Written by iQuINcEy
Every once in a while, a game is released that sparks people’s imaginations. None more so than Minecraft originally a PC game and now has been released on Xbox live arcade. In the form of Minecraft 360 edition, set in a 3D pixel word of blocks originally on PC, Minecraft is a sandbox game that is the definition of ’sandbox’ created by indie developer Mojang and 4J studios. The idea is through mining materials found in the world as blocks forming layers that make the world; you build yourself any kind of house or castle, even a fortress of solitude that your mind can come up with. All in preparation to survive the horrors that come out at night. Crafting is another key tool at your disposal, use wood, stone, iron ore etc. to make new tools as well as more technical things like switches for doors or mine carts and tracks. You can even make circuits for light switches…. Or maybe you just want to bake a cake.
When you start your adventure you simply pick a world name, a difficulty setting and a seed. The seed is a tool to randomly generate your world so that no two worlds are identical. To do this just type in any words or letters, have fun with it. I found the stranger the word the more interesting the landscape.
Once in your new shiny world you may find yourself at a loss as to where to start. My advice would be to try the tutorial world first, but if you are feeling adventurous then head for the nearest tree and get yourself some wood. To do this you must approach said tree and hold the right trigger to mine the wooden blocks that makes up the trunk. Then bring up the crafting menu with ’X’ and build yourself a crafting bench. Now you are in business, craft some wooden tools and build yourself a house. This first house is life and death as far as you are concerned because night time is falling, and when it gets dark the monsters come out to hunt. Zombies, spiders, skeleton warriors and the worst of all Creepers. These guys are a nightmare and from the information on the loading screens we find out that creepers where born from a coding glitch and kept in the game. Basically they are quick, quiet and once they get close go BOOM. Best to stay or RUN away.
House built? Good now build a bed and sleep the night away safe and sound in your newly built ‘safe house’. Once day breaks your adventure can truly begin, create a mine for more resources or go exploring, the world is full of caves and impressive dungeons just waiting for you to dive in. But make sure you take some torches, it gets dark down there. Use a hoe to make some farm land to grow wheat so you can bake that cake.
The graphics are great; they are supposed to be simple and pixelated. But they still hold a kind of charm that children and adults alike will get hooked on with great colours and textures. The water and lava affects are surprisingly good and the mechanics for making obsidian really impressed me. Obsidian is a black material that is made by introducing running water with still lava. Music adds to this charm and was created by ’C418’. My only criticism would be that after a long session building tunnels, the music can become irritating.
With this great games introduction to the console, I can see Minecraft fast becoming a family favourite. With Up to eight people joining you in your world through four player split screen or Xbox Live. You can get big projects going.
Anyone who has played the PC version of Minecraft, may have reservations about the 360 edition. But aside from a few small details the game plays and feels like its PC brother. In fact it is an older version of the PC game but without an unlimited block count. But my friends and I didn’t find the world small in anyway.
Four hundred gamer score is up for grabs through twenty relatively easy achievements, and a leader board showing how far you have walked, how many blocks you have mined etc. So it adds a slight competitive aspect, aside from the classic ’who can build the best castle’ competition.
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