Minecraft Review (Long Live the Release Version)

Blocky Adventures in the Overworld

If you were asked to write a review of Tetris today, what would it be? “Tightly fitting pieces and a fun motif.” That’s the thing – Tetris is much more modern now, but its perception can no longer be separated from the public resonance. Minecraft, a survival building game, has not yet grown into the collective consciousness to such an extent, but it has already become much more than just a game.

This is a game that has been bought and played by over four million people. It is the brightest example of success without the help of a publisher or even an investor. Markus “Notch” Persson, the game’s lead developer, can be called anything but a celebrity attracting the attention of the press and players. Nevertheless, there are t-shirts, costumes, conspiracy theories about non-existent enemies of the game, podcasts, and such a huge number of videos on YouTube that it is impossible to watch them all in a human lifetime. There is a website with videos and comments, and a girl with pink hair on its first page, who has her own, frighteningly loyal fans.

It is very difficult to determine where the game ends and where its online legend begins. It’s like writing a review of Justin Bieber (“Hair is very shiny, but the voice is fake”). But today, a review of Minecraft is simply necessary. After all, the official release of the game took place just yesterday, after several years of alpha and beta versions, which could be purchased (along with access to updates) for a modest $10, and then $14. There were no secrets around the official version of the game, as the almost finished game could be downloaded a week ago. Want a review of Minecraft? Here you go.

By hitting something (almost anything) with its cubic hand or any tool several times, you break the object into pieces. Collect the fragments and get building materials. Later, you can build a cube out of them. Collect more materials, place new cubes around the first one and on top of it, and even if you have very little imagination – you will create something. It can be a giant tower leading nowhere. It can be a complex gothic castle with spires piercing the sky. It can be a minecart on rails. It can be a phallic symbol. Or maybe Justin Bieber? It can be anything, and that is Minecraft.

The game is amazingly simple, but at the same time, it can be very complex if you decide to create some ambitious architectural masterpiece that requires a lot of time, patience, and rare types of details. But it’s not necessary. Whether you are an ordinary mindless clicker or the most talented architect, you will build something to be proud of.

The game only uses two buttons, with minimal additional functions, similar to Lego. There is a multiplayer option where the patient efforts and bubbling imagination of a group of creators produce the most fascinating landscapes that can be seen in this, and almost any other game. Find a popular server and look at the amazing things: incredible cities in the clouds, huge underground mines, intricate water expanses, working farms, and, yes, of course, several phallic objects.

Crafting and Building in Cubic Realms

Oh no, I didn’t mention about animals. Fight with them, scare them, but most importantly, cook and eat their pieces to survive in survival mode.

With simple “recipes” (which you will have to search for online, as there is no mention of them in the tutorial), you will be able to create tools, structures, weapons, fire, portals, doors, stairs, basically everything. Every time a new type of item was added to the game, the possibilities grew exponentially. The infinitely rebuildable world, combined with the skill of the developers, gives you a unique opportunity to try out all your virtual fantasies.

Of course, most of us will not participate in grandiose constructions because we are too lazy, panicky, and easily distracted. Most of us will dig a huge hole in the ground, attach a few lamps to the walls, and feel at home. And that’s the most important thing in Minecraft.

It doesn’t matter how fragile, helpless, and infantile your constructions are, they are yours. The hole in the ground will be your home because you dug it, you are the one who couldn’t make a combination of blocks for a staircase, so you built a hanging staircase platform in the air, you are the one who desperately patched up the hole in the roof that you made yourself when a monster tried to get to you.
Ah, monsters. This is one of the key features of Minecraft, which is not very important for the game itself, but is the main element of its fame. Creepers, Ghasts, zombies, skeletons, spiders: silly creatures that will definitely try to kill you when they see you. Fortunately, they mostly come out at night, mostly.

Exploring the Pixelated Wonders

You build with short days. You hide with long nights. Or fight. It is for survival that you build the first house, then weapons and armor to fend off these cute cartoonish but very determined hunters. Rare items and more complex excavations will allow you to create more effective protection, which will give you the opportunity to live longer in the game. In most game modes, death is nothing more than an inconvenience. It transports you from where you were to the starting point. The only loss is your location and those wonderful, marvelous items that you were about to reach and which will be very difficult to find if you didn’t take the time to remember their location.

The new feature for Minecraft and the most important in the official version is the experience system and the end of the game. Destroying things gives you experience, and experience, in turn, is spent on a super complex destruction system. This new element, honestly speaking, is not the strongest aspect of the game.

A slightly unfinished but very ambitious attempt to add a battle with super monsters after obtaining the rarest substances and building portals to two additional dimensions of the game: the underground kingdom of hell and its ethereal inversion await you in the end. The most difficult battles, extraordinary materials, and a huge bloodthirsty dragon await you here.

The game’s finale is a bit funny and too labor-intensive, and the reward for the effort is not quite suitable and does not fit into the spirit of Minecraft. But it is a specific goal to strive for and for some players, it may be necessary: for those who find it difficult to tear themselves away from the main quest of Skyrim and for those who must complete absolutely all challenges. It is precisely this, plus the leveling system, that sets Minecraft apart from a simple building toy, a favorite of Internet users, and I even worry if the game’s popularity will withstand such serious updates, if they occur in the future.

Minecraft's Infinite World of Possibilities

And then, these role-playing elements are completely optional, just like everything else in the game. If you like it, just build a tunnel to nowhere. Or another rocky phallus. Minecraft allows you to do anything for your own pleasure: its main charm is that every time you start a new game, you enter a new, clean world, strangely attractive with its cubic minimalism (very good lighting and music play a significant role in this), into a new adventure and a new, endless box of computer Lego.

Minecraft is a real discovery in the gaming world. It is a game that anyone can play, and everyone will take something of their own from it, regardless of their abilities, skills, and imagination. By creating something, you will gain your own, very valuable experience.

The modern world of games can also learn a useful lesson by observing the two-year experience of Minecraft’s development: go your own way, listen to the users, and rejoice more in what players can do themselves than in what you can make them do. Minecraft is a game that, to this day, cannot be separated from its worldwide fame, but it deserves every drop of it.

PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Indie, Multiplayer
Microsoft Studios, Mojang, Sony Computer Entertainment
4J Studios, Mojang
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews