Gaming

Hands-on: we created a GameCube playground in Staxel farming simulator in Minecraft style

Image: Evan Amos

Get together guys for a tale of love, loss and failure: there has never been a sadder story than the story of Kate and her … er … GameCube controller.

Let’s go back a little. It was Friday night after a long and exhausting week, and my partner and I sat down to play Staxel, a sort of Minecraft-Animal Crossing-Harvest Moon hybrid that launches on September 23rd and is all voxels. Since it was GameCube 20th anniversary week, we decided (or, well, I went to the editor) to try out the co-op aspect of the game by building a GameCube controller, in honor of everyone’s favorite game form, which is not yet a cube.

My partner (whom I will call dangerous because he calls himself that) and I played Minecraft a lot when we were at a great distance; our creations included the impressive Nether train system and the iceberg-style polar bear enclosure. We’re not exactly experienced architects, but hopefully this gives you an idea that we’re not new to construction.

I know this version of Minecraft doesn't look very impressive, but that was it, okay?
I know this version of Minecraft doesn’t look very impressive, but that was it, okay?

Our job at Staxel was a little more difficult. It always takes time to learn the basics of a new game, but Staxel could be more user-friendly. As strange as it sounds, for a game heavily inspired by the Mojang game, it would be nice to have more similarities, especially in how to play. In fact, it was the differences between Staxel and Minecraft that ultimately led us to ruin.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

You see, if Minecraft is all about mining blocks, smelting, processing and combining them into new blocks, Staxel is a little more. granulated… Minecraft has one workbench; Staxel has 12 of them, with individual workbenches, all with verbs ranging from “assemble” and “cut” to “combine” and “build”. Cooking becomes even more difficult because you need separate three-plate benches for chopping, boiling, frying, mixing and baking. To be honest, a lot of them seem to be synonyms for the same thing, but all the recipes you have will at least tell you which one you need to use.

I'm really looking for more indigo, actually ...
I’m really looking for more indigo, actually …

Fortunately, you can just buy most of what you need. There are two shops in the center of Staxel: one sells a lot of things and the other … a lot of other things. The line between the two is admittedly blurry, but for it took a lot of things to create a GameCube controller, it worked in our favor.

If it were Minecraft, we would venture into the depths of the Earth to find the right blocks for our purposes (maybe some pretty purple concrete or amethyst if we like), but in Staxel it’s a long way, it’s FAR easier to just buy everything. Everything from tools to furniture is already made for you, and if you dare to browse the extremely tiny items in stores, you will be equipped in no time.

Sorry!  But also thanks
Sorry! But also thanks

We bought all purple from the store and none of them were matching purple. Fortunately, there is another feature that Staxel offers that I have never seen before: the ability to loot people’s homes. Do not rob from people’s houses, mind you – in fact, they steal the houses themselves, brick by brick. You see, there was a guy in town who just had a roof exactly the correct shade of GameCube magenta, and so we stole its roof like common copper thieves robbing a church.

Minecraft will let you destroy villagers’ houses, of course, but it won’t force you enter the menu to select an option so that you are warned that you should only tinker with in-game buildings if you “know what you are doing.” It looks more like a crime.

It turned out bricks, it was time to build, and we decided to go for the vertical GameCube controller – all the better, so that it can be seen from a distance. While I was shopping, my partner cleared out a small piece of land and started building a large and very ugly ground on which we could place the controller. So far, so good!

We started outlining a shape like a controller, and he kept complaining that we “should have built a GameCube instead” or “at least a GameCube logo,” but I told him that he was a coward because that I wanted to find an easy way out. building something that already looks like a big voxel.

Then it was time for buttons and sticks. Unlike Minecraft, you can’t just stack things where you want, and I was disappointed to learn that some of the in-game items like a red food bowl, a red checker token, and a small stool would all do. ideally small B button – cannot be placed horizontally.

It all works out, right?
It all works out, right?

We started to lose momentum and morale, especially when days quickly turned to nights and it was difficult to see anything, let alone which purple to use. Even in the daytime, all light, including in the store, glows a dull, sickly orange-yellow, so it is very difficult to judge colors and shapes. Then there were only minor but annoying details, such as the fact that characters cannot walk through gaps at least two blocks wide, or that stores seemingly update their inventory at random, making it difficult to buy more items. the block that we need.

At this point, the game informed us that “something” was happening in the city – and that “something” turned out to be a bunch of magical portals that led us to a place called Fairy Island, where everything was pink. Pink is not purple, so we left, but it was nice to go somewhere other than that tiny island we appeared on.

Ugh, pink?  No thanks.
Ugh, pink? No thanks.

Let’s go back to the controller. At least by this point we started to receive very much Disappointed with the game experience because inventory management in Staxel can be a headache.

All tiny. No storage space. Selling things is a painful process that requires placing individual items on a stand and choosing to “sell” one after the other, and since there are SO MANY different tools, each of which is a single task, your inventory is CONSTANTLY full of hoes, hammers. , picks, shovels and ten billion different recipes and tables that you need. It felt like we were trying to build an IKEA bed that was missing half the instructions and fifteen times as many hex keys as we needed, all of which were trying to hold weekly groceries on hand.

But despite all this, we succeeded. We did it! We’ve built a GameCube controller.

And then tragedy struck.

Seconds to Disaster
Seconds to Disaster

I started to demolish the dirt wall behind the controller that we placed there for stability, and – unbeknownst to both of us – that was the beginning of the end, because it was apparently a load-bearing earth wall.

The controller turned into voxel confetti, and that’s how our work – our terrible masterpiece – disappeared. We received the blocks back, but the laying time has passed. We built a tiny grave for our fallen controller, which consisted of a large purple RIP that you can see from space. Given my experience with the game, I don’t think I’ll be returning to Staxel anytime soon. In fact, I’m not even sure I can; the screen says that it has been “closing the game” for about half an hour.

I would like to say that all of this was in some way a worthy tribute to the GameCube in honor of its 20th anniversary, but I think it would be better to just bake a cake with purple frosting. I wouldn’t have to steal a neighbor’s roof for that.

Staxel launches on the Nintendo Switch eShop on 23 September.




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