8.5 Overall Score

Gives people without a PC the chance to craft

Limited space I Laundry list of glitches

Written by on May 14, 2012 in [, , , , ]

Minecraft is one of those games that is easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Within itself, Minecraft has no objectives, no story, and no leveling system. It is completely up to you as to whether you want to build, mine resources, or craft new items. You are dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a map and your imagination. If you want to build a replica of the Eiffel Tower, a medieval castle, a shrine to your spouse, or maybe just see how far you can dig straight down, you can. Minecraft is a refreshing foray from story-packed epics we are used to seeing come out every year, but does its move from PC to Xbox Live Arcade do it justice or explode in your face like a Creeper?

Unlike the PC version of Minecraft where you are dumped into the wild without any explanation, the XBLA version actually gives you a tutorial to learn from. Through this tutorial you will learn to move, gather resources, build a place of refuge, craft tools and weaponry, and learn the foundations of Minecraft. What’s nice about the tutorial is that they already have houses and shacks set up for you, so if you want to use that playing area for the rest of your time you are more than welcome. If you want to start a new world on your own however, you can do that as well with a randomized layout of the world.

For my first playthrough, on easy, I wanted to start from scratch. I named my world, “Noobtopia”, symbolizing my inexperience with the genre. My world was pretty flat to begin with so I got to work gathering wood so I could make some type of hut that would protect me from the enemies at night. Long story short, I didn’t have enough materials to build a roof, let alone the knowledge of how to build a roof, so when night fell and I tried to sleep until morning I was attack three times by zombies and skeletons. Now remember, I was playing on easy. The difficulty level seems to be pretty steep seeing as I was attacked by three different monsters within the same night. On the next day I focused on weapons and trying to find some gold. After playing for several hours and digging hundreds of feet into the earth I still haven’t found gold. I have however been able to tame a wolf and increase my chances of survival, at least for a while longer. Everyone’s experience will be different with Minecraft, and that is what makes it so enjoyable.

The first thing you will want to do after gathering resources is build a crafting table, a furnace, and a chest. Each of these come in handy and are essential in your playthroughs. The crafting table allows you to create a wider assortment of items like doors, shovels, minecar tracks, and dozens of other items and tools. The furnace helps you melt down minerals and create other types of resources like glass, iron ingots, or coal. Chests ease the burden of carrying around too much junk and let you store minerals inside your buildings. Remember, when you die you drop everything you have on you, so it’s important that you travel light and store all your valuables in the chests, otherwise you will have to continually pick up all your dropped belongings every time a Creeper kills you. Also, make sure to craft as many tools as you can right away because it is a pain to have to keep returning home to make tools every time they deteriorate.

Now after a while, Minecraft gets lonely, crafting on your own, but fear not because you can play with up to four players on local splitscreen, or four players online. This allows you and your friends to join each other’s games, build together, or just mess around. You can join someone’s game from the main menu, or can access it through their profile. The game sets everything up for you and people can drop in and out of your game whenever they want. There are a few downsides to multiplayer though, such as the fact that when you enter someone else’s world, you can’t bring any of your items over from your own world. When you spawn, you start at your friend’s base. This allows you to go inside and raid their chest, looting all their valuables. Or, maybe that’s just me. There were a few times where I spawned and my friend was clear across the other side of the map. With only a map in my inventory it sometimes felt like I was trekking to Middle Earth just to be reunited with my friend who was off adventuring off on their own. Make sure you have a mic when playing co-op because it is easy to get lost in your friends’ worlds since the layout is randomized.

As with any game being ported from one system to another, there are sure to be glitches. Minecraft has its fair share of hiccups and bumps along the way, but hopefully those get sorted out in future updates. The first glitch I noticed was with the tutorial menu. After playing the game a second time the same tutorial menu came up in the game prompting me to press “B” if I didn’t want to go through the tutorial. After dismissing the tutorial window my character became stuck and couldn’t move. The world was still moving around me, but I couldn’t close the crafting menu or move around. This has happened to me several times now and I don’t want to have to sit through the tutorial every time just to avoid the glitch. The next glitch I encountered took place my third day in Noobtopia. Enemies come out only at night, and when the sun comes up the enemies are supposed to die. Well, this wasn’t the case in my game as zombies continued to walk around, skeletons attacked me, and spiders swarmed my home. The last glitch I encountered was with the world loading while I was traveling. On foot the world seems to load just fine, but when I hopped into a minecart and traveled from one end of the world to the other, I found the world wasn’t loading fast enough. As I traveled, it looked like I was floating in space, watching as the world of Minecraft drifted farther off into the distance.

Due to the fact that I don’t have as much experience with the PC version of Minecraft, my list of gripes may not hit all the woes of some of the more experienced players. My first gripe was with the world size. I’d heard that Minecraft was an infinite world, and after jumping into Minecraft and taking a short hike, I realized that the world is actually finite after all. Another gripe was with mineral types. While looking in the inventory it is rather hard to quickly differentiate between the different mineral types other than hovering over them. Now I understand that Minecraft is supposed to be artistically blocky, but I would appreciate it if I could tell the difference between items in my inventory a little easier. This made it hard when I was rifling through my inventory looking for a specific mineral and had to squint at my big screen tv. While playing co-op I noticed that the in-game chat was very low quality and everyone’s voice, including my own, kept cutting in and out. Oddly enough, if we chatted in an Xbox Live Party, the problems went away. Overall though, these annoyances didn’t detract too much from the game’s feel and I really enjoyed my time with this title.

Minecraft feels like a vacation compared to the rest of the more hardcore multiplayer titles I’ve been playing lately and I really enjoyed the getaway into the wild. I understand that some of you more hardcore Minecraft players for the PC may not see the value in buying another, yet limited, copy of the game you already own, but rest assured it is worth the price. Minecraft was developed by Mojang and is out now on the Xbox Live Arcade for 1600 Microsoft points. Happy crafting everyone!

A copy of Minecraft was provided to The Married Gamers for review.  


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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

4 Comments on "Minecraft"

  1. ShinyMilburns May 16, 2012 at 5:44 am - Reply

    It gives FortressCraft a run for its money!

    • Loren Nikkel May 16, 2012 at 6:28 am - Reply

      Yeah, I think their sales are going to drop now that the “real thing” has come out on XBLA.

  2. Orionsaint May 26, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Well not everyone played Minecraft on the PC. So this is going to be their first experience with Minecraft.

    • Loren Nikkel May 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Agreed. This was my first true Minecraft experience too. I think it made a great transition over to the console.

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