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Stardew Valley iOS

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 7 - 2018

Farming on my phone.

Chucklefish’s Stardew Valley is a phenomenon. There are not many games that come along and manage to catch the imagination of players while being successfully released on pretty much every platform known to man. Starting out on PC, the relaxing farming game has made an appearance on most of the consoles, and is now coming to mobile, first on iOS and then on Android. I used to be able to say that players would now be able to play Stardew Valley on the go, but releasing on Switch and Vita does mean that the game was already playable on the train, or during a lunch break. However, now the game will be available to a much wider audience, and more players will be able to enjoy the quiet life on the farm.

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While I have made much noise about the fact that Stardew Valley is playable on the phone, it is of course also available on tablets, and would arguably be better due to the larger screens. However, I played it on iPhone and, despite some concerns about the small screen, was very pleased with how it played. There is the very obvious battery drain to be aware of, but this is something mobile gamers have come to expect and the reason why power banks are so popular now. Still, no matter how you choose to play it, Stardew Valley remains the same, easily accessible game that it has always been, with a few changes for the mobile form.

Just in case you hadn’t heard, Stardew Valley is a game which begins with the player taking over their deceased grandfather’s farm. It’s a bit run down, but with a little time and patience the player will be able to bring not only the farm, but also the surrounding town, back to their former glory.

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The game follows a day and night cycle, with the player getting gradually more tired depending on what they are doing. This could include such varied activities as cutting down trees, planting and watering crops, clearing away weeds, perhaps some fishing, or even a bit of mining and monster slaying. Players will have to decide how best to spend the limited time before they get too tired (and pass out) in their pursuit of cold hard cash and improving the town and farm.

The town has some stores, such as the Blacksmiths where players can upgrade and improve their tools, and the general store that sell, along with other items, seeds for the player to grow. The game also includes seasons, and these dictate which seeds can be grown, which fish can be caught, and the like. Different seeds will take different times to grow, and then be worth different amounts when they are sold.

There is a wonderful openness to Stardew Valley that really allows the game to be all things to all people. Players can spend their time preparing the land, planting seeds, watering them and then selling them once they have grown, occasionally nipping into town to visit the shop. But there is so much more available. Going fishing is one option, as is raising livestock on the farm. For the more adventurous, there is the mine which will allow the player to do some mining while also fighting monsters. Of course, there are the town inhabitants to get to know, maybe give some gifts out and even start a relationship, or two, leading to marriage. Festivals held in the town are a great place to socialise, and there are a fair few mysteries to uncover, which can lead to some great rewards.

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The game is very open, and the player can pretty much whatever they choose. However, for more structured play, there are missions available to guide the player, although even these have a very open, do what you want form. Completing these missions can move the game along, maybe unlocking further missions or rewards that can open a whole new activity. There is an underlying story going on here, involving and evil corporation, but it almost falls to the wayside as the player enjoys their freedom.

But realistically, most players will already know what awaits them in Stardew Valley, and those who don’t would likely prefer to discover this for themselves. What players will really want to know, is how well does the game translate to the mobile platform? Well, pretty damn good to be honest. Movement is simply achieved by tapping on the screen, or dragging to keep the character moving. It is not as precise as some other methods, but works really well. There is a toolbar on the side of the screen giving access to whatever the player has available, although for the most part tools are automatically chosen depending on where the player taps, such as getting out the axe and starting to chop down a tree when the player taps a tree. It’s quite elegant in this respect and actually makes the game more accessible to a casual audience.

There are some concessions to be made however. While playing on an iPad is perfectly pleasant, the smaller the screen gets, the more difficult it is to tap with any precision, especially for those with larger fingers. This is something that pretty much applies to any mobile game though, and I would imagine most people who play games on their phone are quite accustomed to the perils of tapping the wrong thing. For combat, players have a choice of either letting the game handle the hard work of swinging the sword, or going manual and doing it themselves. With the auto-combat, the character will start swinging their sword as soon as a monster comes close, which is all well and good for the less complicated monsters in the higher levels of the mine. However, going down deeper will find cleverer monsters that would actually require slightly more tactics, which the auto-combat just can’t do. Dealing with the combat manually also raises problems as the tapping can be imprecise.

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However, these really are only minor problems, and the arrival of Stardew Valley on iOS is overall a resounding success. While I will always venture back to the comfort of my computer for Stardew Valley, there is something about the game that makes it a really natural fit on iOS, and presumably Android. It is the sort of laid back, relaxing game that can be picked up for short bursts of fun, and the fact that it has no limitations makes it stand apart from most other similar games on these devices. It won’t cost much, just £7.99, doesn’t have any microtransactions, and will provide many, many hours of fun. Stardew Valley on iOS is brilliant fun. Get it and get farming.




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