Terraria vs. Stardew Valley: Differences & Which Game Is Better for You?

terraria vs stardew valley

So you’re in the market for a new game, and as it turns out you’ve never had the chance to try out Terraria or Stardew Valley. Both games have been on the market for a long time, and both games were received with great praise. Terraria and Stardew Valley seem like similar games and it may be hard to decide which one to play, that’s why in today’s post we’re going to compare both games. When it comes to Terraria vs Stardew Valley what are the differences and which game is better?

Terraria vs Stardew Valley: Gameplay

Both Terraria and Stardew Valley have similar gameplay, in the sense that they allow you the freedom to play how you want to some extent. But this is where the similarities stop.

Terraria is an action-adventure sandbox game. It’s set in a vast world with infinite possibilities. The gameplay heavily revolves around exploring, fighting, crafting, and building. Even though the game doesn’t outright tell you what you should be doing, you get a general sense of your goals quickly. You know that the only way to advance through the game is to explore and fight your way through this unpredictable world. Terraria puts great emphasis on progression.

Stardew Valley on the other hand is a farming simulator of sorts. You’re running your own farm, trying to upgrade your town. There are lots of meaningful interactions with NPCs. You have the choice of choosing what to focus on. There are several activities you can do throughout the day as well as lots of exploring and interacting with the environment.

terraria crafting cr
Stardew Valley is mostly focused on farming

But, at the end of the day, it’s somehow boring. You don’t get that sense of achievement you get when you defeat a powerful boss as you do in Terraria. Every day is pretty much the same with little surprises, especially if it’s your second, third or tenth time replaying the game. Terraria definitely has more replay value.

Both games have different genres, and the similarities in gameplay are only surface-deep. If you’re looking for a game with a heavy emphasis on progression, exploration, and adventuring I would say go for Terraria.
However, if you’re looking for something more relaxing, less unpredictable, and objectively easier you should go with Stardew Valley. Both games are great and all, but they were clearly designed for different types of players. Terraria is more similar to Minecraft, and Stardew Valley is more similar to Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.

RELATED: Can Corruption Spread Through Walls in Terraria?

Terraria vs. Stardew Valley: Crafting and building

Both games have crafting implemented.
In Stardew Valley your crafting efforts are mostly focused on items related to farming, eating, and furnishing your house, and to some extent, some items are useful in combat as well. There is also a variety of refining equipment that you can craft. That equipment is often recognized as a sign that you are advancing through the game. Stardew Valley has much fewer items in the game, and much fewer items can be foraged and scavenged from the environment as well. When it comes to building Stardew Valley is much more limited.

You are not able to “outright” build things in Stardew Valley, but you can, however, upgrade an existing building, furnish it and purchase new buildings provided you have the gold for them. The effect you have on the environment when it comes to building in Stardew Valley is minimal.

Terraria on the other hand has more advanced crafting and building as well. Terraira has much more items in the game overall. There are a variety of tools, weapons, armors, potions, and other miscellaneous items to craft. All of those items are necessary for survival, although some like furnishing are mostly for vanity purposes.

terrarira crafting
Terraria has more items to craft and discover

If you don’t take up crafting, you will not be able to progress through Terraria at all. You cannot survive by solely scavenging. Besides the game would be much more boring if it didn’t have such an exciting and sometimes even overwhelming crafting system.

When it comes to building, Terraria is better here as well since it allows for much more freedom than Stardew Valley does. Terraira allows you to actually build things by using various blocks and materials, you are able to modify your environment to great extents. Whether you want to build a castle, a humble shelter, a regular house, or an underground bunker, you can do it! You can furnish it as well.

Once again if you’re looking for a game that puts great emphasis on crafting and building, Terraria is a better choice for you. If you’re looking for a game that won’t overwhelm you with various crafting and building options, go for Stardew Valley.

Terraria vs Stardew Valley: Combat

Stardew Valley’s combat is extremely limited and perhaps a bit developed. Since the game is not oriented toward fighting, it makes sense. Since the game is relaxing, don’t expect to engage in an epic fight or something like that. You will encounter enemies in mines, and you have only one skill required for combat, it’s called well, combat.
Leveling is straightforward, every mob you kill increases your “combat”. And there are even a few items that can enhance your skill.

Terraira’s combat is much more sophisticated. While there aren’t any official skills and classes in Terraria. You are able to choose between several classes that will be determined by the type of items you decide to play with.

stardew valley combat
Stardew Valley’s combat is very simplistic

You will encounter enemies everywhere, as the game puts much greater emphasis on fighting. Defeating bosses is at the core of Terraria’s gameplay, you will not be able to progress through the game if you don’t manage to defeat the bosses. There are various strategies available to you, it’s not just spam-clicking like it is in Stardew Valley.

If you’re looking for a game with better combat, I’d say you go for Terraria. Stardew Valley might feel a bit flat and disappointing since the game is not oriented toward combat at all. It’s a necessary evil of sorts.

Terraria vs Stardew Valley: Multiplayer

Multilayer mode is extremely important to some players, so this is the last aspect we’re going to analyze. Both games have multiplayer implemented. The players can visit each other’s farms/worlds. They can take on quests/bosses together, loot, farm, create, etc. Overall multiplayer is pretty well implemented in both games.

The only difference is that Terraira has PvP while Stardew Valley does not. If you’re looking for some player-versus-player trouble then Stardew Valley is not the game for you.

RELATED: Terraria Review: Is It Worth Revisiting in 2023?

That’s pretty much it, as you can see Terraria and Stardew Valley are not so similar after all. The final conclusion is if you’re looking for an action-packed game oriented toward adventuring and taking down bosses, go with Terraria. If you’re looking for something more relaxing and focused on interacting with NPCs and farming, go with Stardew Valley. At the end of the day, both games are great and you should give them a chance.

  • Valentina Kraljik

    Valentina Kraljik is a writer and editor at Game Horizon with a deep love for everything related to video games. With a degree in Information Sciences, she brings a well-informed and unique perspective to her work. Valentina's writing is known for covering a wide range of video g...