Minecraft 360 Edition is a port of the bestselling sandbox-building game; it is developed by Mojang, ported by 4J Studios and published by Microsoft. It features many of the same gameplay elements as the PC version but it is an earlier build of the game and features some unique Xbox exclusive extras.
Many of the new features are there to make the game more accessible and open for more casual gamers as the original has a high learning curve due to the “find everything out yourself” gameplay. Features added to the game are a tutorial, crafting interfaces, splitscreen multiplayer and eventual Kinect support.
The game is all about building whatever your imagination can come up with: towering skyscrapers, underwater lairs, giant statues, quaint cottages and much, much more. Everything you build will be made from the various materials that can be collected in the game. Starting with wood as a major resource you can make all the basic structures and equipment you need to get stone, iron, coal and any other materials that you need for the bigger projects.
The tutorial helps to acquaint anyone who hasn’t played the game before with the ins and outs of the basic elements in the game. These include: gathering resources, building safe havens, using the crafting interfaces and some general knowledge about Minecraft. The whole tutorial has its very own pre-built world that keeps you within close proximity to the starting area for the duration of the tutorial. Also time does not pass for the tutorial; though once you have completed it, time flows normally and you get access to the rest of the world.
Worlds can be made using a seed generator for more tailor made experiences or just randomly generated. Once made you can access any of your worlds via the main menu as well as selecting the difficulty mode (which you can’t change mid-game). Difficulties range from peaceful to hard, so whether you want to just sit back and play the game monster free or if you want varying levels of monster encounters you will have a fair amount of choice. However you do not get other modes like the PC version; build mode is currently absent, as is survival mode.
Minecraft is both an exercise in creativity and patience. Everything you do and work towards is based on the smaller and larger goals that you set yourself; each of those, no matter how small, will take a fairly significant time to achieve. It is a game that has no real ending as the only real objective is to create and you can only create by gathering resources. The survival mode is barebones at this point in time due to the Minecraft version that was ported but it should eventually encompass more as the game gets updated.
The day/night cycle is the thing that will begin to rule your life. It is the main reason for building any safe havens and the element of danger it gives from the monsters that only come out at night is part of an experience that doesn’t quite feel complete yet. Monsters will ruin your day at every point if they are in your game. Once you have spent a couple of cycles getting equipment to defend yourself it isn’t quite so bad but early on they can really dampen your spirits or even destroy all your hard work.
Creepers are Minecraft’s flagship monsters that explode when in close proximity to the play or if they are killed, they are widely known for their hiss before they explode. They are also like spiders in the fact that they do not burn in sunlight like many other enemies. Spiders are the only sunlight dwelling creature; though they only attack you in low light and if attacked. Zombies and Skeletons are also very common enemies that you will come across during night cycles; they will burn in daylight though and they can spawn in low light areas such as caverns or under large overhanging cliffs.
Minecraft is a game full of basic elements that accomplish much larger things. Its graphical style can be labelled in two different ways: basic or lazy. The game looks very basic but this low level of detail lets you create and view much larger areas without cutting performance, it is also the style the PC version has. The PC version has access to free texture packs that will upgrade the graphics to whatever you have chosen, while the Xbox version is getting texture packs as DLC. Whether or not that is fair is a very awkward question to answer and some might say that it is lazy and unfair to not include HD texture packs but it is something we will have to wait and see about once the updates come in.
Audio on the other hand is bit tunes by C418; they are mostly soft ambient music pieces and merge into the background while you are gathering. Sounds from gathering sort of blend into each other and you will end up just tuning it out after a while. There are some sounds that will wake you up quickly or make you overly cautious like the creepers hiss and other monster sounds.
Presentation and Audio
Some people are a fan of Minecraft’s low res textures but it isn’t for everyone. With large scale projects it can look pretty amazing at times while close up, things can look particularly ugly. Atmosphere is only really there at night or in deep caves, when you can here monsters that are very near but just not in sight. It keeps you on your toes and makes you very careful with where you are digging.
Creativity is key, as the stripped down game leaves you grinding for supplies and slowly working towards whatever goal you have set yourself. The gameplay is often boring but engrossing and engaging just as often. There may be missing content and a fair few bugs but it doesn’t stop the core gameplay from being addictive or fun.
Minecraft is a game that works with the player in a much bigger way than most. Every experience you have with it, can hit any extreme; sometimes you’ll have a great idea and work towards something fun, other times you will have no idea of what to do and it will bring you into a boring mindset of ”grinding” for materials for crafting. Hopefully the patches and DLC will improve the game sooner rather than later.
This is my first real Minecraft experience and it’s incredibly mixed as far as whether I enjoyed it or not. When you have an idea making it and completing it is so much fun. Being able to look at something you’ve toiled many day and night cycles over, gives a real sense of achievement but equally the grinding for resources to do that is incredibly boring, more so if you don’t have any ideas on what to build.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.