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Palia – Getting Set Up

A while back I wishlisted this game on Steam called Palia. It kind of feels like, Stardew Valley but 3D with MMO elements. There isn’t any combat though. It’s commonly referred to as being a chill and cozy game. This actually came off as kind of appealing in the same way Sky:CotL is appealing. It’s recently been released and I have jumped in to check it out.

The story starts out, with your character, a human, mysteriously appearing in this shrine where you meet the first of several locals in the area. You can tell they are not humans because they are all purple-skinned. Though they all kind of just, look like purple humans. After a bit of talk, it was time to head down to the town to meet more locals and get set up.

It feels a little weird from a plot standpoint. They seem to both consider you, as a human, unique, but also seem to acknowledge that humans keep popping up in this world. Like the plot is at odds with its online world nature.

Anyway, after getting set up with with a basic little plot of land in a little mountain Crater area, it was time to start my life in Palia. It almost feels like they don’t really trust me but hey, I am contained in case they decide I am not useful anymore I guess. The people also provided some starter elements for some of the basics of the gameplay loop. A basic axe for chopping trees, a basic pickaxe for mining, some plots of soil to grow plants in, a simple tent and crafting table.

Like I said, it’s kind of like Stardew Valley. You get land to build on and upgrade, and you work with a variety of townspeople to do little quests.

The starter tent is the most annoying bit here, I am not sure if it’s intentional, but you can’t place crafting equipment in the tent. Which feels like from an aesthetics level, would be the ideal place for it.

The tent didn’t last for long though, after a few quests I gained a house! Or at least, the foundation for a house. Which also lead to needing to work with some more advanced crafting like turning wood into planks and ore into bricks. After collecting the appropriate materials, and waiting 8 hours, I ended up with my first house, which is a little small and boring. But over time it will be soon spruced up a bit I hope.

Halo Series (Season 1 and Season 2)

I’ve finished up watching season 2 of this show. I really hope it gets a Season 3. With COVID and the strike and everything else, who knows. It hasn’t officially been renewed but also hasn’t officially been canceled. I’m not sure what that means overall besides it will probably be several years before the story continues, which kind of sucks. I really love the whole short-season aspect of modern TV, but I don’t understand how that means it also takes 2-3 times longer to make the seasons.

There will be some spoilers for the series in this little write-up, though I am not sure how major they are, mostly because the plot is alright, but it’s nothing super unexpected overall. If anything there may be spoilers for the future via discussion of the game plot.

But enough about that, let’s look at the show itself. And to some extent Halo and the Halo lore. I had some doubts and worries after the first season. I have less doubt and worry after the second season. i am also not some sort of “hardcore” Halo fan, though I’m not sure there are any real die-hard Halo Fans, at least not in a way that would really affect any enjoyment of this show, especially after season 2.

There are reasons to dislike the series I suppose, especially based just on season 1. It does not directly follow the game lore being one. I have not read any of the books, I’ve just played through the games. From what I have read online, the books mostly work with the games and the show isn’t a direct adaptation of any of it.

The game timeline has it’s major beats. The UNSC headquarters planet is taken by the Covenant, commonly referred to as The Fall of Reach, Master Chief (John) then uses data from Cortana to go to the first Halo Ring. The Flood is discovered on the Halo ring and is awakened. Master Chief destroys the Halo ring by overloading the Pillar of Autumn’s core. That’s just through the first game and the later released prequel Halo: Reach. Eventually, there is a civil war inside the Covenant and there are more Halo rings and the Forerunners who created it all get involved etc etc.

The series, so far, has only barely made it to the Halo Ring itself from which the series gets it’s name. The first season sort of just amounts to setting the stage and introducing all of the characters of the series, and their relationships. The second season actually starts to get into more familiar lore. I can only speculate, but I do wonder if this was the original plan and direction, or if they steered this way after some of the iffy backlash from Season 1.

I’m reminded a bit of the Sonic the Hedgehog movies. The trailer for the first movie was revealed, and everyone HATED the design for Sonic. The studio went back and fixed Sonic’s look and the movie came off much better for it. Despite that Sonic was now “less realistic”, he still, just worked, and was familiar, in this world of humans. The plot was still a bit iffy, but they tried. And they learned. The second Sonic movie, was much much more thematically closer to a Sonic story than the first movie and, while the humans were still present, they were literally relegated off to the side by sending them all off to an island, only to have them check in occasionally.

