It may come as a surprise to fans of the game, but Stardew Valley, the sweet farming sim about leaving your busy life for a simple one on your grandfather’s old farm surrounded by the charming residents of Pelican Town, came out five years ago. In that time, it has continued to receive significant updates with additions like new areas, new activities, and even a multiplayer mode (All for free), and continues to get updates even now.
With that in mind, you might be shocked to learn that there are, indeed, other games out there, some of which might just scratch the same itch that Stardew has been hitting for you. With that in mind, here are 5 games that hope to sate that hunger for more experiences like Stardew Valley.
Before we begin, however, I wanted to make a couple of notes. Most people know that Stardew Valley is heavily inspired by the Harvest Moon games. For that reason, I will not include any of those, nor any its more modern incarnation: Story of Season. If you have not tried any of those, they are, mostly, very good games and extremely similar to Stardew. Now, with all of that out of the way, onto the list.
5- Rune Factory
If your favourite part of Stardew Valley is delving deep into the mines below Pelican Town or through the ancient caverns in the desert, vanquishing monsters and coming home with armloads of loot, then you may want to check out the Rune Factory series. This started as a spin-off series to Harvest Moon and features all the lovely farming elements and villager relationships, but also gives the player a life of fantasy and adventure.
While Rune Factory games usually share the open-ended structure of Stardew Valley, the story is more often progressed through by traversing dungeons, taming monsters, and defeating bosses. For a while, it had seemed like Rune Factory was over and done with, but last year we received a port of Rune Factory 4 onto the Switch and even have a new game coming in 2022, so now is a great time to give the series a look.
4- Alchemic Cutie
There is absolutely no denying that one of Stardew Valley’s biggest draws is its relaxing atmosphere and its endearing characters. However, while it is certainly a bastion of comfort and cuteness, it turns out that it can be even cuter. Alchemic Cutie is an extremely adorable game about starting a little ranch and populating it with squishy pooping jellies. The whole thing is bright, colourful, and just… aggressively loveable. It feels like a combination of Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher (Another sweet ranching sim, but with a gun), and is certainly worth a look.
3- Graveyard Keeper
So, farming isn’t always just an avalanche of earnestness and comfort. Sometimes it’s more about what you put into the dirt than what you pull out. Sometimes there is an economically minded donkey that refuses to deliver fresh cadavers without a bushel of carrots.
Graveyard Keeper is a darkly humorous take on the genre where you’ll, through embalming and surgery, place high quality corpses in the ground, festoon them with impressive, handcrafted markers and monuments, and even perform Sunday services in your chapel. With a few bits of TLC, some less prestigious bodies might even be repurposed into cheap manual labour and help you brew beer for your very own tavern.
2- Lemon Cake
I’m sorry, that got a little dark for a moment. Luckily, we can get right back into the calm vibes and cute atmosphere with Lemon Cake. Now, this one is a bit different, but it certainly plays with the same satisfying loop of busywork and payment that makes Stardew Valley so addictive. In Lemon Cake you’re running a bakery and attending to the needs of the various customers who come in based on your menu for that day. You’ll grow your own ingredients, prepare a variety of pastries, and set up a display to lure unsuspecting customers into your delightful and endearing money trap.
1- Stardew Valley Expanded
This might be cheating a little, but really, the best answer to needing more Stardew Valley in your life is to get more Stardew Valley, and that’s exactly what Stardew Valley Expanded is. This is a mod for the original game that adds gobs and gobs of new stuff like areas, plants, dialogue for existing character, brand-new characters, and events. The mods are completely free and easy to install.
The creator, FlashShifter, keeps making it better and better with more content updates and bug fixes. So, if you’re ready to meet that pink haired lady who runs a competing vineyard, develop a relationship with Gunther since you’ve been bringing him all of these artifacts, or just study magic with that wizard you already know, Stardew Valley Expanded might be worth your time.