Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, May 10, 2012 18:21

There will likely be two different audiences curious about Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (simply ’Minecraft’ from here on), those who are familiar with its PC release and those who may have heard of it but have no meaningful experience or idea of what it’s about. The former crowd may wonder if this port is worth their time, to which I can answer “maybe; the local split-screen co-op might interest you.” Those not yet initiated into Minecraft should read on, as this is a very clever sandbox game that lets you explore and build your own world.Minecraft on Xbox 360

Played as a first person ’shooter’ (I’m hesitant to use that label because you don’t do much shooting), Minecraft generates a random world full of resources, animals, and monsters. Your immediate job is to build a basic shelter/house before nightfall, which you do by mining wood and other nearby materials. Your first few days will be tense, as you only have slightly over ten minutes per day cycle to get everything you need, assemble it, and safely get inside before you have to worry about monsters, ones you can hear moaning hungrily on the other side of your home. It’s hurried, frantic, and a little dangerous. Or if you’d rather it not be that way, it’s perfectly fine to set the difficulty to ’Peaceful’, letting you focus on just the constructive side of things.

The view from the Gamers Daily Newsworld tower by TheSuperGuido

Once the initial rush to make your first house is taken care of, Minecraft reveals a whole new layer of play. While mining for resources is a large part of the game, the ’craft’ part comes from building things. At first this is just adding minor improvements to your house, but you can create weapons and tools in short order. Once you’re in a stable situation, you can then consider expanding the home or even building a new one in a better location, adding decorations to make it more pleasant.

The Gamers Daily Newsworld compound and tower by TheSuperGuido

This escalating scale of construction is the true heart of the game. Why stop at just a neat house when you can build a farm, and create simple or complex devices to take care of security concerns? Why settle for mining near the beach when the really neat stuff is found by digging deep? It’s your world to venture through and create whatever you can manage within. Of course, you have to build it one block at a time. This can take a while for elaborate projects, though many players seem to have no problem with that and will gladly engage in Lego-esque engineering for hours at a time.

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Our Rating for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Review (XBLA)
8.5 Replay
It takes a very long time to build some of the more interesting things, but the satisfaction of seeing what you have created is worth it.
6.0 Graphics
Voxel graphics with a pixelated vibe somewhere between the 8 and 16 bit eras may not look sophisticated, but they have a charm all their own. This simplicity lends itself to a pretty big world, making it worth tolerating the blocky look.
7.0 Sound
Repetitive sound effects are perhaps to be expected, but they’re offset by excellent music. Soft, quiet pieces set an unusually fitting mood for exploration and home decoration... one sharply contrasted by the hissing and moaning of monsters that wait in the dark.
8.0 Gameplay
Gradually going from barely surviving a harsh world, to creating a fascinating place that is wholly your own feels great. There is a rather rough learning curve at first, so don’t feel guilty about using the provided tutorial or consulting experienced players.
8.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Local co-op for up to four players is available (requires a HD display), as is online play for up to eight. Working with others can be a lot of fun, cutting down the time it takes to make ambitious projects come to life.
8.0 Overall
A game that rewards curiosity and constructive pursuits over straight action, Minecraft won’t appeal to those who need immediate satisfaction. If you’re willing to invest the time needed to really see everything it has to offer, this sandbox will be very satisfying!

Rating: 5.0, votes: 2

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