Not just another farm game
Yes, if you’ve played any of Stardew Valley, you know it’s centered around rebuilding your grandfather’s farm (spoiler?) BUT that’s not the only thing to pour your characters heart and soul into. The game offers a map full of unique characters and side quests, all optional but all worth it, should you be in the mood for a little break from the daily grind of yielding crops. Now that the game has officially had a functional co-op version running for a little over 7 months, there are a few things to know before planting that first seed.
Let’s start with the basics
Co-op can be played on PC and the Nintendo Switch, but all players must have the game to join in the fun. Once the title screen has loaded, a new “co-op” button will appear and then prompt you to either host a farm or join
Our land is your land
With co-op, your farm becomes everyone’s farm and you and up to three other people can live out your agrarian dreams. All four farm modes are still available, although they are slightly larger and offer a bit more variety in co-op. Each additional player also receives a little cabin on the farm while the host gets the farmhouse. From here, it is left to the players on how they choose to strategize the farms setup, crops and any animals purchased throughout the game. Players do have the freedom to take off and lone wolf it, however, communism rules over all in this game and money earned is made available to each player in a communal pot.
A good strategy is to assign roles; one farmer, on fisherman and one adventurer/miner. This allows each player to focus on their strengths and gain achievements faster. When using this strategy on my own farm, my group was able to allocate money to helping each player level up in their own role, such as a better sword for your adventurer, or lures for your fisherman.
Although the actual farm is collective — relationships and achievements are not. This allows for each player to have their own experience with the game should they decide to, for example, ally with Joja or befriend everyone in Pelican town. There is a plethora of side quests within Stardew Valley, and players have to opportunity to be creative, whether you are a completionist like me, or a more casual gamer.
As a result of varying storylines, the same event can happen multiple times within one play through. Concerned Ape, the creator of Stardew Valley, planned for this by making events only visible to the player experiencing them so that additional players don’t see the same event multiple times.
The exception to this is the Community Center. In co-op, this quest is a team effort. Should you and your buddies decide to rebuild it, each bundle can only be completed once. But don’t worry! Treasure earned upon completion is available equally to all players.
It takes more than one to party
Due to the tight knit community, Pelican town offers a seasonal town festival that players can enjoy. These can be fun and offer rare treasures that cannot be obtained otherwise in the game. Each festival is themed according to the season, with a luau during summer and ice fishing in winter. At the entrance to each festival, players can stop by a booth to purchase ‘rarecrows’ for their form among other goodies. The one stipulation in co-op is that you and your buddies all have to show up to get the party started. Festivals are a major event in Stardew Valley, and will use up an entire day, so it’s up to you and your farmhands to judge the opportunity cost. Town shops will be closed on festival days, but the mines will remain open. If you all decide the festivals aren’t worth missing, be sure to water your crops and feed your animals before you go, you will all be planted (pun intended) at your doorsteps around midnight once the events ends.