I’m a terrible chicken mother

I have to admit, I really love social simulation games. I used to play Animal Crossing every morning and evening back in my second year of university. I used to play The Sims 3 during my spare time way back in high school. But times have changed, and the next great game to catch my attention is Stardew Valley. This adorable game has found its way into my heart and managed to stay there for a while.

Stardew Valley is visually, quite frankly, extremely adorable. The 8-bit art is very aesthetically pleasing and I love it so much. The music fits the game so well, and I really just want a copy of the CD so I can listen to it while I am studying.

I can spend hours and hours on Stardew Valley without realising it. That’s how addicting the game is. I love taking care of my crops, making bread to give to townspeople, and taking care of my animals. There are a few missions that you can finish in order to gain healthier and better relationships with people. I’ve clocked in so much time into this game, maybe a bit more than I like to admit. It’s a great way for me to de-stress from the day and to spend a weekend chilling at home.

What I really like about Stardew Valley is that it’s very gender neutral. It’s a game for everyone, regardless of one’s gender identity. I know a lot of men and women a like who love the game. You can have same-sex marriages with different characters, which I love. As a queer gamer, I do appreciate this feature which has been missing from a lot of life simulation games over the years.

The game can be difficult sometimes. It’s quite a slog in the beginning, but once you get a groove going, you will get the hang of it really quickly. I didn’t know how to take care of my chickens at one point. They would get lost amongst my crops or just hide and not want to come out. Very sneaky, those chickens. Maybe I’m just an awful farmer.

Like many games of the same genre, however, it gets repetitive. The routine becomes the same, and you’ll run out of missions or tasks to finish. It’s really hard to keep the interest of an audience if they eventually run out of things to do. I’m guilty of this: I haven’t touched Stardew Valley in a few months. I should go back and make sure my chickens aren’t dead or something.

Overall, Stardew Valley is a great, wholesome game that is amazingly fun, just keep in mind that the game can’t run on forever. I will give this game a solid 4.5/5.

The hilarity and beauty of Battle Block Theatre

One of my best friends gifted me a cooperative game before he went home for the year so we could at least bond over something while threatening to kill each other over Discord. As you can probably tell by the title of this post, the game is Battle Block Theatre, and it’s a gem. The Behemoth has created a game that is not only f*cking adorable, but also incredibly fun yet stress inducing.

The characters are aboard the S.S. Friendship, and there are hundreds of  them, including Hatty. Hatty was regarded as a best friend to everyone aboard, and everybody adored him. They would sing songs, and the crew were genuinely happy. While aboard the boat, a huge storm rocks them all onto an island, and you (the protagonist) take shelter in a crummy theatre. You realise that the whole crew has been taken hostage by an army of cats, and Hatty has been possessed by a top hat for some reason.

Battle Block Theatre is just like your ordinary comedic co-op game: great game mechanics, art, and characters. However, the game also has a plot, albeit minimal. While the plot and the world building isn’t as fleshy as, say, Borderlands or Diablo, Battle Block Theatre has its own charm even though it mainly centres around a prison island.

I love the originality of the art and art style in this game. Almost all the cut scenes are done entirely in stick puppet style. The graphics are simple and colourful, but all the obstacles and layouts of the different levels don’t crowd the screen. The game has the perfect balance of beauty and chaos, which I find quite fascinating.

The voice acting and music for this game are phenomenal. The narrator never fails to entertain me. I can listen to him tell the story in Battle Block Theatre over and over again. His voice is upbeat and quirky, and he keeps you hooked by adding a slightly posh English accent to his storytelling. As for the OST, I want to purchase a copy of it and import the music onto my phone so I can listen to it over and over again.

This may seem absurd, but I absolutely don’t mind seeing my character die constantly in this game. It is a game where dying isn’t a big deal. It is also a game that you can’t really become really great at, and that’s okay. The most important part of the game is that you have fun interacting with your partner solving levels that become absurdly harder as you two progress.

What does bother me is how complicated the PC controls can be. My friend plays the game with a Xbox 360 controller, while I stick to my laptop keyboard. My fingers can get really cramped and it’s really hard to react well in-game with stiff fingers in awkward positions. If I haven’t played the game in a while, I feel like I have to learn the controls all over again. For a simple co-op game, its controls can drive me up the wall sometimes.

I highly recommend this game, and if you do decide to buy it remember to find a good and hilarious friend to play with as well. I think this game was best designed to be a co-op game. However, if you can’t find someone to play with, there is no shame in playing solo. With that in mind, I will give this game a solid 5/5.