Stardew Valley [Game Review]

Video Games | Stardew Valley | Game Review | Review | Nintendo Switch | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

Title: Stardew Valley
Developer: ConcernedApe
Publisher: Chucklefish, ConcernedApe
Platform: Steam, Mobile, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
Category: Simulation, Role-playing

Release Date: Originally February 26, 2016

How we got the game: Bought it on Steam and Nintendo Switch

Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!

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Stardew Valley is the game that I wish the Harvest Moon series was. With the main focus on just building the farm of your dreams and forging relationships with the people in the town, it takes away all of the gimmicks that the more recent Harvest Moon games have become known for. This particular review focuses more on the Nintendo Switch version of the game.

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Gameplay for Stardew Valley is pretty simple and intuitive. With the main objective being to spruce up your farmland so it, you know, actually grows stuff, you spend your time doing various tasks that will help you better not only your farm but also the community of Pelican Town.

As your character, you clear out your farmland using various tools, such as an axe and pickax to break up lumber and stone. The hoe and watering can come in handy for planting and growing crops, and there are specific tools like the shears and milker if you have any animals on your farm. When not on your farm, you can forage for items around the forest, town, and the mines, which is also a handy place to gather ore, gems, and other material to improve your farm. Fishing is a leisurely activity that can still net you some in-game money as well as some staple cooking ingredients.

Another core mechanic is developing your relationships with the people in Pelican Town. There are plenty of friends to make in town, either by talking to them daily, giving them gifts, and random events. There are even marriage candidates, regardless of gender, that you can woo and, if you’d like, have a child with down the line.

While the game is pretty open-ended, giving the player tons of choice in what they want to do, there is a Community Center. The Community Center stars off rather rundown, but that can be restored by completing tasks called bundles. Completing these bundles will grant you rewards, such as opening up new areas for your character to go or special tools and makers to make life on the farm a little easier. Or you can buy a Joja Membership and get it turned into a warehouse.

A unique aspect of this game is the combat system. It’s simplistic, considering the game is mainly a farming simulator, but when exploring the mines, there are monsters and enemies to vanquish. These monsters drop loot and material, and you can usually find stronger weapons while exploring or buy items from the Adventurer’s Guild.

With the latest updates of the game, you can also farm together with friends in online co-op mode. Build a cottage or three on your farm for your friends to live, and you can all build up the farm together. Your friends can also get married to the local bachelors and bachelorettes… and you, if you want.

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The graphics of this game are well done, going the pixel style route. The characters all look unique, easily distinguishable from each other, and they even have little animations — shocked faces, laughter, eating — that are fun to watch depending on their dialogue.

I absolutely adore the music in this game. Each tune is charming and pixel-perfect, and I find myself streaming the soundtrack on Spotify when not playing the game. The main winter theme is probably my favorite!
Story | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.comTired of the uninspiring city life as an office drone, the main character inherits their grandfather’s old farm in Pelican Town, a small town filled with all sorts of interesting characters just living their lives in the valley. The farm itself is dilapidated at first, but with hard work and perseverance, the main character focuses on restoring it to its former glory while carving out a life for themselves. The story is directed by the player.

While at the start of your third year on the farm, you get evaluated on your accomplishments, there is no true end point to Stardew Valley. Even if, at that time, you do not like your evaluation, you can trigger another evaluation to earn more points at any time with version 1.1 of the game.

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With five different farm plots to choose from, twelve eligable marriage candidates regardless of your character’s gender, a plethora of items to farm, forage, and ship, and literally any way you wish to grow your farm, you will not be bored with Stardew Valley. Not only is it tons of fun to play on your own, you can also play co-op with up to four people tending to the same farm.

Stardew Valley gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Friday Favorites: Stardew Valley NPCs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Despite having it on Steam, I’ve bought Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Switch, just to give the game another try on a portable console. I’ve been loving it lately, so much so that I’m using it as an incentive to get this post done in a somewhat timely manner. Being in the middle of my first winter, I’ve started paying more attention to the villagers now that I’ve gotten the hang of farming. Here are my favorite NPCs.

