Stardew Valley is one of the indie PC game hits of the summer, and the classic Harvest Moon-style farming sim is finally coming to the consoles in the fourth quarter of this year. It recently came out for Mac and Linux, but it’s coming out in the holiday season for PS4, Xbox One and even Wii U. And unless you’re a real mod lover, it’s worth waiting for the console versions. Playing with a controller in the living room will really capture that 90s-era magic.
Some indie games belong on PCs. The Banner Saga and FTL come to mind. Others, like Shovel Knight and Terraria, play best on consoles. Few games play extremely well on both platforms, like Minecraft, and offer different features on both versions. Stardew Valley may well be in that vein. While user-created mods aren’t likely to make the move over to the console version of Stardew Valley, mods aren’t the core of Stardew Valley—and the console experience will enhance that core game.
Stardew Valley captures the essence of Harvest Moon like nothing else before or since, including Harvest Moon itself—and it’s a big improvement on the series’ golden age. The game is lots of fun in its own right, but much of the pleasure of Stardew Valley is that it’s a complex and deep throwback to an earlier time—it’s a nostalgia trip, not just for Harvest Moon but for the era of small town farming in the first place. And along with fairies and all that—just like the folkloric myths of the ancient wilderness would have it.
So, why wait for consoles for Stardew Valley? Two answers: It’s a game that will work well with a controller, and it’s the sort of game worth playing casually for an hour or two, late at night, while drinking some tea on the couch. You can marathon Stardew Valley, and indeed it’s quite addictive. But like No Man’s Sky, it’s best in small, short doses: A brief taste of a farming life. And playing on PS4, Xbox One or Wii U brings the maximum nostalgia for your buck. I, for one, can’t wait for the soothing sounds of Stardew Valley to fill my living room. The game comes out on the consoles in the fourth quarter.