Opening on the deathbed of your grandfather, Stardew Valley is a simple and straightforward game at its core.
From the get-go, you receive a sealed envelope from your in-game grandfather which reads: “There will come a day when you feel crushed by the burden of modern life, and your bright spirit will fade before a growing emptiness.” He continues, “When that happens, my boy/my dear, you’ll be ready for this gift.”
Could that be any more of an indication of what this game is all about in 2020?
Stardew Valley is ostensibly a farming simulator but it becomes something more significant as your character progresses through the story — wandering from one area to the next.
Its gameplay is simple, but it manages to be complex without ever giving off a complicated vibe. There is always something on the screen for you to do. And there’s always something that you don’t quite understand presented before you — from fully realized characters you barely know to an abandoned community center yearning to be restored or even a mine of untold truths and secrets.
Those little nuggets of mysteries and intrigue, along with the incremental progress of cultivating your crops make for a truly amazing and immersive game.