As a parent of two I have been amazed how the Minecraft craze has slowly crept into our lives. I’ve also been stunned by the creativity and depth that a very basic scenario created. Here is a world, you have nothing, craft, mine, build, survive! That simple premise has been a catalyst for so many to be so creative. The advent of the iOS versions helped smooth out many a long family car journey.
The advent of the XBOX version gives game pad controls the Minecraft test. Can they be as flexible, fast and precise as on previous PC and iOS versions? The answer has been a resounding yes! The pad controls are intuitive and quick. For experienced crafters they are off like lightning. For newbies like myself I quickly got involved and actually felt as though I was helping and not hindering!
You will have been aware that the Minecraft phenomenon was already out there. The difference with this version is that you no longer have an excuse for not joining your kids and playing with them, you’ll be amazed at what they can teach you!
Presentation – Visuals, Sound and Theme
There is an innate charm to the Lego approach of building your own world on your terms. The graphics that represent this are, well, blocky. Endearingly the clever use of atmospheric music and passage of time effects (day turns to night beautifully) allows you to quickly overlook the sharp edges of the world you are now a part of.
Minecraft’s power is in the way it guides you towards the creation of stuff. The interface is quickly learnt and encourages exploration, discovery and experimentation. The underlying theme is of survival providing the basis for your motivation and rewards. Decision-making under time constraints and problem solving capture interest and sustain it through the first few survival days.
It is the multiplayer aspect that then helps sustain the experience.
Multiplayer in the Gamewagon:
Here is where the real magic happens. We are always looking for games that can recreate the MarioKart shuffle, where the living room couch suddenly becomes a social family event where fun and conversation burst forth when focused on a fun and engaging focus.
Sharing your Minecraft experiences with friends and family is now very easy. No more getting PCs together, getting online and making sure you have the right versions! With split-screen local multiplayer it is now a frenetic and enthralling experience in the safety of your own home (or in the Gamewagon).
Players can co-operate or compete, they can build or destroy, all in a hilarious concoction of exploration and discovery. This version will see the Minecraft phenomenon spread even further, look out!
Tips & Tricks:
Despite the great multiplayer ability of the XBOX 360 version one of the tips that we found uses that same functionality but when playing on your own! Use a second controller (split screen) when you are building and use that player to view your main player crafting and building. The second perspective gives you a never seen angle on your constructions and really helps refine your masterpieces. Give it a go.