Stardew Valley is a recently released open-ended country-life RPG. This modern fantasy game has a retro feel to it, both due to the somewhat simple art style and the inspiration it borrows from past games in the farming simulator genre.
The game takes place in an area called Stardew Valley. You, the player, have inherited your Grandfather’s estate in Stardew Valley, and decide to start a new life as a farmer and adventurer. After meeting all the local residents, you can choose how to spend most of your time – be it farming, fishing, exploring the mines, foraging, doing favors for your neighbors, etc. There’s always something more to be done. As you progress, you’ll learn new cooking and crafting recipes, unlock areas to explore, and customize your skills.
There are four months per year, and each month has its own season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). The types of crops you can grow change depending on the season. Also, watch out for hungry crows. Each month has birthdays for different people in town, and at least two special events (like a valley fair or dance festival). The special events are a good time to get to know your neighbors better, and earn special prizes. You can form friendships and relationships with certain people as well, going as far as getting married and having kids (who can help out around the farm).
The art style and game play of Stardew Valley are like a mash-up of Terraria and FarmVille (but with no micro-transactions). The characters are quirky and interesting, the landscapes are fun to explore, the soundtrack is peacefully pleasant, and the fishing never ends.
Stardew Valley is available on Steam for $15, and goes on sale for less during the big Steam sales.