Somewhere, someone learned that for a video game adaptation, while a straight adaptation in many cases won’t work. Who would watch a movie of a CGI Sonic just running fast and collecting rings. Sticking tight to the core concept and aesthetics helps a LOT.

Which is one thing that I think helps the Halo series a lot, especially in Season 2. It really sticks to the aesthetics of Halo. They didn’t give Master Chief some goofy sleek black stealth armor or something, they didn’t turn the Warthogs into Jeeps or something they could use as ad placement, they didn’t change the Covenant to be some weird human-looking aliens in armor so something to make the CGI easier. Everything, visually, is very much Halo.

Though I keep feeling like the CGI budget really is holding things back a bit here. I know, that probably feels odd given just how much CGI there is, but a lot of the CGI is static backdrops and cityscapes. There is action, but it’s often set up in a way that masks the, likely expensive to produce, Covenant. This is a lot more obvious in the first season. The series spends a lot of time getting people to talk in rooms, or have fights between humans.

Which kind of brings up probably the most controversial part of this whole series. Though it’s one that is fairly easy to get over.

Master Chief removes his helmet. Not only that he removes his suit. We see him completely out of his suit more than we see him in his suit. I can already see how they will remove him from his suit in Season 3 by having 343 Guilty Spark do some repairs on the armor or something after the climactic battle at the end of Season 2.

In general, it’s kind of a necessary evil for a few reasons.

One, unlike the game, where Master Chief serves as an avatar for the player, here, he has to stand on his own. Like the Sonic example above, just having Master Chief shoot aliens for 8 episodes each season wouldn’t make for a very compelling series. A series needs characters and drama and interaction between them to keep engagement. Of course, it’s easy to point to The Mandalorian as a way to make this work, but even there, he takes off his helmet. He shows us he is a man underneath. He also has Grogu hanging around to provide visual context to the audience for reactions the main character cannot make.

But then, this is a game series, where there is a scene, of Master Chief removing his helmet, to reveal, a SECOND helmet underneath.

I went through the fake outrage moment of the helmet reveal, and I still feel like there are several places where “Maybe you should have kept your damn armor on John” in the story for sure. But it’s honestly, easy to overlook because it helps us care about this Master Chief.

And that’s kind of the key, It’s “This Master Chief”. He is not the Master Chief of the games. Heck, this Master Chief feels almost like someone the game Master Chief would see as a villain. The game Master Chief kind of felt like someone who was gun-ho patriotic with the UNSC but this Master Chief is rapidly transforming into a sort of rogue agent outlaw.

His lack of armor also helps keep the story interesting. Master Chief is undoubtedly very very strong when armored up and at full strength. Almost unstoppably so. He is still strong without it, but it helps create that conflict and drama that the show needs. Because Chief can’t just walk into any room and destroy everyone inside without breaking a sweat, he needs to rely on his team and his friends. It helps push that he is a good leader. In the games, you pick up plenty of faceless marines along your journey to serve this purpose, but this really doesn’t work in a show format for the same reason Sonic just collecting rings for 2 hours doesn’t.

I’ve started to ramble a bit, but I want to shift gears a bit to some other changes. One of my biggest problems with Season 1 was the character of Kwan Ha. Not so much because she is a bad character, but because she kind of felt like her entire plot line was just, completely random and had nothing to do with anything. If my previously mentioned speculation is at all accurate, it feels like maybe the showrunners ended up realizing this as well. Kwan sort of feels like she gets a bit of a new direction in Season 2. There is brief mention that her planet, Madrigal has fallen to the Covenant early on, but she was made out to be too important to just be dumped, so she lives on as a character living in the subplots of the show. There is some “mysterious things” going on with Chief and Makee (more in a bit) and the Covenant and the Forerunners, etc. It kind of feels like maybe Kwan Ha is being set up to fall into this Mystery as well. She ends up being kind of important to working with Miranda Keys and Halsey on unlocking some key plot points that will certainly become important in the future. I see why they can’t just write her out, and hope they can make her a bit more interesting and meaningful though.

