Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game for PC developed by Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone and published by Chucklefish Games.
It features many of the elements of the Harvest Moon franchise wherein you farm in order to expand your farm as well as help the town the farm is located in. There are also other elements of play such as life sim implementations where the user can talk to and marry other NPCs.
Pro You have freedom to choose to play one aspect of the game or all of them
Such as farming, fishing, mining, forestry, exploration and meeting people. This allows for many elements to explore in the game that expands the gameplay but also allows for freedom of choice in what to do and when to do it.
Pro Convenient auto save feature
There is no manual saving in the game, it auto saves when sleeping or or moving on to the next day. This is convenient as the player does not need to remember to save, which could lead to accidental lost data. This system also prevents the player taking advantage of the randomly generated mines, as it could be too easy to exploit for rare items.
Pro Long playtime
The game is reported to taking over 10 hours for one season in the game, of which their are four season in a year. Which means it can take 40 hours just to get though the first year in the game, of which there can be many. This means a user can easily sink in 100s of hours into the game, making for quite a bargain for a $15 game.
Pro There is always more to do
Just like in the real world, operating a farm is a lot of work, especially if one is set on expanding said farm. The game works just like this in that the player is always driven to expand on what they have, be it growing more crops, raising more animals or just improving ones house and equipment. This makes for a game that drives the player to keep playing just a little bit longer to get just one more thing done.
Pro A great mix of genres
While Stardew Valley is primarily a farming simulator, it also has social interaction elements and combat elements.
The social interaction elements allow you to interact with people around the town. You can befriend them, get quests from them, hang out with them, and even find a significant other to go out with and eventually marry. It can be very addictive to max out your relationship with everyone.
The combat elements are introduced when you unlock the dungeon, allowing you to battle creatures such as slimes, golems, and even mummies. While the combat is pretty simple, having you just swing your weapon, it's very satisfying to whack away at enemies.
If farming ever starts feeling stale you can try either of these to mix it up, allowing you to keep the game fresh for a longer time.
Pro Very fulfilling to play
Stardew Valley is a very simple game where you're free to do anything and everything at your own pace. This includes building your farm, planting and harvesting crops, and exploring the world among many other things. It will feel enjoyable no matter how fast or slow you do it. This coupled with the colorful/pleasing art style and the great soundtrack makes it an extremely pleasing experience.
Pro Great freedom in designing your farm
When creating your own farm you aren't just limited to plowing fields for planting crops. You can also dig wells, put down fences, and even build various structures such as barns or stables. This allows you to build a farm that firmly matches your goals and sense of aesthetics.
Pro Weather system that forces the player to adapt
Each day in the game may feature different weather depending on the season in the game. From rain to snow to natural disasters, each forces the player to adapt their workload to that days forecast. This keeps the player on their toes and forces them to plan for events to make sure they have the needed supplies for when different disasters happen.
Pro Good selection of game options
The games options see resolution support, controller and keyboard support, of which the controller support even has a rumble feature (for those that have controllers with rumble support). Keyboard support also has built in key-bind support, for those that do not have a separate key-bind support app.
Pro Great soundtrack
When you work on your farm, go fishing, explore or just walk around the town you'll be accompanied by a really nice soundtrack. It's sometimes upbeat, sometimes soothing, and sometimes even melancholic, with every track matching each location and season perfectly.
There's also a wide variety of instruments used, including a piano, accordion, banjo, synths, and many others. This allows you to listen to the soundtrack for hours without getting tired of it. Sometimes it's very hard to believe Stardew Valley and its soundtrack was produced by just one person.
Con Can get really repetitive
Living on a farm is a lot of work, so you'll have to repeat the same tasks quite often. This includes tilling land, planting seeds, chopping trees, and many other farm related activities. While it's normally pretty fun and relaxing, it can get incredibly tedious during long play sessions, especially if you're just trying to progress.
Con Large amount of grind
While it is the bread and butter of the gameplay, the amount of work that needs done from the start is quite a lot and so you will be doing the same thing over and over again. The whole farm is dilapidated, meaning everything needs cleaned up, weeds need cleared, rocks need cleared, tress need cleared, the whole house needs rebuilt. this amount of what are basically chores may not appeal to all as it is quite a feat to take on.
Con Lacks polish in some areas
Menus feel odd in that some controls work in some areas while not in other such as item management when using chests. There is also a lack of information in the game on how to do things, which means the player must figure it out through trial and error. While this is much like an old school game it would be nice to have a few things explained in order to not miss anything important in the game like certain festivals.