Stardew Valley is an open-ended, country-life RPG developed by ConcernedApe.
The player, a young man/woman is tending to their grandfather, who is currently on his deathbed. He hands them a sealed envelope. He tells the player when the player is crushed by the burden of modern life then the player should open the envelope.
Sometime later, after the grandfather's passing, the player is seen working at their cubicle inside JojaCorp, a mega enterprise, and is seemingly frustrated with the dull lifestyle they live. Remembering the words of their grandfather, the player reaches into their desk to open the envelope. Inside, there's a message from the grandfather as well as a bus pass to Stardew Valley.
The player arrives at the valley and heads towards the farm their grandfather owned. After seeing the farm overgrown with trees, stones, and logs, the player sets out to start their new life, in memory of their grandfather.
- Please see the following articles for more in-depth information on major gameplay mechanics: Farming, Cooking, Mining, Fishing, Crafting, Combat, Time, Relationships, Marriage, Children.
Gameplay is extremely similar to other agricultural RPGs such as Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. The player controls their character, who is customized during character creation, as they help reinvigorate their grandfather's farm, and bring to life to the currently abandoned community center. The character can plant crops, tend to animals, and craft a wide variety of items. In addition, the player can level up by earning experience points in various skills such as combat, fishing, and farming.
The player earns money by selling objects through the shipping bin located at their farm, just outside their cabin or to local stores. The game revolves around the four seasons, with each season having 28 days, starting from Monday the 1st, to Sunday the 28th. Each season also has two major Events as well as pre-determined dates for villager birthdays.
Time goes in intervals of 10 minutes, with an hour of in-game time passing approximately in a minute. The player can end the day by going to their bed and choosing to sleep. After going to bed, the player will receive their earnings report, which reflects how much they money they made from selling various items. No matter what time the player goes to bed, they will always awaken at 6:00am. The game saves at the start of a new day.
The player can form friendships with other characters and earn "hearts" as a reference to their relationship with the villager in question. The player can increase their relationship with a villager by giving them gifts they like as well as talking to the villager on a daily basis. Villagers that are ignored or given less than favorable gifts will lose relationship points. There are currently 10 eligible bachelors and bachelorettes the player can marry and eventually have children with.
- Turn your overgrown field into a lively farm! Gather resources and use them to build a variety of buildings and structures. You’ll have plenty of space to set up your farm just how you like.
- Improve your skills over time. As you make your way from a struggling peasant to a master farmer, you’ll level up and earn skill points to distribute in 6 different areas: farming, mining, digging, fishing, foraging, and luck. As you progress, you’ll learn new cooking and crafting recipes, and unlock new areas to explore.
- Become part of the local community. With over 30 unique characters living in Stardew Valley, you won’t have a problem finding new friends! Each person has their own daily schedule, unique mini-cutscenes, and new things to say throughout the week and year. As you make friends with them, they will open up to you, ask you for help with their personal troubles, or tell you their secrets!
- Explore a vast, mysterious mine. The Stardew Valley mines are uniquely generated each time you start a new character. Your progress in the mine is saved, so you don’t have to worry about making it to the bottom in one day. As you dig deeper and deeper, you’ll encounter new and dangerous monsters, different environments, valuable gemstones, raw materials for crafting and upgrading tools, and mysteries to be uncovered.
- Court and marry a partner to share your life on the farm with. There are 10 available bachelors and bachelorettes to woo. Date around for a while to get to know your options before you decide on a special someone. Follow your heart and pick any of the 10 eligibles. Your spouse will live on the farm with you and even help you out with chores.
- Spend a relaxing afternoon at one of the local fishing spots. The waters are teeming with seasonal varieties of delicious fish. Craft bobbers to help you in your journey to catch every fish and become a local fishing legend!
- Contribute to the field of archaeology. Dig around for ancient artifacts and bring them to the local archaeology office. Turn them in for money, resources, items, or even to expand the town library. Strive to discover every artifact!
- Cook delicious meals and craft useful items to help you out. With over 100 cooking and crafting recipes, you’ll have a wide variety of items to create. Some dishes you cook will even give you temporary boosts to skills, running speed, or combat prowess. Craft useful objects like scarecrows, oil makers, furnaces, or even the rare and expensive crystalarium.
- Customize the appearance of your character and house. Play as a boy or girl and choose from a variety of skin, hair, eye, and clothes colors. The local shop has new wallpaper and floor styles avaible every day. Craft a wide variety of decorative items to furnish your house. As you upgrade your house you’ll have more room to decorate!
- Help determine the future of the valley. Your choices and actions will affect what happens in town. Will you help keep the valley a small-town paradise, or allow it to fall into the hands of the greedy and powerful Joja Corporation?
- Over an hour of original music. Each season has 3 unique themes, and as you progress in the mine you’ll discover new tunes waiting around the corner. Once you’ve heard a song, you can play it whenever you like from the jukebox in Gus’ Saloon.
- Strive to earn over 80 achievements.
The game was originally meant to be called Sprout Valley. However, ConcernedApe didn't like the sound of the name and he felt like something like that was in a Harvest Moon game before (Sprout Island). He also considered naming it Stardrop Valley but he didn't like how it sounded, and so he settled for Stardew Valley.