I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild later than most. In fact, I was hot off of it back in 2020, desperately seeking another game in that vein. Well, desperately is perhaps overstating things…

Anyway, when most people were scratching their post-Breath of the Wild itch with Genshin Impact, I got tipped off to the existence of Craftopia. I was curious to see how its initial similarities to BotW would land, especially since Genshin Impact had so quickly begun to grate at my sensibilities. So when I purchased the early access edition of Craftopia on Steam, I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, the early part of that access was, in no loose terms, a bit of an understatement, as Craftopia very much felt like a proof of concept at times. To be fair, there was a playable game there, and in some ways it did manage to recreate some of Breath of the Wild‘s standout mechanics, like the glider and being able to climb up most surfaces in the game world.

But it’s perhaps no surprise that, without the financial coffers of Nintendo, Craftopia lacked polish. Nintendo games are, if nothing else, extremely polished, because they have the capital to deliver on that front. Now, I don’t really know anything about Pocket Pair, Inc., the studio behind Craftopia, but I think it’s safe to say they don’t have the bank account that Mario built, and as such, expectations should be tempered.

That being said, Craftopia (at least in those early months) felt more like a confluence of ideas strewn together in the hopes of later being cobbled together into a cohesive whole where its mechanics would be fleshed out and more fully supported.


I haven’t really returned to Craftopia after my initial time with the game, back when it really was just a crafting and building game (where the only reasons to actually build anything were for the sake of building them or because the game told me to). There really wasn’t much of a story — you’d make a character, wake up on a pier, and encounter a number of NPCs that explain game mechanics before sending you off to the crafting races. There are enemies and monsters to encounter and defeat, as well as several different biomes to explore, but ultimately, Craftopia was just a skeleton of systems without muscle tissue or fat to give it any actual heft.

But now that Craftopia has hit Xbox’s Game Preview program via Game Pass, I am looking forward to firing it up on my newly acquired Xbox Series S. I plan on sitting back in my bed (the S is hooked up in the bedroom, where all good secondary consoles should be), using a dedicated controller scheme, and seeing what (if anything) has changed in the interim. I’m even hoping that I might even experience a more fully-fledged experience than what I found in my previous game time.

And heck, even if really nothing has changed, being able to play it in a more relaxed setting — instead of at my computer desk using a fricking keyboard — might just give me a whole new appreciation for what was there to begin with. And yes, I know Steam supports controllers for the most part, but that oftentimes feels more functional than dedicated. On an actual console, I’m hoping for a more finely-tuned controller layout.

The Game Preview trailer for Craftopia certainly looks epic as hell, but then again, so did the original trailer that got me excited enough to buy the game the first time. But since Craftopia Game Preview is included with Game Pass, there really is no reason not to give it go.

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