Miniland Adventure is a 2D isometric survival and building game developed by Imilkowski and published by Gameparic and PlayWay. The game is set for release on Steam on April 10, 2023, and I have been playing early thanks to Gameparic. It’s a game very similar to Minecraft and Stardew Valley, but you start on a very small island with no instructions. Each day you are given a set of land tiles that you can place wherever you like to expand your lands. You start with very little and must collect resources, build items and survive through days and nights. The simple soundtrack and gameplay made for many a cozy chill out gaming night as I learned more each new game I played.
When starting a new game, you can choose whether it will be survival mode or creative mode. Creative mode has you starting with obsidian weapons and every crafting item available without having to farm resources. Starting with things like a sharp stone, a cup, a watering can and some radish, we have a 3×3 square block of grassy land. In my case, I had some trees and two sheep with me. I chopped down the trees to collect wood and acorns which I ate. Aside from health hearts, you also must watch your thirst and hunger meters. You can use your cup and drink straight sea water, but it depletes your hunger meter fast.
Inventory works like most survival games where you have up to 6 active items you can hold in your hand and use and then limited inventory space for everything else. Pressing TAB opens your inventory and shows a crafting menu for simple items like turning logs into planks or sticks, crafting a workbench, and other things. We don’t have many resources at all starting off, so the only thing to make is a workbench using planks and sticks. Once the workbench is down, it adds another layer of crafting items. With the workbench we can now build a storage chest as well as other crafting tables.
Despite playing the tutorial prior to commencing my first proper game, I still forgot a key element of the game. Pressing ‘T’ brings up a tutorial book that gives you a tonne of helpful tips, which reminded me to press spacebar to enter world editing mode. Each day we are given several land tiles that we can choose to place in order to expand our lands. In my case I had 6 tree tiles and 2 stone tiles. Placing these expanded my land and each tile you place has procedurally generated layouts based on those biomes.
In the top left of the screen is a day/night meter. As the day goes on towards dusk, the screen starts to darken and eventually once nighttime falls, we can see the outlines of our lands but only the tiles directly next to our character are lit up. It’s like we have a permanent torch attached to us which I was thankful for as I didn’t want to have to deal with crafting torches all the time. You can still craft torches, which I added a couple around my crafting stations, and they do help illuminate dark caves below the ground, but you can get away without them if resources are low. You can continue collecting resources and crafting at night-time if you wish, otherwise if you have crafted yourself a bed, you can sleep the night away which I thought was a good option.
Eventually I had built enough crafting stations to be able to create a stone axe, a pickaxe, a sword and a spear. I saw I could create better versions of those, but I hadn’t found any ores yet. After a couple of days had passed, I was adding some new land tiles and one of them had a ladder. This takes you underground to a cave where I was able to mine ores and start to craft more intricate items. It was here where I started to create a little house for myself with a small room with walls and a door, a bed to sleep, a flowerpot and other such things.
By now it was day 4, and I had been warned that monsters would be coming on day 4. Sure enough, up popped some snowman monsters in my snow land tiles, as well as some skeletons in the grassy forest tiles. The snowmen were easily dispatched with my sword, but the skeletons were a lot harder. I took out a couple but died. When you die, you drop everything you were carrying and respawn on your first tile. You need to run back to pick up everything you dropped, but it does not put everything you had equipped back into your active quick slots. I died again trying to get my sword out fast enough, and then died a second time as I realised my sword was destroyed as it has low durability. I will know for next time to have spare weapons ready and enough pack space to handle a quick resupply.
Later in the game you can create saddles and mount animals to get around faster, and you will have Goblins join your lands. They will follow you around unless you craft goblin beds/rooms for them. You can trade with them but only once you have gained enough favour with them by crafting things they like. If you’re into farming you can grow and nourish your own crops, and essentially build a little thriving village for yourself. Even though there are monsters to deal with, it’s quite a relaxing game to play. For such a simple looking game from the outside, it is still quite involved and a lot of fun to learn and expand.
If you like your survival games with a mix of flavours from Minecraft, Stardew Valley, Forager and others, Miniland Adventure is a great game to unwind after a busy day. Don’t let the pixel art form an assumption that this is an easy game to overlook. There’s plenty of complexity to survival and crafting mechanics, especially once you start heading underground. Obtaining new land tiles each day meant expanding was exciting and purposeful.
This review utilised a key provided by Gameparic and Miniland Adventure will launch on April 10, 2023, on Steam.