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Craftlands Workshoppe Early Access Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 15 - 2020

Master all of the crafts and make some cash along the way. Just don’t forget your permits.

 
There is an irony behind gamers that spend all day working, only to come home and play games that simulate working. Of these working games, store management video games seem to be growing in popularity and popping up all over the place. Craftlands Workshoppe, from Excalibur Games and developer Arvydas ┼Żemaitis is part of the Shoppe Keep series and has just launched onto Steam Early Access, giving potential shopkeepers the chance to start running their business in a floating fantasy world, all as the game continues to develop. Let’s take a look.

 


 
Running a business in the real world will sound a little bit too real for many gamers, wanting to escape from reality. Well, Craftlands Workshoppe is nicely set up to provide that escapism and also drop in a nice dose of silly humour. Set in a fantasy world of floating islands, there is a story involving a magical portal that can only be activated by someone who has mastered all of the different crafting skills. It also just so happens that a store in town has recently been made empty. Any ideas on who could take on the role of shopkeeper?

 
I am a little bit fearful of a game that begins by asking the player which control scheme they want to use. Most games know which control scheme works best, but then may include ways to tweak it through the options menu as the player sees fit. For Craftlands Workshoppe though, the player is presented with a whole bunch of different control methods, all using keyboard and mouse by the way, and asked to choose one. The problem is that none of them feel natural or work how I would want. As a result it takes some effort and concentration before the movement becomes comfortable. While players will get used to whichever method they choose in time, it certainly doesn’t give a good impression of the game to begin with. Still, this is Early Access and hopefully the developer will nail the controls before too long.

 


 
The workshop is a bit of a mess and will take some cleaning up before any kind of serious retail therapy can take place. There are three crafts available in Craftlands Workshoppe to start with, so the player can initially choose from alchemy, blacksmithing or cookery. I would imagine most people wanting to live out their fantasy shop owning dreams would take the blacksmith route as providing an adventurer with a weapon is almost as heroic as whatever the adventurer is going to do with that weapon. Still, each of the three crafts have their own progression and the player will eventually become master of all three.

 
Whatever the player chooses, they will quickly get into the main gameplay loop of crafting items and then selling them in the shop. Customers will come into the shop regularly and eventually the player will have to go and find recipes for new items that the customers want. Eventually, as running the shop is a time sink in itself, the player will have to take on staff in order to free up time to do other things, such as sourcing materials or even doing side quests for some of the quirky characters in the game.

 


 
The humour in Craftlands Workshoppe is slightly on the juvenile side, but a cheap laugh is still a laugh and the world certainly needs laughter. Stores have funny names and the characters that the player will meet are all a little bit odd. Even with a healthy dose of humour, bureaucracy raises its head at every turn with the player having to get permits for pretty much everything, from simply selling stuff to hiring staff. It keeps the game grounded I suppose and adds another level to the management side of things.

 
From a visual side of things, Craftlands Workshoppe is already looking really nice. Seen from an isometric point of view, the simple yet colourful environments are packed with charm. The character models take on that blocky style that has been seen in many other games and has a simple fun about it, while keeping plenty of detail.

 
As an Early Access title, Craftlands Workshoppe will evolve over time. The developer plan for a six month stint in early access, but even at this early point the game is quite playable. The story as the player works towards the secrets of Allcraft will remain a mystery until the game launches, but the crafting and selling loop is already quite satisfying, and it is a fun world to be part of.

 


 
Currently available on Steam Early Access, Craftlands Workshoppe is a quirky take on the shop keeping genre, and is already really fun. There are some things to be addressed before the game launches, but the game is already perfectly playable and will only get better as development progresses. Anyone looking to run a store in a floating fantasy world, become a master of all crafts, and buy loads of permits should check out Craftlands Workshoppe on Steam right now.

 

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