It’s farm strong.

Title: Stardew Valley
Platform: iOS (reviewed), PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Developer: Chucklefish
Publisher: Chucklefish
Release Date: Out now
Price: £8/$8
TL;DR: It’s the exact same game but you can play it on your phone
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

Well, here we are again; having already reviewed Stardew Valley for console and PC, we’re back with the game’s mobile version. In ways, Stardew Valley is the indie version of Skyrim, isn’t it? They’re both games that you can choose to play in a lot of different ways, they’re both games that you don’t ever really finish, and they’re both games that are available on pretty much everything you can think of. And now that the indie darling is available on iOS, be it your iPhone or iPad, the chance to avoid being given a farm is growing smaller and smaller.

But then, why would you want to skip out on playing such a fun little game? If – somehow – you still have no idea about Stardew Valley, it’s a game that teases you into exploring, initially tricking you into thinking the game is a simple farming game. But as you break out from your farm and have a wander around, you meet the locals, you come across a fair few enticing scenes; a locked Repunzal-esque tower, an entrance to a sewer, and much more. This is the pull of the game and one that had me rushing through my morning farming so I could get out and try to figure out what I wanted to do.

Essentially, Stardew Valley is a game that refuses to adhere to a single genre; yes it’s a farming sim, but it’s also an RPG, a dungeon crawler, a mystery game, and a dating sim. I would even go so far as to say that the game offers up enough variety that you could play the game a different way each day you play.

But hey, pretty much everyone knows about Stardew Valley, right? So, I’m going to focus on what makes the mobile version different from the Switch, console, or PC version. Straight off the bat, the mobile version hasn’t crow-barred any needless micro-transactions into the game. Everything works just as it did in the original version so don’t expect to have to pay to get your crops to grow faster or anything. It’s a decision based on common sense more than anything, with the game already costing a fair few quid so any extra costs buried within the game would’ve been a little too much to ask.

The obvious difference in the mobile version is the way you move around. With no interface to speak of, the game requires you to press down on the screen for where you want to go, which is fine except you end up blocking off a small portion of the screen because, y’know, fingers. And the function is a little too sensitive at times, meaning an innocent brush against the screen can send you off on an involuntary adventure.

The design of the game is charmingly basic, with Stardew taking inspiration from the 16-bit era, so there’s not much difference between what you’ll see on your phone to what you’d see on a console. The mobile version is perhaps a little less vibrant and less defined, but the difference is minute in my opinion; you won’t notice any major differences unless you go around pixel-hunting.

Unfortunately, similar to the Switch version, Stardew Valley on mobile won’t offer multiplayer at the moment. The game doesn’t lose too much from this limitation – if anything, it means you can play it when you’re out and about without the gnawing fear that your data is being gobbled up. There’s no word as to whether mobile users will eventually get multiplayer mode, we’ve seen it work a treat for other mobile games so it’s by no means out of the question. But in the meantime, the single-player offers enough meat to get you through a commute.

Should you buy Stardew Valley for mobile? It’s so dependant on whether you’ve played it already. If you have then there’s not much point, you’d only be paying money for a game you already have after all. But if you’ve had Stardew Valley on your To Play list for a while and haven’t had a chance to pick it p yet, then you really should give it a whirl. The style of the game is perfect for that pick up and play style that mobile games have become perfect for and what’s more, the genre-blending in the game means there’s so much to try out.

The Good

  • It comes in at just over 200MB so it’s not too much of a sacrifice on your phone
  • This version is an exact replica of the original which means you get all those great adventures on the go
  • Stardew Valley really is a special RPG, in its design, its music, and it gameplay

The Bad

  • The movement on mobile is a little sensitive

Family Focus

ESRB: T for Teen PEGI: 12
Stardew Valley is a great game if your kids are just starting to play RPGs – and it gives you a gateway into getting them to play the classic 16-bit RPGs (imagine maniacal laughter)

Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.