Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Swtich - First Look!

Warning: Stardew Valley is addictive and can consume your life.
Only proceed if you are looking for a great time!

First Look: Stardew Valley on the Nintndo Switch

Well, it finally addiction has come full circle.  What seems like forever ago, I was hooked on Animal Crossing New Leaf.  I played daily.  I had to...the flowers, the errands, seasonal bugs & fish, new items to collect, and heaven forbid one of my favorite villagers contemplate moving!

It was a vicious cycle...long hours at work, late dinners, and other inconveniences of adulthood brought forth little free time for a social life, human interaction, or even taking care of yourself and getting adequate rest.  So, how do you unwind?  By doing daily chores and interacting with villagers in Animal Crossing New Leaf!  Doesn't exactly make the most sense on a purely practical level, but what ACNL provided to players was fun.  Just good old fashioned, simple, fun.  You can't play the game wrong, there are no lives, time passes just like in the real world, and somehow...someway, there is a soothing tranquility about it all.  The game's charm, simple, yet complex dynamics, and euphoric relief of stress just add up to a very well crafted game capable of blissfully and efortlessly consuming your time.

I got to a point with Animal Crossing New Leaf where I had pretty much done everything...but I was still playing.  In fact, I am afraid I might still be in the same vicious, but beautiful cycle if it were not for Stardew Valley.

Wait, wait, wait you say.  New Leaf was on a 3DS...Stardew Valley just came out on the Switch, what's the deal?  Paid endorsement?  Oh no, nothing of the sort.  The portability of the 3DS played a huge role in ACNL's ability to seize your life.  On a road trip?  No problem!  Out of town at a hotel?  The 3DS is easy to haul, doesn't require a tv, and certainly didn't need multiple cables knotting up in your luggage.  That layover at the sucks for most people...but not you!  You can flip open the 3DS and make time fly by!  Speaking of that, ACNL made 2-4 hour fligths seem more like minutes.  But none of this tells you how Stardew Valley broke the addiction to ACNL.

Well, I will tell you.  I bought Stardew Valley when it came out on Steam.  Yes, that Steam...PC Gaming.  Although Stardew Valley draws heavily from Harvest Moon, a series which I shockingly have never played, I paralleled it with New Leaf.  You have a day at your disposal, you can spend it however you like, but there are things that need to be done: tend to the crops, forage, go mining if the stars align...and of course, you have a quirky cast of residents to get to know and develop a relationship with...heck, you can even marry!

I became so absorbed in Stardew Valley, I spent my late nights at home at my desk navigating mouse and keyboard thru the charm that permeates Pelican Town.  All the key elements that made Animal Crossing New Leaf such an enthralling experience were present.  The addition of combat, courting a partner, and having more of a direct tie-in to upgrades quite literally making you more productive and thus profitable, the game pulled me in and hasn't let go.

Stardew Valley (PC) was easily my 2016 game of the year.  Yeah, there were bigger sellers, far more popular games, and plenty of AAA titles from the major studios.  But Stardew Valley is what brought me in and kept me playing (still to this day, in fact!).  The work of one man, Eric Barone, who most of you simply know as ConcernedApe.  He came up with the game, put it together, and made it shine.  The game's publisher, Chucklefish Games, was tasked with getting the smash PC hit out to consoles.

I had always dreamed of a 3DS version...even the Wii U's GamePad would provide an interesting experience.  However, as fate would have it, the Switch came alone...

The Nintendo Switch isn't quite the pocket friendly companion as a good, ol' 3DS, but it is very portable (some people have phones nearing this size and most everyone else was toting around a camera, or tablet of great proportions).  Plus, the Switch is much more powerful than the 3DS.  Handheld....check!  Table Top with Joy-Cons...check!  Docked and projecting to a huge HD TV...check!  One system hits all the marks.  Whether you want to unwind in the comfort of your own bed, lounge in the recliner, or pass some time between classes, or lunch at work...the Switch hits those same sweet spots as the 3DS.

Coupling Stardew Valley with the Nintendo Switch is a no brainer and something I had longed to see come to reality.  The team at Chucklefish made this happen and it is such a treat for Switch Owners!  As is often the case with console gamers, you tend to have the Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox camps.  They are typically very loyal, and I would say the majority likely stick to their favorite console, with a few crossing over to enjoy exclusive to a couple of consoles.  Some smaller percentage also games on the computer.  So what does this mean?  It means that up until earlier this year no one outside of the PC side of the hobby had been fortunate enough to enjoy the Indie masterpiece that is Stardew Valley!

While my first experience (nearing 150 Episodes on my YouTube Channel) sort of set the stage, I can't deny the Switch's advantages.  I love my computer...heck, I even built it with the parts of my own selection.  However, I can't easily lug the case around, let alone a monitor AND peripherals!  The Switch travels effortlessly.  And although I'm sure folks do use a wireless keyboard and mouse from bed, I don't.  The Switch can give me the same gameplay ability as the 3DS!

The bottom line is that although it came last, the Nintendo Switch version of Stardew Valley holds the portability and ease of access titles that no PC, or console (regardless of their prowess) can match!  That portability coupled with the same charming gameplay we came to know and love in Stardew Valley on the PC makes for one hard hitting combination!

Although I am partial to the keyboard and mouse (you know, after using them for hundreds of hours of gameplay on the computer), the Switch version plays beautifully in its' own right.  Those new to the series will simply learn the controls as they come...for someone switching from PC it'll be the same learning curve, just with the additional knowledge of any differences.

The game boasts the same features as all other installments and I can tell you right now...Stardew Valley and the Nintendo Switch makes for a gorgeous package!

If you are a Switch owner you owe it to yourself to pick this game will NOT regret it!  The game is so peaceful, such a change of pace, and so enjoyable the only thing you are at risk of is developing a small addiction...and as gamers, there isn't more of a stamp of approval.

Stardew Valley was sent out by Chucklefish Games and I sincerely thank them for the review copy!  However, in order to be 100% transparent, this was a must purchase and had been on my radar since my first hours with the game on PC.  I've had an awful lot of viewers eagerly waiting for the Nintendo release of Stardew Valley and as of Thursday, October 5th the wait is over!

I fully back this game and give it the coveted 1ofWiisdom Seal of Approval!  If you happen to be an Xbox, or PlayStation gamer, I highly recommend you pick the game up as well.  Although you will be missing out on the portability the Switch offers, it is an incredible gameplay experience that is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Well, I've got to run...the plants aren't going to water themselves (yet!).


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