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Demetrius

Aside from Demetrius being a science guy, I enjoy the little backstory with their family. Looking at the bookshelf in Demetrius’s and Robin’s bedroom reveals books regarding becoming a step-parent, and it’s not often that one sees video games or other media with blended families. I enjoyed his excitement over science things and, honestly, if Demetrius had been a marriage candidate, I’d probably go after him.

Evelyn

The resident old lady of the town is awesome. She first introduces herself to us and tells us to call her Granny, which I would totally be cool with. I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly characters in these kind of video games, finding that some of them have the most interesting backstories.

Sandy

I just met Sandy recently but I already love her. I wish it was more feasible to be able to visit her more often, but I tend to get involved so much with  my farm and Pelican Town that I kind of forget about the desert area of the game. Still, Sandy is a fun character and I really enjoy her design.

Who are some of your favorite Stardew Valley NPCs? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: My Video Game Hall of Fame

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

A couple of new games have recently been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame — Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Colossal Cave Adventure, and Microsoft Windows Solitaire. While there are criteria as to which games are inducted, I thought it would be fun to make a small list of my own for Hall of Fame games.

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Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has rocketed in popularity since its original release in [date]. The calming atmosphere of the game has likened it to the Harvest Moon franchise while also giving players new mechanics and aspects to the farming sim genre. It added an RPG-like element with cave exploration and monster slaying, as well as allowing players to marry either gender, including fellow players in the co-op updates. Considering the small team that created the game that has since gone on to be published on other consoles, the feats it has done deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This is definitely more of a personal preference than figuring out anything groundbreaking about the game’s mechanics or style. However, it did throw Mario into yet another genre of video games, showcasing his versatility as a video game character. It also was the ancestor, if you will, of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, games that are popular in their own right. The Final Fantasy and other Nintendo character Easter eggs in the game were fun, and the unique characters that were introduced are popular enough to be shown in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light mode.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

We’re not a pair of gamers that plays shooting games too often, if at all. However, we have tried out PUBG and have seen plenty of streams of the gameplay, finding it stressful when we play and amusing thanks to the content creators that we’ve watched. It was one of the first major battle royale games that hit the market and, while Fortnite’s popularity and gimmicks may propel it to the Hall of Fame before PUBG, I believe PUBG deserves its share of recognition.

What are some games you’d like to see in the Hall of Fame? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: 2018 Games to Finish

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Did everyone have a good new year’s? It’s hard to believe that we’re in 2019 now! This is a time that most people try to finish up tasks that they’ve accidentally left behind so they can start the new year with a clean slate. Going through our 2018 Game Reviews page, I’ve realized that there are a few games that I started last year that I would love to finish up.

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Undertale

I know the story of Undertale, I know the gameplay and probably many of its secrets. I’ve watched quite a few playthroughs of the game through YouTube and Twitch, after all, playthroughs that prompted me to try it myself. Yet, while I’ve played and completed Deltarune, the “sequel” of Undertale, I haven’t finished a playthrough of Undertale just yet.

Batman: The Telltale Series

I’ve finished the first two episodes, I believe, of this game, and it definitely held my interest to want to play the rest. Considering the game has a sequel, I would love to finish the next couple of episodes before exploring the next one.

Octopath Traveler

This is a major game that I want to finish. Honestly, with the other newer Switch games out, I cannot remember where we’re at in this game. From what we’ve played, it’s one of my favorite games from 2018, with its gorgeous graphics, music, and battle system, but we’ve yet to finish it.

Stardew Valley

Although this isn’t a game to actually “finish” considering how open-ended it is, I definitely would like to return to the world of Stardew Valley. I’ve accidentally abandoned my farm on our Steam account, but I’m also hoping to rope Rachel into doing a co-op farm with me at some point in the future.

