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SummaryBest game of 2010
- Building is fun and intuitive
- Build your own world from scratch
- Randomly generated games have never been this scary
- Most fun you'll ever have exploring a world
- Full of surprises
- Build inventive contraptions and rollercoasters using simple tools
- Charming visual style
- Dying in this game will hurt a lot. Especially when it involves lava and all your stuff gets melted. But that makes the game all the more exciting
- Multiplayer not yet working properly at time of review
- Some grinds just take too long (stocking up on gunpowder, mining obsidian)
- The Nether's loot isn't valuable enough to make venturing there worthwhile
- Encountering certain resources is pure chance. It would be nice if it were possible to scan for the existence of certain resources within a certain proximity
The Bottom LineWhen at first I saw a short video of Minecraft, I thought it looked quaint and slightly interesting but dismissed and forgot about it. Then I met an old acquaintance who mentioned he was playing it and was totally addicted. So I decided to check it out.
So, first I booted up Minecraft Classic with some friends on our own private server. The game only lets you build but it proved rather addictive and for a couple days we were all hooked on the experience.
I decided to make the big leap and make the investment of 10 Euros for the full version (in alpha state at the time). I'm glad I did, because this is hands-down the best game of 2010.
So I started on the beach of a deserted island. Although? Not quite deserted. To my amazement I see pigs, chickens, sheep and cows roaming the land. After some initial experimentation I start to understand that to build something in this game the materials must first be harvested.
After finding a suitable location at the shoreline on the foot of a mountain I build my first wooden shack out of planks I make from trees I cut down. Before it's properly finished night falls however and I'm surprised for the second time. Zombies and skeleton archers besiege my shack. Scared shit-less I block the doors and windows with mud and wait for dawn while the moans of zombies are heard through the walls. And this is where I got hooked on Minecraft
Most of the time in Minecraft I spend exploring. Usually mapping huge subterranean cavern structures, on the lookout for Creepers while prospecting for precious ores, but also sailing in my little boat along the coasts of thousands of islands in search for clay deposits. It might not sound as much fun but I assure you it's awesome.
Minecraft has no levels or experience points. Rewards in this game are purely in the form of resources and what resources allow the player to do. Some resources (such as clay) don't even serve a real purpose other than the ability to build buildings out of red bricks instead of wood, stone or mud. But you just have to have. I know I do! I love RPGs, but in this game I didn't miss levels and experience at all. It's already incredibly rewarding to find a new diamond vein, because it'll allow you to construct more durable tools or armor.
Building things consists of placing blocks which happens instantly (unlike removing blocks which takes a variable amount of time depending on the tools and material hardness). You can basically build anything you can think of as long as it consists of square blocks; but it doesn't end there!
Aside from static buildings, the player can also build contraptions and railway systems. using a material called redstone the player can place wiring between pressure plates, railway switches, levers, buttons, doors, lights, TNT. This can be used to build traps for monsters (how about a block of TNT hooked up to a pressure plate?) or create automated train systems.
With the most recent major update it is now also possible to visit the Nether which is scary as hell. Huge monsters will continuously scream in tormented childish voices and there's lava and fire everywhere. Interesting about the Nether is that every step you take corresponds to many more steps in the real world, so that this alternate dimension can be used as a sort of means for fast-travel. But other than that I felt that the whole Nether-world added little to the game. Its sound effects are nerve-wrecking and thus I don't go there for my pleasure, and the spoils to be gained there are rather mediocre, although this will likely be fixed by the next update.
The graphics are rather simple, but I find them very charming. There's unofficial "high-res" texture packs for download, but frankly I think they all make the game look uglier. Why would I want a photo of the actual moon to replace my perfectly square moon? The engine also runs surprisingly fast.
Sound in the game is not very remarkable. Most of the effects don't get old, except the Ghast's sound effects in the Nether. But none of the effects stand out as good either. The sporadic music is nice and can be very haunting. It always sets in when you least expect it.
What also happens when you least expect it is that creepers sneak up on you and explode in your face just after you found some invaluable diamonds.
"Gosh, I didn't know that there was a lava stream just below the floor."
You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll look at marvelous sunsets from the most exotic locations. You'll cower in fear and entomb yourself just to avoid the overwhelming odds. You'll sail the seven seas. Throw snowballs. Ride pigs. Journey to the centre of the world. All the while wondering how a game so simple in its premises can be that much fun.
Honestly, I haven't had this much fun in a game in years.
I had just started Mass Effect 2 when I found out about this game and that game has been collecting dust ever since.