Stardew Valley continues to please with its simple, relaxing gameplay [Android Game of the Week]

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley (Image credit: Jordan Palmer / Android Central)

Few games in recent memory have been as beloved as Stardew Valley, so it's a no-brainer for our Android Game of the Week pick! To be honest, I never really understood the whole appeal of this game until I sat down with it last week. Sure, I've heard plenty about it, but like Animal Crossing, the whole premise didn't ever appeal to me. But I'm glad that I kept an open mind about it and gave it a shot.

Life ain't easy, and Stardew Valley appeals to that blissful side many of us have, the longing for something simpler. After all, what's simpler than waking up, watering your plants, caring for your animals, and checking in on your neighbors? I understand why so many adore this game — it even made me pine for that idealized, romantic country life.

I'm not afraid to admit that my attention span is precariously low. Lately, I've been loading up games on my PC, my phone, and my Switch and abandoning them minutes later. That might be indicative of something else going on, but I digress. As I was saying, games nowadays struggle to hold my attention. That's why I never really gave Stardew Valley a chance: I figured the laid back gameplay loop wouldn't hold me for long, if at all.

I was wrong, but not in the often grandiose, mind-boggling, paradigm-shifting way. No, Stardew Valley surprised me and hooked me without me really realizing it. Normally, I know when I'm going to like a game, but this one's appeal came out of left field. When things are going crazy in real life, it's nice to escape to something less stressful.

In Stardew Valley, your fate is up to you. You're given a lot of freedom to do as you wish, and that can even include marriage down the line if you'd like. The central premise is to complete tasks around your farm, which you've inherited. Completing said tasks gives the same satisfaction that you'll often find in your actual life when you tick off items on your to-do list. Stardew Valley captures that feeling so damn well, hooking you with its charm and almost addictive checklist completion.

I was wrong about Stardew Valley, and I'm happy about that.

Similar to games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley fosters a sense of community with the NPCs. You learn their routines, their birthdays, and their personalities, building relationships with them as you work to turn your farm into something worth talking about. You learn other things along the way, too, like how to raise livestock and plants. All in all, this game is full of little details for you to notice, and together they increase its natural charm.

I believe that nearly everyone will enjoy Stardew Valley to some extent. There's an absolute boatload of content to explore and experience and an overall journey that I think you'll really like. The game is a one-time premium purchase with no ads or in-app purchases. If you're a Play Pass subscriber, you can play Stardew Valley right now!

And that's a wrap on another Game of the Week. I hope you like this game as much as I do, even if you're hesitant to give it a shot like I was. Now that we're done here be sure to check out both our huge list of the best Android games and past Games of the Week.

Jordan Palmer