The Pandemic was hard on all of us but if anything good that has come out of it and helped me to get through the tough time was Stardew Valley. I remember spending most of my days sitting on the couch, trying to build a brand new world in this captivating universe filled with thrilling adventures and memorable journeys. If you’re in the similar situation and haven’t tried Stardew Valley, you can grab it from Gamecamp.gg for a discounted price.
I couldn’t be thrilled more when I first heard about the official announcement from Eron about the release of yet another Stardew Valley-inspired action-rpg/simulation game, Haunted Chocolatier. A game that is, according to the developer, is not Stardew Valley but at the same time, it kind of is.
We also got to see some of the early gameplay footage of the Haunted Chocolatier and from the looks of it, I am sure we are in for yet another thrilling Stardew Valley-like title that will keep us booked for hopefully a few adventurous years! But is Haunted Chocolatier better than Stardew Valley?
From what we have seen so far, Haunted Chocolatier makes you feel like exploring the same Stardew Valley universe with more vibrant and detailed visuals. However, the gameplay loop in Haunted Chocolatier is pretty different from Stardew Valley. It puts you in the shoes of a chocolatier who lives in a haunted mansion full of ghosts in a rather dark environment.
Where Stardew Valley was a farming simulator with gameplay revolving around farming, for the most part, living off of the land, growing crops, and more. Haunted Chocolatier lets you focus on collecting ingredients, making all kinds of tasty chocolates, and then selling them to the townsfolk.
However, one major change that I am super excited about is that Haunted Chocolatier introduces a more fun and robust combat system for a full-flashed action-RPG experience. We didn’t really see Stardew Valley, the combat was there but it wasn’t a major part of the game and the attack animations were a bit clunky, to say the least.
From what I have gathered from the early gameplay footage of the game, there are actually two worlds, the main world or the “town”, where you have your bakery and the mansion. And another magical fantasy world, where you venture off to fight against mythical creatures that drop off ingredients for the chocolates that you have to collect and bring back to the mansion.
There seems to be a big difference in both worlds, the main town where you live appears to be a bit dark and cozy, whereas the magical realm where you fight off these enemies seems to be more vibrant and colorful. Now the game is still early in development and everything is subject to change sooner or later, we might see more areas which are more similar in tone.
While we are on the topic of environment, Haunted Chocolatier seems to possess a lot more depth than Stardew Valley. There is much more verticality involved in this game, where you can climb up the stairs to reach a completely new level of the game, which gives it a lot more room for the player to explore.
The art style in this game definitely comes from Stardew Valley with many similarities in the details added to the world but visual quality is 100 times more crispier and better looking than Stardew Valley. Eron Barone has even added mirror reflection to this game, which adds a nice touch to the overall aesthetics of the game.
Stardew Valley thrived on relationships in the game, it added this unique feel to the game that made the whole virtual world more alive. With Haunted Chocolatier, Eron Barone is trying to expand upon the whole concept of building relationships with the townsfolk by giving them more depth.
You now get to choose from multiple dialogue options when interacting with the NPCs throughout the world, which would consequently make your relationships with that NPC better or worse depending on what choices you decide to make. This makes interacting with the NPCs and getting to know them much more exciting.
Besides playing Stardew Valley, I have spent plenty of hours grinding and collecting items in Animal Crossing but the one thing that I missed was the thrill of combat. One of the most exciting features that I love about Haunted Chocolatier is probably the combat system. Now the combat is much smoother and with fluid animation and wait for it… shields! Yes, Haunted Chocolatier now has shields that you can use to block the enemy attacks and if you time it right you can stun the enemies with it.
Best part? There are now long-range weapons added to the game, meaning we don’t have to wait for the enemies to come chasing us, we can attack them from far away with our bow and arrows. This adds a lot of depth to the combat which makes fighting a LOT MORE FUN!