Minecraft Review

This review is based on the beta version 1.4.

Many people have asked me, “So, what’s the point of Minecraft?” and then I tell them, “Well, here’s the thing. There is no point.” Some people take that in stride, others can’t comprehend a game not having a goal to work toward. Minecraft is an excellent example of sandbox gaming in its purest form. You are dropped into a randomly generated world and free to do whatever you want. There’s no end goal or structure to the game. You can build, hunt wildlife, go fight monsters, mine for minerals and rare ore or simply explore the world. Minecraft is your sandbox and how you play around in it is entirely up to you.

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The simplest way of describing Minecraft’s building mechanics is “break stuff to make stuff” and that’s it. The game revolves around this simple mantra. Punching trees (yes, you read that right) gets you wood, one of the most basic resources which you’ll need to craft tools which open up even more mining and crafting opportunities. Once you get the hang of these mechanics, the possibilities for creation are nearly endless.

This also brings up a problem with Minecraft in that a huge amount of the game revolves around trial and error. The lack of structure also means there’s no hand-holding whatsoever in the beginning to ease new players into the game and those players may have no idea what to do once they start the game. In the beginning, most, if any, progress is made through experimentation. I guess it can be argued that the experimentation is part of Minecraft’s genius but for me, this was one of the biggest obstacles on the path toward enjoying the game. I had no idea how to craft tools, or even that such tools existed until, frustrated, I was directed to an external website that contained building guides on everything there is to be crafted in the game and what you’ll need to make them.

Before finding out about this website, I was practically at my wit’s end with the game, having been killed yet again, losing all of my held items in the process, because some creeper (one of Minecraft’s more prolific and annoying creatures) exploded and blew apart the tiny hovel I’d dug into the side of a mountain to hole up for the night. Things aren’t all peaceful in the world of Minecraft (unless you want it to be). When the sun sets and the dark veil of night covers the land, Zombies, spiders and skeletons armed with bows and arrows appear, and they all want you dead. At this point, it’s best to build some kind of shelter and hole up for the night, hoping that no creepers decide to pay you a visit and blow your dwelling to pieces or, you can go out, sword in hand, and brave the creatures of the night.

So, what makes this fun and appealing? Well, there’s no simple, objective answer to that. To enjoy Minecraft, you have to embrace it for what it is. It’s a game that allows you to do whatever you want with no restrictions. If you’ve ever played with LEGO blocks as a child (and if you haven’t, I weep for you), you know that most of the fun comes from the act of building, not just the end result. You build, you destroy, you explore, you mine and much, much more. This is what is entertaining about Minecraft, making the world your own.

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from exploring the world that has been created for you. Every world in Minecraft is randomly generated, which is another part of Minecraft’s genius. It’s thrilling to be mining for minerals and suddenly fall into a dark dungeon, teeming with monsters and bravely taking them on. Even if you die, you know you went out like a pro.

Being in beta form as of this writing, Minecraft is an unfinished game but despite that, it’s just as rewarding, charming and genuinely entertaining as many other games costing much more. Even in its current beta form, I’d say Minecraft is more than worth the price of admission. And the best thing about it being unfinished? Notch and his crew of developers behind the project are still adding things to the game. Things like snow, ice, beds, pet wolves (yes, wolves) and so on have been added to the game since it reached the beta stage and with other features such as weather cycles, Minecraft can only get better from here by the time the full game is ready.

So here’s the rub. If you don’t like the concept of sandbox gaming or playing with LEGOs, you probably won’t like Minecraft. This is a polarizing game in that respect and I can see why some people wouldn’t like it. For everyone else, this is more than worth checking out. There aren’t any fancy visuals or top-tier sound design or even amazing competitive multiplayer (although there is multiplayer in the game, though I haven’t tested it) to hook gamers and draw them in. What Minecraft does have are simplistic, easy to pick up and play game mechanics that are hard to put down once you’ve gotten started. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my castle isn’t going to build itself…

  • scott

    minecraft is an utter bullshit game and thge mods are even worse
    it is absolute uter shite and nobody likes it

  • Jeremy

    Its not even a game. Also, the plural of LEGO is LEGO. Nowhere in official LEGO text will you find any mention of “LEGOs”. It works the same way as “sheep”; the plural form is the same as the singular. I don’t care how many people in your area called it “LEGOs” when you were a child – its wrong.

