The bountiful crop of chill, lightweight farming games continues. Staxel has been in early access for over a year now, growing big and strong. Today, developers Plukit have dug it up, washed it off and delivered it to market. Bridging the gap between Stardew Valley and Minecraft, it has you planting crops, tending to animals and building a home in a chunky voxel world, solo or online. There's been a lot added since its initial debut, including magic (fuelled by 'star bits' that fall at night, ala Terraria), new places to explore and more NPCs to meet. See the launch trailer below.
Feeling a little bit like Animal Crossing, too, there's no combat at all in Staxel, just chilling out with characters, making money and using that money to make your home nicer. If farming doesn't immediately appeal there's fossil-hunting, flower picking and bug catching to be done as well. Again, drawing easy comparisons with Animal Crossing. Sadly, the villagers aren't quite as charming and there's no K.K. Slider, so it's clearly the lesser of two games, but it's nice to see something on PC taking so much inspiration from Nintendo's chill-out champ. Someone mod in Isabelle please.
The developers have put together a big list of things that have changed since the game's early access debut here. There's now a multiplayer mail system so you can send items, cash and bad poetry as you see fit. There's a wider variety of pets you can own (including bunnies), and yes, you can pet the dog. Similar to other such village-centric sandboxes like this, there's annual events scattered through the in-game calendar, including festivals and the occasional bit of supernatural weirdness. They also reckon it runs smoother and loads faster than it used to, which is always nice.