The settlers must’ve had tough time settling on any land. We’re all read about it in the history books. You come with essentially nothing but your own hands, and you’re expected to create a profitable civilization in which you culture growth, safety, and prosperity. There are many video games like that, where you build from the ground up. Many of those being similar to Farmville or Tiny Tower types. The type where you have nothing and then through many hours of tapping and harvesting, you create a somewhat sustainable living ground which you can then decorate and personalize. Queue Minecraft.
Minecraft is a survival/creation game where you essentially start as a settler in an unknown, untamed land. There you must build a fortress to protect yourself from the hazard of the wildlife. Cut trees, dig holes, forge tools, do whatever it takes to survive. In the process, you create a home for yourself in which you grow crops, mine jewels and ores, and live as prosperously as your own merit and skill can take you. Below is a review on this addicting game that despite it’s simple design and objective, gives me one of the most pleasurable, emotional, heartbreaking, and back-neck-hair raising experiences I’ve ever had in a game.
Realistic Survival Game Forces You to Prioritize What’s Important..and to Deal with the Consequences of High Risk
The game’s primary mode is survival mode. In this mode, you arrive on a randomly generated part of land in a foreign area. All you have are the clothes on your back and your fists. You’re tasked with creating your own tools by ‘punching’ wood from trees to create sticks. From sticks you can make axes, pick axes, and shovels. Use these first tools to create your home quick. As night crawls around, the dangers of the dark appear and can end your adventure quickly if you’re not careful. But as you get more and more comfortable, you can mine better materials for better tools. As soon as you’re settled into your own home with walls raised to protect you against monsters [more on those later] and are under the impression of safety, other problems arise like hunger. Dealing with hunger means you have either slaughter animals in the wild or plant wheat. Accomplishing these requires you to find coal to cook your food or find seeds around the area. More and more problems like these make this game more realistic than most.
And even when you’re infinitely comfortable, there’s always something else you can do. To get better tools, you are required to dig up iron, which leads you deeper and darker into caves where more dangers await. You don’t have the most health and monsters can easily kill you if hunger doesn’t first. You analyze the cost and risk of going for more iron or going deeper into the mines. Do you get iron to make strong iron tools, a bucket, or a base defender or do you get enough iron to make armor for you to risk getting more iron for these tools. The player must evaluate these risks and make a decision based on what the player is comfortable with. Decisions like these pop up throughout the entire game.
The Horrifying Things that Go Bump in the Night
I mentioned above what happens at night. Monsters come out in the form of zombies, skeleton archers, and Creepers. These monsters will try to kill you if you get into their sights and warding them off isn’t easy. The biggest issue with them is that they spawn randomly on the map and can literally appear behind you. The only way of detecting their presence is monostereo tone they give. By monostereo, I mean that your speakers don’t differentiate between the left or right where they come from. So as soon as you hear the sound of their coming, a feeling of paranoia washes over you as you look left and right for the enemy. The most horrifying instance of this happening is when hearing them and as you turn around they are immediately behind you. For such a simple game, I’ve never been so afraid of anything in my life. Hearing a zombie moan sends me into a frenzy that doesn’t go away. Even worse is the Creeper. The game’s signature enemy is the Creeper, who appears out of the darkness to explode right next to your base. This causes issues for two reasons: 1) you die and that’s a pain (especially if you’re in Hardcore mode where when you die, your map is deleted) and 2) if you miraculously survive, the explosion usually leaves a huge hole in your base that will eventually lead more enemies into your base if you don’t fix it quickly. The only thing that keeps them away besides your trusty sword is light. Torches are the key to survival and one can easily be labeled as paranoid when it comes to torch placement.
Creative Freedom Allows Your Personality to Shine
If you’ve ever loved Legos, then you know the magic of building something. There’s something affirming to it. You can truly be proud of something you created from scratch. And while it’s one thing to build something from a manual, true joy was creating something from nothing, going manual-less and letting your imagination be your guide. Think of Minecraft as Legos for grownups. In Minecraft, you have the freedom to build anything with blocks. There’s even a mode in Minecraft where you’re allowed to have unlimited blocks and given the freedom of flight. Think of Halo Forge, but with blocks and even more endless possibilities. We’ve posted about it before about the crazy things created by Minecraft users. They say creative freedom is the key to innovation. I’ve seen amazing monuments to actual cities, both fictional and real rendered in Minecraft. And we’re not even talking small scale models, we’re talking intense details. Howl’s Moving Castle, Westeros cities, you name, I bet it’s been created in Minecraft.
And if creating humungous cities aren’t your thing, you can also work on small scale stuff. In the survival mode, there’s nothing more gratifying than making your home aesthetically pleasing. I’ve spent a large amount of time picking flowers just to make my house look pretty on the outside. Other things such as ladders can be used to get up places, but you’ll find yourself wanting more than that and you’ll end up creating a spiral staircase instead. You’ll make so many additions to your house that serve no actual purpose, but will be gratifying to add. Your own style and personality will definitely shine through as you play this game.
In-Depth Crafting System
Minecraft is named Minecraft for a very specific reason: crafting. Crafting is everything when it comes to this game. You must craft your tools for survival. You must craft your stairs or ladders to reach high places. You have to craft everything from the elements. And this craft system goes more indepth than it looks. There’s surely the simple method of creating a pick-axe, but things can get as indepth as TNT, mine cart railroad systems, and pistons that move trap doors. It’s really neat seeing some of the intricate things created by people. Greenhouses, underwater storage rooms, and lava traps are to name a few. How intricate you want it to be is only limited by your imagination.
The Texture Packs and Mods
Minecraft truly does look like a simple game, but it can be made beautiful by adding Texture Packs created by users. These packs add details to each individual block that makes it as beautiful as some of the games released today. Or you can even create themes and mods that allow some really cool things. For example a Pokemon mod that turns the wildlife into Pokemon that can be captured and used as your personal guards. I’ve personally found my own fair share of cool things by simply Googling “Best Minecraft Mods” or “Best Minecraft Texture Packs”
Minecraft is a brilliant game. It is definitely unlike any game I’ve played and despite appearing steep at the price of $27.00, I definitely think it’ll be one of those games that’ll stick with me for a long time. And with updates adding new features all the time for free, it’s a worthy investment for anyone who is interested in building things or looking for a simple game with in-depth features. Minecraft is available from X-Box 360 or PC. Go here for the PC/Mac version