  • got told

    i like it

  • Pat

    @scott I beg to differ, and so do 2 million other people.

  • Kyler

    LOL scott… opinionated AND angry. The best combination of personalities :). And WOW I’M LOVING THIS TEXT FONT. Blahblahblahblahblah :DDD

  • Anonymous

    “Its not even a game. [rant about plurals]”

    …said the man who couldn’t put his apostrophes in the right place. It’s “it’s” in this case because there’s no it to own “not even a game”, nor is that really something you can own.

    Furthermore, even if you did correct that, I still wouldn’t agree, being an avid player of Minecraft. The only thing I don’t like is that it has a tendency to suddenly hang while I’m doing something, but I suspect that’s a problem with my computer, not Minecraft itself.

  • Random McRandom

    @ Jeremy
    You realize LEGO is an adjective and not a noun, right? In any case, it’s obviously implied in the main text that the author is refering to “LEGO pieces” when he mentions “LEGOs”, so your effort to rant seems ill founded. To every one else: Carry on.

  • Joebob XVII

    Minecraft = Mein Crap

  • Nigga McNigga

    Worst game ever.

  • majorasmask

    yes minecraft is defientenly the worse game ever its not like et ot crazy truck exist oh wait they do and you cant diss a game because its not a first person shooter(and theres a mod that adds guns) or its not hd realistic graphix which theres a texture pack for

  • Zerathine

    To be fair, minecraft is a generally speaking, a good game
    If you can call it that
    In my opinion, minecraft is mostly a construction kit, but a very good one with some special features, such as multiplayer, crafting and so on
    Minecraft could have been another infiniminer clone, but instead notch just toke some ideas from infiniminer, mashed em together and added some stuff
    It’s not a bad game/construction kit, let me just point that out, although in my opinion terraria is alot better, because it’s more of a game

  • Your face

    @majorasmask

    You realize that the graphics aren’t supposed to be good, and that having guns in Minecraft would make it a bunch of crap. Minecraft is a sandbox building game, not some 1st person 1080P shoother.

  • Ed

    If you Hate Minecraft, then
    1. you Are the Person who plays on Uber Bullshit games, e.g. C.O.D and Black ops(they are insanely hard if you start a week later than everyone else)
    2. you Prefrer thing where there IS a goal.

    Minecraft CAN PROVIDE BOTH OF THEIS THINGS Via SDK’s Gun mod, and Custom maps, so, i don’t acctule see WHY it is unlikeable, i mean, you can even get a mod to SPAWN stuff, if you don’t feel like hard work!!!

    -Ed

  • Ed

    Sorry, Duel Post O.O

  • Minecraft Player

    I have been playing minecraft since it came out and it is a truly amazing game. I know some people review it badly but it cannot be helped. Some people are3 just addicted to “amazing graphics” and “Games with guns”.
    And Honestly, some of you are just stubborn. A lot may like it and some may not. Don’t ruin it for other people if you don’t like it. Try it, and if you don’t like it, DON”T PLAY IT. Don’t discourage people away who might like it.

  • Spartan237

    Seriously people? If you actually HAVE played it and don’t like it then STFU and go back to playing games like Black Ops and Call of duty. Some people actually LIKE to play this game because they do more then bash it as soon as they spawn.

  • Niles

    Minecraft is a bad game. It’s the truth. To start off, it only does one thing decently, which is building blocks and mining blocks. Hunting blocks is stupid because you click once and they’re dead. Exploring is stupid because, unlike games such as oblivion, fallout 3, or any other sandbox game, you don’t find new cities, forts, enemy hideouts or any of that. You just find more blocks. Next up, building takes forever and is really stupid unless you want to spend hours upon hours per day, which i find very stupid. Also, just to put it out there, the sounds are terrible, there just like what a five year old could make. I’ve played minecraft for a couple hours, five to ten, and I tried to like it, but it’s just a horrible game that doesn’t have any purpose and has a lazy maker. Like Notch said it’s impossible to do what modders have done ages ago. Peace.

