Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Stardew Valley
So everyone has heard about Stardew Valley right? The little indie farming adventure that took over the world? Well, the thing is, it didn’t take over my world. I mean I gave it a go on PC and played a little but it never seemed to grab me. It could have been that I had played quite a few survival games like Don’t Starve and Subnautica around the same time and it felt like more of the same, or it could have simply been playing it on the PC didn’t suit me. All that is in the past now because I have given it another go thanks to the recently released Nintendo Switch version and it is fair to say I am all about that farming.
So farm I did, for hours and hours. Stardew Valley should come with some sort of warning from the Department of Health due to its addictive nature. The “one more day” urge is almost impossible to resist. How are my beans doing? What are those green things in the community hall? Why is Shane such a twat? I need these answers and I need them now. I have set up my in-game days into something of a routine. First thing I get my chores done. Water the garden, feed the dog, cut some wood down. Once my endurance is at about 60% I then go exploring. Foraging for things to sell, adventuring into the mine, fishing in the bay. I have no shortage of things to keep me busy. I then make my way home when I am nearly exhausted, got to sleep and start the cycle all over again.
There is something cathartic about the gameplay loop. In a world of twitch shooters, life or death choices and finely tuned tactical combat there is something soothing, something therapeutic about running a virtual farm (with a touch of exploration on the side). The game translates wonderfully to the Switch and if I didn’t know better I would have said it was originally designed for this handheld format. It is the perfect game for the bus ride to work, just before bed or even an extended loo break. It is so easy to pick it up and get some farming done I found myself looking for just a few spare minutes every day to play some more.
There are a few problems with the Switch version that I have come across. The load/save times are long. Very long. At the end of each day, it seems to take ages for the game to save and the next day to load. The game even warns you about it. I have also had the game crash on me and experienced a few glitches with NPCs and the environment, so this isn’t the perfect port. There is nothing here that can’t be fixed with a good patch, but at this stage, it isn’t as smooth as the PC version.
But don’t let those minor annoyances put you off. This is an A+ indie title that is suited perfectly to the portable nature of the Switch. It is a little off-putting playing a game like this on a 55″ TV, but on the portable screen, it is just perfect. Time-consuming, life stealing, family-friendly fun. Stardew Valley is all of that and more and you would be mad if you didn’t give it a shot.