Platform(s): Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: May 9th, 2012
I've got to hand it to Mojang, when it comes to Minecraft, only one word comes to mind – innovation. Everything you ever loved about games like The Sims, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing has been packaged into a single streamlined experience and ported to the Xbox 360. All the fun comes at a steep XBLA price of $20, but Mojang has promised regular updates since launch. At the end of 2011, Minecraft was officially released for the PC and received impressive sales and a positive critical response. Six months later, we have Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. While it doesn't have all of the same game modes as its PC counterpart, I found it way easier and way faster to pick up on the console through its in-game tutorials. Four player split-screen and eight player co-op over Xbox Live make up for the lack of features at launch.
- Randomly generated worlds to explore and create in
- Easy to pick-up and play tutorials
- Four-player split-screen co-op
- Eight-player online co-op
- Great re-playability
- Not as many modes as PC version
- After several updates, no new modes
- Limited world space of 1024 x 1024 blocks
I was skeptical about Minecraft in its beta stages. It seemed like an interesting premise, but I had yet to fully grasp its addictive gameplay - until I played it for the 360. In a console style, Minecraft retains the fun of exploration and mining, killing pigs to cook pork chops using a furnace, and giving your character new weapons and upgrades. The main goal of the game is to survive. You will need shelter for when night time comes and a variety of monsters - ranging from fast, explosive, Creepers to slow-moving zombies.
During the day, you can get a lot done, including cathartic activities such as fishing, cutting down trees for wood, or saddling a pig and riding it around. The world is literally your oyster! But when night falls, and you are new to the game, you will need to mine in order to get better equipment, so when night comes again, you'll be properly prepared to kick butt!
Mining deeper into the worlds of Minecraft is as relaxing as any other activity within the game. The soundtrack is simple and reminiscent of The Sims or any other "life emulating" game, but adds a sense of wonder to the entire experience. The only time I found myself stressing out was when I heard the moaning and shuffling of enemies outside my fortress. Exploring deeper into Minecraft's worlds can be as fun as building things on the surface. There is a lot of flexibility and no one specific way to play the game.
People's personalities really shine through when playing online. When you have eight people sharing a world, a good group will each do their own thing independently to help the community at large. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bad group will try screw you out of precious minerals, food, or other amenities and you either have to deal with it or join another game. Personally, I found the four-player, split-screen co-op much more enjoyable than the online. Nobody wants to sit down in a living room and watch their friends play games like Animal Crossing, but if they can be a part of that world, Minecraft can be a major time sink.
My major criticism of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition is that, after three months, we haven't seen new modes. Only a single character skins pack. Updates have included minor and major fixes to problems and issues, but I found myself neglecting to play the game unless I had a friend over to join me. Setting your own goals in a randomly-generated world full of character and charm, like Minecraft, is something that many games of this generation can learn from. There's just something about both the simplicity and complexity of Minecraft's gameplay that I found so intriguing. It's a connection to a game that cannot be easily explained - it has to be experienced. That is why I can overlook the missing game modes, and appreciate a fun and innovative core game.
Review by Michael Engle
|Final Score||“Endless re-playability”||8.0|
Blocky and cute – the graphics don’t impress, but they don’t have to. They harken back to a time when games were simpler. Very refreshing.
If you love simple, fun, and addictive games, this will keep you occupied for quite a while. Joining eight player online games is easy and playing split-screen with your friends is a blast!
The world is yours to mine and explore! Create anything you can imagine and discover randomly generated block worlds. Endless re-playability, but limited modes and options for modding.
I was thoroughly impressed with the soundtrack. Soothing and appropriate, but some of the sounds the creatures make can become a tad annoying.