Welcome to the peaceful world of Stardew Valley (rated E)! Your grandfather has passed away and left you his farm. Ready to take a break from the big city and put your country chops to the test, you take up residence on the farm. This charming game is a farming-simulator RPG (role-playing game) in which you attempt to build up your homestead, acquire resources, complete quests, and make connections with your new community.
One of my favorite things about Stardew Valley is how relaxed the pace and atmosphere is. There's something very zen-like about planting crops, gathering wildflowers, or crafting useful items for your farm. The casual pacing is not to the detriment of the story, and I've never been bored. There are overarching main quests that give the game forward motion, as well as a job board of sorts where you can pick up simple tasks to earn money or favor. There is also some combat in the game, primarily encountered when delving into the mines in search of resources. You can level up in farming, fishing, foraging, and combat. Building collections of recipes, artifacts, and secret notes gives the game another aspect of advancement.
Another feature of Stardew Valley that I enjoy is the community. You build relationships with the NPCs (non-player characters) over the course of the game, which unlocks more story lines and content. Overall, I find the game to be relaxing, wholesome, and satisfying, with endearing graphics and simple controls that complement the gameplay. I play this game solo on a Switch, though Stardew Valley supports a co-op multiplayer option as well. Additionally, there is a detailed, fan-powered Wiki to help players along if they're feeling stuck. Honestly, there is something here for any gamer.
If you've never played Stardew Valley (available on PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, iOS and Android) this is actually a great time to start! Developer Eric Barone has a PC upgrade slated for November 26th, 2019 with the other systems to follow a few weeks later. The aim of the update is to improve some mobility bugs as well as adding some more end-game content. I'm looking forward to it!