Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview

Conventional or unconventional play, either is welcomed in Staxel’s sandbox world.

Game Info:

  • System: PC-Steam
  • Publisher: Humble Bundle
  • Developer: Staxel
  • Release Date: January 2018
  • Price:$19.99 (Preorder: $15)
  • Rating: Pending
  • Genre: Role-playing game, Simulation
  • Players: 1 player, Online multiplayer
  • Official Website:

Who it Caters to

Staxel is a voxel-based world that invites players to imagine and create their own experiences. Farming and cultivating crops, building your own house, bonding with villagers, taking care of pets, cooking, and creating new businesses are just some of the actions you can take. The enriching village experience helps players settle in, but for those willing to experiment, the sandbox environment certainly welcomes an audience looking to define their very own world.
1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview

What to Expect

If you’ve ever played Minecraft, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, or the like, imagine a mixture of the aforementioned titles. The non-combative, laidback nature of Staxel and the interesting mixture of farming, building, and villager interaction help open the experience to interpretation. While this review will not cover the multiplayer aspects, the game promises to open the world of Staxel to your friends and an online community,

Staxel Summer Trailer

Quality of Life Features & Basic Controls

Staxel has some really convenient features that make the overall experience more streamlined and less repetitive. First, the control scheme for the game can be played with either a controller or keyboard and mouse. The default controller layout is simple and actions are intuitive for anyone to pick up and play the game. Movement is mapped to either the arrow keys or “WASD.” The camera is controlled by your mouse, and the left and right click are your main actions needed to play the game.

Next, there are also some very convenient features that help players to fine tune or complete their actions quickly. As an example, basic tool interactions are governed by the left click. Holding the left click will increase the area of influence your action will take, making cutting wide sections of a tree, mining, and cultivating easy. Holding down left click also allows you to see the location of where your object will appear. Scrolling the mouse wheel while holding down left click will determine which direction your object faces.

Right-click governs actions such as progressing dialogue, reading signs, and collecting material. In particular, one right click conveniently gathers all materials of the same name quickly. The last quality of life feature is the “G” key. By looking at a specific material, you can press G and instantly match that material with an inventory resource. This handy feature allows you to construct a building quickly, especially if it has different materials.


1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview

Visuals and Customization

Graphically, the vox-designed world of Staxel lends to its appeal. The blocky textures help determine how buildings are made and allow players to estimate resources gathered or required. Even without the functional purpose of the graphics, the aesthetics manage to convey a “Legos-esque” appeal, inviting a sense of creativity. Just from one look, you already know that this world can be shaped by your own imagination.

The beginning character customization provides a decent amount of options. At the current moment, you can create one of two species, elves or humans (there are also humanoid cat NPCs, so this might be implemented later). There are 33 hairstyles with 12 colors, 22 faces with 11 colors, 4 shirts, 3 pants, and 3 shoes to choose from in the beginning. As you progress through the story and secure your finances, you can purchase additional cosmetics such as headphones, glasses, dresses, different pants, and more. Outside of cosmetics, the game also provides multiple different colors for building materials, so if a pink building with an embellished dark green roof appeals to you, then the game happily provides you with these luxuries.

Farming and Cultivating the Land

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview
Arguably, farming is the main appeal of this game, and Staxel introduces players to the role of the farmer readily. Once you’ve created your character, the game welcomes you with the NPC “Farm Fan,” and she promptly introduces you to the town and your new farm. A helpful tutorial sets you on your way, and then you’re off to your own devices. Multiple tools can help you create your farm. In particular, the hoe allows you to create areas to plant your crops and the shovel allows you to dig the ground to in case you want to transfer soil to crops in different areas.

With no exaggeration, I’ve dug 150+ levels beneath the surface of the village and planted crops while using only torches and lamps as a light source, so player preference, no matter how zany, is there. Farming has multiple applications and whether you wish to eat your crops, sell them for a profit, or use them to start your cooking career that’s up to you and the role you wish to play. Day and night cycles will occur, helping players get a sense of when to continue work or take a break. On rainy days, you won’t require watering your crops, but more importantly, as the days pass and you enter new seasons, your accessibility to different crops will increase. If you’re less interested in crop maintenance, Staxel also allows you to plant trees which require no watering, but still give fruits for you to sell or eat.

There is also a farm animal and pet system. You can either purchase farm animals or help fellow villagers to receive them as gifts. Animals will not die in Staxel, so in the worst case scenario where players forget to feed their farm animals or pets, they will not disappear. However, feeding and treating animals fairly will net you benefits. The dog, as one example, will bring you seeds to help you farm if it’s happy, making animal maintenance a rewarding exchange.

