Minecraft Review
9.0our score

Minecraft is a indie game that has had the Internet abuzz for the last few months. Even in it’s current Alpha state, over 100,000 have already purchased. Minecraft’s single developer has been very active in the community as well, releasing weekly updates and twittering directly with players. But with all this hype, is Minecraft the next indie game you should be playing? The answer is yes. Minecraft is, without a doubt, the best indie game this year.

The paid version of Minecraft dumps you into a beautiful randomly generated world, comprised of 3D pixel art. It really is an incredible looking game, and needs to be seen hands-on to be believed. From the rolling hills, to dark underground caves, to the lava waterfalls, a player could spend hours roaming the random environment without becoming bored at the scenery. But not only is Minecraft a great game visually, it also has great sound effects, helping to enhance the beautiful and tense moments. But the music is what really sets Minecraft apart from the rest. Beautifully orchestrated pieces softly fade into the game, giving a calm sense of peace during the daytime. And, without hyperbole, I can say that listening to the incredible music as the pixelated sun slowly rises over a landscape filled with lakes, caves, and building of your creation can be absolutely tear-jerking.

But Minecraft does not ride on looks alone, it also features gameplay that’ll keep any gamer coming back for more. The game begins in the middle of the day in a randomly generated environment. You have no supplies, but dangerous creatures will spawn that evening, and you will need a fort and weapons to have any chance of surviving. You chop some wood, make a table, and start gathering materials to make your base camp. It’s a game with no rules or goals. The raw feeling of adventure into uncivilized land is tapped to its fullest in this game, largely because there is so much you can do. Want to gather diamond to make ultra-powerful tools, weapons, and armor? You can. Feel like making a breath-taking fort for the ultimate in security and luxury? Go right ahead. Want to go gung-ho into a lightness cave to reap it’s rewards? Good Luck. It’s a game you can play time and time again, and each time, you’ll feel like you’ve played an entirely different game.

Minecraft is a survival-horror, adventure, simulation, casual, surreal, beautiful, first person experience that you need to play. It’s less than $15, and provides plenty more than the cost of entry. Minecraft is not only the Indie Game of the Year, it’s one of the contenders for Game of The Year.

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Evil Tactician

    I haven’t played this game but had a good read about it. Don’t think it’s quite my thing – but it’s hard to tell as the information on their website is a little vague and unspecific. I am intrigued though, but don’t have the time to really dig deep and try it out right this moment.

    I think the graphics style is an art you either appreciate or don’t so that is up to perception I guess.

    As for gameplay – what dangers await? Just monsters or do you get hungry/thirsty? Do you need to develop skills?

    What is the main driving factor to come back for more? What is the sattisfaction factor?

  • Brandon Carr

    @Evil Tactician

    The main threat in the game are the 6 or so types of monsters that spawn both at night and in dark places (like caves).

    The developer took from basic RPG mechanics while making Minecraft. You don’t get things like skill leveling, but other RPG traits remain, such as crafting.

    One of the reasons Micecraft has such an effect on its community is the shear amount of things you can do in the game. A player can mold their experience around FPS gameplay, Tower Defense gameplay, RPG gameplay, or any combination. The learning curve is a bit steep, but once you are in it, it is hard to let go.

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Evil Tactician

    I see – it does sound quite interesting. Is there any form of character development? Do you have to choose any crafting skills or other things that limit your character to specific options while playing?

    It does seem quite in-depth, though the developer doesn’t do the game justice on the official website in my opinion.

  • http://www.tjoonz.com/ Marc D

    Those are quite high scores for such a cheap game. Most indie-games tend to be short though, how much hours do you reckon it would take to have done all the things this game has to offer?

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Zyle

    I’ve heard nothing but good reviews of Minecraft – I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my next game purchase when I have a bit of spare time! Your description puts me in mind of Dwarf Fortress – is it a similar type of game?

  • Brandon Carr

    @Evil Tactician

    The game is actually quite simple. You collect items that you can use to place or craft into more complex items. Here is a video that shows the basics of minecraft:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANgI2o_Jinc&feature=fvwk

  • Brandon Carr

    @Zyle

    I’ve heard that they both share similar qualities, but I have never played Dwarf Fortress, so I can’t say for sure.

  • Brandon Carr

    @Marc D

    Minecraft has enormous replay value. Each time you start a new game, you have an endless number of possibilities. You could explore, build forts, go spelunking, fight your way through the mobs.

    I think this series of videos will give you the idea of how Minecraft is so diverse.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANgI2o_Jinc&feature=fvwk

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Evil Tactician

    Dwarf Fortress is really, really, really complex. I had to watch a series of 40 video tutorials *and* a written tutorial to even get a basic fortress going.

    Great fun but I don’t have that kind of time these days just to understand a game. If Dwarf Fortress ever gets an easier UI it could be the most successful game on the planet.

  • http://www.manapool.co.uk Zyle

    @Evil Tactician: Yeah that’s why I was wondering if it’s comparable – if Minecraft is like DF but without such a ridiculous level of complexity, I’ll love it. DF is awesome, but just stunningly hardcore. I never fully got into it because I didn’t have time to learn it properly!

  • Rob

    Minecraft is this…

    * 33% creative sandbox
    * 33% exploration
    * 33% survival horror

    You start in a randomly generated world. The world continues to generate further as you move about… up to several times the size of earth (to scale). You start with nothing at your spawn point. So build up some supplies, and get safe before night falls.

    Monsters spawn wherever it is dark — whether in unlit caves, your own unlit home (illuminate it!), or about anywhere in the world when it’s dark outside. When day breaks, the undead will burn, but other monsters such as spiders and creepers will still roam about. You can’t entirely avoid confrontation, as monsters drop helpful crafting materials. There’s also peaceful cows, chickens, pigs.

    Explore. Build. Find new treasures. Create new things… whether new weapons, armor, tools, a jukebox, boats, a powered railway system, food, a spectacular for, mine shafts that plumb the center of the earth… there’s about 100 recipes so far, with more being added constantly. Updates are nearly every Friday.

    Multiplayer is what’s receiving a lot of focus now.

    X had an excellent Let’s Play series on Youtube with over 200,000 views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bh4EexJO4I

    The game is what you want it to be. Regardless, everyone I know who’s played it has been hooked. 100,000+ people have bought this in 6 weeks for a reason!

  • Dercen D. Zhang (Jolkanin)

    There’s only one reason why I’m utterly addicted to this game: How many other games let you build a mansion w/ a farm on the roof, on top of 3 floating, gigantic trees? How many other games let you recreate the Tokyo Tower using only glass? How many games let you design your own roller coaster AND dungeon at the same time? Not much.

  • LadyJa

    Great review, I’ve been wondering what this game is about for a while now and this explains it a bit better than the game’s own website does. Thank you.

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    I’ve just bought Minecraft and am downloading it now.

    It’s all your fault and I solely blame you for the black hole this will cause in my real life.

  • Zyle

    So we (ET and I) had a play around with Minecraft yesterday and my god, I can see why this game is so addictive. Once survival mode works in multiplayer and some of the bugs are ironed out, this game is going to be truly fantastic. I can’t wait for development progress!

  • http://www.shadow1980.co.uk Evil Tactician

    This game should come with a warning label: It is *incredibly* addictive.