Monday, December 5, 2011

Who knew a world full of movable blocks could be so much fun? A Minecraft Review.

Minecraft, a name that has exploded over the internet ever since it was released in its Alpha-state for pre-purchase with also the ability to play the unfinished game in all of its glory. For me, my addiction to Minecraft came a little less than 2 years ago when I heard about this game that lets you play around in a randomly generated world where you can build, mine,  and destroy just about anything in it. Ever since Red Faction for the Playstation 2, I had been almost obsessed with games where the environments were completely destructible. When my friend and I played Red Faction at his house years ago we would have the best time just making craters in the others base along with digging holes with rocket launchers to them as well. Fun times were had back then, but when Red Faction 2 came out and that kind of destructible environment disappeared so did my need to have something as awesome as that. Then, years later, I heard about a game where you could do everything I was looking for and more. I found Minecraft and suddenly had an addiction which comes and goes to this very day.

Start of a new day in Minecraft.

Minecraft is an Adventure/Adventure/Building game where you wake up in a world with no limits on what you can do. The world is made out of blocks with different uses and you can use those blocks to build objects like houses or even castles if you want to. Along with these blocks, you also get the ability to craft tools out of materials that you gather throughout the game like wood from trees and glass from sand. You can also mine materials such as rock or iron and use those to make improved versions of your tools to make your life a little easier in the world of Minecraft. Eventually you get to the point where you start finding Diamonds and you can create the strongest weapons and tools in game along with the strongest armor. Not only in the game can you create tools, weapons, and armors, but you can also create various other useful objects to help you around the world like a boat to get from one place to another fast if next to a body of water and also mine-cars and tracks which you can use to set up a sort of rail-system that can be used to get from one of your many bases to the next. With the recent updates to the game a new system has been introduced which allow you to make different potions with varying effects like ones that heal you or ones that damage your enemies. If exploring and fighting off the various monsters which inhabit the world after dark doesn’t interest you, there is also just the building aspect along with the farming one which you can plant and grow wheat, pumpkins, watermelons, and sugarcanes and use them to make food to eat while making your fortress.

The Nether in all of its glory.
With the Halloween update last year we saw the introduction of the Nether which is an alternate dimension of sorts which have hellish residents which fit the place quite nicely once you think about it. One of the main things which I noticed the nether had a use for was the cut in travel time between one place and another in the original world. You get to the Nether by using a gate made of obsidian blocks and lighting the center on fire which activates the gate. Once you have your first gate and you explored around a bit you can go back to your original world and continue what you were doing before since when the Nether came out it didn’t have much use. Once you start a new base some ways away from your original you can make another gate to the Nether and create a short-cut to your first base because of how the Nether compacts space so that it will take much less time to travel from one place to another in the Nether than in the original world which proved pretty convenient. With the recent updates to the game we have seen many new uses for the Nether like finding materials which cannot be found on the surface world and also being able to explore massive ruins which are guarded by living fire and magma. Though the Nether is still slightly underutilized it still remains a very interesting place to adventure when you have conquered your part of the world.

A NPC going about his business. As of writing this review the NPCs have no function except to just exist.

 With the new updates to the game we have also seen new amazing places to find and explore in the world. These places include abandoned mines, NPC towns, and giant strongholds which are truly massive. The way that the game generates two of the new locations in game (the mines and strongholds) makes a very complex maze of treasure chests and monster spawners. One of the inhabitants of the mines are the poisonous spiders which are about the size of a block which means they can get just about anywhere (which makes them very hard and annoying to fight). The strongholds also have a new creature in it called the Silver Fish which lives in blocks of the new stone bricks which make up the strongholds structure. What’s annoying about these little critters are the fact that if you don’t kill them fast enough they will start multiplying and overrun whatever kind of defense you have which makes for exploring the massive ruins pretty dangerous. Not to mention the regular monsters like zombies, skeleton archers, creepers, and spiders, we also have a new monster introduced in the new updates called the Enderman.

Oh hey some monsters, let me just get my--- HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT?!?!
The Enderman was made to be a sort of incredibly scary enemy which the players would fear in game and which are exactly that, sometimes. How the Enderman is different is that it doesn’t attack you if you do not look directly at it (put your cursor over it) so you can avoid it by just not looking right at it. If you do however, it will start to randomly teleport towards you as long as you are not looking at it. If you are then it freezes and you can attack it before it teleports again. What can probably induce fear from these monsters is that if you are in a cave system just going about your business when you enter a dark cavern. You notice some movement up head and look at it only to have two glowing eyes suddenly shoot around and stare at you till it disappears and then reappear right next to you, and your health begins to fall. You brandish your sword only to find that your attacker as disappeared again only to reappear right behind you, just in time for it to either deliver the final blow or knock you off of a ledge into the darkness below. Underground the Endermen can be dangerous, but on the surface you just have to be careful and you’ll be fine.

Picture of the Enderdragon, last boss of the game.

With the release of the game a new dimension is introduced, the End, and a boss creature which comes in the form of the Enderdragon. The End is the place where all the Endermen come from and can only be accessed by killing a bunch of them for their Enderpearls which then need to be transformed using the new potion system into an item which will allow you to access the End. The only entrances to the End are located deep within the ruins of Strongholds and need to have at least 12 Eye of the Enders to enter. Once in the End, you start your fight against the Enderdragon and once you finally best it you are returned home. Though this doesn’t seem like the most exciting ending to the game, honestly I wasn’t even looking for an end to it. That however is my own opinion regarding the matter and it is best left to the player to decide whether this is satisfactory.

An exceptionally well-made mod which I suggest you all check out: "The Aether"
Once you start playing the game for a while you start to crave more interaction and content for the game which hasn’t been added in the official releases. This is when you start modding the game to make it something even more amazing than it originally was. The modding community has developed for Minecraft ever since the Alpha was released and people started messing around with the code for the game. Since then we have had many amazing additions to the game such as new tools, blocks, materials, ways of crafting, mobs, changes to the way the environment behaves, and even a whole new dimension called the Aether (which I haven’t personally played in, but looks amazing).

The game Minecraft is something that doesn’t come along often, and when it does people take notice. Ever since people were able to buy the game at a discount while it was still in Alpha, it has been gaining wide recognition throughout the gaming world which has been both positive and negative. Many people have praised the dynamically-generated landscapes and the sandbox game play while critics have slammed the game for the long breaks of the developer, the lack of promised content, and bugs which still exist in game. Minecraft has become something that few games become, especially since it was originally developed by a single man, Markus Persson, and grew to be what it is today. Even with the flaws and short-comings which exist in the game (and trust me, I’m not denying that there aren’t a ton of them), the simple idea that you can do whatever you want in a world which is created specifically for you to explore in is what makes this game one of the “greats”. With the booming modding community and the multiplayer experiences which can be had with friends, Minecraft is still growing, maturing if you will, into something that will stay with us for years to come.

Last thing I should mention: If you have fun with a game, it doesn’t matter how poorly developed it is or what other people have to say about it, what matters is how you personally feel about it and that's it.

All images have been stolen from Google.


  1. I'm an addict. Currently working towards getting to The End.

  2. still dont get the hype behind this game :D

  3. This is a great game. IT ROCKS!