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Stardew Valley: What you need to know before you start playing

Stardew Valley logo

Stardew Valley will likely go down as one of the definitive games of its generation. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the farming and life sim, and much of that relates to how many things it does better than the competition.

From Harvest Moon to Animal Crossing, there are plenty of enduring and beloved series that revolve around building up a life in a cozy setting. Stardew Valley gives players several ways of doing so, letting them farm, fish, forage, and fight their way to fortunes. This is accompanied by the ability to befriend and romance a number of lovable NPCs.

The game is available on almost everything and with a low price tag, making it stand out as one of the best values in video games. Here’s an introduction to the game, what sets it apart from other games, and whether it’s worth getting.

What is Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley is a farming and life sim game created by developer Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. It was released in 2016 for the PC but found its way to consoles and mobile devices over time. The game became one of the biggest indie releases of its era, selling over 20 million units by May 2022.

The game proved to have incredible staying power years after release. Despite being seven years old, it often ranks among the most-played single-player games on Steam and has remained a favorite on consoles as well.

What is the goal of Stardew Valley?

The main goal of Stardew Valley is rebuilding Pelican Town’s community center. The city hub is in a state of disrepair when the player moves into their farm, but it is secretly home to mystical creatures called Junimos. 

The Juminos are willing to help the player rebuild the community center in exchange for a variety of items. This requires the player to grow crops, catch fish, and procure other items across all four seasons. Along the way, the player can come across a number of other potential goals.

There are NPCs to romance, caves to explore, and loads of items to collect. There are different ways to approach each of these tasks and plenty of fun distractions like holidays and festivals.

What platforms can I play Stardew Valley on?

Stardew Valley has been released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, Android, and iOS mobile devices. Players can enjoy the game on essentially every modern console and on their phones and tablets.

The PC version of Stardew Valley is regarded as the best by fans, as it enjoys strong modding support that can both improve and expand upon the experience. That said, every version of the game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay at an affordable price. No matter what platform it’s purchased for, it’s one of the best values in gaming.

Is Stardew Valley on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?

Stardew Valley can be played on both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but the game hasn’t received an official release on the platforms. 

While there isn’t a true PS5 or Xbox Series X/S port of Stardew Valley, the PS4 and Xbox One versions are playable on the current-gen consoles. These versions don’t take advantage of the more advanced hardware or new controller features of current-gen consoles, but the games can still be enjoyed in their entirety.  

Does Stardew Valley have multiplayer?

Stardew Valley has both online multiplayer and local split-screen co-op. Players are able to invite others to play in their world, where they can do anything from farming to building relationships with NPCs.

In both local and online multiplayer, the host has control over the save and can play the game individually even if other players aren’t present. A player is assigned a cabin on the farmland and can be removed from the save by visiting Robin and destroying their cabin. The player’s inventory will be left behind as a chest in the place where their cabin previously stood.

How many players does Stardew Valley’s multiplayer support?

Stardew Valley currently supports up to 4 players on PC and console. Mobile users currently have no multiplayer mode. 

One of the most-requested features players had for the game upon its release was a multiplayer mode. Two years after its launch in 2016, the multiplayer update arrived and gave players a whole new way to tackle farming.

Up to 4 players can enjoy Stardew Valley at the same time, whether it’s online, on LAN, or split-screen. Unfortunately, iOS, Android and PS Vita users do not have access to Stardew Valley multiplayer as of this writing

Stardew Valley creator ConcernedApe confirmed that the Stardew Valley 1.6 update will add eight-player multiplayer to the game. Players certainly won’t be lacking for farmhands in future updates.

Does Stardew Valley have cross-play multiplayer?

Stardew Valley does not have cross-play in any form

PC players cannot join or host games with console players, nor can Xbox and PlayStation players party up. Given that it was released in 2016, it’s extremely unlikely that cross-play will ever be added.

The closest thing that players can get to cross-play multiplayer for Stardew Valley is PC, Linux, and macOS players being able to connect. PS4 and PS5 players can also connect to each others’ games, as can Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S players. Unfortunately, there is no true cross-play in the game.

Stardew Valley Flower Dance festival

Does Stardew Valley have cross-saves?

Stardew Valley does not have cross-saving or cross-progress

Unfortunately, cross-saves are basically locked into the same situation as cross-play where the different platforms are segregated from each other. This was the case even between the PS4 and PlayStation Vita versions, even though a number of other prominent indie games of that era allowed for cross-progress between the two platforms

Players can transfer saves from one PC to another, use cloud saving to move their saves from the PS4 to PS5, and so on. Unfortunately, if someone starts playing on Nintendo Switch and wants to move their farm to PC, Xbox, or any other platform, there is no way to do so.

Are there future updates planned for Stardew Valley on PS5, Switch, Xbox, and PC?

