Stardew Valley became a sensation when it was first released in 2016 and quickly conquered Steam’s charts to become one of the most played games of the year.
The critics’ response was equally impressive. In fact, Stardew Valley’s Mac version easily earned a spot among our top simulation games for Mac. But instead of simply enjoying the success, developer ConcernedApe continues to work hard on his game.
In this review:
In case you haven’t heard, Stardew Valley is a charming farming simulation that lets you build and manage your very own farm.
What’s new with Stardew Valley? Stardew Valley just received another huge free update, its long-awaited Multiplayer update with split-screen co-op. ConcernedApe calls this Stardew Valley’s biggest update yet.
You can read more about it below.
First things first, is the game any good?
Stardew Valley is a pixelated farming simulator about a boy who inherits a farm from his grandfather. From there, the boy will have to learn how to care for it and bring it back to greatness.
You could easily discard it as simply a PC version of the Harvest Moon games, but the game doesn’t stop there. Stardew Valley gives players more control over the design of their farms, the kinds of animals and crops to raise, and also introduces more interesting NPCs.
The incredible story of one man, four years, and fame
Stardew Valley is a good game, no doubt. But what I found truly fascinating is the story behind it. The game was quietly developed by one man over the course of four years.
From there, the game quickly earned a spot among Steam’s top-selling games. It has a Subreddit with over 685,000 subscribers and glowing reviews from both the press and gamers:
Since the game was released, it continues to receive top-notch support in the form of free updates. The latest update, codename Stardew Valley 1.5, is by far the biggest piece of new content ever added to the game since launch. Released on December 21, 2020, it includes tons of “late-game” content, and more importantly, split-screen local multiplayer for the first time!
You can read the official changelog for all the detail here, but these are the highlights:
- New Game Options: Includes a new farm called “Beach Farm“, Advanced Game Options, new hairstyles, and more
- Split Screen (Local) Co-Op: Split screen works exactly the same as online multiplayer
- New people to meet, new items, new goals, a new type of quest, and a new farm layout
- New character events
- A new Community Upgrade
- Home renovations (after you’ve fully upgraded your house)
- And so much more!
And every single one of these features supports macOS. Stardew Valley is the perfect example of a Mac port done right. The game is absolutely the same on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
But the question remains: Can you run it?
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These are Stardew Valley minimum system requirements:
- OS: macOS 10.10+
- Processor: 2 GHz
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: 256 MB video memory, OpenGL 2
- Storage: 500 MB available space
Just by looking at the requirements, we know this should be an easy game to run. But why stop here? We test it on several Macs to give you a definitive answer.
To evaluate how well Stardew Valley runs, we test it on the following machines:
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016): 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)
- iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014): 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013): 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)
Why these machines? We aim to have the most varied stable of testing machines. This way, there will always be a machine that, at the very least, somewhat resembles the Mac you have at home. It could be a:
- A high-end Mac (like our 2014 iMac).
- A recent entry-level Mac (like our 2016 MacBook Pro).
- An older Mac (like our 2013 MacBook Pro).
These are the settings we used with the help of our in-house FPS counter, Count It, for a fixed duration of 5 minutes:
- 2560×1600 resolution
- High Lighting Quality
- 100% Zoom Level
Why these settings? We usually test games at 1280×800 resolution (we have to give older MacBooks a chance!), but given how lightweight Stardew Valley is, we decided to go with a much higher (and therefore, demanding) resolution.
Our real-world results confirmed our initial impression:
The game locks frame-rates to a maximum of 60 per second. This is why all machines scored the same results.
As a reminder, this is how we describe the different levels of performance:
- Below 20 FPS: Unplayable: Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
- 20-30 FPS: Borderline: Can be OK in slow-paced games. Still, not optimal.
- 30-45 FPS: Playable: Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
- 45-60 FPS: Smooth: Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
- 60+ FPS: Very Smooth: For hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.
We usually aim for 30 FPS, because 30 FPS is enough to guarantee a smooth and fluid experience for most.
Can my Mac run Stardew Valley?
In case this is not clear yet, most Macs should be able to run Stardew Valley. Even our older models managed to pull off 60 frames per second (FPS), the fastest possible performance.
The three of our machines did the maximum 60 frames per second when testing the game with our default 1280×800 resolution. That’s we decided to test the game at a much higher resolution to push our older Mac to limits. That never happened…
Unless your Mac is 15 years old and doesn’t support Intel processors, you should be able to run this game…
Can you play Stardew Valley on a MacBook Pro?
This might be the easiest Mac performance review we’ve done so far. After all, this was to be expected from a pixelated retro-looking game.
Both our MacBook Pros handled Stardew Valley without breaking a sweat. The same should be expected from a MacBook Air. And in case you find yourself with somewhat limited performance, you can always lower the game’s resolution to something more forgiving than 2560×1660…
Bottom line: Stardew Valley is a perfect game for MacBook owners: It’s both great and extremely easy to run on even the oldest MacBooks out there.
PS: These are our favorite accessories for playing/testing games on Mac!
|Game||★ Best Mouse||Best Controller||Best eGPU|
|Why we love it?||The G502 is Logitech's most accurate gaming mouse yet. Plus, it has a plethora of buttons and a killer design.||The official PS4 controller just works on Mac. It's wireless, it's precise, it has an excellent grip and it's durable.||The Razer Core X turns your MacBook or Mac Mini into a killer gaming machine by adding external graphics support.|
326 Amazon reviews
9,678 Amazon reviews
74 Amazon reviews
|Price||From $56||From $39.99||From $299.99|
If you’re into simulation games or simply wonder why everyone loves Stardew Valley so much, you can grab a copy from most digital stores.
By the way, Humble Bundle’s version includes all the nice Steam features you’d expect, such as Steam cloud saves and the ability to play the game on Windows, Mac, and Linux:
Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission (this is how we pay the bills). This commission comes at no additional cost to you.