Did you ever play with Lego as a child? I sure did and still do to this day (I’m cool like that). I don’t think I am alone when it comes to having a fascination with creating things with blocks. There is something incredibly satisfying about constructing various types of structures, and Minecraft: Xbox One Edition is aiming to play on those emotions. Almost every gamer would have heard of Minecraft by now that had its debut on the PC a few years back, but if you haven’t then then maybe this will clear things up for you.
Minecraft is essentially and open world building simulator that uses a very simple visual style and an easy to use crafting and construction mechanic. The premise is simple; build whatever you want with your imagination being your only limitation. However, the randomly generated land of Minecraft is not as safe as it may seem, during the day you can chop down trees and dig away to your hearts content. But at night Creepers and other monsters come out, and unless you have a safe shelter built you may end up being a pile of broken pixels on the ground. However, you can defend yourself from these enemies by crafting weapons, and they will usually stay away from areas that are very well lit.
Minecraft certainly doesn’t focus on combat so killing enemies is just a small facet of the game. Resource gathering is the key to Minecraft’s gameplay. Once you have your pickaxe constructed you can start to gather plenty of different materials in the world from harvesting various types of trees to even killing cows and pigs for meat. You can then place blocks in any order you like to cook up some amazing constructions. People from around the world have recreated entire game worlds through Minecraft. The Xbox One edition also comes with a few themed map packs such as Halo and Skyrim, where all the textures in the world are replaced as well as the music, which is a nice added extra.
Minecraft: The Xbox One Edition also takes advantage of the power of the system and the map is now 36 times the size of the Xbox 360 version. It also boasts a much further draw distance, 1080p resolution and a smooth 60 FPS framerate. Don’t feel bad if you already own the 360 version because you can upgrade to the Xbox One version for a small fee. There is also drop in and out 8 player co-op option where you and a friend can build side by side, as well as a nice split screen mode that supports up to 4 players. Minecraft has mass appeal thanks to its very simplistic blocky look, kids of all ages should love it, and it has more than enough depth with its crafting systems to please those looking for something more.
Minecraft is also one of those games that doesn’t really end, you can choose to spend hours, weeks, months or even years building up amazing structures in the game, and one quick Google search will reveal some of the amazing achievements players have been able to construct. The games creators, Mojang certainly sleep well at night on a comfy pile of money as the game has sold over 50 million units across all platforms. You could call Minecraft a cult hit, and it certainly has a massive following, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
I guess Minecraft either clicks with you or it doesn’t, and sadly I just did not get that warm tingly feeling in my stomach. Is it a bad game? Absolutely not, the sales figures alone can testify to the fact that it’s a great game. I just feel that the concept was perhaps underutilised, and the visual style didn’t real work for me. However, if stacking countless blocks and digging for minerals for hours upon hours sounds like fun to you, then Minecraft should find its way into your most played games list. There certainly is very little wrong with Minecraft from a game mechanics side, and some may find its visual style to be unique and a breath of fresh air. I for one felt that it didn’t click with me, and after building a large bachelor pad that overlooks a lake I felt that there wasn’t much more I wanted to do. Sorry Minecraft, you didn’t dig your way into my heart sadly, but it might find its way into yours.