So, where do I begin? I have to admit, that I'm a bit biased on this review. I've been a big fan of Chucklefish since the team broke away from Re-Logic and started Starbound (Best opening theme, ever, by the way.). So when the news dropped that they were publishing a game like this...I was all a giddy.
The best way to describe Stardew Valley is a combination of 70% Old school Harvest moon, 15% Animal Crossing and 15% Local garden Co-Op down town. While the later has yet to be implemented, we've been assured multi-player is still being developed.
Graphically you have your somewhat A-Typical 16bit + pixel art graphics. Nothing over the top or fancy and a control set up that alludes to "Casual". That is until you start to play and the objectives begin to give you that itch, just waiting for the next fix (I'm actually playing on my laptop at work as I write this).
With an easy enough to follow story line, and a semi-comical, lighthearted approach, It's exactly what the industry needs. Lighthearted, easy to follow and still very addictive. It's a typical WASD/Mouse click control scheme with hot keys worked in for ease of use. an interesting "woo your love" mechanic that allows you to essentially buy the love of your choice with gifts. And a fantastic farming system. With an energy system, you're limited in how much you can do in one day, and a running clock adds to the depth of farming and makes you rest. with several levels of upgrades you can apply to crafted items, as well as constructing farm buildings and silos, various other add ons, This game is very much complete.
I think, Game-play wise, what really adds to the enjoyment is the amount of crap you can actually do. Farming, Livestock, fishing, foraging, mining, lumberjack-ing, mowing the lawn, crafting and most interesting: DUNGEON CRAWLING! that's right, there is a Massive mine that is just oozing with monsters for you to beat the crap out of! Oh, and the crafting system is deep. BUT MONSTERS! You can tell this makes me happy.
Audio wise it's nothing award winning, but is still extremely well done and the sound track is great. Gives a very retro feel. It's well composed and the sound effects completely fit in.
All in all I am VERY satisfied with this game. being only $14.99USD right now on steam, it's a fantastic buy, with tons of foreseeable replay-ability. 4.5 out of 5, hands down. I have to say I respect the devs for not doing an early steam release, instead opting for a very much finished single player experience. I'll cover more when the Multi-player experience is out and I have time to get my hands on it.