How to Play Stardew Valley on Mac
Stardew Valley is a popular pixel-art farming simulator that offers a serene yet engaging gameplay experience, and Mac users can enjoy this game natively. Available on Steam and GOG, the game runs effortlessly on Macs, even on models released a decade ago. However, our team ventured beyond the native experience to explore cloud gaming alternatives, such as Boosteroid, GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming with the idea to compare these platforms against the native version and determine their viability for Mac users.
Stardew Valley Mac Methods
Playing the game’s regular version on your Mac through Steam is easy. Here’s a simple guide:
- Install Steam: If you don’t have Steam on your Mac, get it from the Steam website.
- Create or Log In to Your Steam Account: Make a new account if you don’t have one. If you do, just log in.
- Go to the Steam Store: After logging in, you can access the Steam Store. This is where you can check out and buy games.
- Buy and Download the Game: Find the game you want, click on it, and buy it. It will be added to your Steam library.
- Install and Play: In your Steam library, find the game, click “Install,” and it will download and install on your Mac. Once done, hit “Play” to start the game.
- Customize Your Experience: Steam allows you to tweak settings like graphics and controls for a better gaming experience.
Remember to check if your Mac meets the game’s system requirements, which you can find on the game’s store page on Steam.
Boosteroid is an independent cloud gaming platform that integrates all major vendors to its service and excels in adding support for the latest titles before other platforms. Read our review on Boosteroid. Look at our Boosteroid list of games.
Editor’s choice: we recommend Boosteroid as a starting point for most Mac users because of its plug-and-play nature and overall performance. It is especially useful for its constant 60 FPS even on modern titles while not causing your Mac to overheat or requiring tens of gigabytes of storage.
Features: Constant 1080p/60 FPS; Stable connection; Low bandwidth requirements (15 MBPS); Huge gaming library with all the latest AAA titles
Xbox Game Pass is a library solution owned by Microsoft. Its main attractive points are the ability to play hundreds of titles at the price of a monthly subscription and the access to a cloud gaming service that supports the majority of those games.
- Access to hundreds of games without the need to purchase them individually.
- Ability to play the Game Pass titles on any device through the Xbox Cloud Gaming service.
GeForce Now is the most well-known cloud gaming service at the moment, and it also has the biggest gaming library out there. Additionally, this is the only cloud gaming service that currently features a free option.
- A free (albeit limited) subscription plan.
- Ability to play with 4K and 120 FPS and use RTX technology with its Ultimate plan.
- Supports upwards of 1500 games.
Our Stardew Valley Mac Experience with the Native Version
Stardew Valley is a game that known for its lightweight and charming pixel graphics and promises to be as undemanding as a game can get. To put this to the test, we chose three Macs, each representing a different era of Apple’s hardware evolution. Our lineup included an M1 MacBook Pro (2021), a classic MacBook Pro from 2014, and an iMac from 2015.
Kicking off with the M1 MacBook Pro, we downloaded the game from Steam and, true to its reputation, it ran as smooth as silk. We pushed it to 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), and it didn’t even flinch – no lags, no stutters, just pure, unadulterated gaming bliss. We were especially keen to check for any input lag, a common concern among the gaming community, but Stardew Valley handled it like a champ on the M1 chip.
Moving on to the 2014 MacBook Pro, a veteran in the Mac world, we wondered how it would fare. Surprisingly, the experience didn’t differ much. Sure, we scaled back the resolution to Full HD (1920 x 1080) for a smoother performance, but the game still ran without any noticeable hiccups. It’s remarkable how a game from 2016 still plays effortlessly on an eight-year-old laptop.
Lastly, we tested it on a 2015 iMac. Stardew Valley welcomed this desktop with open arms, delivering an equally smooth performance at a crisp 2K resolution. It was almost like the game was saying, “Age is just a number.”
In conclusion, our journey through different Mac models with Stardew Valley was nothing short of impressive. The game’s optimization for Mac is commendable, making it accessible and enjoyable across a wide range of Apple hardware. For Mac users, whether you’re sporting the latest model or holding onto an older gem, this title stands as a testament to how well a game can be optimized for diverse hardware.
Playing Stardew Valley on Mac with Cloud Gaming
Given its flawless performance on the Mac models that we tested above, we couldn’t wait to see how cloud gaming platforms stack up against the native Stardew Valley Mac version. So, we turned to Boosteroid, GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming to evaluate the game’s performance on the cloud.
Stardew Valley on Mac with Boosteroid
Boosteroid, our first stop in the cloud gaming realm, locked the game at 1080p and 60 FPS with our moderate 25 Mbps internet connection. Initially, we wondered if the pixel graphics of Stardew Valley would suffer, but our worries were unfounded. The game streamed smoothly, with only occasional lag spikes that barely disturbed our farming tranquility. The slight input lag was noticeable, but didn’t detract from the overall experience – it was a minor hiccup in an otherwise smooth gameplay.
Stardew Valley for Mac with Xbox Cloud Gaming
Our journey then led us to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Here, we encountered a different beast – the service streams the console version of Stardew Valley, ideal for controller users but tricky for keyboard and mouse enthusiasts. Without a controller, we struggled with a browser extension for control translation, which proved more frustrating than fruitful. However, for those with a controller, Xbox Cloud Gaming opens a gateway to not only Stardew Valleyon Mac but a vast library of games via the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, adding immense value for gamers looking to expand their horizons.
Stardew Valley for Mac with GeForce Now
Next, we ventured onto GeForce Now, which demanded a stronger internet connection. We barely scraped by with our 25 Mbps speed, which led to a few more moments of stuttering and image degradation than we experienced with Boosteroid. However, the GeForce Now app’s customization options allowed us to tweak the stream to improve the experience. After some adjustments, we found ourselves enjoying Stardew Valley’s charming world with minimal disruption.
Is Cloud Gaming a Worthy Stardew Valley Mac Alternative?
If your primary goal is to play Stardew Valley on Mac with no interest in other titles, the native macOS version is your best bet. It’s well-optimized for Macs and provides a smooth, hassle-free experience. However, if you’re looking to explore a broader range of games or play across multiple devices, cloud gaming becomes a compelling option.
Among the cloud services, Boosteroid stands out due to its lower internet requirements, but for those with a controller and an interest in a wider game library, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate paired with Xbox Cloud Gaming is a fantastic choice, that allows you to play not just Stardew Valley but a selection of other games without individual purchases. So, in conclusion, while the native macOS version of Stardew Valley offers an excellent gaming experience, the cloud gaming platforms present viable alternatives for those seeking flexibility and access to a broader range of games.