Solidarity in Escape: Stardew Valley Review


“Stardew Valley,” playable solo and co-op, indulges in life’s simplicities upon a pleasant farm.

William Baik, Staff Writer

As one of the most critically acclaimed indie games of the last decade, “Stardew Valley,” solo-produced by developer ConcernedApe, is a quaint reflection upon the depressed sentiments of modern-day society. A roleplaying game exploring the delight of starting anew, “Stardew Valley” ingrains surprising emotional depth within its serene gameplay.

The player begins as a typical office employee. Stuck in a depressing, cyclical lifestyle, the player is offered an opportunity to start life over as their grandfather bestows them farmland far away from the cities in a humble cottage upon Stardew Valley. New friendships are explored as the player begins to clear out the overgrown farmland, fighting off corporate invasion as the seasons pass by. 

A contextually sentimental game like this demands delivery on its visuals and sonic elements, and “Stardew Valley” does not disappoint by any margin. There is comfort in its 8-bit-esque, pixelated graphics that deliver shockingly well on its contrast of colors. The music, also all composed by ConcernedApe, is one of the best parts about the game amongst its plethora of high points, instilling a sense of tranquility through its jovial usage of softer instrumentation.

Story elements like festivals and side quests, as well as progression checks through the Town Hall, give “Stardew Valley” a steady sense of accomplishment, but these are miniscule factors when it comes to the overall atmospheric qualities of the game. It’s difficult to place a finger on exactly what contributes to the solace the player can find, but its narrative of beginning anew in tandem with an amalgamation of endearing interactions and relaxing mechanics builds a wonderful escapist game that one can play for hours on end. 

“Stardew Valley” is a game that comes far and few between. It is a truly special opportunity for those who are looking for a more relaxed experience, falling out of the mind-numbing realities of urban life and into new beginnings. With crops to tend to, relationships to progress and quests to complete, “Stardew Valley” is a complete package that keeps close to its homeliness and comfort that people desire in the midst of a hectic reality.