- 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: http://playstaxel.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Staxel Summer Trailer
Quality of Life Features & Basic Controls
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.
Visuals and Customization
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
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
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…
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.
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.
- 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
- 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:
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!