LadiesGamers Staxel

Staxel Review

Game: Staxel
Genre: Simulation
System: Steam (Also on Nintendo Switch)
Developer|Publisher: Plukit | Humble Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price:  US $19.99 | UK £14.99 |  EU € 19,99
Release Date: April 11th, 2019

Review code provided with many thanks to Plukit

Familiar Setting

Staxel is a creative game with an emphasis on crafting and farm management. It’s a style we have seen many developers attempt over the last few years. To some, it’s a genre that comes across as pointless casual busy work but many gamers find it very relaxing and entertaining.

You create your own character and start a new life on a run-down farm on an island which you need to build back up to success. Fortunately, there are lots of friendly NPCs to help you along the way. A familiar setting for sure, but does Staxel stax up against the competition? Let’s grab a trowel and find out.

LadiesGamers Staxel
Just another day on the farm

The Farm Life

Staxel is a relaxing crafting game. There are no enemy threats, it’s just you, the farm and a town with friendly NPCs. There are no stressful challenges. This is a game you can play at a smooth pace that suits you. Which may be just the ticket after one of those hard days at the office.

It’s strange how video games where you perform repetitive tasks can be soothing for the soul. The game initially plays in the first-person perspective but if you prefer you can jump into the options menu and switch to the third person. I ended up kinda liking this better as my character did this waddle-like walk which made me giggle.

LadiesGamers Staxel
Townsfolk wave to you which is lovely

Daily Quests

Staxels main mode has you thrown into a rather run-down house with holes in the walls and broken windows. You also have a decent chunk of land which begins ravaged in weeds, logs and insects. But before you get overwhelmed by the mess you need to clear up, a happy NPC comes to the door to give you some pointers on how to get started.

If you’re new to this type of game, this guided experience by the town’s folk helps you get acquainted with the game’s many mechanics. You’ll learn how to grow crops, fish, catch bugs, buy some new outfits, look after cute animals, craft items and then usually use those items to build a house or maybe just a weird piece of video game modern art. When something new is introduced you are given a short tutorial which can be revisited in the journal later. Quests are usually given on a daily basis but you can tackle them at your own pace. 

LadiesGamers Staxel
Hold down the trigger to farm a larger area

The island has a day and night cycle. Spend your mornings watering your crops, feeding your animals, maybe milk the cow. Then go to town to sell stuff and spend the afternoon exploring, completing quests or just chilling out until night time comes to go to sleep and repeat the whole process again. Every day is a new adventure and it doesn’t take long for the gameplay to become pretty addictive.  

LadiesGamers Staxel
A spot of fishing in my tiny pond

Creative mode

If you want to let your creative juices flow you can play the game in ‘Creative mode’ which basically lets you play however you want, much akin to games like Minecraft. I spent the vast majority of this review in the former mode.

It’s worth mentioning even in the game’s main mode you can still go off the beaten path and play how you want. I spent silly amounts of time just exploring the island catching bugs then returning to town to sell them for surprisingly large sums. I also just had fun exploring the island, visiting the beach, and exploring the forest. You are never short of things to do. 

LadiesGamers Staxel
Use a handy map if you get lost


If you’re new to this type of game it can take a bit of time to get used to the various controls. The game provides gentle reminders of how to select and use items in the bottom right corner of the screen. It took me a little time to get used to selecting tools and using them correctly. I often forget to select the hammer in order to destroy a rock.

I did like the nice touches with the farming, like how if you hold a button with the trowel you can use it across a wide space of land rather than just a single spot. Building seemed a little awkward in this game. When placing blocks down it just feels a bit floaty so I often made mistakes. Being the perfectionist I am it was a long process of trying to very carefully place bricks then fix my mistakes with the hammer. On PC you can use a controller or mouse and keyboard. 

LadiesGamers Staxel
create your character with many several options

Voxel Sprites 

The graphics are bright and colourful with a familiar voxel design. It’s family-friendly and incredibly cheerful. One of my favourite design choices by the developers is when you walk to the town the NPCs wave to you which always brought a smile to my face. There are also some really nice weather effects, like pixelated rain. There is a delightfully chilled soundtrack that plays as you go about your adventures on the island. The small niggle with the graphics is it does maybe look a tad too similar to a certain Minecraft game. Most experienced gamers will see a clear difference but those showing a more passing casual interest may think the two are a little too similar.

LadiesGamers Staxel
Something very relaxing about voxel rain


One of my biggest niggles comes in the game’s crafting system. Or at least how to start it. In order to craft items, you need a particular workbench. When you start the game these are found in the town’s shop. However, not too long into the game you need to purchase a variety of different workbenches yourself. These are tiny little benches that I found very hard to find to begin with. I encountered a quest where I needed to cook something and I just needed a chopping bench. I went back and forth to the two shops looking for one and even searched NPCs’ houses.

Eventually, I discovered it was a tiny sprite, on a shelf, in a shop, in a place I did not expect. While the game does offer tutorials it feels like it doesn’t appropriately highlight certain steps. If the game clearly highlighted my above issue it would have solved a lot of hassle. It feels like there is just a tad too many types of crafting benches. Cooking feels like it should just require a single crafting bench rather than several for frying, boiling and chopping. 

LadiesGamers Staxel
Items in shops are a touch too small and cluttered together

Endless Content

Staxel offers you a plentiful amount of content to keep you busy for hundreds of hours. This is a game for the player to enjoy however they want. You can focus on growing your farm, exploring the island, becoming a master chef or a combination of things. As is the case with farming and crafting the time sync here is pretty endless.

The game also features online multiplayer where you can invite 3 other friends to your farm to join in the fun and frolics. This feels like a feature that will greatly enhance the experience for friends. It’s a shame it’s confined to online only at this stage as this would be great to play in split-screen. 

LadiesGamers Staxel
Farming is better with friends

The game also appears to still be receiving updates to extend its lifespan even further. The PC version recently received an update letting you explore underground caverns further expanding the experience.

Despite my niggles, a glance at the developers blog shows that the team is still dedicated to updating and improving the game despite releasing in 2019 initially.

LadiesGamers Staxel
Enjoy season events

Conclusion – Staxing Up

Staxel is a delightfully chilled crafting adventure. If you are looking for a relaxing game to sink hours into then Staxel is worth adding to your gaming library. A good entry point for gamers new to this genre but I’m not sure it’s enough to pull gamers away whose hearts are fully invested in other competitors. What Staxel does, it does with sunshine and smiles which is something many of us sure need these days. 

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot

I like it a lot

Staxel is currently available on PC but will soon release to Switch at the end of September 2021. An ideal platform if you love your farming and crafting on the go.

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