|Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.
At a Glance
|This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!
|ESRB Rating:||E10 - Everyone (Ages 10 and up)|
|My Rating:||Ages 6 and up|
|Genre:||Survival / Building|
|Review Published On:||August 3rd, 2018|
|Played on:||Martha & Thaddeus|
Minecraft has an autosave feature that runs in the background. This seems to primarily exist to keep you from losing progress due to a crash, as the game more properly saves when you return to the menu or exit.
Violence in Minecraft generally amounts to swinging a weapon at something until it falls over. If you want, you also have the option to disable monsters completely, so you don't need to attack anything. The other potential problem is that there's a variety of magical elements in the game, including potions, witches, and a "hell" dimension known as the Nether.
The game's name is very self-explanatory. Most of your time will be spent mining stone and ores from deep underground. Above ground, you'll spend your time gathering wood, harvesting crops, and raising animals. Once you have the resources you need, you can use them to craft new and better items. Or to put it another way, you spend a lot of your time either mining or crafting.
Technically, you're going through all of this effort to prepare for a grand climactic battle with a powerful monster known as the Ender Dragon. However, that's not really considered important and the majority of people playing the game completely ignore the End dimension and let the dragon go about his business.
Everything is up to you. Because of the large amount of freedom Minecraft gives players, it's often compared to an endless box of LEGO bricks or a giant sandbox. Neither description really encompasses all of the possibilities though. For example, one of the key aspects of the game is that it creates its world as you explore, making every journey into the unknown completely unique. You might find ancient temples filled with traps and valuable treasures, or you might discover a thriving village. Or, should you be truly daring, you can create a doorway to the Nether, a realm that is perhaps best described as the offspring of a deep cavern and Hell itself.
Of course, one of the things that has made this game what it is today its huge and organized modding community. A lot of people, including myself, prefer to play with dozens (if not hundreds) of mods installed. The majority of mods out there are just as inoffensive as the vanilla game; their main purpose is to add new things to see and fancier items to craft. For example, many mods give you modern industrial equipment like ore processing machines or various types of power generation. Others provide additional types of crops or new environments to explore. The possibilities are truly endless.
This is easily one of the best games out there, especially for younger gamers. The amount of customization is insane, and it's easy to get lost in the endless worlds it provides. While there are some monsters to fight, everything is depicted in a very child-friendly manner. Alternatively, you can even turn off hostile creatures altogether and play the game without them.
If you haven't already, consider giving this game a try. It's really worth the price of admission.
Points of Interest
A fourth difficulty setting is Peaceful, which disables monsters and the game's hunger mechanics, allowing you to concentrate on gathering materials or building something cool. Personally, I prefer Easy, but like so much else in Minecraft, this is entirely up to you.
There are also three different game modes. The default game mode is called Survival, and as the name implies, has you try to survive in a wild, untamed world. Dying in a Survival mode game results in you dropping everything you're carrying, followed by you respawning a few moments later. Thus, death is inconvenient and can be a bit of a pain, but it's not final. Next, there is Creative mode, which gives you an infinite supply of every item in the game, including many items you cannot normally use. When playing a Creative mode game, you're basically the god of the game's world, free to do whatever you want without regard to anybody's restrictions. Monsters will ignore you, nothing can anything hurt you, and you can even fly around like gravity doesn't exist.
The third game mode is Hardcore mode, and this is a challenging mode for those that feel Survival is too easy. On Hardcore mode, the difficulty is locked to Hard, you will NOT respawn upon dying, and if you do die, then your saved game is erased -- ie, it turns the normally friendly game into a dangerous permadeath challenge. Don't plan on building anything frivolous in this mode, as you need to keep your strength up. Every block will count.
You can also change how your character looks by uploading a new skin to your account. This can be done through the new launcher or via the website. Making a custom skin is quite easy, and it can be done using any image editor. There are also tools online like Skincraft that can assist you. Instead of having you create your skin pixel by pixel, tools like Skincraft have you assemble your skin by dressing a base character as if it was a paper doll.
