“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
“The following is a guest post by the Midnight Mystic Mage.”
So the other day I checked into my Minecraft: Pocket Edition world, which I just found out is actually the former name now, and realized that I had logged nearly 30 hours into it. That seems like sufficient time to write myself a review of the game, though I have not “beat” the game in a traditional sense. After all, that time in game all I can say is there is so much for me to learn and so much that I will probably never even be able to grasp and understand what you can do with this game. The possibilities are virtually limitless and watching Let’s Players on YouTube just enhances the experience that much more. In Minecraft your only limit is your creativity, you can build anything and I follow some pages that have some breathtaking and truly extravagant builds that I would never be able to dream of making in this lifetime.
As I just mentioned the name is no longer Minecraft: Pocket Edition. It was used to create what is called the Bedrock engine which is supposedly much faster and less glitchy than the former engine. They have adapted this engine into the Minecraft Windows 10 edition and from what I can tell they plan to be using this version moving forward.
From what I have played on XBOX I can not personally tell the difference in how the game runs but I have a very limited amount of time on the console version. I have also played shortly on the Windows 10 version and I believe that will be my favorite one whenever I am actually able to get some time to sit alone at the computer and play it. I decided to leave this review titled as ‘Pocket Edition’ so that readers will know that I am referring to the mobile version of the game specifically on iOS.
I started playing Minecraft PE when my wife was giving birth to our second child. Those of you who are parents will know this allows for an abundance of down time at the hospital.
At first the blocky visuals turned me off, which surprised me because I am a huge fan of games with what most would consider “bad graphics”. There was just something about it that seemed off at first though regardless of that. That being said the visuals really began to grow on me as I explored the virtual world and realized how groundbreaking (pun intended) the gameplay was. I began to see how so many games had borrowed concepts from this game and also piggy-backed on the art style that they used.
In the day of stupid loot boxes and greedy companies making games with large scale money grabs its great to see a game like Minecraft that has been going for years with huge free updates to those who have purchased the game in some form. Also i really love how games like Minecraft, Terraria, and Stardew Valley don’t insult your intelligence by giving you boring tutorial after tutorial. There is nothing worse than having to be spoon fed simple information for an entire session of gaming (which don’t come so often for those of us with kids) and it all just turns out to be stuff that you would have figured out for yourself anyways. It’s great to know that developers like that are still around and thriving; those are the types of devs that deserve our full support and it is very heartwarming to witness as a gamer.
Minecon Earth just passed where they allowed the fans to vote on a new horde of monsters that will be added to the game, just another great example of how much care is put in the game without a huge amount of corporate greed.
One thing that is true for most any phone game is the touch controls are not the ideal way to play. Minecraft PE is very self aware in this area and even makes a joke about it on the home screen. There is a different phrase every time you log in under the logo and I remember one time laughing out loud when I read “Annoying Touch Controls!”. Hopefully I can find a compatible controller someday that will make this less of a nuisance, but the amazing depth of the game is enough to help you overlook this flaw and still be able to enjoy the game.
There is a survival mode and a creative mode that you can choose between when making a new world. I chose survival for now but would like to make a creative one sometime down the road so that I can see what it is all about as well. There really are endless hours that you can put into a game like this when you look at some of the builds that people have on the internet. I saw an amazing rendition of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry done fully in someone’s game of Minecraft. It was truly spectacular. Once I get better at farming I would like to learn the basics of Redstone. It appears to add so much more to what you are able to do and allows people to build awe-inspiring structures that are very complex.
So basically this is a incredibly deep game with so much to learn that it would take countless hours to master every skill. I am a complete and utter n00b to the game and am only beginning to realize how much awesomeness it holds in store, but I am here to preach the message to those of you who like me had never given it a shot after all this time. It is really something special and it has earned it’s fantastic reputation with good reason.
Minecraft is a hell of a game and the pocket edition is actually very fun and addicting. If you have a lot of time to blow with nothing but a phone and you haven’t tried Minecraft or even if you have, I highly recommend this version. If anybody has some cool builds from any version of Minecraft please share them as well. I love seeing what people are able to come up with in this virtual Lego world.
The 8-Bit Review
Although they did eventually make a better impression on me I couldn’t help but think how terrible the game looked at first. The more that you see of the game and the more that you mine and explore it really does become an endearing factor of the game. I was shocked at myself for feeling like a graphics snob momentarily but gladly I was able to settle in past it and realized what an amazing wide open world is available to all in Minecraft. I am so far behind on the Minecraft train but after giving it a try I am a dedicated believer in the magic that the game contains.
I think it was when I realized how much I loved Stardew Valley and wanted to find something else with a great crafting system that I decided to give it a try. I remember thinking, oh yeah well I guess there is that little game called Minecraft, and the rest is history. If you also feel a bit turned off by the blocky visuals I would recommend that you give it long enough to see how much the game has to offer before giving up on it, the payoff is so worth it and you just might find yourself hooked before you know it.
