ReviewsPreview: Vexlands

Preview: Vexlands


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Vexlands is a colourful pixelated adventure that focuses on a basic gameplay loop. As such, this mindless title is wonderfully casual and easy to pick up. However, it is oddly addictive, and I adored the element of chance. Yet, this Early Access title is riddled with game-breaking bugs. Consequently, it was often 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards.

This luck-infused adventure title was developed and published by Apogee Entertainment. What’s more, this pixelated affair has some survival and base-building elements. Accordingly, there is plenty to do, even if the core concepts are ridiculously understated.

Find coins and unlock each tile.
Spend your coins to expand the map.

Vexlands tells a tale of cursed lands. 

The action opens with the protagonist standing on a barren tile. Surrounded by a fog of war, the hero must decide which way to turn. However, there is a cruel twist! Each of the surrounding tiles hides a mystery. What’s more, unlocking each space costs gold. As such, you must hope that luck is on your side as you reveal treasure, resources, and monsters.

The Vexlands environment is a horrible and unforgiving place. This cursed world is crawling with monsters. Furthermore, there are dungeons to explore, relics to find, and a mystery to solve. Yet, surviving long enough and finding the right resources is no easy task. Subsequently, you best have the luck of the Irish if you wish to succeed.

Pole dancers grind less than this.

I don’t mind a game that centres around resource gathering. Yet, I don’t want it to monopolise the action. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens in Vexlands. Every progressive element is determined by the resources you hold. Whether you must sell them to explore further, or whether you need to build new tools or buildings, it all requires resources. This wouldn’t be so bad, however, pole dancers grind less than this game!

As the game opens up, there are other tasks to complete. You’ll be asked to look after animals, explore dungeons, find relics, and kill monsters. Yet, each of these additional tasks is too simple. Consequently, you complete these goals quickly and return to the grind cycle. As such, the action is repetitive but relaxing. Accordingly, though it didn’t challenge me, I enjoyed the casual approach. 

This dungeon in Vexlands is hot and dangerous.
Hot, hot, hot!

So many bugs. 

Early Access games are renowned for their teething issues. However, this one takes the biscuit. Sadly, every time I played it, I discovered a new problem. Some of the bugs were amusing, but more often than not, they were game-breaking. Consequently, that is not acceptable. 

In its current state, you can expect to lose items and become trapped. Additionally, your character progress will be reset or your base will completely vanish. However, these problems pale into insignificance when you consider the multiple data wipes I experienced. Hours of gameplay were lost for no reason whatsoever. As such, every fun layer was washed away by a tsunami of rage and angst.

Vexlands is a pixelated dream. 

Though the issues hold it back, Vexlands does a great job with its presentation. I loved the varied landscapes and the often deadly cataclysmic events. Furthermore, the pixelated art style was brilliantly retro. On top of this, I admired the sprites and the simple but effective UI. 

The audio delivers a blend of drama and serenity. Moreover, the sound effects were basic but acceptable. The whimsy music smooths over the slower mundane elements of the gameplay. Accordingly, you’ll happily play this for a few mindless hours. 

Use a boat to cross the water.
Take a boat to a new island.

Simple controls. 

The developer has done a great job with their control system. The early stages work as a soft tutorial to help with the fundamentals. From this point, you no longer need any help as the game unfolds nicely. Alongside this, the inputs are responsive and this helps mitigate some of the grinding elements. 

Vexlands uses a seed system for its world map. As such, no playthrough is ever the same. This was a simple but impressive move that enhanced longevity and replay value. However, the unfortunate bugs hold it back. Consequently, the current build is too flawed for anyone to experience everything that’s on offer.

Vexlands could be a great title. 

I was impressed and disappointed by Vexlands. The core concept is relaxing, enjoyable, and mindless. Furthermore, I adored the luck-infused mechanics and the vast surrounding world. Yet, I cannot forgive the game-breaking bugs and the flawed action. As such, I’d probably let this cook a little longer before you invest. However, more information can be found here! Can you solve the mystery of this cursed place? Uncover the tiles, gather your resources, and unearth every mystery. 

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email:

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