Then we have Makee. I actually completely forgot what happened to Makee in Season 1, though they mention that she was assumed dead by Kai’s hand. Apparently not. Makee is another “show only” character. She is kind of the only real major “show-only” character besides Kwan Ha. Sure, John also has his Spartan Team, but Spartan Teams are not uncommon, and giving Master Chief a team with personality isn’t really that weird. Makee is still kind of weird. She is basically like John, a human with Forerunner genes. But it’s not super clear why she continues to hang out with The Covenant. The Covenant clearly do not want her around beyond manipulating her for control of the Halo. Most of them just want to go ahead and off her. She seems to have to spend a lot of effort to manipulate the Covenant into thinking she is worth keeping around, and it kind of feels like simply, defecting to the humans would really be the better option.

Granted most of the Humans in charge are kind of shitty assholes. I mean, they are trying to actively kill Master Chief and all and… well, maybe defecting wouldn’t actually work out any better… I guess.

She just strikes me as a weird character in a weird place, and half of her purpose is to maybe eventually be a love interest for Master Chief because the showrunners don’t like that Chief basically only loves Cortana. Good news, now he has like, 3 potential love interests, with Kai, and Perez and Makee!

I want to address possibly the biggest actual spoiler of this little write-up briefly. I’m mentioning this and adding a little buffer for anyone who really wants to avoid all potential spoilers. Basically, I’ll throw some filler lines in here after the warning, then just start talking about it. Skip ahead if you care about spoiler spoilers, probably for the next few paragraphs because I’m going to make some Season 3 predictions, but it’s also nothing new to anyone familiar with Halo lore. The Flood has been introduced a bit earlier. And they are pretty Floody. I wondered if and how they might handle the Flood. Mostly because, in general, the Flood is not real popular, even in the game lore. The Covenant are an interesting opponent, they have a whole society based very very heavily around their alien religion, they have hierarchies, and interesting designs etc. The Flood are just, annoying blobby hoard-mode zombies. They are kind of a necessary evil though, because the entire purpose of the Halo Ring as a weapon is to destroy the Flood’s food source (All life in the galaxy).

So where does the show go from here?

My Season 3 Predictions

Just based on things that have happened and things that are, elements of the games, that would work better with the pacing and needs of a television series. We finally made it to the Halo Ring, and we know that 343 Guilty Spark will exist (The robot eye at the end that controls the Halo Ring for the Forerunners that was interrogating Master Chief). We have the Flood now on Onyx. I doubt Kai is actually dead, I feel like she will wake up floating in space and end up on the Ring with John. Master Chief’s armor was pretty banged up during his fight with the Arbiter, Guilty Spark will take it and do some repairs/upgrades, as a way of getting John out of his armor for most of the season.

The UNSC will fight the Covenant on the ring, mostly off-screen while John and Makee have some chats inside the ring about its purpose and their own purpose as “Blessed ones”. Eventually Chief will emerge again and he will need to stop the Ring from activating. Or they will maybe use it to purge the Flood from Onyx. Eventually though he will need to stop the Ring from wiping out humanity as Guilty Spark chooses to side with Makee instead of John. Kai still has the spike device and will destroy the ring by using the Spike on a covenant ship, similar to how in the game’s Chief destroys the Pillar of Autumn.

I suspect the Flood will be limited to Onyx. Zombies are kind of popular in media, but they are kind of on the way out a bit. Plus nobody likes The Flood. Halsey was infected but put into cryostasis by Miranda. Soren will get his chance to be a Spartan again to rescue her, and they will end up having to flee to the inside of the planet where the Forerunner city is located. This will mean more lore dumps. Because they are inside the shell of the planet, they will be protected from the Halo Ring destroying the Flood on the planet. This will also set up a Forerunner arc in Season 4.

Also, we will be introduced to Thel ‘Lobdamee, who will become the new Arbiter, and take up his part as the “good guy Covenant” from the games. To replace the Arbiter killed by Chief at the end of Season 2. I had some thought that maybe the existing Arbiter may play this role, and he may have survived being stabbed, but Chief would never forgive him for killing Vannak so that really wouldn’t work out in the long term. I’m also not sure they will ever actually introduce this character, since Makee kind of serves this role in the lore. Makee isn’t really a fighter at all though.

