I know that a lot of gamers have one game which is their absolute favourite; it was probably one of their first experiences with gaming and may well hold some nostalgic value too. For me, it’s Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. And these are games which people think will always be their favourite and of such a quality that they doubt they’ll play a game they like as much again. For me, Minecraft is the first game I’ve played since then that I’ve enjoyed equally (and I’ve played a lot of games that I really, really like).
Normally I like to give a short one sentence description of what a game is at the start of these reviews, but I’m finding it a little hard here (I’ll try my best). There’s no real story to Minecraft and essentially, all that happens is that you start in the middle of a huge blocky wilderness and you just have to survive. That may not sound like much, but really it’s a scenario which you can pour an endless number of hours into.
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut down some trees and use the wood to build a house, a workbench (to help make more things) and a bed (which will also require some wool from a sheep). You don’t have to do this first, it’s just that you’ll almost certainly die if you don’t because, while the world may be beautifully quiet and serene during the day, as soon as the sun goes down giant spiders, skeleton archers, zombies and creepers (which are weird exploding creatures) will be everywhere.
After this, the world is your oyster; you might decide to mine down into the earth in order to find good materials for making tools, or maybe you’ll build a farm with crops and animals to ensure you’ve got a good food supply. Maybe you’ll try and build portals to the two other mysterious realms (The Nether and The End) or maybe you’ll decide to try and figure out a way to build a floating fortress in the sky. You can virtually make anything you can think of. There’s also a kind of ‘ending’ the game has, but you’re given next to no direction regarding it and you could happily play for an extremely long time without realising. I will say, however, that this ‘ending’ is very satisfying.
If that sounds too strenuous for you, there’s also a Creative Mode where you are given unlimited resources and the ability to fly. This certainly makes creating things a lot easier, but it also feels less rewarding. Outside of Creative Mode I managed to build an underwater house (which is a great place to hide from monsters), and so for Creative Mode I decided to expand that idea and am in the process of flooding an entire world in order to build an underwater city (inside a glass dome) but it’ll take me a long time. So, for me, Creative Mode is a nice feature in that it allows you to build things which would otherwise be impossible.
What’s important to bear in mind is that there are differences between the console and PC versions; on PC the world is infinite (or, as good as), while the console versions have a big world, but one which is much smaller (although you can generate as many worlds as you like). On the other hand, the console versions have some official skin packs (including, very nicely, characters from Banjo-Kazooie and Doctor Who) which I appreciate, but which might not be enjoyed by everyone because you can create any skin you like in the PC version. There are a few other changes (it’s easier to make items in the console version) but otherwise there are no huge changes.
So, anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend this game. It’s always hugely thrilling to explore the huge open world and it’s accompanied with such a deeply immersive soundtrack that it really is one of those games which you’ll start playing (either by yourself or with friends) and just sink loads of hours into it. Rating: 10/10
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