Game Info: (Box Display)
- System: PC
- Publisher: Humble Bundle
- Developer: Plukit
- Release Date: Jan 23, 2018
- Rating: NR
- Genre: Simulation, RPG
- Players: 1 (online cooperative)
- Official Website: http://playstaxel.com/
Who it Caters to
Staxel, by developer Plukit and published by Humble Bundle, aims to give players a new take on the typical farming simulator title. Players inhabit a world filled with quirky characters and vibrant visuals as they raise from novice farmer to a master one. Raise farm animals, till the soil to plant crops and build up impressive structures to make your farm the best one ever. Staxel isn’t about doing this or that in a specific time frame or having to adhere to a set way of play. If you’re looking for a relaxing farming simulator, then you’re going to love Staxel.
What to Expect
As we mentioned above, Staxel is a pretty simple title to explain. Players enter a very colorful and cute world with blocky and retro looks to become farmers. There is no main mission in Staxel or main quest. Staxel gives you a few tasks to begin with and then like Harvest Moon or even Stardew Valley, you’re free to do whatever you want. Staxel changes things up with its Minecraft ideas and gameplay.
Similar to Minecraft, Staxel allows you to build various structures using blocks so you can build giant buildings or homes. The main theme of Staxel that deviates from Minecraft is that its more about farming. You’re trying to build farms that can house tons of animals or allow for hundreds of crops to grow and then sell. This is where Staxel shines but also has some elements that just don’t work. Let us begin by mentioning what works in Staxel.
While Staxel is just a farming game with Minecraft building mechanics, it is a ton of fun. We could spend hours building farm houses and homes and plowing the field while interacting with the funny and silly characters around town. You can take care of pets, farm animals, crops and or explore the world for minerals to mine and salvage. What’s even better is that moving about in town and/or on the land, in general, is easy thanks to a map that allows players to see where characters are and actually teleport anywhere on the map. There’s also an option that allows you to return home at any time if you need to rest or if you become lost, which might happen as you explore the open fields in Staxel. It’s important to mention that there is no danger in Staxel in comparison to games like Minecraft or Stardew Valley to worry about. Staxel is meant to be a calm farming game with a creative focus first and foremost. This is also where Staxel falls apart slightly.
Building in Staxel is one-part Minecraft and one-part original idea. Players can create large monoliths and various buildings via blocks which is just like Minecraft or use things called blueprints. With a blueprint, you can build specific structures that have actual functions. For example, to build a farm house you need to build using blocks, make a roof and have two troughs. Once you have those items, the structure can be used but this feels like an unnecessary over complication. It’s easy to execute, but is it necessary? It’s like if you had to build a home in Minecraft then had to add a step by making sure to adhere to a specific design. We don’t hate this, mind you, and it makes Staxel truly different, but some might feel it’s unnecessary at the end of the day.
Now, if you don’t like to gather items and hate scavenging for resources you can always play in creative mode to make items free at the various stores and make the items you have on you all infinite. We dabbled a bit with creative mode here at Honey’s Anime, but we think the regular mode for Staxel is more enjoyable. Talking with the villagers who all feel different—personality and look wise—adds some more depth to Staxel. Plus, removing the work associated with gathering items and earning money removes the joy of the farming itself. You could also hop online with friends though if you want a more cooperative experience. Online allows players to work together as farmers and build up great lands which is always a plus for a farming RPG/simulator.
Let’s now move on to the graphics for Staxel. All we can say is Staxel looks so cute and vibrant it’s kind of amazing. The colorful blocky town, the beautiful planets, the silly way the residents move around makes Staxel seem like a retro title in the modern day. Add to this some very mellow tones and songs and you have a peaceful world to just relax and unwind in. Staxel is truly a different take on the usual realistic farming simulators and we’re glad for that.
Now, we also want to mention one other grievance we have with Staxel. In most sandbox games with the ability to chop down things or pick up items—we’re tired of mentioning Minecraft—players usually only need to walk over an item. Staxel, however, makes you hit a button to pick up items and materials. This is both annoying and complicated in equal measure. Staxel’s colorful world is filled with flowers and items to be picked up meaning in the process of picking up wood you might also pick up a few unnecessary items. This is where the colorful and huge world of Staxel can be overly crowded. Maybe fewer flowers here and there wouldn’t be so bad to be honest.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Extremely bright and colorful visuals
- Fun farming aspects
- Addictive gameplay
- Multiplayer and creative modes
- Cheerful OST
- Building and scavenging is a bit overly complicated
- Can be monotonous for some