Stardew Valley First Play: A Wonderful Fit For Nintendo Switch

Up until today, I didn't have any interest in playing Stardew Valley on a console. A PC version die-hard since launch day, the console release of Stardew Valley was something that never appealed to me. I thought keyboard and mouse was the best control method for a game like Stardew Valley, and even though I still believe that, I have to admit that surprised by the time I've spent with the Nintendo Switch version.

Stardew Valley launched on Nintendo Switch today, and even though I've already played the game to death on PC, I found the allure of portable Stardew Valley too tempting to ignore. So, like some kind of hopeless addict, I downloaded the Switch version of Stardew Valley the second it was available and I've spent some time this afternoon taking it for a test drive.

Though I've yet to really dig into the Switch version, my more than 100 hours in the PC version are a good indication for what to expect. I already know that Stardew Valley is an excellent game that will win hearts regardless of the platform it's on. It was one of the best games of 2016, and it's one of my favorite games of all time.

All of that means nothing to Switch users if the port isn't up to snuff. After spending a while with the Switch version this afternoon, I'm pleased to say that the game plays very well on the Switch. If you're coming from PC, it's going to take a little while to get used to console controls, but after an in-game day or two, you'll be cruising around your farm like the jump to the Joy-Con controllers was nothing.

It's good that the Switch's controls are rather intuitive, because you can't remap the buttons. This is par for the course in console games these days, but it always makes me a little sad to see a PC game come to consoles without support for remapping controls.

Still, the default controls are good enough. You'll use the left and right triggers to cycle through the items on your hotbar. The joystick and face buttons on the left Joy-Con are used to move around; the face buttons default to walking speed but you can turn on "Auto Run" in the game menu to move at full speed while you're using them. The joystick on the right Joy-Con controls a cursor in game, which is handy for clicking menu buttons and selecting dialogue options.

This is probably the best layout for a console iteration of Stardew Valley. Though I haven't played the Xbox One or PS4 versions of the game, I would imagine the control schemes are quite similar between all three platforms – though, if I'm incorrect, feel free to call me out on that.

As far as performance goes, I haven't run into any major problems, but as I said before, I haven't really dug into the game yet. It's entirely possible that as you fill out your farm with buildings, crops, and animals, frame rate will slow down in some places, but considering the PC version can run on pretty much any modern hardware configuration, I'm guessing the Switch will have no problem handling everything Stardew Valley can throw at it.

There is one minor hang-up, though: save times. Like the PC version, Stardew Valley on the Switch autosaves at the end (or beginning, depending on your perspective) of each day. Unlike the PC version, where the process is almost instant, saves on the Switch take somewhere in the area of 10-20 seconds to complete. I have no idea why they take so long – especially when data is being saved to a class 10 microSD card – but hopefully this is something that can be fixed in a patch.

Other than that problem with saves, I haven't encountered anything to suggest this is a subpar port. I'll keep playing the Switch version (you can bet on that) and I'll report back if I find anything unsatisfactory, but as it stands, it seems that Stardew Valley on the Switch is absolutely worth the purchase. Are you picking up Stardew Valley today? Head down to the comments section and let me know!