Minecraft – Pocket Edition Review

Minecraft – Pocket Edition Review

Oct 10, 2011

It is time to rejoice all ye Minecraft Junkies, for this electronic dope is finally out on Android 2.2 devices. That’s right, Xperia Play owners are no longer the only people who get to build in this marvelous land. While the excitement for this game is through the roof, there are a few caveats that need to be kept in mind before hitting that purchase button.

Let’s start with the fundamentals of what Minecraft is, just incase someone has been living in the Arctic Circle with no internet for the past few years. This game generates random worlds and allows players to freely construct whatever their minds desire. Anything from the Starship Enterprise to mansions complete with outdoor water slides are constructible with cubes of various materials, and the only limiting factor is the imagination. This game is the definition of open world creativity.

The game runs rather well, and the touchscreen controls are relatively solid. There are times when looking around becomes hindered by the game trying to decide if it should break a block or look towards the sky. A virtual d-pad provides the movement, holding a finger on an object will start to break it, and materials are quickly accessed via quick keys at the bottom of the screen. The UI is intuitive, well-put together, and stays out of the way, thus allowing the player an unobtrusive view into their play land.

This also maintains the sounds and looks from the computer game, which means everything is constructed of square blocks that carry a pixellated look. Breakable cubes make up trees, mountains, oceans, and beaches. The only sounds are those of breaking various items or slapping down a cube. The whole package is simple yet effective, and it is nice to see that the mobile version stays faithful to its computer roots.

Now for the downside, and that is players looking for a full port of the computer version are in for a rude awakening. Survival mode is missing, there are no enemies to battle, not all the building materials are available, and playing online is limited to a local WiFi connection. This version brings only the building aspect to the table, and even that is roughly a year behind from the desktop version. Anyone hoping this is a cheaper version of the full Minecraft experience will be let down. Yet, there is still hours upon hours of fun in just crafting a world to one’s own design.

Minecraft – Pocket Edition is just that, a smaller version of the full game to play anywhere an Android-based phone or tablet goes. It is not the full experience, but crafting worlds that are limited only by blueprints created from the imagination will suck away hours of time, and I would know as I’ve lost 10+ hours to this dang game. This is a solid purchase for anyone addicted to this Mojang creation. Those that are still hesitant need to give the demo a look, but be careful as once the addiction sets in, it is incurable.

Minecraft – Pocket Edition Review Rundown

Graphics/Sound - Just because this is a pocket version does not mean it loses sight of the source material. The game is packed with all of the pixellated textures, blocky goodness, and basic sound effects. The size of the world makes up for the lack of polygon count.
Controls - A d-pad moves the player through the world while looking and constructing is handing with taps and swipes. In tight areas the game has a rough time deciding if it should look around or break something, which can be frustrating at times.
Gameplay - There may not be countless enemies to slay or alien invasions to stop, but there is no shortage of things to do. It is amazing at how much time can go into creating a world from ones imagination.
Replay Value - Every world is randomly generated thus ensuring no single game is ever the same. The is countless re-playability here, and with continued support from the developer, the game will only get better.
Overall - The controls can cause unnecesary frustrations at times and the fact that there is no survival mode will definitely put some people off. Despite that, this is the best way to enjoy all the fun of Minecraft no matter where the urge to play strikes. Prepare to lose copious amounts of time while constructing whatever the mind can conjure up.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Chris Nitz
Chris has been playing games since the day he got his hands on an Atari 2600. Chris enjoys long walks on the DOA beach, candle lit dinners with Raziel, and flower power from Super Mario World. Chris now spends most of his time on the PC, PS3, DS/PSP, Droid, iPhone, and iPad.
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