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Veteran Member - Level 13
Minecraft. A game I have been playing consistently since its release on the 360. A game that, like many before me, has ensnared me hopelessly within its grasp with block-placing fervor. Besides the addictive nature, how does this game stack up for a $20 XBLA game? Come, take a walk down the shimmering lanes of my opinion and I'll tell you if Minecraft is worth your time.
They look like they were ripped out of Wolfenstein 3D, but the aesthetic works so well with the game that this fails to be a detriment at all. Sure, things may be rather blocky and pixellated, but that merely adds to the visual appeal of this game, and seeing a snow covered mountain or flower-filled valley is just as exhilirating as seeing these kinds of sights on much more higher resolution graphics. It suits the playing style extremely well, and provides uniqueness such as creepers that just wouldn't be the same utilizing a rather more modern form of visuals.
Not the most showy aspect of the game, but the music definitely enhances the atmosphere with a rather refined subtle ambience. It's rather peaceful and leaves you still appreciative after hearing the same music for hours. The sound effects suit the game rather well, though there's nothing remarkable about it other than the hissing sound creepers make, a hallmark of the Minecraft experience.
You build houses, you try not to die. That's the full story. Which is to say, none.
This is where the game really begins to shine. It moves fluidly. There has been pretty much no time where I was left desiring a tweak or change to the button layout. It moves like butter and is extremely easy to cycle through menus. My only complaint regards the confusing nature of minecarts, I've had difficulty figuring out how to utilize the powered minecart. That one small gripe aside, it controls great and will seldom leave you wanting for more on the gameplay side of the equation.
And this is the big one for Minecraft. The whole design of building your own houses and shelters as defense against hostile mobs is overwhelmingly infectious. Let your creativity go wild! Build yourself a castle, a wooden temple, a complete recreation of the first Mario level! There's video after video on the web of elaborate creations players have made, and that gaming nirvana has been brought crystal-clear over to the Xbox 360. The enemies are delightfully unique, there are plenty of blocks and dyes to make whatever you want, and the survival aspect ensures that it won't get too slow. The design is the shining point of this game, it is the most addictive game since Tetris. The multiplayer only adds to the enjoyment. I've seen about six people working on one stone castle, and I'll be damned if that thing wasn't going up like lightning. In short, the design of this game is brilliant.
Truly, this is a game that is the poster child for a little innovation going a long way. Minecraft's foray onto 360 is a blast to play. The graphics aren't cutting edge, the music is relegated to the background, and it boasts no story to speak of, all the strength lies in the gameplay and the design. Amazingly enjoyable, Mojang and Notch created what has become a pop culture icon, and with good reason. Unless you have the creativity of a boot, I heartily recommend this game to any Xbox 360 owner.