Hit simulation game Stardew Valley is finally making the long-awaited jump to Android, and you can pre-register for it right now. The popular game will cost $7.99 when it hits the Play Store, just as it does on iOS.
Unlike most mobile ports, there's actually a good reason that the cost is half that of other versions; the Android port will launch with content only up through the 1.3 update, and there will be no multiplayer at first. These features may come eventually, but there is nothing concrete just yet.
For those not already in the know, Stardew Valley is a farming simulator in the vein of Natsume's Harvest Moon series, but far more in-depth. Its explosive popularity is owed in no small part to the many, many things you can do beyond simply farming. Stardew Valley takes a lot of pages out of the books of Harvest Moon and its spinoff series, Rune Factory.
You can farm, mine, fish, fight monsters, and forage in the wilds. There are actually different farm maps available that cater to these skills, and each skill has its own growth curve and levels. Your character has to eat and sleep, and has a fixed energy bar for actions that grows with experience. Naturally, you can also hit the town and befriend the locals, a few of whom can even be romanced and married.
The storyline starts out with a corporation encroaching on a small town with you caught in the middle of the conflict. You can choose whether to support a local business or a corporate store with your initial farming efforts, and that decides the direction of the story in broad strokes. Everything is not as it seems, however, and the town and its adjacent areas hold dark secrets of their own. It's up to you whether you want to ignore those secrets and live a peaceful farm life, or take up your sword, strike down monsters, and solve the mysteries at hand.
The game's retro charm, unexpected depth and massive variety earned it rave reviews when it came out back in 2016, and it's had a ton of updates since then that have all added meaningful, and sometimes large, globs of content. Things like new farms, multiplayer, and more areas to explore are all examples of things that came in free content updates long after the game's release.
A lot of fans have waited quite eagerly for this day. There have been a lot of unofficial attempts to get the game working on Android in the past, with varying degrees of success. Naturally, most of those are going to evaporate overnight with this official port being close to ready for release. There may be some with some unique quirks, of course, or some that bring higher game versions than the Android release.
As for Stardew Valley's impact on mobile gaming, as always with big releases, expect copycats. There's no real shortage of farming games in the Play Store, so it's quite likely that the aforementioned copycats are going to copy more creative aspects of the game, meaning more to do and better quality games overall.