Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game inspired by the Harvest Moon series. The player starts by inheriting their grandfather's old farm plot in Stardew Valley. The player tend their farm, raise livestock, craft goods, mine for ores and engage in social activities including romance
Like Harvest Moon, the game is played in a topdown perspective. When the player starts, they are given the choice of one from five different farm maps with different features like more mining or a fishing river. The plot is initially overrun with boulders, trees and weeds and the player over time clears them and grows crops to start up the farm again. The player has a health and exhaustion level in time with the game's internal clock. The player can run through their exhaustion and will be returned to their home but, lose progress on whatever they were attempting as well as having low energy. If the player loses too much health, they will lose most of their energy and a random amount of money and items.
In the nearby town, the player can interact with the various villagers. Several of these characters can be romanced, culminating in romance. The town has a community center with various quests to earn money or obtain access to special areas and techniques. The player can explore procedurally-generated caves to mine materials, battle creatures and complete quests
The game uses a simplified calendar, each year having only four 28-day months that represent each season, which determines which crops can be grown and which activities can be beneficial. The character is evaluated on their third year.
Stardew Valley received "generally favourable" reviews from critics according to Metacritic with a current Metascore of 87/100. From launch it topped the Switch eShop charts. According to Nintendo, the game has nearly sold 1 million copies on the Switch alone.