Review: Staxel (Nintendo Switch)

Staxel is a mixture of Minecraft and Harvest Moon. To start, I’m not the biggest fan of Minecraft. Not to say it’s terrible, just that the art style, block by block building, and empty feeling make me feel bored and tired whenever I play it. Staxel shares that art style, block by block building, and empty feeling. I am, however, a fan of Harvest Moon! Features these two games share are farming, interacting with villagers, and completing tasks, to name a few.

When you start, you can choose to play Creative Mode or not, which lets you get items from the store without it costing petals, this game’s currency. Then you customize your character in a cobweb-infested home. You leave home to meet a girl whose name is literally Farm Fan, who gives you some tools and tips to start your farming journey. The bulk of the game seems to be completing tasks or chores that the villagers ask you to do for them. The villagers do have personalities, but they aren’t that deep.

Staxel
Staxel
Staxel

There is an event where portals open up to different worlds near the town, where you can collect new things. There’s even an event where a castle appears, and you have to help restore it. I think these are scheduled, as a small notification pops up when an event is taking place, although I may be wrong, and it could be triggered through other means. It gives you something to do, but I think the game would be fine without it.

Something I don’t like about this game is how your character gets tired. One of the chores I did was working on a house for someone, and it took maybe about five or six in-game days, but my character would get tired and pass out. I guess it makes sense, but when you’re building something block by block, it is very annoying since it takes a long time to build. Another thing that happened to me was the game crashed twice, and I had to open it up again. It could be patched, but I think it was caused by the rainy in-game weather that lowered the frame rate. 

Staxel
Staxel
Staxel

The visuals, while blocky, have vibrant colors and well-designed characters. The music is cute and calming. There is quite a bit of freedom to chop trees and mine the ground beyond your property which can let your creativity soar. I spent most of my time in town, collecting resources, and at times out in the woods scavenging for materials needed to build and make items to fulfill villager tasks. 

At $24.99, I think Staxel’s priced a bit high, and I’d wait for a sale. But multiplayer can be lots of fun, playing with friends both locally and online. If you find the premise and presentation appealing, Staxel’s a cute, chill, but familiar title. It’s a game that can bore or relax depending on your thoughts about Minecraft and farming/new-guy-in-town simulators like Harvest Moon

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