The budget seems to get better each Season so far, so hopefully if there is a Season 3, we will see a lot more Covenant fighting across the Halo Ring. Also Grunts. WHERE ARE THE GRUNTS. Maybe they just, don’t fit thematically with the seriousness of the show.

One last thing I want to add for the potential success of this series is that my wife, who is not a gamer, and doesn’t know anything about Halo, seems to mostly enjoy the show. Which is goes to show that it’s a pretty good adaptation if it’s able to keep someone who isn’t in it because they like the game, at least somewhat interested in it.

What I’ve Been Playing – Idling For Hats Edition

A new year, a new time to try to build new habits. Hah ha ha, yeah right… probably. Anyway, I picked up a slew of new-ish games over the holidays in various sales, and I look forward to forgetting that I wanted to play them over the next few months. Off the top of my head, I picked up, yet to really play, Spider-man Miles Morales, Alan Wake 2 and Alan Wake Remastered, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Plus some cheapies in bundles or randomly, A bunch of Oddworld Games, Need for Speed Payback, Tron 2.0, Karateka. This doesn’t even include the whack of free games from Epic, though of those I only really care about Saints Row, Deathloop, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

I might be a bit slow getting going on these though as I’m doing some work-related training in the evenings 3 nights a week for most of January.

Spider-Man Remastered

I bought this one back at the start of December. I’ve since finished it. I started on some of the DLC, but I’m not really sure I’ll bother doing much more. I really enjoyed the gameplay in this one, but the combat is kind of super repetitious. It’s just the same 3 or 4 enemies in groups but in different outfits depending on the stage of the story.

The game itself is fun, the story is decent, I made the stupid assumption about the end boss not being in the game because, unlike all the other big villains, there wasn’t an explicit achievement. It did a pretty good job of weaving together several unrelated subplots all into one larger narrative. Swinging and running around the city is fun, but it starts to feel a bit slow after a while.

Spider-Man Miles Morales

If I am going to do more of the same Spider-Man, I may as well mix it up, which is why I’ve started on the “Not number 2 but still a sequel” game of Spider-Man Miles Morales. Miles shows up in the first game, and you play as him a few times, as not Spider-man. There is a subplot that sets up Miles gaining his powers and then this game lets you play as him. It’s the same map with a few changes, and the same basic combat with a few new additions, but it’s basically more of the same. I’ve only done one major mission and the game says I am 22% done with the main story, so I guess it’s pretty short compared to the first.

The first isn’t that long either really, it just has a ton of optional mini-missions you can do scattered across the map.


I decided to give Deathloop a quick try, it was a freebie from the holidays. In the 10-15 minutes I played, it kept losing the controls. Repeatedly. I don’t know if it’s something I was doing or if it’s just THAT buggy, but the experience was pretty awful.

Hogwarts Legacy

I played a bit of Hogwarts Legacy again. I really enjoy this game, but it’s taking up space on my drive, and I want to uninstall it, but I need to play up to the last achievement with a Ravenclaw character. It’s really odd just how tedious replaying this is. I am not real sure why it’s like that, but even skipping the cut scenes and rushing, I just don’t want to keep going. I think it took me like 2 hours to do this as Gryphondor and Hufflepuff, but somehow this last run is just so annoying. But I don’t want to reinstall it, I want to finish this and be done.


The game I am not playing, but making progress on. I’m super burnt out on Fortnite, but because I had a screw sub from the last season, I got this season pass. Most of the skins are pretty meh, but it has Solid Snake or will have Solid Snake. A lot of people are going crazy for Peter Griffin, but I don’t care about that at all.

I also have not written about the new Rhythm game or Race game, because both are pretty lame. LEGO is, ok, I’ve gotten a bit better hang of it, but it’s still pretty tedious. The new modes are great for leveling up though. I’ve never leveled so fast in a season ever. In Fortnite LEGO and Fortnite Festival Jam stage, you can load it, and walk away and gain about 5-6 levels a day, for EACH mode. I’m already something like level 165, but I’ve stopped for now until Snake drops. Also, occasionally I kind of need to drop in to catch up on the Weekly quests for those item drops.

It’s like back in Team Fortress 2, when you could idle for hats.