What are some 2018 games that you’re looking to finish?

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Multi-Platform Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Being a gamer is an expensive hobby. It doesn’t help that, sometimes, awesome games are available in multiple platforms, either as updated versions or just ported to a system that may be better suited for it.

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Do you have any games on multiple platforms?

We have Stardew Valley, Death Road to Canada, and Undertale on the PC through Steam, but all three of those games are available for the Nintendo Switch as well. Fortnite is available on all consoles of the current generation (and all of them can now play together, finally). PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is also another game that crosses platforms.

Then there are ports of games — such as the Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — that get updated for the next generation console.

Assuming you enjoyed the original game, are you the type to buy games for multiple platforms, if you have them? Or the updated ports when they are released?

We have gotten Death Road to Canada for the Nintendo Switch when it came out, mostly to make it easier to play with friends. However, we’ve been toying with getting Undertale and Stardew Valley for the Switch as well, especially since the Switch makes it a little easier to take those kind of games on the go. To be honest, if Undertale came to the Switch before PC, we probably would have just gotten it for the Switch. Stardew Valley is in the same boat, but the PC version does have the co-op mode…

With that said, there are so many other games that we wish to play and buy that are already stretching our wallets thin. I suppose if a game we own is ported to another platform, we’d prefer if it was substantially updated to make it worth buying again.

Any games that you’ve bought multiple times for different platforms?

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Preferred Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Have you ever noticed if the gender of the protagonist effects the game? Perhaps one gender has better stats or different powers or something as simple as clothing options?

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Many games, particularly RPGs, allow the player to choose between playing a male or a female protagonist. While most games tend not to have much of a difference between the genders, there are some games that can be skewed to favor one over the other.

One of the most notable examples that I’ve heard of Harvest Moon 3. While I’ve never played the game myself, I have heard that the game is cut short as soon as you marry while playing as a female. While, as a male, you get married and can continue working on your farm, as well as get a child. Granted, each gender had different perks — males tended to be better with the farmland, while females were better with the animals — but why would the game just end if you get married as a female?

Different stats in games, such as the Fire Emblem franchise, favor one gender over the other as well. Males tend to have higher strength and defense while females are better with magic and speed. In many Fire Emblem games, some character classes are restricted as well — only males can be fighters while females can be pegasus knights, for example. One of my favorite aspects of the Fates trio is that these class restrictions were lifted, and I was disappointed when Echoes brought them back.

In hindsight, being a remake, Echoes probably brought the class restrictions back in order to be as faithful as it could to the original. With that said, though, I do wish it was updated to not only lift those restrictions, but also lift the healer restrictions. In the very beginning of the game, if you are following Alm’s story and have Faye with you, she has one less class promotion available than the boys. Archer is not available for her, yet when she was introduced to the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game, archer is her class rather than cleric.

If the female gender is favored over the male, it tends to be for aesthetic reasons. In Pokemon X and Y, the female character has almost double the amount of clothing and hair options. The Sims franchise also tended to have gender options based on aesthetics only — with jobs and skill building being exactly the same across the board — but Sims 4 took this a step forward to allow transgender sims and lift the gender restrictions on all the clothing and hair options.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of Stardew Valley is how absolutely little your gender matters. No NPCs treat your character differently no matter what gender they are and your skills do not depend on your gender. You can also marry whatever eligible NPC you want, no matter the gender.

Any games that you’ve played that tend to favor one gender over another?

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Friday Favorites: Simulation Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.

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Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.

Stardew Valley

Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!

The Sims

The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.

What are your favorite simulation games?

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Game Within a Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! Is everyone ready for the summer?

Here on the east coast in North America, we’ve been getting… interesting weather. Nothing too fancy, just the temperatures going up and down like a roller coaster lately instead of the warmer weather that so many people like about the summer. Summer also generally means vacations and breaks from everyday life. Some video games do something similar where they put a “game within a game.”

