I've been meaning to get back to posting here now and then, keep the thing alive. Plus I've been considering doing these Monday Fun posts again to do phone apps. But since there's a game I'd like to post more about, this is a good time to bring it back, while I'm thinking about it.
So without farther adew (ado, a dew, get it?):
Game type: Harvest Moon inspired/farming sim/life sim/etc.
Time demand: Don't make any plans.
Platform: PC (via Steam)
What it is: Fun!
Okay, I should probably say more than that. The comparisons to Harvest Moon keep being made, and for very good reason, although others would argue that Rune Factory is closer since it has both crafting and combat. But if you're a Harvest Moon fan (or are familiar with the games), saying "Harvest Moon plus tons of side stuff" would give you an idea of what to expect.
For the rest... okay. Stardew Valley was created by ONE GUY, Eric Barone (aka Concerned Ape) over the course of about four years. I first heard about the game maybe a year or so ago, in a Harvest Moon (or maybe Rune Factory) forum, and have been looking forward to it ever since. I can be all Hipster Gamer now, because I bought it first day, after waiting for it, and it has now sold over half a million copies.
Why? Well, it doesn't sound too enthralling at first, especially if you're not a Harvest Moon fan. You inherit a farm from your Grandfather, and after a while of trying to make it work in the city, decide to come try to make the farm life work, and get out of the rat race. You are given a few tutorial quests, and are sent to meet the villagers, start farming, start mining, etc etc.
It gets off to a slow start, as money is (at first) slow to start rolling in, and your farm is just covered with weeds, rocks, trees, branches, and all that other fun stuff. But it starts to pick up fairly quickly - you gain access to a mine where you can not only collect materials for crafting, but also fight various monsters. You gain access to a fishing pole, which unlocks the polarizing (hah hah) fishing mini-game. You start gaining recipes to craft, which improves your farm and your ability to make money greatly as you can start making tappers for trees, kegs to make juice/alcohol, bee houses for honey, and so on.
Eventually you can start improving your farmhouse to make it bigger, add a kitchen, and unlock other things. You can start buying furniture, and hiring the carpenter to build whole new buildings to start raising animals and doing other things. You can improve your tools, and build up your farm pretty much just how you like it (with the caveat that you can't move buildings - you have to build them somewhere else and tear down the old. At least so far - the developer is constantly updating the game, which after four years of coding the thing in the first place is pretty incredible).
In the meantime, you can woo one of the 10 bachelors and bachelorettes, and eventually marry them and start a family of your own. And unlike Harvest Moon, you can actually marry someone of your own gender, and have children through adoption. You can also complete quests that are posted at the general store many days, improve your relationships with villagers to see new events and gain cooking recipes and such, take part in village holidays, and unlock new things pretty steadily, at least for a while. You have skills for things such as farming, fishing, foraging, etc., and each level (up to 10) unlocks some crafting recipe(s), ability, or something similar.
As if all that isn't enough, eventually Barone plans to add a multiplayer element, which he'd initially planned for the release version, but finally decided that he should release single-player for people to buy and play, rather than making everyone wait for an element that might take ages to complete.
So, yeah. There's all that. Long story short, farming sim with a TON of side stuff to do and unlock.
Recommendation: Buy this puppy. Okay, maybe not if you know from experience that you HATE Harvest Moon type games or something (and have no soul). But the game is fifteen bucks, it's damn impressive and the developer deserves the support, and if you like this type of thing at all it is a LOT of fun.