If you want, you can even make your own "modpack" by gathering and installing the mods yourself. However, I'd strongly suggest using the Twitch client to do this, as it can handle most of the details itself and even has a nifty catalogue like feature for finding and installing new mods. Unfortunately, there's a reason modpacks are popular: see the Cons section of this review.
Using the Realms service is entirely optional, as you can create your own servers with a little work or just play alone. Technically, the single player mode uses its own server, but this is handled automatically and behind the scenes.
Something new added in version 1.12 is a recipe book. This is an in-game guidebook that lets you view crafting recipes for any items you can make. Prior to this version, you needed a mod like NEI in order to have an in-game crafting guide.
Later versions of Minecraft help you out by including a recipe guide in the game itself, and if you're modding an older version, there are some mods like NEI that provide the same feature.
You see, one of Minecraft's most famous monsters, Creepers, are mobile bombs that home in on players and explode one they're close enough. These explosions rip holes in the landscape, your buildings, and you. If a chest is destroyed by one of these blasts, the items that had been stored within it are scattered about and might be lost. I wouldn't be surprised if Creepers were the main reason you can disable monsters.
Concerns and Issues
You'll also encounter tools, weapons, and armor with magical enchantments of various types. For example, a sword may be enchanted to do more damage to giant spiders while a chestplate might provide magical resistance to fire. As you'd expect, you'll be able to place these enchantments on items yourself once you've built the right devices.
Your typical monsters include zombies, skeletons, and giant spiders, but there are a number of unique creatures that are only found in Minecraft. These include creepers, endermen, and zombie pigmen. Depending on your difficulty setting, zombies can turn villagers into more zombies, and there may be little baby zombies running about.
Witches and Illagers are also present. The former is a hostile villager who throws potions at you, while the Illagers are a relatively new nuisance that acts as a hostile faction.
All of this can be bypassed by playing on Peaceful, making it optional.
By the by, there is a popular creepypasta character known as Herobrine. This evil entity is something of an internet legend, and does not really exist. The developers of Minecraft are aware of the story, and occasionally play along with little references to him in official artwork and the game's changelogs. Of course, there are mods to include him in your game, if you really wanted to.
Although you're going to be using your weapons on monsters most of the time, you can also attack and kill other things, like the peaceful villagers, the local animals, or even other players. Outside of specific mods, there's no real point in going after the villagers, as they leave behind any resources. As for fighting and killing other people's characters, it goes without saying that you should probably only play the game with people you know or just play alone if PVP servers are an issue for you.
However, unlike the killing a player or a villager, there is a reason to attack and kill the various animals in the game. As in real life, this is how you acquire resources such as raw meat and leather pelts. You could also acquire wool by killing sheep, but this isn't the best idea. You should make and use a pair of shears instead, as this item will allow you to gather the wool without harming the sheep, and they'll grow another coat in a few minutes.
In fact, most of the wildlife found in the game can help you in one way or another without you having to harm them, so killing animals is entirely optional. You can even manage your food supplies without using any form of meat. Even better: mods often provide alternative ways to get animal products, and they can feature a mind-boggling number of completely vegetarian foods. Pam's Harvestcraft, for example, contains the means to make tofu, which you can substitute for eggs or meat in almost all recipes.
On the plus side, if you're not playing a Hardcore mode game you'll respawn and can hurry back to where you died to recollect your things.
I know some people may object to me calling the Nether a depiction of Hell, but er, check the debug screen when you next visit the Nether. The name for the current biome is always displayed on this overlay, and in the Nether, it simply reads "Hell".
So, I'd recommend buying the game through Minecraft.net, which is the game's homepage. The Java edition is the one you'll typically want, especially if you plan on trying out some of the game's mods.
Once you have a valid account, you can install the game directly via the game's website or one of the alternate launchers, such as the Technic Launcher or the Twitch Client. These will allow you to install and manage your game in a way that's both easy and mod-friendly. Note that managing Minecraft installations is only one of the Twitch client's many features, so parents should give it a look before letting their children run wild with the program.