I’m not normally one for mobile games, and definitely not one for arcade games that look like they were made for children. But when Stardew Valley was announced for Apple Arcade, my interest was piqued and I’ve resolved to give it a try. There must be a reason it has 493,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, a 4.8-star rating from 58.4K ratings on the App Store, and a Golden Joystick award, you get the picture.
But I never play games without doing my research, so I’ve asked my colleagues, who all love and swear by this cute RPG, what I need to know before I start. If you’re playing Stardew Valley for the first time too, I’m here to impart that wisdom. Here are five tips and tricks to start you on your Stardew Valley journey.
Use a controller
This isn’t really a trick per se, but Stardew Valley on both iPhone and iPad supports touch input and gamepad, leaving you with a choice. Stardew Valley strikes me as a relaxing game that lends itself to reclining while you play, and that’s difficult to do with touch controls. Not impossible, but a just a bit less relaxed. “I would say controller based on pure instinct,” TechRadar’s Josie Watson tells me, and our How-to Editor John-Anthony Disotto agrees, it’s a controller title “for sure”.
If you’re taking the plunge into Stardew Valley for the first time on Apple Arcade, the best game controllers for iPhone will see you taken care of.
Clear your farm
I’ve come to learn that farming seems to be at the heart of Stardew Valley, and Josie tells me I need to spend time every day clearing my farm to get resources. Farming is one of your main sources of income in Stardew Valley and also helps you get ingredients for cooking. By clearing your farm you can acquire wood, stone, and more resources that can be used to craft items. However, clearing your farm uses energy so you don’t want this to be your sole focus each day.
Buy seeds straight away
You only start with 500 gold, and the consensus seems to be that investing this into seeds is the right way to go. Once you’ve used up your starter pack, buy more, as these can provide quite a good yield early on and help you on your way to earning more money. So far as I can tell, planting and selling crops you’ve harvested is one of the best ways to make money in Stardew Valley. Seeds can be bought from one of the four shops around town, with Pierre’s General Store being the closest. Seed prices seem to fluctuate, however, so it pays to shop around for a bargain.
Keep it local
I’ve also been told that there’s not much point trying to explore the far reaches of the map until week two or three unless there’s a good quest you can do that will provide decent rewards. There are a couple of reasons for this, as with clearing your farm, energy in Stardew Valley is limited, so exploring is going to use up valuable energy and time. For the first couple of weeks, we want to focus on gathering resources and farming. So this one is less about not exploring and more about being efficient with your time and your energy.
You probably play a title like Stardew Valley so you don’t waste your evening watching TV, but doing so in-game is actually really important. “Watching the TV every day is a big one!” PC Gamer’s Mollie Taylor says, the TV will tell you what the weather is going to be and will tell you your luck levels, which is important for fishing and mining.
Beware... It’s addictive!
Stardew Valley is a simple game but with many layers and complexities, and I’ve seen it said that it can be quite daunting for new players. We’ve barely scratched the surface here, but this is a least a little bit to keep you going. If you’re an Apple One or Apple Arcade subscriber, you’ve nothing to lose by firing up Stardew Valley and giving it a go. But you should know one more thing…
iMore’s Editor-in-chief Gerald Lynch only has a few hours to his name, but when I asked him what I should know before I started, he simply told me “It’s addictive,” like, seriously addictive. So you’ve been warned folks, Stardew Valley has time sync written all over it, and is definitely not recommended for procrastinators or the easily distracted, or anyone with deadlines, or family commitments. Not that that will stop you anyway. Happy farming!
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9