In the world of video games, it is not uncommon for a game to be inspired or taken as a reference by previous ones, especially if they have had great success; either by focusing on the mechanics, the setting, or the technical aspects. But there are not so many cases
that go further, and imitation (the most perfect form of praise, they say) becomes total, becoming almost a new delivery of the title in question. That is, however, the case of Stardew Valley regarding the Harvest Moon franchise .
This is not an aspect that is hidden from the player (the creator himself, Eric Barone , has publicly explained that his intention was to create a clone of Harvest Moon for PC). But it is impossible to speak of this independent title without referring to his older brother, who is inspired by all its mechanics and details .
Anyone who has played previous games of the Granjeril game franchise will immediately feel at home : from the way we sow and collect, the fatigue system that gives us warnings before we drop exhausted, the need to clean up our farm. stones and brush and
prepare the ground before planting; until the use of four months, one per station, or the presence of the weather channel that gives us foresight for the next day … Everything will remind us of Harvest moon and its evolution from its versions of Super Nintendo and especially Game Boy, to deliveries of Nintendo DS and 3DS.
But as we said before, to imitate in a large part means to appreciate, and the true greatest risk when trying to copy something from the sensations that it gives us is that in the process we leave the essence behind, that part that goes beyond the technical and aesthetic
aspects and really determines whether something like it or not. How many cases are there in which the copy ends up falling in imitation without a soul when it is not the simple parody. Luckily, in that aspect Stardew Valley has been able to find the right point .
The importance of personal relationships
The gameplay is very well adjusted, so it adapts perfectly to short games in which we simply spend a little time each day caring for our farm, as well
as longer ones where, beyond the care of our crops, we decide to deepen the relations with our neighbors and progress in the different plots.
And is that as in the games of the Marvelous saga, interaction with the environment that surrounds our farm plays a vital component in the experience . Our farm is not isolated from the world, but integrated into a valley full of neighbors, with which
we can build trust and little by little evolve our friendship relationship. And even, when the case and with certain characters, get married, have children, divorce and even be able to remarry , if we wish.
This interaction benefits from the presence of charismatic secondary characters(although somewhat stereotyped in some cases),
bucolic subhistories that allow us to know the past and present of the area, and, as we said, a gameplay that knows how to find the right balance between facets of our farm care and social interaction with our neighbors .
The world at our disposal, as is normal in the genre, is not immensely large (we do not spare time in the day to go through it, so it’s better that way),
but enough so that it does not become small or boring in any way. moment, and enormously detailed, with many little winks (birds flying, many different natural species …), as well as different shops and activities to do.
In addition, and here, unlike Harvest Moon, the game is imbued with a critical character with the society in which we live , which translates into a multitude of small bitter references to the current world . From the premise of the game,
(we discovered that we own a farm that left us in inheritance a relative in a sealed envelope that we had to open when we were fed up with our lives),
to the presence with certain character of antagonist of the multinational Joja ( a parody of multi-sector multinational that controls from soft drinks to supermarkets and represents modern capitalism).
All these details, however, we are discovering at our pace , in details and small conversations with neighbors. To help us, as in Harvest Moon, there are periodically festivals and events where we can relate to the other characters.