Review: Minecraft
by Twentydragon (11)
January 21st 2012

Quick Info

  • TITLE Minecraft
  • PUBLISHER Mojang Specifications
  • GENRES construction, simulation, roleplaying
  • PLATFORMS PC, Mac, Xbox, mobile
  • HOW TO GET about 20 at
  • RELEASE Nov. 18, 2011
  • TL;DR SCORE 85% (A−)

Let's Get Goin'!

Ah... Minecraft.

How many hours haven't we wasted mining blocks, placing blocks, killing animals, running from other animals, falling off blocks, wondering where our blocks went, and eating porkchops?

Good times.

For those of you out there who still manage not to know this, Minecraft is a game in which you explore a vast, seed-generated world made entirely of blocks. You can knock these blocks loose, craft other blocks and items out of them, and place those items back into the game world.

During the day, harmless creatures appear on the surface of Planet Mine, and you can do with them as you will, such as killing them to get meat, luring them into enclosed spaces with pieces of wheat, or farming and cultivating a healthy population of them.

At night, however, the nasty stuff appears. Pouncing spiders, skeleton archers, ominous zombies, thieving endermen, and exploding creepers all come out and try to make your game experience a little more difficult by trying to kill you.

Minecraft is a game best played with friends. Singleplayer, while vastly entertaining to some, lacks a certain camaraderie and the ability for other people to appreciate the stuff you've built. I mean, it's all well and good for you to have built a scale model of the Statue of Liberty, but if no one's around to see it, what's the point?

When you start playing, Minecraft drops you straight into a brand-new world with no tools of any kind in your inventory. It's up to you to go punch trees -- yes, punch trees -- until you have enough wood to made a workbench, then a pickaxe. Of course, it doesn't tell you any of this, either. That's why there's a wiki on the subject.

The game plays very well, and there are constantly new things being added to the game, new bug fixes, new tweaks that just make the whole thing look and sound better, and the fact that the game is so readily customizable with mods and texture packs just helps it feel more personal.

Genre Reviews:

About these scores...
These scores are given under the assumption that you like only one genre. Since that's very rarely the case, look for the ones that interest you most and use those scores. Just because a game got a 20% in a particular genre doesn't mean I hate it, and a genre score 90% doesn't mean I love it. It's all about helping you find the game you'd like most.

Also, 50% is an average score! You start seeing "not bad" (C) at 40%, and "good" (B) starts at 60%. "Excellent" (A) is anything above 80%, and terrible is anything below 20% (F). A 100% means utter perfection, and a 0% means utter shit. Most scores will concentrate around the 50% mark and will follow a bell curve.

If you're only into shooter games, you're probably not going to care much for Minecraft. It's got first-person view, sure, and the bow and arrow slightly resemble firing a gun, but if you're in it for past-paced, blood-and-guts action, you're not going to find it here. 20%.

There are minecarts that allow you to go really fast if you can build up their speed, but once you've hit 8 m/s, that's as fast as you can go, and any races you make would just come down to luck at that point. 30%.

You don't have hit combos or vast movesets to memorize, but you can still jump into hand-to-hand combat with zombies and come out on top. To attack, you just click. A lot. So that might get as annoying to fighter enthusiasts as a long list of moves and combos do to the rest of us. 35%.

If puzzle games are your thing, there can be some allure to figuring out how to build things and wondering what can make your idea work, but there's no inherent puzzle to the game beyond survival. The emergent gameplay puts the burden on you to discover your own purpose in playing the game, and there's no real way to "win". 40%.

There are lots of different platforms, like trees or the ground, but the focus of the game isn't jumping from thing to thing. You can certainly take it in that direction with your builds, though. 40%.

If you consider a 300-meter sprint for your very survival a sport, this game has plenty of that for you, with occasional hurdle (in the form of landscape blocks) and projectile (arrows) thrown in. There is a lot of room for sporting in this game, and how much you enjoy them depends mostly on how much you enjoy actual sports. 50%.

Since there's lots of hostile stuff that likes to come out of the woodwork and chew your face off, it's usually a good idea to set up traps. The most effective traps will take into account how various enemies behave and knowing which ones can see you at what times. Throw in redstone circuitry, and you suddenly have a lot of possibilities. 60%.

Now we're cooking with bacon! Minecraft's level-up system seems really strange, only allowing you to enchant your existing items, rather than providing your character with a permanent benefit, but enchantments are exactly as effective as you make them, plus there's no way to have everything, so it balances well and can ensure that you keep playing for way too many hours in the future. 80%.

Bottom Line
Minecraft's slow, smooth style and use of survival and construction elements really put this game on the map as a shining example of how to blend genres and allow the player utter freedom without making it overwhelming. Overall, 85% (A−).

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