Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Which Should You Play?

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Which Should You Play?

Let’s face it: everybody wants to get away from it all, at least some of the time. The idea of moving to a remote village and starting a new life as a farmer is common for some very good reasons. That’s why there are so many video games that simulate this. Two of the most popular are the Animal Crossing series and Stardew Valley, each of which has their own unique charm. But when it comes to Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing, which is the better choice for you? The most important difference between Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley is that Stardew Valley has a much more open-world experience, while Animal Crossing provides more guidance and structure.

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Side-by-Side Comparison

Here are some key differences between Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing.

FeatureStardew ValleyAnimal Crossing
Number of games1, with plenty of mods available5, with paid DLC and three spinoffs
Platforms you can play onDesktop, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, AndroidNintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3 DS, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Structure and guidance of gameplayWide variety of player-set goals, limited multiplayer modeMore structured and guided, stronger multiplayer mode
Character relationshipsFewer villagers, deeper relationshipsMore villagers, shallower relationships
General level of complexityMore complex, open world, with a variety of skills and career tracksFewer choices, with more concrete goals

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: 4 Things to Know

A few elements that help players choose between the games are:

  • There are five Animal Crossing games, and only one Stardew Valley. The games are available on a wide variety of platforms, depending on the exact edition you choose.
  • Stardew Valley offers a fully open world and gives you randomized goals when you finish, while Animal Crossing provides more structure and guidance.
  • Stardew Valley has fewer villagers with more complex relationships and backgrounds. Animal Crossing gives you more villagers with less complexity.
  • Animal Crossing is easier for a beginner or someone who needs to give their brain a break, while Stardew Valley gives you more choices and career paths.

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Games and Platforms Available

Stardew Valley is first and foremost a desktop game, with clients for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android. Animal Crossing, however, is far more complex. Each of the five games is available on different platforms, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons being the newest entry. New Horizons is only available on the Nintendo Switch.

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Structure and Guidance

Stardew Valley offers players a vast open world to explore. With mining, farming, fishing, foraging, and combat activities, and a dozen villagers who you can date and marry, it has a lot going on. A lot of players prefer this over the simpler structure of the Animal Crossing games. In the world of Animal Crossing, you have a lot more guidance, with fewer choices between the kinds of tasks you do. If you’re looking for something simpler to unwind after a long day, or if you’re the kind of person who suffers from choice paralysis, Animal Crossing is probably the better option.

The other major structural difference between Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing is in their multiplayer modes. Every Animal Crossing game allows you to visit other towns, and since Wild World you can also play with someone else at the same time. One of the things that made New Horizons so popular in mid-2020 was its robust local co-op mode, which allows you to play with up to three people. Stardew Valley’s multiplayer function is more limited, with only a few new features and no cross-platform compatibility.

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: Character Relationships

In Stardew Valley, there are 12 marriage candidates, 22 non-marriage candidates you can befriend, and 11 non-giftable NPCs. This makes 45 named residents of Pelican Town. This pales in comparison to the 488 villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. However, Stardew Valley‘s villagers have far more complex backgrounds and stories. Most of Animal Crossing‘s residents, meanwhile, share their personalities with at least one other villager. If you’re looking for characters you can really connect with, Stardew Valley is your best bet. If you want a wider variety of shallow relationships, go with Animal Crossing instead.

Stardew Valley vs. Animal Crossing: General Complexity

This is another comparison with no clear winner. As before, it depends entirely on what you want to get out of your game. Animal Crossing tends to be less complex, with clearer goals and a set endpoint. After you complete all the tasks, there’s not too much to do. Stardew Valley is more complicated, with no clear ending. Even after you get married and build all the farm upgrades, you can continue with randomized tasks and keep exploring Pelican Town. Ultimately, it’s all about whether you like having external goals or you prefer to set goals for yourself.

It’s good to have choices in life, and the choice between Stardew Valley and the Animal Crossing series can be difficult. For you, it may just come down to the consoles you have. But whether you choose to pay back Tom Nook or deal with Joja Corporation’s encroachment into Pelican Town, you’ve made a great choice either way.

To top