(Impressions) Staxel

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I got into Staxel, but what I did get kind of confused me and was a lot of fun at the same time. Staxel seems to be a mixture of Minecraft and Animal Crossing. Reading what you just did may make you want to jump right in and start building and doing all sorts of crazy stuff because the game looks rather kind and the village you start out in seems like a happy place to live. That may not be what you experience in-game though. Life on the farm is tough… or at least as tough as you make it on yourself. Should you up and buy the farm? Let me break it down for you.

Staxel is easy to navigate around because you’re basically stuck on an island. You can build on the water, but it doesn’t seem to be worth going a few minutes out… it’s lonely in the water.

Let me start with some advice because they throw you knee-deep into the slog if you don’t pay attention and simply grind the initial quests like I did: take it slow. My first pet was a dog and he was cool, but eventually started to run away from me. (I kept him fed; I’m not a jerk.) Having spent a few days away from home, my dog came back hungry and his appetite didn’t seem to be able to be satisfied. Now he’s grumpy all of the time. On top of that, you’re instructed to build a barn which is basically four pillars and a roof (at least if you follow the glowing yellow lines, but that’s just the effective area I learned later) after which you are rewarded with cows. My cows were happy for a few days, but I didn’t have the money for fences (nor could I craft them at this point) so my cows wondered around. I was kind of wishing I was given some fencing so that my cows would waddle to the food troughs that are in the barn area, but they seem content to get less content away from there. I have a feeling that they will eventually resent me like my dog did… Staxel started to feel like a bad country song. They have a little tool-tip that pops up and says you can recapture your animals (like Pokemon essentially) and keep them in a box so you could move them, but I couldn’t purchase or craft capture crates. (On the second play-through, they now sell them in the store. Too late for the first save though.)

Who’s a good cow? Cookie’s a good cow! I’m planning on trying cows again and now on my 2nd playthrough, but I can’t build or purchase troughs which you need if you’re going to finish the farm building “quest”. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

On my second playthrough I wanted to focus completely on farming. It’s… “simple” enough. You can easily afford some seeds, but you can also go around with a scythe and gather some wild seeds and plant those and see what you get. You’ll have to water them every day unless it’s raining, but eventually they will bare fruit. Or… that’s more the trees that you can buy, but cost more, but you get the picture. Sell the veggies separately or make some form of salad if you’ve got enough differing veggies and the proper crafting stations (which I’ll get into later) and then sell that for more money or “Petals”. Why sell the food? Well first up, you’ll need the money. Secondly: you don’t need to eat at all. They will probably change that later, but currently you can sell all of the extra stuff for money to buy more seeds to grow more crops to get more money etc. When you get enough money you can start to buy other tools and crafting benches so you don’t have to run to town to cut some wood. (On that note… how in the crap do I grow more trees? I can cut them down, but I can’t plant an acorn like in freak’n Totoro.)

Aside from the Steam Workshop, it seems the only way to grow trees back is to plant fruit trees only to cut them down when they finish growing… which would be horrifically expensive. Go get a mod. There are plenty of flowers though. However, I don’t think they grow back either.

Crafting is interesting to say the least. There seems to be a ton of stuff to make and build. You can’t craft everything in the beginning, but they sell recipes at various shops. They don’t tend to change too much for me, but I’m hoping that gets changed later unless their focus is on requiring you to need the marketplace in town where they sell premade items. I can understand that, but I’d like to be able to craft anything I want at any time at my house. That aside, you won’t be able to put all of the crafting benches in your current house. There’s a separate bench for everything. They have a stations for chopping, baking, boiling, frying, mixing, sawing, combining, tiling, carving, constructing, assembly and a few others, but I think that makes my point. Everything is separated and while it does kind of make things a little more obvious on which tool to use, it does complicate things as well. On the plus side, you’ll get to make that kitchen of your dreams legitimately. Side note: I haven’t seen a recipe or the ability to buy a sawing machine and taking the one in town closes the store it’s in. So keep your klepto self in check and just let it stay for now.

Fishing is a mini-game and it’s a nice approach. Also, yes I’m fishing in the middle of the ocean.
I don’t want to go too much longer. Staxel, as it stands, is rather good in concept and definitely not a bare-bones game at this point in development. (I almost have 20 hours mucking around here.) There still is some work left to do, but that’s always the case with games in Early Access. They recently added mines and that’s neat looking, but there’s nothing much to do other than enjoy the beauty of them. There are a few points of contention, but it looks like they are actively working on the game and I’m expecting it to be continually fleshed out. In the recent patches, the loading times have been significantly reduced which is awesome! I wouldn’t go into Staxel expecting the world, but if you go into it thinking “resource management/building/life sim with a 1st person view”, I think you’ll be fine. The worst thing that’s happened to me was my dog hating me. Everything else can be managed better by planning ahead and not just plopping down animals because buttons need to be pressed. Need some easy advice? Go catch some bugs and sell them for money. There’s always plenty of them.

Further Reading on Staxel: FacebookOfficial Page / Steam / Twitter

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