Craftopia Game Pass Review
Recently Craftopia has released on Microsoft Game Pass as a Game Preview. I realize this game has been on PC for a while but being an Xbox gamer I hadn’t really encountered the game. I decided to give it a try based on some of the trailers I have watched for the game.
Craftopia Game Pass first impressions
When I first loaded up the game the story seems a little out there. I feel like they waited until after they had everything else together before they started to work on a story. Maybe as I progress further in the game or maybe as development progresses they will work on the story a bit more.
Craftopia I feel tries to be a little bit of everything. I will say so far the crafting of Craftopia is solid and well thought out. I imagine that was the first mechanic the developers had worked on and then built the game around that. But I fear that trying to be unique they ended up with this weird hybrid of all the big crafting games without thinking about how it would all work together.
And even trying to keep in mind that this is in Game Preview state it crashes A LOT! I realize I am playing on an Xbox One S so maybe if you play on a Series X or even an Xbox One X it will perform better. But almost every 30 to 45 minutes the game just crashes. No warning, nothing, just shuts down. Luckily the game does autosave but I found it did not auto-save enough. I found myself saving quite often after I accomplished crafting a new weapon or gathering a hard-to-find resource to avoid losing progress.
Craftopia gameplay first impressions
My first impression of getting thrusted into the gameplay was this reminds me a bit of Breath of Wild, with a dash of Pokemon and some building mechanics that remind me of Fortnite. My son said it was like Minecraft with a bunch of mods installed. The way they do tutorials is kind of interesting. Essentially you have quests where they group together tasks to teach you the basics of the game. And there are random NPCs you can talk to that give you tips but seem pretty useless.
As you complete those quests you get experience and can start spending skill points. The skill points are really what help your character progress and unlock new moves, more powers, and better weapons. Right now some of the perks/skills you can unlock are not yet implemented. Which I think is kind of cool to let you know that the devs are thinking ahead.
There isn’t much unique to the Craftopia crafting. It works very similarly to most other crafting genre games. You gather the necessary requirements and go into a crafting menu to start with basic items. Then you build a workbench and can increase the complexity.
As you level up and build more items you can build an altar to advance your technological age. It doesn’t take much work for you to go from only being able to build a wooden stick and a campfire to building machines to help auto harvest wheat and conveyor belts.
Building structures has its ups and downs. I like how everything snaps into place really easily. But the building system is set you can start just building a ramp that goes into the sky with no support. This might be the developer’s intention but is very strange at first.
Sometimes the structures that are not nice and square will also fall over. It’s very strange but the structure still works as intended so no harm to this bug.
Also once you start crafting something you cannot cancel. Make sure when you are ready to start crafting you have the correct amount queued up. Some resources are limited so if you accidentally use up all of one you may be stuck.
The combat in Craftopia is lacking. It’s a hack and slash style but your strikes can be really erratic. It could be that I just suck at the game so far but hitting enemies was almost a pain.
Luckily the AI at this point is trash. In the first dungeon, I entered I just stood back and shot the enemy with arrows. They never once acknowledged I was even hurting them. They had some basic set movements and once I went into melee they retaliated.
The enemies seem to respawn at a rather quick rate. I cleared a room and within seconds the enemies had already started to respawn.
Combat is also used to harvest deer, bears, sheep, cows, elephants, giraffes, and other animals for resources. Most will run from you once you start attacking, but they will soon run into a wall or a rock or tree and stop running. It is rather disappointing.
The first boss that I battled was a joke. Maybe the game was taking it easy or maybe I was over-leveled when I fought him. But I barely took any damage and he was incredibly easy to defeat. And the enemy respawns so quickly the boss respawned before I left the room so I defeated him a second time to get the extra loot.
I like the inventory management of Craftopia. It is very clean and not overly complicated. But has plenty of options and ways to deal with items that satisfies. I have yet to encounter being overweight so not sure if that will ever factor in. Some crafting games can get real annoying real quick when you get over-encumbered.
You are limited with the number of items you can have for each type in your inventory. Once you have reached the max level you can no longer pick up items. But you can craft some chests to store extra building materials or food. And if you have extra weapons or armor you can always sell them at your market for gold.
Craftopia Game Pass graphics
I was playing Craftopia on Game Pass on an Xbox One S. Now with a more powerful Xbox One, the graphics might be a little better. But so far the graphics are lacking. The art style isn’t going to amaze and wow because it is a more cell-shaded art style but I expect a little cleaner lines and a little more detail.
And once I got into the dungeon I was amazed at how much the graphics turned into a SNES style RPG. I’m not sure if that was intended or if the dungeons were an afterthought and they will eventually work on the graphics inside the dungeon.
The music in Craftopia was gentle and soothing at first. But then I realized it is the same music on loop and it quickly got annoying. You may want to queue up your own tunes while playing this game.
Gathering resources in Craftopia is very similar to any other crafting game. I feel like maybe this one is close to Minecraft or maybe Ark: Survival Evolved. Picks work best on rocks, Axes work best on trees, swords are good for cutting grass and killing animals. And you can always use your hands if necessary but you won’t be very successful without some skills to increase your hand-to-hand combat damage. There are also resources you cannot harvest until you build better equipment.