There is more to the gameplay in Minecraft than many who play it will ever know. After catching glimpses on YouTube of what people have been able to accomplish it just drives that point home even further. All of the problems with touch controls and crashing I will address under accessibility because I didn’t have the heart to give any game with as much depth and smoothness as this one anything less than a 10/10 for gameplay. It is legendary and able to withstand the test of time for good reason and if anybody else has just been hiding with their head in the sand from it, I would urge you to at least try it out. I was incredibly happy that I took the leap to do so myself and now I own it on three different platforms.
There are times that the app will crash and shut down, this has never deleted any progress for me personally however. There is also the problem of the touch controls for this version that the developers so candidly addressed at the title screen. These slight issues aside I don’t think they could have done any better making this vast world into a game that you can actually access on your phone.
It feels very natural the way that you progress in the game without annoying commentary on how to walk or do the most basic things like other games. You start out, punch some stuff, collect some stuff, and then realize that holy crap this night thing is no joke. Instinctively you build some kind of shelter to protect yourself from the onslaught of monsters and you just keep learning how to craft and build as you go. It is a very enjoyable and accessible experience.
Family Friendliness: 10/10
I would be surprised if Minecraft isn’t an overwhelming favorite of both of my children when they are a bit older and can understand how to play games. It is fun for all ages and I will no doubt be encouraging my children to play due to how much it really requires their creativity and problem solving skills. I am 27 years old, having never played until last year, and I enjoy it just as much as if I had picked it up when I was younger and it had just released. I think that anybody who enjoys a good crafting system and game where you have to do a lot of resource gathering will really love this game. As I mentioned before you really start to see where Minecraft’s fingerprints are all over other games that you have enjoyed if you have never played before but decide to try it out.
Another area where I believe this game deserves a perfect score. As I mentioned earlier I haven’t reached the end of the game and in fact haven’t even found the area with the Ender Dragon and everything else that is at the end of the game. That does not phase me a bit because the best part of Minecraft for me is exploring, building, and finding out the fascinating things that you can create with the new materials that you find.
For that reason you will literally never reach a point where you feel like, OK I have that done so I am done with this game. It just isn’t that type of game, you can always find something new that you didn’t even realize you could make or think of something new that you want to add to your previous creations. Minecraft is a game with near infinite replayability and I personally am nowhere near finished with my own adventures with it.
It is the originator of so many things. When a game has so much success there is always going to be games that try to copy it to ride off of its coattails, which Minecraft has had to be sure. I think it also just did some things so well though that is completely changed the face of gaming for the better. You see crafting elements in every game now and I believe that Minecraft had a huge hand to play in that. The art style has been copied by many and even by some games that I love like Eldritch which is a rogue-like with the same type of blocky art style.
When a game innovates in so many areas and inspires others to create such amazing games you have to really take your hat off to the creativity and uniqueness of the developers. Another game that Minecraft inspired that I love is Terraria, people say that it is just 2d Minecraft and in many ways I can see what they mean. It is such an incredible game though and is another one that has stood the test of time. For all of those who are fans of Terraria we have a huge debt of gratitude to pay to Minecraft for the inspiration.
*Upon further reading* I would like to point out that it is a fact that is disputed among fans as to how much a hand Minecraft had to play as far as inspiration in the development of Terraria. I still believe that many of the crafting and mining mechanics were inspired by Minecraft. I am sure there are plenty of games that pre date them both where they drew inspiration as well, but I never had the pleasure of playing any that I could personally relate them to.
It isn’t incredibly challenging but those nights are initially pretty dang tough! It takes you a while to understand how to build weapons and beds to sleep through the night to avoid much of the fighting, but it requires a good deal of resilience to overcome the adversity thrown at you. There are many new challenges introduced as well such as when you find dungeons with enemies. It is also a bit of a struggle to find ways to maintain sustenance through farming animals and vegetation. It is a lot of fun finding better ways to survive and improving yourself in the game.
My Personal Grade: 9/10
Minecraft on other platforms for me would get a 10/10, since I am currently reviewing the mobile version with the annoying touch controls I have to bring it down just 1 point. I generally cannot get into phone games and especially have never been so into one that I was able to spend more than a full day of gaming hours in it. I have spent more time playing it than any other game for mobile and I believe it has probably more to offer than any other mobile game. I have recently downloaded the mobile version of Terraria which promises to be great fun, but you have got to give it up for a game like Minecraft.
What an addicting and enjoyable experience, there is nothing better than just getting lost for hours in your own little world where you can make anything you want and journey seemingly as far as you want. It is a game for the ages without a doubt, no matter how you are able to play it. So you have some time to kill and nothing but a phone with you? I’m here to tell you that you can still get some serious gaming time in if you just download Minecraft and give it a go.
Anybody have some pictures of their own in game Minecraft worlds? Please share below I would love to see what all of you have going.
Aggregated Score: 8.9
The Midnight Mystic Mage is the resident writer of sublimereviews.wordpress.com, a reviewer of games, books, and film, and a fan of all things horror and spooky. Follow the link… if you dare!
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Categories: Game Review