All I wan to add is the pricing on the cosmetics, especially for the new modes, is fucking bonkers nuts. You can buy a Lambo in Fortnite and play their mediocre Mark Kart clone, or for the same price you could buy Forza Horizon 4 (on sale), and get infinite Lambos and a real racing experience on a large, open-world map. The music tracks are like 3x the price of buying the track itself in MP3, and the game mode needs some tweaks to make it playable (lanes should be different colors).

Sky: Children of the Light

I’ve shifted into a weird phase with Sky. It’s brought on by the Steam version being available. I’ve now shifted to alts and mechanical farming mode. I’ve got like 5 or 6 total accounts now, one being my main account. I spend a short bit each day, generally in the morning when I would have been eating breakfast (which I am not at the moment, but that’s for a BI post later), where I’ll log into each account, send my main a Heart, and farm out 3-4 candles, to replace the candles I’ve spent on the heart. Two of these accounts have a pile of reserve candles now because the season ended, so if I am feeling time crunched, I’ll just eat into those.

Hearts are one of several in-game currencies. The only way to get them is to be sent one from a friend, at the cost of 3 candles, once per day, or to gather bits of light sent from friends, which I think takes like 60 bits. Getting these normally, is a pain, even with a lot of friends, because half the time, they don’t send you anything even when you send it to them, because who wants to spend their candles on strangers? You can only get like 20-25 candles per day, and Candles are the main currency.

Anyway, I did some rough math, to complete just the main tree, none of the Traveling Spirits trees, I need like 1000+ hearts. Even with 4-5 accounts feeding me hearts daily, that’s 200 days. You start throwing in events and Traveling Sprits, it’s easily a year of farming.

I will probably give up before I get there, but it’s a little nuts. Granted, the bulk of this is the handful of Ultimate Capes, which tend to run 100-200 Hearts each.

I may look into automating the candle and heart farming with some automation tools later, so it just sort of, happens. It would be pretty easy to use some sort of input macro tools to log in, run to a handful of regular candle sources, and send the Hearts.

Part of this exercise in creating accounts also meant running through the game some to unlock areas. Twice now, I’ve done a no cape run, once as a test, and once recorded, which can be viewed in it’s entirety below.

What I’ve Been Playing – Web Slinger Edition

Another day, another time I remeber I was going to post more often about gaming habits. Maybe one day I will start posting about Toy habits too. for now, I’ll stick to games. Let’s look at the pseudo staples.


Oh Fortnite, how I love to hate thee. The whole of the OG Season has come and gone since my last post, which is kind of sad, I didn’t realize it had been that long. Granted, it was a shortened season. I went back to my “trying to wind down” strategy on the Battle Pass, If I finished it before the season ended, I would buy in, since you get more V-bucks back than it costs. And I did manage to make it to level 50 something. Weirdly, after the end of the season, I was awarded the last two bonus styles that I had not earned. So that was cool, I guess. The Mix-up skins really didn’t interest me beyond sort of the customizable one.

The season itself was interesting, but it kind of sucks that the already mostly non-existent lore of Fortnite has basically just, completely vanished. There was some sort of build-up in Chapter 4 about a time machine, then suddenly we are back on a modified “OG” map. Except it was like, Ch1 S5 or something, so not even the original original map. I have no nostalgia like many folks for this early map, but the map was ok-ish. Kind of too much wide open spaces for my liking. Plus I like a lot of the newer mechanics and gimmicks.

But now things have moved on to Chapter 5, and I’m kind of torn, because, the pass skins seem kind of neat, but I am just kind of, tired of playing again. Plus they have added three new modes, each with their own ball of FOMO and grind. The game doesn’t respect my time, so I have no interest in playing it anymore. I’ll probably try to write up some thoughts on the new modes, so far I have just done the LEGO mode. They are all kind of neat, but I’m just, not really feeling it.

Sky: Children of the Light

The best part of the PC version is that it’s much easier to manage a few alts to get hearts. Hearts are a PAIN to get, and you can’t even buy them if you wanted to. Plus there was a “Double Hearts” event for Heart gifts, so I managed to buy several of the heart currency items. Which was cool, for a bit. Then the Fireworks event going on gave out a budget version of the Heart currency Fireworks staff. And a traveling spirit came along, offering a much nicer black-colored cape, versus the Heart currency black cape. So in the end it was a bit fruitless, but at least I am bit closer to completing the trees.

