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The best Stardew Valley mods

Despite having launched over four years ago, Stardew Valley continues to be one of the most popular games on the market. Offering an idyllic rural landscape to explore and dozens of eclectic neighbors to befriend, it’s drawn thousands of players who keep coming back to Pelican Town.

The modding community has made the world of Stardew Valley more enjoyable too, thanks to a host of new content that’s constantly in development. Whether you’re looking to make a few small tweaks to the game or want a completely new world to explore, there’s bound to be a mod that will suit your needs.

The installation process is usually straightforward, but there is a bit of variation between mods. You’ll typically need to replace the appropriate XNB file in the Stardew Valley folder; however, it’s best to read the modder’s included instructions — these will tell you how to properly install the files.

Further reading

SMAPI – Stardew Modding API

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If you’re going to use mods, you’ll need to use SMAPI. This is a mod loader for Stardew Valley that will let you launch the game with access to all your third-party files. It’ll even let you modify Stardew Valley‘s coding if you’re so inclined. SMAPI is safe, secure, and can be uninstalled whenever you grow bored. It’s also compatible with Steam and GOG, meaning you should be able to unlock achievements even if you’re running a modded version of Stardew Valley. This is the basis for just about every mod on the market, including the beloved Content Patcher below.

Content Patcher

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While mod installation is usually a painless affair, there are a few items you’ll want to download before starting on your modding journey — and Content Patcher should be one of the first. This useful software loads content packs into Stardew Valley without the need to replace XNB files. These files are automatically updated, making them easier to deal with than individual XNB mods. Content Patcher is a requirement for hundreds of mods, so it’s best to get it installed before moving forward.

Stardew Valley ModManager

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While the above let you use mods, this one lets you easily manage them. Quickly turn mods on and off or uninstall them at the click of a button. You’d be surprised how little time it takes to become overwhelmed with files — let this ModManager do all the heavy lifting for you. It’s no longer receiving updates, but still works many of the most popular mods available.

Sprint Sprint

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Pelican Town and its surroundings offer a sizeable map for players to explore. Sure, you can hop on a horse and zip around town, but anyone roaming around on foot will love the Sprint Sprint mod. This introduces a completely new running mechanic to Stardew Valley — complete with its own stamina bar and exhaustion effects.

Happy Fish Jump

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This one doesn’t do anything fancy, but it does bring a nice aesthetic to your farm. Instead of hanging out and being inanimate objects, fish will periodically jump out of their ponds. It’s certainly one of the smaller mods around, yet it’s quickly become one of the popular. It’s highly customizable, so if you don’t like the default setting of fish jumping out of the water every 10 seconds, you can always tweak it to your liking.

NPC Map Locations

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One of the worst parts of Stardew Valley is trying to track down specific characters. Sure, they have their usual hangouts, but it’s hard to remember where everyone is at every hour of the day. This handy mod will enhance the basic map of Stardew Valley and let you view the exact location of all NPCs. Better yet, it comes in minimap form, meaning you won’t have to constantly pause the game to get the location of your neighbors.

CJB Cheats Menu

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Prepare to become the ultimate farmer! The CJB Cheats Menu gives players access to dozens of crazy hacks, such as the ability to change the weather, increase movement speed, get free money, or even freeze the clock. If you don’t have time to chat with everyone in town, you can also use this mod to max out your relationship level in less than 10 seconds. Who knew it was so easy to make friends?

CJB Item Spawner

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From the creators of the Cheats Menu comes the Item Spawner — which is exactly what it sounds like. Players will be able to spawn just about any item in the game by opening a special in-game menu. It’s the perfect way to easily find gifts that your neighbors will love or acquire some of the less-common crafting resources and tools.

Stardew Valley Expanded

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As if Stardew Valley didn’t already offer enough content, the Expanded mod adds 23 new locations, over 120 new character events, nine new NPCs, a whole new village, and plenty more. If you’ve poured hundreds of hours into exploring Pelican Town, this mod will breathe new life into your sessions. You’ll have to start a new save file, but that’s a small price to pay to experience one of the greatest expansions Stardew Valley has ever seen.

Simple Crop Label

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After a long hiatus, it’s easy to forget what you’ve planted on your farm. This simple mod shows you exactly what you’ve planted in each section of your field. Just hover the mouse over the tile of interest and a tiny pop-up box will give you all the details. It’s also useful for massive farming operations, where it’s not uncommon to lose track of your crops. The Simple Crop Label is a minor tweak, but incredibly useful, nonetheless.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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