Gathering Resources, Constructing Buildings, and Creative Freedoms

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview
If farming isn’t appealing, then there are other avenues for entertainment. The appeal of a sandbox game is in its freedom, and Staxel really emphasizes this aspect. Gathering resources might seem like a chore at first, but it can be wildly hilarious depending on your moral compass. No, seriously. There is a very slippery slope on what players can consider “resources.”

In the normal mode of the game, resources are limited. You can vastly change the natural landscape of the island if you wish, and lush forests can become barren wastelands with enough clicks of the mouse, so careful resource management might be a virtue. Talking to the mayor allows for you to welcome in new villagers, rewarding the player with new quests and benefits. Constructing a flourishing town and helping attract new residents will open up your options for future interaction and crafting. Some residents guide you along the way with their requests. Certain quests have the NPC present you a sign. Placing a sign down designates a yellow outline of the size of the object and the material needed to construct a building or mold a purpose for that area. Constructing a fishing spot, for example, allows players to access a fishing minigame while building a bakery allows for other town residents to congregate and converse. Building is a fruitful experience in Staxel.

However, if the player wishes for a more unconventional experience, Staxel has some unique quirks that differentiate it from similar games. The hammer is a seemingly harmless tool used for breaking misplaced objects and putting them elsewhere. After playing Staxel, I now understand why only Thor should wield Mjölnir…

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview
…The hammer opens the doors to Ragnarok. Hammering away at the town lets you take misplaced items and put them into bizarre areas. From personal experience, I “misplaced” the convenience store’s cash register inside my house, repurposed the mayor’s house by turning a profit from his furniture and redesigning my own house from its building material, and moved mailboxes, a game item that indicates where a resident lives as long as requirements are met, and placed them into subterranean caves I’ve constructed beneath the actual village.

You would have to fall the height of several skyscrapers to reach the bottom of how deep the hole I dug for the village, and while this is not an approach that every player might take, the amount of freedom in this game is profoundly alluring. I’ve gone to heights beyond the reach of other games that I’ve really built an appreciation for how open the world is.

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview
In Creative Mode, a mode that gives the player an infinite amount of resources which can be toggled on and off for your individual world, players can reach staggering heights within the game. While the original island itself is relatively small, you can experience it from different locations. For reference, Minecraft’s vertical height limit is 256 blocks while the maximum in Staxel is apparently 65,000 blocks. I’ve been able to jump to heights 5000+ blocks above the island. I’ve seen the sun and moon below my feet, dug caverns beneath the ocean, and created my own floating island. There is so much room for creativity in this game that I highly implore gamers to test the limits of this wonderful and imaginative game. Staxel is a sure buy for gamers looking to create their own experiences.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

While the game can suffer from optimization issues, I feel that being too critical of this would be unjustified, especially given how much you can tamper with the original layout of the island. It’s amazing how much creative freedom you’re given in Staxel that I’m very much interested in seeing how online multiplayer pans out in the future. There are already mods for Staxel, and once this game is officially released in January 2018, I hope to see how the community puts creates and defines their own experience.

Honey's Pros:

  • Cute visuals help bring out the charm of village life
  • An environment that’s very open to conventional or unconventional construction and destruction
  • Ease of controls make mundane tasks quick and enjoyable
  • NPC quests are rewarding and open up many different avenues for roleplaying

Honey's Cons:

  • Optimization issues might cause crashes if things get too unruly
  • At the current moment, there are some limitations on how NPCs interact with you, but future game releases might make NPCs search you out for quests or possibly new housing occupants

Honey's Final Verdict:

Staxel gave me a new perspective on sandbox games and their appeal. Originally going into the game, I was really confused about what to do, but experimentation took over and allowed me to branch out. Since there was no defined way to play the game, I was able to do whatever I wished. Farming was simply one aspect. When online play gets released, I’m hoping that the broad appeal of this game creates a multitude of different worlds and perspectives on how to play the game

If you enjoyed the article or have played the game before, I’d love to hear from you. Comments are always welcome and help me gain new insight from our readers. Hopefully, we can see each other in the game once it releases!

1-Staxel-Sprout-Edition-capture-500x353 Staxel (Sprout Edition) - PC Preview


Author: Sean "Coopa" Hoang

A motivated writer hoping to share his passion for video games, literature, and visual media. I'm the main streamer of FinestKO, a variety game stream with roots in the fighting game community. Whenever there's time, you can usually find me broadcasting or writing for the next article.

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Sean "Coopa" Hoang