Otherwise, it’s just been the normal stuff, though the new Aviary home area seems like it could be pretty nice. It is much larger and more robust for features as a central hub than the old bare-bones island.


Black Friday week, Fanatical was doing their “Better than Steam Sales” sales, plus coupons and such. I bought a couple of games, though so far I have only been playing through Spider-Man Remastered. I’m maybe, 60-70% through the main game. I have not done any of the DLC but I can’t imagine the DLC is that complex. It’s been a lot of fun, though combat is starting to get a bit repetitive. Traveling around the city is a little repetitive as well, though at least I can fast-travel if needed.

The Taskmaster Drone missions are “kind of bull shit”. But that’s just recent frustrations talking. I may have to look into getting the Miles Morales game around the holidays if there is another blowout sale moment again.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

Speaking of Black Friday deals, Google was doing $!/month for 6 months or something on the Play Pass thing. I’ve been considering subscribing to it anyway at regular price, so this is a good way to test it out. The Layton ports were all part of that deal, so I have been playing through the first one again. It’s kind of nice that I don’t really remember the puzzles, so they are, for the most part, fresh and new. The port seems to work pretty well, though considering it was on the touch-screen-based Nintendo DS, that makes sense that it would work.

LEGO Fortnite First Impressions

Fortnite is launching several new game modes with the advent of Chapter 5. The impression I’ve gotten is that these are supposed to be more or less permanent fixtures like Battle Royale and Save the World. The first of which to drop was LEGO Fortnite. This one kind of feels like the largest one because it includes LEGO Mini figure versions of many many skins and completely new gameplay in large worlds. Not all of the skins have LEGO versions, but they seem to plan to add them all over time. If you already own a particular skin, then you get the LEGO version of that skin, usable in the LEGO mode.

LEGO Fortnite isn’t just “Battle Royale with LEGO skins”. I’ve seen it described as being “Minecraft but it’s LEGO”. From what I’ve played, it seems more like a LEGO version of the popular Viking survival game Valheim. Honestly, aside from the occasional sound effects, nothing much about it even feels like Fortnite at all, which is kind of weird. Even the landscaping and trees, which use a non-LEGO style don’t really feel like Fortnite exactly. I would really love to know some of the juicy business details behind whatever made this happen because it really feels like LEGO could have just made a stand-alone game. I get why EPIC wanted this added, they are trying to make Fortnite into their Metaverse play, and much more than just “Battle Royale”.

So, I know there are quite a few of these “survival sandbox” sort of games, but most of my experience is with Minecraft and Valheim, so those are what I have to compare things to here. Like Minecraft, you can create a world that is either creative or survival. Like Minecraft, in Creative you get access to all the parts and just get to build as free as you want, in Survival, you have to forage for everything. The survival part feels a lot more like Valheim. The resources are much more limited than Minecraft, and it’s more about actual foraging than digging up every block on the map. Which is why it feels like Valheim, with its central village base that you explore out of, and it’s more realistic gathering methods.

Everything centers around upgrading your village, which lets you gather more and more villagers, which are just NPC LEGO versions of popular Fortnite characters. The whole gimmick is a little hazy. To get a villager to stay, they seem to require you give them a bed, which is simple enough, but also that your village be a certain level. They will show up and gather around your central square statue until you officially recruit them. Even when not recruited, they pretty much just act like every other NPC though, defending the village and hanging around the area not doing much.

You can give them jobs to gather resources, but that doesn’t seem to actually DO anything from what I can tell. I have no idea where the resources go, if anywhere, and when you “ask about their job”, they just answer that they just started and have not done anything yet. However, when you assign it, they say they will be done in one day cycle.

It’s also clear and not clear how to upgrade your base. There are clear-cut needs, like a certain number of stones or wood, but also a vague, “Improve your village”. Which I think it related to how much you have built within the little circle area around the central post.

Like many of these games, there is a day/night cycle. Mobs are not limited to only nighttime, but there are MORE mobs at night. And this kind of brings up my first gripe with this game mode. You are REDICULOUSLY WEAK. There does seem to be a way to craft more health, I have yet to unlock a way to craft armor or better weapons, if there even is one. You have three health hearts, which can tick away in quarter increments, but for things like Wolves, they hit very hard for almost half your health, and for the skeletons at night, it’s easy to rapidly become overwhelmed, as they move much faster than you do. The balance here just feels, way off.

