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Years later, Stardew Valley is still the best reprieve on a rough day – Destructoid

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When I received the gift of Stardew Valley from my husband back in December 2017, I never understood the importance or impact this game would have on me and my mental health. It is the exact type of game that I needed when I was a child, and as an adult, I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy it for therapeutic reasons.

Stardew Valley is one of those games that I play when I ultimately need to relax. While I do play most games to relax, Stardew Valley takes that to an extra level, and allows me not to feel so alone in the world. It gives me purpose on days where life socialization or life is too much. From the style of the music, the cute pixel art, and the various activities in the game, there is always something relaxing or therapeutic about it when I play it.

The artsyle is so cute it makes me happy

The pixel style of graphics, especially for Stardew Valley, reach the inner child in me that needed this game in my past. The bright colors, the palette in general make the world blend in together in an aesthetically cute pixel art, and cute things always make me happy and hopeful. The bright palette adds tones of extra cheerfulness of the game, which helps brighten my moods.

Even the stormy days always bring to mind something—my best friend who loved storms, the intense rain noises that I love listening to, even when the thunder is too loud. I also have to make sure, during the summer season, to have enough lightning rods. Though they do create batteries when struck by lightning, I also just get sad if lightning happens to strike any of my crops or flowers. Especially when crops get destroyed, as it ruins my sometimes perfected layouts and growth.

The activities bring me joy

There is so much to do in Stardew Valley that it’s always fun. There is mining, which I love the exploration of the cave system, the peaceful bits of the mining, and then the bits of combat as I travel deeper. The further I travel, the more the zones change in appearance, from normal stone tiling, to a frozen ancient castle appearance, and then even a magma-like filled cavern. Fishing, while I use a mod on PC because the mini-game is a bit too difficult, is fun as well. I adore playing the mini-game for fishing on the Nintendo Switch, , as I can utilize the controls for it better.

I love the variety of fish that the game provides, and for some reason, the purple super cucumber caught in the ocean is one of my favorites. I love the farming aspects as well, both the crop raising and animal raising aspects. Being able to pet the animals every morning, including the starter pet from the new game menu, makes me happy. I love the little chicken and cow and goat noises, and while it’s sometimes tedious, I love hunting them down for pets in the mornings. Sometimes I’ll sit in their fenced-in area, just to watch them wander around and listen to the animal sounds.

The music is soft, but upbeat, and happy. It fits the aesthetic of the game perfectly, makes it cheerful for even the most downtrodden souls. There is something about the way it transitions from the farm music to the town that seems like flawless execution, and I love that each season has various types of soundtracks that feel fitting for those months. Even the social aspect, like making friends and building romances, even up to marriage and having children, makes me happy. If I’m feeling especially alone on a specific day, I know I have friends in the game that are always happy to talk to me.

Being able to relax with friends in multiplayer, or even make friends with the non-player characters in the town and see them during each of the game’s festivals brings a smile to my face, no matter how I’m feeling. While I have yet to actually finish the game, or really just see all of its events, Stardew Valley is always the one game I turn to when I need a boost to my mood, when life just is too hard.


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