Although the recent launch of Stardew Valley for the Switch may be the current focus of the headlines for the farming simulator genre, it isn’t the only game aspiring farmers should be looking at. Indie developer Plukit is offering up their own take on the farm sim this week with the launch of Staxel into Early Access on Steam and Humble Bundle. A lot of times an indie developer will stick to a tried and true path to success, but the team at Plukit is attempting to go big and bold, giving the budding farmer inside of you a whole new way to build your farm.
The most obvious chance Plukit has taken is forgoing the typical top-down isometric view that most farm sims lock you into, instead opting to drop you into a fully destructible voxel-based world, with both a first or third person view available. Like Minecraft, the world is blocky, but the sharp edges have been toned down a little, making the world much more visually soothing. And being used to the grid-based placement of items in other farm sims, the cube world of Staxel becomes the perfect place to build a farm.
Due to the voxel world, building your farm becomes much more elaborate than the typical game. You aren’t just plopping down a barn, you are now building to your own specifications. You get to determine how big, or small, your buildings will be. If a hill or pond is obstructing your chosen building site, you are afforded the option to remove it. And when it comes to filling in that space, Staxel doesn’t disappoint. There is already a sizable array of items to decorate your home, both inside and out, and I would assume this list will grow as the development of the game continues.
Along with building, Staxel offers a wealth of other things to do. Like any farm sim, growing crops and tending to livestock is at the core of the gameplay. Plant seeds, water, and harvest when fully grown. Tend to your beehives for honey, milk your cows, and get wool from your sheep. You are able to sell everything you produce for a profit or use the raw materials to craft items or cook your favorite meal.
Growing, crafting, and cooking is fairly robust for an early access title. Growing time varies by plant and tree type, and some only yield fruit in certain seasons. There are multiple steps to some recipes, requiring you to refine raw materials and then combine them to create the end product. Of course, the more time or ingredients required, the more the resulting item will yield when selling it.
On the leisure side of things, everyone will be happy that fishing is in, but it doesn’t stop there. You can grab your butterfly net and go hunt all types of bugs or head to the beach and collect shells. And don’t forget the other townspeople as they will give you tasks to complete for rewards.
It is easy to see that the devs have put a lot of effort into getting the game ready for early access. They have included elements that will appeal to players who like sims, crafting, and even just building. All the basics are already in the game, and I look forward to seeing what the final product has to offer.