Stardew Valley is an idyllic digital space to escape to after a long year — and thanks to its 1.5 update available today on PC, you can now bring friends and family along to your farm with local split-screen co-op. The multiplayer update from a couple of years back made it possible to play and share farms online, but this local co-op addition lets you do the same with the people you actually live with, even if they don’t have their own copy of the game.
You can add the ability for local co-op by having Robin the Carpenter build cabins on your farm, or if you’re starting from scratch, you can select to have the cabins already built when you make a new game. Once the cabins are built, you can start local co-op for up to three other people from game menu. The 1.5 update also adds a new “Beach Farm” map that includes sandy soil that can clog up sprinklers, and “Advanced Game Options” in character creation that let you randomize bundles in the Community Center and rewards in the Mine.
The full release notes for the update contain even more surprises. The notable ones that had Stardew Valley fans at The Verge excited to return to the game are the ability to sit on chairs (yes, really), a change to the social tab in-game so that it shows you who you’ve already talked to each day, and a new coffee maker item that brews a fresh cup every morning.
The special thing about Stardew Valley is that it’s so full of features and so consistently updated that every little change could mean something to someone. Having a routine that you follow each day in-game makes it easier to appreciate the little things that streamline those processes.
It was an updated social tab and a coffee maker in this update, but it could just as easily be something else next time. No matter how small the feature or fix, Stardew Valley updates are a reminder that the game is always exciting and surprising to return to. It’s a comfortable “forever” game in a normal year and a nice cure to pandemic blues if you need it.
Stardew Valley’s 1.5 Update is available now on PC. The update will come to consoles in early 2021 and mobile phones sometime after that.