Review by SuperMegaGuy1
Minecraft. A game about building, mining, crafting, running from exploding monsters, firing arrows, dodging rockets from baby-faced floating jellyfish, constructing portals to the Nether Region, spelunking caves, setting fire to stuff, blowing stuff up, and slashing up pigs for their ham.
And a whole load of other stuff.
Basically, Minecraft is a blank slate. You're spawned into a blocky, almost nostalgic world of pixelated blocks 8 times bigger than the surface of the earth with no backstory, tutorial, goals, or any other form of structure. You're allowed to progress at your own pace in your own way right from the get-go.
The map you start on is almost infinite. Reaching the end of it would be almost impossible. And in this map, you will find vast deserts, near-endless oceans, stark mountains, rolling hills, flat grasslands, lush forests, and below your feet, deep, dangerous caves with many hidden secrets to be discovered.
How you play minecraft is entirely up to you, whether you choose to build massive pixel-art monuments, make a large house, an underground base consisting of complex tunnels and lots of torchlight, or if you just want to hole up under a mountain and build weapons to take on an undead horde.
That being said, there is a somewhat loosely fixated way of progression in the game in the ways of crafting and materials. To unlock some of the game's features, items, weapons, tools, etc, you'll need to find materials, most of which are situated deep underground. For example, there is a nether region in the game, which you cannot access without finding obsidian in very deep caves. The most basic materials can be found above-ground, like wood needed to create fires, sticks, torches, planks, and other basic materials, while the most advanced ones are found underground (like diamonds, for example, which are used to craft the strongest tools and weapons). With 99 crafting recipes currently implemented, there is a lot of progression to be had.
This being said, the replay value is top-notch. Even once you reach diamonds by the buckets and tons, there is still lots of stuff to do in the game. Redstone Ore, also found deep in the earth, can be mined into redstone dust, which acts like electrical wire to power some very complex contraptions (some users have created working clocks, code doors, and working cannons with it); With updates coming out constantly, there is always new content to explore.
Multiplayer value does not fall short either. While having a few glitches (hey, the game's in Alpha for crap's sake), it provides a great platform for building with buddies, setting up PvP matches, playing games, setting up funny traps with redstone (just to make everybody mad), and chatting with your fellow server-mates. With all online modes, there come griefers, but that's just a given for games of its type.
Graphics are kind of a strange topic in this game. The game focuses more on art style than bleeding-edge graphics. The cool thing with graphics as well is the game supports texture packs, which let you change your character's look, and the world's look. Don't like 8-bit textures? Bust out the Photoshop and drum up some super HD textures, or download a pack from somebody that already created. The default pack is very 8-bit. Nothing to complain about. It works for a block game, as any real meshing would make the building very awkward, especially on its java engine. The game features dynamic lighting and water, however, so you can get all the aesthetics of a torch-lit cavern, a flowing river, even the explosions look good.
Speaking of explosions, the real challenge of the game comes with your own safety. The game has a day and night cycle, and during the day, friendly mobs like pigs, chickens, cows, and sheep spawn, dropping leather, ham, cloth, and feathers. At night, however, zombies, skeletons, spiders, and creepers spawn. Not the kind of creepers that look in your window while you're working and take pics, but the kind of creepers that sneak up behind you on a night trip and explode in your back-of-your-head-area. Many Minecraft players have learned to dread the hiss a creeper makes when it's about to make your day a very unpleasant one. Sssssssssssssss---Boom! They add a definite fear factor to the game, and add a little spice to the game, mainly by blowing up your front yard.
As volatile as these mobs are, they're nothing compared to the monsters in the game's Nether world. Accessible only in the late game, there resides probably the most unfair mob of them all. The baby-faced, rage-making, game-breaking Ghast. Like a white floating jellyfish, the Ghast patrols the broken world of the Nether region, waiting to shoot fireball-RPG-pew-pew-thingys at you which blow the indigenous rocks of the Nether to smithereens, and lighting the ones lucky enough to survive on fire for eternity (or until you snuff it out). This makes even endgame combat with these beasts a challenge for the most seasoned of snipers or the most volatile of rapid-fire-arrow-spammers.
For a few final points, we have music, difficulty, and community. All music in the game is masterfully crafted by C418. It's very beautiful music played primarily on the piano, with the exception of some sounds in caves and records you can play in the endgame. The game comes with 4 adjustable-on-the-fly difficulty settings: Peaceful (no mobs spawn, health regenerates, take less fall damage), Easy (Few easy mobs, armor not usually required for fighting, no health regen), Medium (A good amount of mobs, going out at night unarmed will usually result in death), and Hard (Swarms of mobs which can 2 or 3-shot you without any kind of protection and weapon Usually most fun in the endgame).
As for community, there are forums for the game, a full-fledged wiki, a massive modding community, clans, large numbers of servers, and plenty of support, the only time you'll ever be alone is when you're playing single-player.
Now, since you're probably tired of hearing me ramble on about the masterfully crafted gameplay, well-tuned (ssssssssort of ) enemies for all players, and good endgame, why don't we move on to the overall value of the game? Since it's in Alpha right now, it costs 10 euros (half price), which will double when the game reaches Beta (which will be as soon as multiplayer is fully done). This translates to about $14/$28, paid via PayPal. For $14 right now, it's an incredible value, especially since the only thing you need to run it is a half-decent PC, Java, and an internet browser, all of which you probably have already if you're reading this review. You don't even need to download it, as you can play it right in your browser.
My recommendation? Buy the game now, before it goes into Beta, as it's half the cost for extra playtime (as in, you get to play it earlier than people who are holding out for the beta). It's a great value now, and will only get sweeter as the days go on. Minecraft has a very, very, very bright future. The question is: Why are you still reading this? Your new favorite game is only a few clicks and keystrokes away!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/14/10
Game Release: Minecraft (Classic) (US, 05/10/09)
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