*UPDATE* You can read our Stardew Valley Review here.
I’ve been a fan of Harvest Moon since it first came to the Super Nintendo console in 1998. Since then I’ve owned and played several of the sequels spanning across almost every console Nintendo has made, and put hundreds of hours into the series overall.
One of my favourites and one I probably put the most time into was Animal Parade on the Wii. Unfortunately that was the last of the Harvest Moon titles to see a release on home consoles in 2008, with everything else since being made exclusively for handhelds – and handheld gaming is something I’ve never quite been invested in, not for want of trying.
So, eight years later and with a Wii U release of a new Harvest Moon game (or Story of Seasons as it’s now known) looking increasingly unlikely, ‘ConcernedApe,’ a one man developer, has created Stardew Valley and it looks impressive.
Scheduled for release on February 26th 2016, it boasts a handful of familiar features essential to the farming simulation / RPG genre. There are a ton of customisation options for both your house and character, and an interesting leveling mechanic that pulls the game more towards an RPG style than a straight up farming simulator by way of improving five different key skills – farming, mining, combat, fishing, and foraging. Add to that a thriving local community, places to explore and creating the ultimate farm, this game is looking like the game PC and Harvest Moon fans have been waiting for.
What makes Stardew Valley even more exciting to me is the inclusion of up to four player co-op multiplayer, at least eventually as it’s coming via a free update in the near future. Alan and I will tell anyone who will listen that many single player games would be so much better with the option to bring a friend or two – Fallout, Alien Isolation, State of Decay, even The Sims (not including The Sims Online, that didn’t work). All the Harvest Moon games are no exception, unless the handheld versions include co-op, and the inclusion of this feature in Stardew Valley has increased my interest from ‘this looks cool’ to ‘I MUST HAVE THIS GAME!’ Of course games in this genre aren’t for everyone so you probably won’t see an Alan And Pete Play version of us setting fire to everything as this really isn’t the sort of thing Alan has any interest in. But still, for those with friends or family who loved Harvest Moon as much as you and I do (which is why you’re reading this, right?) co-op will no doubt prove to be an awesome feature. I personally can’t wait to run a farm with my family, while my friends shoot stuff on Call of Duty or Rainbow Six. It’s a niche genre but one that is immensely enjoyable if you like that sort of thing.
Here’s a release trailer for Stardew Valley.