Every season that passes in Stardew Valley brings with it unique twists on the gameplay. Some activities, crops, and quests can only be done during certain seasons, meaning you will want to make sure you complete them before the next season starts, and you’re forced to wait until the following year to try again. The Winter Mystery quest can only be done in, you guessed it, winter. Also self-evident is the fact that this quest involves solving a mystery, meaning it is one of the game’s trickier quests.
You won’t have much, if any, trouble starting the Winter Mystery quest, but solving it is another matter entirely. Here’s how you can go about completing this quest, plus what you can do with the awesome reward waiting for you at the end.
There’s a very good chance you will trigger this quest naturally while playing Stardew Valley, but if somehow you’ve missed it, then the process of starting it is very easy. At any point during the winter season, all you need to do is visit the bus stop between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Once you do, a quick cutscene will play in which a shadowy figure will be walking down the road. It notices you coming and turns around and scampers off toward Pelican Town.
Your journal will update with “A Winter Mystery,” which reads, “You encountered a suspicious looking figure by the bus stop. When it saw you, it fled toward town. Could there be a clue to its whereabouts?” and the objective just to, “Find the shadowy figure.” That’s not much to go on, and if you don’t know where to look could result in you wasting a lot of time searching around.
One of the main reasons this quest can be far more difficult for some people than others is the fact that the major clue in finding the shadowy figure will actually disappear if you don’t act fast enough. That’s right, a set of footprints you’re meant to follow will eventually vanish if you put off solving this mystery. Thankfully, the place you need to go will always remain the same, even if you start the quest one year and don’t get around to finishing it until many winters later.
All you need to do is head into town and up to the playground next to the Community Center. If you go right away, you will see the footprints disappear into the large bush behind the benches. Inspect the bush to cause the shadowy figure known as Shadow Guy to pop out and apologize for taking a certain item. He hands it over and, just like that, the quest is solved.
The Shadow Guy hands over the magnifying glass, which is added to your skills tab. This will let you find secret notes while doing things like farming, mining, fishing, and other activities. The odds of a note spawning are low, but are more of a bonus than something you should be actively grinding for.
There are a total of 25 secret notes you can find in the game that can give you information about what people in town like to receive as gifts, as well as some puzzle solutions. Just don’t give the notes themselves as gifts since everyone hates them. After you read a note, any gift information it has is also added to your gift log for that character in your menu.
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