Game pass

Craftopia is a messy but ambitious assortment on the Game Pass

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Palworld, a game from the developers Pocket Pair that grabbed attention with its first whiplash-inducing tonal trailer. The game aims to combine survival mechanics seen in ARK with cute pet mechanics not too unlike Pokémon. It’s a unique amalgamation of two opposing genres, so it’s no surprise to learn that they also produced Craftopia, which was recently released to Xbox via Game Preview, and is available on Xbox Game Pass.

After playing it for a few hours, I like its “whatever sticks to the wall” approach to game design, as there are elements here that make it feel like it was pulled from other games. The building mechanics are quite similar to the building seen in Fortnite (you even pull out a book as you build), the traversal, stamina and world design are similar to Breath of the Wild, there is an RPG skill tree- esque, and the whole experience is wrapped in a Minecraft flavored arc. Crafting is to be expected in a game called Craftopia, but there’s also farming and a focus on automated material production for more advanced players, all of which are Minecraft staples.

Craftopia then draws on many sources, and although the game falls into the trap of feeling janky due to its various influences vying for your attention, the result is a compelling melting pot of ideas that’s quite fun to play with. friends. While it’s probably never a survival / crafting game to beat the world, it’s already a fun addition to the Game Pass library worth checking out.

Craftopie

The premise of Craftopia is about as silly as it gets, as you start the game off essentially atomizing the entire planet because, well, you’ve succumbed to the maddening urge to press the happy, a-like button. candy. Fortunately, some ancient gods decide now would be a good time for a learning experience, plunging you back into a newly created world and forcing you to search for resources to create the tools and equipment you’ll need to survive.

What is perhaps most appealing about Craftopia is the way it is structured, even in this game preview state. Right off the bat you are dropped off on a small island with few resources and areas to explore, but by collecting enough specific items you can advance to the next age, which unlocks new tools, equipment and other toys to play with.

Instead of today’s Minecraft, which honestly feels like it’s been bombarded with 10 years of updates all at once when you jump into it today, the content is trickled down to player one. once he has proven his age. Bolstered by a mission system that grants EXP, materials, and inventory upgrades to complete basic tasks, Craftopia goes out of their way to effectively onboard the player instead of overwhelming them with tricks and stuff. expect everyone to pick up the pieces.

Craftopie
Craftopie

Its approach to exploration is also pretty neat, as instead of exploring a massive randomly generated world, the player is dropped off on a small island with a transport altar waiting to be found. Using the altar, players unlock new islands via a grid-based system, which are teeming with their own secrets, minerals, monsters, and discoveries. The further you go from your starting island in the grid, the harder the monsters get, but the greater the rewards.

On an island, you can find goblin encampments, various types of dungeons, mines filled with new materials to collect, and much more. There is a lot to discover and manage in Craftopia, but again, you are in control of your progress throughout the game, so you never really feel like you are directionless. The only real issue is when you collect items that you can’t yet use, which means your base will be filled with ore chests that will stay there until you progress.

However, even unnecessary items still have a purpose in Craftopia. Not only can you sell items for cash to buy more from street vendors, but any leftover items you have can be donated to your picture book, which acts as a journal of all of the items and equipment you have. you have discovered. Gifting items in large quantities increases your base stats, so if you have a lot of specific items lying around doing nothing, it’s worth grazing them in some form or another.

Craftopie
Craftopie

As Craftopia is a Game Preview game, there are still a few issues that get in the way, mainly the controls when using a controller. It can be quite difficult to navigate inventory, especially when trying to assign items to the shortcut bar. On top of that, equipping and unequipping items, especially those assigned to your free hand, seems more complicated than it should be.

There are also a series of bugs to be expected given Craftopia’s game preview status, but which could wear out the patience of other players. At one point, the text randomly decided to look weird, and it still hasn’t corrected, while using beds as a spawn point doesn’t seem to matter when you load up. the game, because you will continue to appear in the same location. There is also a particularly nasty issue where my co-op partner’s Xbox Series X freezes due to “overheating” when trying to approach an area of ​​the game. However, I was playing on an Xbox One X and everything was fine. . I would like an explanation.

Craftopia is also missing a few features that would make the game even better, even though, again, it’s in Game Preview. The developers have made it pretty seriously in the game that they are working on a main story with some missions to complete, which they hope to release “soon” which should add more reasons to play the game. It also appears to be a port. direct from the PC version, with many video options to toggle that are irrelevant when playing on an Xbox.

Craftopie
Craftopie

One characteristic that is said to be stellar is terraforming. After a few hours of play, your starting island will start to look a bit empty, but due to its small size, it’s difficult to fully establish a base with the small land mass you have. It would be nice to change the landscape of your starting island to make it look fantastic, while maintaining the integrity of the other islands, but since Craftopia is not a voxel game, this might be more difficult to do. .

Craftopia is by no means a perfect game, and I don’t think it will be when it finally graduates from Xbox Game Preview in the future. However, Pocket Pair has established a game with real potential here, especially when playing with friends. The single-player experience might not be as compelling, but if you’ve got someone to play with (given that the game is on Game Pass it shouldn’t be too difficult), and you’re looking for something which is the equivalent of a full English Breakfast game, Craftopia is a solid bet.

READ MORE: 15 best Xbox One survival games

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