  • Andrew

    There must be ‘something’ to Minecraft. I only accidentally came across it yesterday but have watched about 8hrs of youtube videos on it. There is certainly something alluring about it – and I’m not even a ‘video game fanatic’. Army Officer, CrossFit (fitness) athlete – not the usual stereotype. I think it’s brilliant.

    Great review – I couldn’t care less where you did and didn’t put a ‘. Good job.

    A.

  • Arum

    GUYS. . . . You gotta stop flaming. If you don’t like it, then a simple sentence is fine. Example: I don’t like Minecraft because it’s too boring etc. But with all the flaming, all you are doing is admitting that you think it’s no fun, you’d rather play COD or MoH or whatever your addiction is. Minecraft can be boring at times, but at least it’s got an addiction( I just LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVEEEEE those WOLFS) with the world seeds and all.

  • RusticKey

    Now, only little cares about graphics, you guys remember pong, tetris and all that other bad-graphic-ed games? Well, the gameplay is really addicting, and so does Minecraft’s gameplay.
    Truely, worth the money. At first I hated the graphics, but now I fell in love with it (Not in a sexual way, of course). The landscapes are stunning, and even somehow beautiful and generated the word “Terrain porn” because it makes such tremendous cliffs, waterfalls, caverns, mountains and stuff.
    For my bad grammar, sorry.
    @Niles
    Actualyl in 1.8 you will find NPC villages

    -Wake up on tree, punch island.

  • RusticKey

    Erhm, sorry, I meant “Actually”, sorry for double posts.

  • Sean

    Minecraft rocks! i know theres not supposed to be good graphics, but the game is AWSOME!!! I also saw many hours of youtube vids, and even though i hav never played it, it is AWSOME to me YAHOO!

  • Haters suck

    Minecraft haters can suck it…

  • Anonymus

    Minecraft is an awesome game, but if you need a goal, you could download adventurecraft mod or some custom maps/other mods. Minecraft is awesome because you can build anything you can imagine and mine. If you don’t like the graphics, download a texturepack. Most minecraft haters never actually played minecraft and just looked at the graphics and said “Those graphics are crap.” and like idiots, thought that graphics=gameplay. If you prefer a game where you shoot everyone, then just don’t play minecraft. Simple. You don’t have to play it. No one is going to make you.

  • Ebony Slut

    Minecraft owns

  • Creeper Guy

    W00T!!! MINECRAFT!!!! IT’S HATERS WILL MEET THEIR DOOM!!!

  • Spencer

    No one seems to get this. You can build anything in this game. ANYTHING!!! I mean sure after a while if you just play by yourself it gets old but that’s what multiplayer is for. I honestly can’t comprehend peoples hate for this game! The entire idea is that nothing you can do in this world from oridinary play to mods to hacking servers and destroying shit to taking advantage of overlooked objects will take away from the spirit of the game!! You can build your fucking mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Minecraft owns

    Undeniable proof that Jeremy and Scott (or whoever) grew up in new generation video gaming. These people need to grow up

  • Ibetthat

    I bet that these Minecraft hater don’t have much time to think, this is not only a game. every person must use their BRAIN!! These people are hooked-up too much on uber high graphics game.

    OH BTW, minecraft beats the benchmark of the industries top of the line gaming engine because Minecraft uses chunks which generates randomly resulting to.. oh well read the rest on other sites. tl;dw

  • Hmm..

    I think that the poster “majorasmask” was probably using sarcasm against some of the critiques of the game. It appears that he was speaking in favor of it.

    I just started to examine this game. It looks interesting for sure. I would not make a determination as to whether I would classify it to be great, ok, medicore, or bad yet, but it is definitely intriguing.

    The graphics actually seem to have a certain type of appeal. They have a good type of classic look rather than an ugly type of “dated” appearance.

