Every once in a while, a charming indie game catches onto Steam with little to no hype and charges all the way to the top of the sales charts. Usually, these games live up to the their word of mouth, and that positive exposure only adds to their fanbases. Undertale is a perfect example of this phenomenon from 2015, and in 2016, we’re seeing the rise of Stardew Valley.
If it isn’t obvious enough, Stardew Valley takes its inspiration from Natsume’s Harvest Moon franchise. Only, instead of trying experimental ways to branch the series into other formulas like Harvest Moon has been attempting recently, Stardew Valley sticks to the tried and true formula, taking it to whole new levels.
You know the setup. Your hero inherits a run-down farm, and he or she has a set time period to make it all better. A strong social life and other elements pile onto the farming to make Stardew Valley a more complete package. Larger fields for customization and layout, more relationship options, fishing, exploration, housing renovations, cooking, crafting, mining, and, of course, battling invading critters within the local cave.
So, while it might not doing anything new with the formula, it improves on almost everything that Harvest Moon has done over the past two decades, and that alone has resonated with the Steam userbase. So much so that, as of writing, it has rocketed to the top of the best selling games list. Be sure to check it out, and also keep watch for the next big indie sensation.
Uncovering sleeper hits like this is without question the most exciting venture in gaming these days. Rocket League, Firewatch, what will be the next one, I wonder?