Since Minecraft has come out it has taken the indie market by storm. To date it has sold over 1,600,000 copies of the game and it is steadily rising by the hour. So why have this many people bought it? And what is it all about?
A lot of people throw the word sandbox around these days with the rise of open world games; nevertheless this game is a true sandbox game. What other game will let you and your friends roam a randomly generated world, construct a fortress made of wool and get attacked by exploding vegetables all at the same time? This whole game is about doing what you want to do as long as you have the creativity to do it. That is why I love it.
The art style is an acquired taste, which many people see as bad graphics. However, great art is not always realistic. Take paintings for example; you wouldn’t say Picasso’s paintings were bad because they were cubist. Well that’s what Minecraft is; it’s Cubism. Once you get past its surreal artistic flare, you can see the true beauty of the game.
The gist of the game is to survive in a new world full of monsters, and ultimately make a town or city to keep you safe. The world is randomly generated and keeps on expanding, as you explore. The world isn’t endless, however it is said limit on the world size is 8 times the size of the earth. Some monsters in the game include: Zombies, Skeletons, Slime cubes, Spiders and the notorious exploding vegetables known as Creepers. Creepers will give you a run for your money. They will appear when you least expect it and blow you and whatever you have been building to smithereens. The game features an in-depth crafting system to create new tools. These help you effectively gather resources and kill monsters. But after dark all the creatures roam the land looking to kill you and your friends.
Surviving your first night is the biggest challenge on Minecraft. Your first day will most likely play out a bit like this. You are dropped off in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the clothes on your back, and no hints on what to do. It’s just you and the vast landscape to explore. Before you know it the sun is going down and it’s beginning to get dark. What’s that coming out of that cave in the distance? A zombie chases you down with his arms in the air like crazed charity muggers you see on the way to the shops. With little else to do you punch the floor and discover that you picked up a piece of dirt. You continue punching until you made a nice little cave to cower in fear. Finally able to relax without the fear of getting eaten by a zombie, you hear a hissing noise. You press your ear to the wall in the effort to hear what it is… Kaboom! Half the wall disintegrates along with your face. You are left in the cold night air once again. More zombies and what can only be described as giant sentient cucumber inching towards you. You punch the creepy looking cucumber until it explodes, only to find yourself surrounded by the Zombies. With the Zombies only a few feet away, a slither of light reveals itself. A square sun rises over the horizon. The Zombies burst into flame and then disintegrate leaving you alone with feathers to ponder what horrors the next night will bring… if you are lucky.
The single player is very fun, but where the game really shines is multiplayer. Now not only do you have to stop monsters from slaughtering you in the night you will also have to defend yourself against your friends who have come to steal the iron ore you just mined. Setting up a wall around your city is normally a priority for new players to keep you safe at night.
The learning curve on this game is pretty steep if you launch yourself in at the deep end. I first started when survival mode was still in alpha, figuring out the many crafting recipes from scratch was the hardest part. With the resources available today, from wikis to an app for your phone with all the conceivable crafting recipes for the game, half the battle is already won. You may know how to make your diamond armour, but now you have to find the resources to make it. For some, mining through endless piles of stone and dirt all for the chance to find the fabled diamond blocks can be a chore, but I'm not one of them. I love digging into the unknown, uncovering natural tunnels, getting chased by giant slime creatures and accidentally falling into a lava stream, killing me in the process.
As I said before, you are only limited by your creativity and imagination. My creations are more like watching the “Saw” series. Normally resulting in continuous respawning, exploding floors, and the spontaneous combustion of wooden houses. However, it isn't all chaos. It only takes a few seconds on YouTube to find a masterpiece, from statues of beloved game characters to life size replicas of the USS Enterprise. The game can also be a tool for other things, such as playing a game of dungeons and dragons over the internet with friends or making a Machinima.
Overall this is a great game with endless opportunities, massive replay value and regular updates. You would be a sucker not to at least try it out. This game could get a score anywhere between 1-10 because the fun is all down to the players imagination but in my opinion it gets a 10.