroll wheel to do this.

This is one of the few games I find as enjoyable to play on my laptop as on my desktop. I plan to buy the switch version for my son in a few months and let him hop in and enjoy the fun with myself and my wife.

Final Thoughts

It is hard to believe that a single man is responsible for everything. Concerned Ape, the creator of the game, created all of the music, art work, and coded most of the game himself. From what I understand he did get some help on the network side of things. However, the fact that one man did so much in this game really shows what someone can do when they have a passion for something.

One of the reasons I think I love indie games like this as much as I love classic games is due to the scope of the game and the size of the teams. When you have one, or just a few dedicated individuals working on something it tends to feel more cohesive. The art, sound, and game play all matching up is one of the things that makes many of these games so special. The smaller scope of the games can also help in that regards. I feel I get about as much time enjoying the actual game play in games such as Stardew Valley as I do in classics such as Dragon Wars. I do not expect to come into these games with the expectation I could play them 8 hours a day for months. Games like Skyrim do that, and while that is an awesome game, in many ways it doesn’t feel as good to play as the old classics or new indie games. That could just be me and my age showing there.


If you need a game to play I would recommend Stardew Valley be your first purchase. It is great fun for all ages, and I believe it has something for anyone willing to give it a chance.

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