Stardew Valley (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 30.12.2017

Review for Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch

Stardew Valley is one of those rare indie titles that surpasses the genre that inspired it. Coming off of a steady stream of an increasing Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons titles that did little to advance the farming-based world of gaming, Stardew Valley breathed new life into a somewhat stagnant field. Now on the ultra-portable Nintendo Switch, you never have to wait long to get back to nature. After gracing PC systems already, now it is time to venture to pastures new, with a review of the Switch edition.

Stardew Valley sets out to recapture that lost spirit of early Harvest Moon titles, and boy, does it do it well. There's never a point where you sit back, look around the farm you've built up, and feel like you have wasted any second of in-game time. There is never a shortage of things to do, there are always townspeople to befriend, always fish to catch, ore to mine, and animals to raise.

One of the most comforting things about Stardew Valley is how it lets the player set their own pace for the entire game. There's no rush to immediately optimise the farm, no pressure to romance any of the twelve available candidates, and no worries if raising animals isn't your first priority. There's so much uninhibited freedom, leaving the veritable dozens of objectives to be completed pretty much at leisure.

Screenshot for Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch

Stardew Valley begins with the player character becoming fed up with their dead-end job at the Joja Corporation, finding a letter from their grandfather offering the chance to start their life anew in the titular valley. Early on, the farm has definitely seen better days, but with a little TLC, it quickly becomes a sprawling complex filled with crops, animals, and other constructs.

Early on, farming is definitely a priority, as crops are the easiest way to make money, and don't require a whole lot of effort other than watering. Especially during the first year, it's wise to balance time between tending to the fields, exploring the mines, and befriending the town folk. The mines are an especially important priority, since digging through will yield the valuable ore required to strengthen farming tools, making them more efficient to use.

It definitely pays off to diversify in Stardew Valley. Each task has a unique level attached to it, granting stronger crafting tools, and access to professions that increase profits or other unique effects. With careful time management, it's easy to have most of these skills close to maxed out by the end of the first year, and they will drastically increase the income coming back to the farm, as well as make some hard to find materials just a little easier to obtain.

Screenshot for Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch

The first couple of years present the player with a variety of objectives, divided by a single choice made early on. The player can opt to help restore some of the lost sense of community to the valley by choosing to complete bundles in the rundown community centre, requiring a diverse range of items that may take a little bit of effort to acquire. There are a lot of benefits to going down this route, but it's definitely slower overall.

The other option for obtaining the valley upgrades involves giving into the lure of the Joja Corporation once more, by purchasing a membership to the local megamart. This replaces the community centre with a warehouse, and changes the bundle rewards to "community development projects," costing money, rather than items, to complete.

Going the Joja route encourages a much more income-driven playstyle, incentivising those in control to make money as fast and efficiently as possible. It's definitely a good option for speed-runners, but more casual folk will miss out on the opportunities opened from the community centre being restored for resident use. The bundles do take longer to complete, and require a lot of diversifying on the farm but, in the long run, they are worth it.

Screenshot for Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch

Regardless of the path you decide to take, Stardew Valley has tons of fun surprises and secrets hidden around every corner. Exploring well-travelled routes can yield new treasures each season, and even day-to-day it's just fun to walk around, chat with villagers, and take in the scenery. While it's definitely worth it to use the small amount of time each day to the fullest, there's never any rush to complete all the objectives.

Stardew Valley doesn't just allow people to play their own way, it rewards them for it. There are advantages to every play-style, and each is just as viable for progressing through. The characters are all charming, and even some of the seemingly minor ones have surprisingly deep back-stories. With such a wealth of content, there's always plenty of room to grow, although whether that's crops or friendships is entirely up to you.

Screenshot for Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The portability of the Nintendo Switch makes this undoubtedly the best way to play Stardew Valley. Unless you are really keen on modding the game, the combination of easy portability and excellent controls makes this a staple in any well-rounded Switch library. It's still the same great farm simulator it was on PC - robust, full of secrets, and comes with an inescapable charm that will keep pulling you back in, season after season.

Developer

ConcernedApe

Publisher

Chucklefish

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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