The skeletons also have a pretty huge aggro range, which means they will start swarming your village regularly. Thankfully, they don’t seem to really damage anything and the NPCs seem to be indestructible so they can kill the skeletons easily. Also, when you die, you will just respawn in your village, so you can quickly recover your lost loot. I have tried spreading campfires all over to light the area, but it doesn’t seem to really help. Also, campfires seem to be the only real way to make light. You can toss down torches, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to place them like in Minecraft. I crafted some candles around but they don’t really seem to DO anything.

Since we are on Campfires, it’s probably worth mentioning the weird temperature mechanic of the game. I’m sure there is a way to become too hot, but when it rains, you can become cold, which is bad. The game tells you this, it’s basically, “Get to shelter.” Standing next to a campfire does not work. You would think it would, but it does not keep you warm in the rain. It also does not heal you like in Fortnite BR either, it just provides light. You also can’t build or interact with anything in the rain. This all is a bit annoying because the best solution is to build a giant roof over your entire village, which feels a bit, not very village-like.

Between the coldness and the mobs being overpowered, you will often spend many nights just standing around waiting. Which is boring. In theory, you could use that time crafting things, but the game is very resource-stingy. You could build, but that also requires resources. And going out to the dark edges of the village to build, means probably aggroing in 10 skeletons.

The lack of resources also really adds to the tediousness of it all. I mean, sure, the idea is to get you out into the world, but then you run into another issue. Inventory management is absolutely atrocious. Your 24-slot backpack fills very quickly with things of dubious usefulness. Ok, sure, you can just dump stuff. Maybe you want to keep things, well, there are chests for this. Small chests with 8 slots in them. So you’re probably going to need a room full of chests. Chests themselves are kind of costly to build though, since resources are hard to get, making chests can feel costly. Also working against you, tools break very quickly, so you will be burning resources making fresh axes and picks and swords.

But it’s a survival game, those are more just complaints about the game having gameplay, so I can accept them. But managing all of this is even worse. items don’t automatically group and stack, for example. They stack to stacks of 30 or so. Say your chest has 4 of an item, you “deposit all” on a stack of 5. It now takes up two slots. You can manually stack them, but the entire point of quick keyboard shortcuts here is not to have to hassle with manual sorting. That 5 stack should drop into that 4 stack and make a 9 pile on its own. This feels nitpicky, but when you constantly have to do it, it gets old, very fast.

Exploring itself doesn’t feel very rewarding either. The main driver is gathering wood or rock, which is a constant need. But sometimes there are special encounters. you might find a ruined building or a small pack of bandits, or these little glowing butterflies that lead you to a chest. The rewards are almost never good though. Often just berries you can find anywhere.

I should probably mention the game servers/worlds themselves. Like most of these games, the map is procedurally generated. I have not explored out to the edges, but they may be infinite, I am not sure on that one yet. You can invite other players to join you as well, which is a popular aspect of these sorts of games. According to the game, you can hand out keys to a limited number of people to allow them to play without your presence, otherwise, the world ends when you leave. There also isn’t any additional cost to running a world/server, which is a bit surprising considering Minecraft has things like Realms that you can pay for, and even running a game outside of that means a host of some kind and a cost. Then again, they also host all of those creative mode maps as well. “Free Hosting” is kind of Fortnite’s gimmick I guess.

I feel like a lot of my complaints are about how this survival game expects me to survive. And to some extent they are, but the real underlying complaint is balance. The game world is all cutesy and LEGO, but also it’s hard and restrictive on what it gives you. The harsh survival part of these games is supposed to be at the higher-end areas, or when you explore out deep into the world, not, literally while you are in your own home base.

The game just sort of, feels at odds with itself. It’s stingy on resources to encourage exploring, but the enemies are very tough so you never feel confident enough to go on a long trip anywhere. There are bonuses and special chests around, but they never give worthwhile loot. I mentioned Valheim, this is all part of why I could never really get into Valheim, it all just felt so egregiously annoying for the sake of annoyingness.