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Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG

There are plenty of video games out there with little mini games or “games within the game” to help break up the monotony of the story line or actions of the main game. Some mini games have relevance to the original game at hand — such as Final Fantasy’s VII chocobo racing — but others are there just as Easter Eggs or for fun.

One such game is Beetle Mania in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For five hundred coins after the Marrymore section of the game, Mario can buy a Game Boy from a Toad child at the Mushroom Kingdom Inn. The game is simple enough in which you control a little beetle at the bottom of the screen and shoot little stars at falling red koopa shells. The koopa shells explode for points and, if they are near other koopa shells, may start a chain reaction for higher points.

Beetle Mania has absolutely no relevance to the plot of Super Mario RPG, but it’s a fun break from chasing after Star Pieces.

The original Animal Crossing also had a bunch of classic NES games that you could decorate your house with and play, such as Balloon Fighter and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. New Leaf also included a couple of new games, such as one based off of Panel de Pon titled Puzzle League. Likewise, the popular Stardew Valley also has a couple of arcade games that one can play while hanging out in the Saloon.

What other “games within a game” can you think of? Any favorites?

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Rainway App

According to Nintendo News, there’s talk about this new app called Rainway for the Switch console. With this app, players will be able to stream their PC games directly onto the Switch console. There’s not much information regarding the app, but I thought it was an interesting find nonetheless. We’ve been getting into PC gaming a bit more lately, having a nice desktop and an almost-never used laptop for our PC games, but the thought of playing something like Stardew Valley on the Switch’s portable screen sounds like an interesting development.

Considering how heavy most gaming laptops are — as beautiful as they can be with their lovely graphics and sound systems — creating an app for the Switch that’ll showcase it’s portability seems like a good move by Nintendo. Rainway definitely seems like something we should keep our eye on. Not only that, but being able to dock the Switch and play the games on a larger television? That sounds good to us.

What do you all think of this idea? Are you excited about the prospect of playing PC games directly on the Switch, or are you good with your beloved gaming PC? If you don’t play PC games, does this kind of news think maybe you’ll start?

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Steam Haul

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’ve been getting so much snow this past week! I hope everyone else who may be getting hammered with snow are staying safe and warm.

On the bright side, snow days are one of the best excuses to play video games!

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My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I was graciously given a few gift cards for Steam, a platform that delivers tons of PC games right to your desktop. It’s a great place to find new games to try, with plenty from indie developers and a good handful even free to play. With the gaming laptop that we had bought off of a friend a few months ago, we figured it was about time to really get used to Steam.

I used up my gift cards to get three games that I’ve been looking forward to playing for a while now. The first was Batman: The Telltale Series which, lucky me, was half off for the weekend. Yay for video game sales! I haven’t tried out the visual novel just yet, but I’m excited to find a good hour or two to really get invested in the story.

The second was Stardew Valley, finally! The entire game — art, music, mechanics, characters, plot — was created by one person, and it utterly blows my mind. I played up to about a game’s week, and I’m enjoying the simple farming game. It’s reminiscent of the older Harvest Moon games, the ones where all you had to do was take care of and raise a farm, maybe get married if you wanted. The newer Harvest Moon games, while still enjoyable, are more goal-oriented, such as restoring entire towns and islands. Stardew Valley brings me back to the fun, simpler games that originally had gotten me into that franchise.

The third game is Death Road to Canada. It’s a zombie apocalypse survival game where the player controls a car full of people with different quirks and strengths on their journey from Florida in the U.S. to Canada, the last country standing against the zombies. Rachel and I made ourselves and, while we didn’t do too badly on our first run, we did end up dying before reaching Canada. I died first, then Rachel, and eventually the random NPC that we had picked up and a dog character croaked as well. It was entertaining!

Do any of you use Steam? Any favorite or recommended games? Have you played any of the three that I’ve mentioned above?

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