Some resources are finite (iron, copper) while other resources seem to randomly respawn (deer, shellfish). Make sure you use your resources wisely or you may be stuck on the island and have no way to progress.
This is where the disappointment comes in. I had built so much on my first island I decided to move on to the next island. Then the game crashed. And I cannot progress any further. I have tried starting a new game, have tried restarting my console, but nothing works.
See below for an update on Craftopia islands.
Original Recommendation : Avoid the game
At this point, I can’t recommend the game at all. It has some really cool elements and I think this could be a really fun game. But when the game is essentially unplayable because of the crashes, well what do you do. Maybe an update will fix this but at this point, I can’t see how they can even call this a Game Preview. It is a crashing demo more than anything.
If an update comes out that fixes the crashing issue maybe I will progress further and update this review. But for now, I will have to say to avoid the game at all costs.
The current verdict is this:
Original Rating : 1/10
Have you played the Craftopia Game Pass version on a console and had any luck? Let us know below in the comments.
After trying several failed attempts from other suggestions to get Craftopia to not crash I had a light bulb moment. I had read that when you stream Game Pass games that Microsoft uses Xbox Series X hardware to host the game. And people playing Craftopia on an Xbox Series X were having much better luck at playing the game.
I decided to stream Craftopia in a Chrome web browser on my laptop. And I have to say it worked really well. I was finally able to move forward to a new island. I will continue playing the game this way and give an updated review at a later time.
I have been playing this game as much as I can to get a good feel for it. Here are some updated things I have learned and an updated rating will follow.
The islands of Craftopia all seem to be generated from the same template. Your world can have a large number of islands but depending on what level they are will determine what type of resources, enemy levels, and sometimes dictates what island will spawn there.
When you get to an island level 5 you unlock the “hell” island. This is an advanced stage island that you cannot get past until you have the right gear or skills to survive. Even trying to move just a little will kill your character pretty quickly.
Occasionally you will have an empty island appear. I’m not sure why the creators choose to do this as they are really just a very small island with a few trees and stones and that is it.
Fall-based island (Fallen Leaves) – These islands look like a season of fall. And they come with enemy jack-o-lanterns and skeletons to fill it out. You will find graveyards and pumpkins to fill out this Halloween-based island.
Valley islands – These islands are very similar to the starter island. Just a little bigger. Enemies and animals are random per level of the island you are on.
Volcanic islands (Fire and Sand) – These islands are mostly volcanic, rocks, and desert-like.
Hell island – This is a brutal island that will kill you instantly if you don’t have the right gear.
Empty island – These are technically not empty. There are a few resources here but not much. If you are in a pinch you could get some stone and wood. A good place to build a home base as no enemies spawn here.
Cherry blossom island – Has a Japanese vibe to it. Loads of tea bushes and cherry blossom trees.
Cove island – Very similar to the starter island except it has some offshoot islands surrounding the main island.
Variety island – Has about four different biomes.
Archipelago of Uplift – Several mountains on this island.
Island of Frozen – A frozen wasteland. Make sure and bring cold resistance.
Island of Poisonous Forest – Need poison resistance when traveling here. Lots of swamps and forest.
Desert of Valley – Desert island. A good place to find Bone Dragons and Red Dragons.
The further you advanced the more varied the enemies will get. My biggest problem is they don’t really change their tactics. The AI is pretty dumb and doesn’t challenge you much more from level 40 than they do at level 1.
I have still only encountered two types of dungeon bosses after exploring 13 islands. A snake-like creature and a humanoid stone golem. Both were not challenging and I was able to take them out very quickly.
Update 10/18/2021: After getting to island levels higher than 5 I am seeing more variety in the boss fights. Fighting Griffins and Lizard Kings and King Monos in dungeons.
Once I started to advance through the ages the fun stuff started unlocking. I was able to build hoverboards, helicopters, motorcycles. You can unlock all kinds of building materials and furniture. Automation machines that will auto cut down trees (and you).
The crafting is very complex and I feel it was really well designed. There are some flaws but with what they have so far you can really build some cool automated machines to take care of harvesting resources and doing things that other crafting games make you do manually.
Craftopia Game Pass final verdict
I really like this game now that I was able to get past the first island. I am not happy that I have to stream it, because when my internet is shoddy it causes stuttering and lag. But the crafting and the number of things to do are really crazy.
I think the developers got a little too ambitious in some aspects of the game and lost sight of what makes this shine. The crafting is really cool and you just have so many options it can be overwhelming at times. But some of the things you can craft are absolute garbage.
The motorcycle, for example, drives like a wooden log. And if you hit the water it gets destroyed. Well, that is no good since everywhere there is water. Some of the automated machines are a pain also, as they can cause you and things around you damage.
I do love the sense of humor in the game. The devs realized that some things were just crazy and they add little nuggets to tell you that it might be a bad idea.
I think with a few updates this game could be awesome. Maybe work on the story some and figure out the dungeons. But the island creation and the crafting are what make it really shine.