  • Joe

    What most people don’t realise is that certain games ARE NOT for certain people. For me minecraft is an exciting game and when you play it one harder difficulties it adds a real challange and it’s a nice switch up from the same old first person shooters. The best part is that it ends when you want it to and every day is different as to were some games don’t change except for the difficulty, but that is just my look at it. Any way like I said at the beginging some games ARE NOT for everyone. So if you don’t like it don’t complain about it just move on.

  • Boss

    Minecraft is an amazing game!

    Dear Minecraft haters:
    You clearly don’t like this game because of a) the graphics, which can be customized with various texture packs (the highest res ones can be up to 256x) or b) lack of creativity. This game is about building your own world, literally. This means building your own adventure, your own storyline, and your own goal. So, go re-download the game, and try to think “outside the block.” but if you’re really desperate, you can download mods/extensions to the game that add things like guns/monsters/adventure maps/ect. Plus, this game was made by a single man, on a low budget, later to be joined by a small team of programmers. If you think the game is bad, then you’re saying that you could make something better, using 16×16 graphics, by yourself, on a low budget. Oh, and it has to be with Java.

    @Niles hunting blocks, building, and mining isn’t all there is too it. There’s redstone (similar to electric circuits) you can use to program traps, machines, and even CPUs! Exploring is not just the graphics or what you see, but it’s YOUR IMAGINATION that is what makes it fun, which clearly COD and Battlefield have drained from the people. Building is supposed to be pointless, the entire game is pointless (in a good way)! The only incentive to do whatever is what YOU WANT TO DO, which, as I said before, COD and Battlefield have clearly drained from your head with”objectives.” the sounds and graphics are SUPPOSED to be terrible! Its what adds to the simplicity of the game! And plus, Minecraft started with a single man, Markuss Perrson (hope I spelled that correctly) with a very, very, low budget. Later he got a small team of 12 to help him, nit some multi-million dollar corporation like Ubisoft. Don’t get me wrong, I like COD and stuff, but I think Minecraft is much better.
    Now, I’ve just broken down and proven wrong your entire post. Beat that.

  • john

    minecraft is amazing idea and i think the creater has made the game well with great details and fun game play but some improvements are needed to make the game better for guys like me.

  • E.L.

    You guys who are hating have obviously not played the game for what it is… have you built any underground canals? Have adventured the Nether? Have you even tried riding a pig with a saddle?! Play the game then rage on about it. And blocks arent destroyed instantly, it depends on what it is, your tools, the tool’s build (rock, wood, iron, gold, diamond, etc…) and they get destroyed instantly in classic game mode (which is free BTW). So try then rage! In my opinion this game has lots of potential, just needs a few bug/glitch patches, rideable cows, and then it will be perfecto!

  • Not you.

    Meh. If you watch the TobyGames (Tobuscus) Minecraft videos on youtube you will deffinatley want to buy it i’m gonna get it!

  • Jon

    If you haven’t got much patience or creativity you won’t get much out of the game. And you do need to look up the crafting recipes unless you’re a masochist with a lot of time on your hands.

    I’d like to see a mechanism to speed up resource harvesting – they could extend the crafting to allow you to build more complex devices which automate some stuff. It is very dull to actually try to build something big, and with the speed that game time goes at it feels like you’re wasting days. Not to mention RSI from clicking lots or holding the mouse button down too long.

    And I’m tired of getting killed miles away from my spawn point and not being able to find my way back.

    But it’s a beta and as such it totally rocks. They’ve made this fantastic (and original) world system and all it needs is some tweaking to enhance playability and extend interest.

    I love original games like this – like Mount and Blade for example – it’s great to see people carrying on the tradition of games like Elite where it’s coders thinking for themselves and not just an industry trying to make money by rehashing the same old genres.

  • MrLeander4Ever

    I am so in love with this game, when I`m on the computer I am playing Minecraft, EVERYTIME!

  • Zamjr86

    Jeremy is right! minecraft is WAY too awesome to be just a game. Minecraft is MORE than a game. Minecraft is an artistic outlet, a game, and a way of life! it is the ultimate passtime! long live Minecraft!

  • coooolio

    minecraft reveiws