Stardew Valley version 1.6 is set to release sometime in the future.

The popular farming sim has plenty of life yet, even as ConcernedApe shifts his focus to newer projects. While the 1.6 update currently has no release date, details about it have been shared already.

The new version will bring three new festivals alongside more items, rewards, and crafting recipes. It will also bring expanded late-game content, more dialogue lines for NPCs, winter outfits for villagers, and support for up to eight players in online multiplayer on PC. It’s a hefty update that will likely take some time to develop but it’s one that will likely breathe lots of life back into the game.

Is Stardew Valley like Animal Crossing?

Stardew Valley is different from Animal Crossing in a variety of ways. Animal Crossing primarily focuses on customizing and designing an island, rather than farming. The worlds are also quite different, with Animal Crossing utilizing the real-world clock and having a rotating cast of characters while Stardew Valley has a static group of NPCs and its own calendar.

Comparing the two games isn’t without merit, though. Both titles are considered “cozy games” that don’t challenge players mechanically and offer a laidback experience that can be easily picked up and put down. There is also some overlap in gameplay elements like expanding one’s homestead and fishing.

Is there a sequel to Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley does not have a sequel, but developer ConcernedApe is creating a successor in Haunted Chocolatier. The game is aesthetically similar but trades farming for building up a candy store.

Like Stardew Valley, Haunted Chocolatier is a top-down game with RPG and simulation elements. As the name suggests, players run a chocolaterie full of ghosts who help in its operations. In order to make chocolates, players need to collect ingredients by adventuring.

Haunted Chocolatier will likely be in the same vein as 2007’s Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, a JRPG that had players run a store while juggling a variety of other objectives, or the modern classic Dave the Diver. That said, ConcernedApe’s fans will undoubtedly see the throughline between the two games.

Is Stardew Valley a family-friendly game?

Stardew Valley is a great game for the whole family. It doesn’t feature any sexual content and its depictions of violence are extremely tame. Stardew Valley is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB, which is akin to a PG rating for a movie. There are some depictions of drinking alcohol and some weighty storylines.

Gameplay is wide-ranging and includes farming, talking with NPCs, and fishing. The closest thing there is to violet content is mining, where players fight monsters such as large bats and bugs. Players use weapons including swords and slingshots, but there is no blood or gore shown. It’s aesthetically similar to classic The Legend of Zelda games.

Players are also able to create a variety of “artisanal goods” using their crops and livestock. Among these goods are wine and beer. Characters can sometimes be seen drinking in a pub in the city center. The heaviest facet of the game is a storyline with an NPC who overcomes substance abuse after having suicidal ideations.

Stardew Valley Shane heart event

There are mods for the PC and Android versions of Stardew Valley that can add more objectionable content. However, modding is a relatively difficult process and it cannot be done on the console or iOS versions of the game.

Is Stardew Valley good?

Stardew Valley is widely regarded as one of the best games of its generation and is held up among the best of all time by some.

Review aggregators show generally strong scores, with averages ranging between 85 and 90 depending on the platform. While those are respectable numbers, they don’t match the amount of praise the game has received from players at large. Valve releases a monthly list of the most-played games on Steam Deck and Stardew Valley consistently placed in the top five despite being several years old.

Many believe that Stardew Valley is the best farming sim game ever created, with many holding it above longtime genre leader Harvest Moon. Its popularity spawned a long list of similar games including Kynseed, My Time at Portia, and many others. Despite being several years old now, it continues to shake up the gaming landscape.

Where can I find the best Stardew Valley mods?

The best site for finding the best Stardew Valley mods is the Nexus website.

Stardew Valley is no slouch as far as dedicated modding communities go. While the game is plenty of fun on its own, players love the freedom to sculpt their game however they want. Mods are a great way for gamers to live their best farming fantasies.

Nexus Mods is the modding hub for a long list of games, Stardew Valley included. Simply sort the mods on the Nexus by most popular and browse for the best mods for your playthrough. There are plenty of quality-of-life mods that speed up the game or simple visual overhauls to spice up one’s town. There’s no shortage of mods to choose from.

Where to buy Stardew Valley: The Board Game

The Stardew Valley board game can be purchased from the official Stardew Valley website and select retailers.

stardew valley board game

Stardew Valley is a game all about socializing and few things are more social than a round of tabletop fun. That’s why Stardew Valley: The Board Game was created; to bring the chill yet engaging pace of the video game’s gameplay onto the tabletop.

Much like the video game itself, the board game supports up to 4 players, all helping each other to save Pelican Town from the corruption of the dastardly JojaMart. Manyof the same mechanics including farming, animal husbandry, and mining are still present on the tabletop.

Stardew Valley: The Board Game usually costs $50, but it is often out of stock and unavailable. Players can check out the official website and see if it’s available, or call their local game store and see if they happen to have it in stock.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2.

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