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From Animal Crossing to Stardew Valley

by Gabe about a year ago in nintendo
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What's the difference?

A peak at the visuals of SDV

I started playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons probably around the same time as many others - when we were in lockdown for the first time and needed a way to while away the hours. Eventually though, I got bored and many of my friends stopped playing. I noticed that, instead, a lot of them were playing Stardew Valley. Naturally, I had to give it a go for myself.

I'd been told that the two games were very similar. In fact, I was told "if you like Animal Crossing, you'll definitely like Stardew Valley!" And I understand why. They are very similar premises, and the game play is somewhat similar for both. But I've noticed a lot of differences moving over to playing SV that I thought I'd lay out here.

First though, let's talk about the basic premises of each game.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons puts you on a deserted island and, with the "guidance" of Tom Nook, let's you turn it into your own little world, with different villagers, your own layout, a museum, a general store, and a clothes store. With a Nintendo subscription, you can visit other islands, and recently the introduction of dream addresses means that you can visit other islands without the owner of that island having to be online.

Stardew Valley moves you onto your character's grandfather's old farm. It's down to you to maintain the farm, as well as build friendships and relationships with the other characters in town. They have set things they like and dislike, which are going to affect the relationship you have with them.

So, let's compare them on some basic aspects.


I have both of these games on the Nintendo Switch, so I'm only going to be talking about their prices for that.

SV is significantly cheaper than ACNH at £10.99 versus £49.99 when I bought them. For the physical version, SV is £24.99 compared to £39.99 for Animal Crossing at Argos.

Both games require a Nintendo online subscription if you want to play online with friends.


Whether you love it or hate it, a key feature of ACNH is that time passes in real-time. The days are always whatever day it actually is, holidays come when they come in real life, and villagers go home and sleep when it gets to being night time. This is very different in SV. Time passes much quicker, and I found that very difficult to adapt to. In SV, time passes in 10 minute intervals, with each interval being about 7 seconds in real time. A day in SV is not the 24-hours ACNH gives you. The day lasts from 6am-2am in-game, which takes about 15 minutes in real time to play through.

In ACNH, you can pretty much do anything you want at any time of day, with the exception of things that require the shops, since these close in the evening. But you can terraform and move things around your island pretty freely in the night. The only exception with this is of course the risk of tarantulas or scorpions depending on what season it is. These come out in the evenings, and if they bite you, you will pass out and get sent back to your house. But they can be avoided with a net and a bit of technique.

This is less-so the case in SV. At midnight in-game, your character will start to get tired. At 2am in-game, your character will pass out no matter where you are or what you're doing. This isn't as consequence-free as passing out in ACNH. In SV, you'll lose money and items that you had in your pockets. You'll also receive an energy penalty for the next day.

It's also important to note that SV, unlike ACNH, has health and energy limits for the day. If you run out of energy, you will pass out and be penalised. Eating food increases both health and energy, though. So it's down to you to make sure that if you want a late night, you're carrying food with you to help keep those up.


This is where I found the most difference comes between the games. ACNH is pretty much free-play most of the time, and there's no story line. That is, after a while of being guided you're pretty much left to your own devices to decide what you want to do. Sometimes you'll have tasks to complete, such as in the beginning when you're asked to collect certain materials or complete certain tasks for Tom Nook. Or later on when villagers visit your campsite and ask you to complete quests for them before they'll consider moving to your island. You'll also sometimes be asked to do something by a villager, like giving something to someone else. But these don't happen too often.

SV, on the other hand, gives you set quests and set times to achieve these in. You don't always have to accept the quests, but they do fit to the story line of the game. You have a journal, where the quests that you are yet to complete are tracked. Completing them gives your various benefits, from money to friendship with the character you're completing it for.

Both games are essentially non-combative, with the exception being the mines in SV. You can explore the mines at your own pace, but you will face different monsters at different levels which you will have to fight. Some quests will also call for you to slay a certain amount of the monsters. No such thing happens in ACNH, where the closest thing to monsters are tarantulas and scorpions, and you catch them, not slay them. If you choose a certain farm at the beginning of SV, you will also find that the monsters come out of the mines in the evenings, so you have to fight them on your farm as well in those cases.

This is the end of part 1 for this series. Look out for part 2 where I'll be discussing friendships and relationships, the charcters you'll come across and more creative features.


About the author


Hi! I'm a Psychology student aspiring to be a researcher! I am passionate about learning and sharing information with others.

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