Stardew Valley is FarmVille but with less microtransactive nightmare fuel and far more respect for its players' time. The game launched without multiplayer, which is a grievance the man behind the country life sim is now working to rectify.
Stardew Valley's update 1.3 has been in QA for a while now, and public beta testing is starting already today. The centrepiece of the update is the much needed multiplayer component, along with new content sprinkled across the game world.
The beta is currently available to anyone who already owns the game on Steam whereas testing for other digitally minded distribution platforms should commence in the coming few days.
As far as betas go, Stardew Valley's first public outing in multiplayer garments endures the usual bugginess accompanying any just out of QA release, but now you know what you're getting yourself into.
The developers have apparently intentionally omitted posting a full rundown of what additional content is coming to the game on top of multiplayer. This way players get to discover the new features on their own, which was much of the draw of the original release from two years ago.
If you really want to spoil things for yourself, or just want to participate in a feature hunting session, there is a thread over on reddit compiling player discoveries as they come in.
Should you have somehow missed Stardew Valley on release, or simply refuse to play until you get a multiplayer component, the game offers a uniquely charming chance to farm, socialise, and adventure your way through the titular hamlet by way of gameplay loops so tightly designed it would take a sword to untangle all its interlocking systems.
Alternatively, you can help the JojaMart corporation roll into the valley and do the usual things corporations do when they stumble across a cosy resource rich town in the middle of nowhere.
The Steam version requires you to go to the Properties tab for Stardew Valley in your library, find the Betas section and enable and then select the beta from a dropdown. The super secret word required for joining the beta is jumpingjunimos and if you don't quite know your way around betas, there is a more detailed set of instructions over with the fine folks at Chucklefish and the Concerned Ape himself.
The video above shows some early multiplayer prototyping and considering for how far the project was a one man show, Stardew Valley remains a big little wonder.