Jun 11, 2012

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $19.99
We Recommend: $15.99
  • Developer: 4J Studios / Mojang
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Genre: Action & Adventure, Strategy & Simulation
  • Released: May 09, 2012
  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Reviewed: Xbox 360

According to my stats on, I’ve put in 79 hours of gametime into Minecraft.  To give you an idea of how crazy that is, that’s more play time than I’ve given, Saints Row the Third (71), Mass Effect 2 (56), Fable III (45), and Dead Rising 2 (40).  I can’t fully explain what it is about this game that has its hooks in me but they are there and they are tugging away.  For those who are brand new to Minecraft, the premise is to build and explore.  Basically just keep digging in search of precious materials to construct buildings, buildings that can take you hours to weeks to build. The only real thing stopping a player from having any fun with this game is a lack of imagination and a will to build.

If you go into this game thinking it will give you clear objectives, this isn’t for you.  Minecraft is an open world sandbox game where you, the player, decide on what to do.  The game plants you in a location and it is up to you to do everything else, so like I mentioned a second ago, you will need an imagination to come up with something to do.  What you’ll want to do first is to build a home and a bed so that you can skip through the nights and work through the days using raw materials like dirt, wood, and stone, to build.  Once you’ve gathered enough materials to create a small home, use your tools begin to refine things into glass, stairs, bricks, and so on.  To open up more possibilities, you just have to keep playing.

I played an early beta of Minecraft about 2 years ago on the PC and built a simple pyramid.  That was my only experience going into the  Xbox 360 edition.  So if you’re a Minecraft aficionado from PC land, know that the worlds are quite limited in size.  The PC version will generate endless lands for you to explore but not so in the 360 edition, it is limited to, what I could tell, 1024×1024 blocks. For a new player like myself, the world is still huge and I don’t think I’ve even explored all of it yet.  The size here isn’t as bad as some reviews have made it out to be.  Making the transition from mouse and keyboard to gamepad was handled very well by 4J Studios as everything just works, no sluggishness, accurate controls and even moving around the menus works well with the joysticks or d-pad.

Unfortunately if you know about the PC version or its features, the 360 edition is based on a year old PC build that does not feature things like a hunger, new pieces, new placement abilities, and randomly generated towns. The developers of this version, 4J Studios are working on updating the game to catch up with the PC but there is no set date.  One thing this game has over the PC counterpart is local split screen co-op.  I haven’t had much experience with this mode but I have turned on a controller to test it out and everything just loads up quick.  I didn’t notice any lag or disruption in the game while in split screen so the game seems to handle it well.  Another feature for the 360 Edition is the ability to upload a screen shot directly to Facebook to show all your friends the time you’ve wasted, like I did.

Speaking of co-op, you can join your friends in their worlds via Xbox Live.  As long as they have their world open for anyone to join, you can just pop right in and begin a new adventure with a friend.  You do not get to take your items from your world unfortunately so you have to start from scratch, which in all honesty, really isn’t as bad as it sounds.  It was actually enjoyable to start fresh in a new world and build something different.  Or you can be a total jerk and just fill your friend’s house with water or bury TNT under their door.

The 360 Edition is a little pricey at $20, even though the PC version costs a bit more so if you’re curious as to what this crafting of mines is all about, download the demo.  If you like what you’ve played, then plop down a Jackson.  It’s hard to sit here and say that this game isn’t worth $20 when I’ve put so much into it but after looking up video tips on building structures you realize how much added abilities you’re missing from the PC version; it’s too hard to ignore. You can’t stack fence posts to make poles, can’t place slabs or stairs upside down, and so on.  If this game came with a more recent build of the PC game that kept it close to what you can do in the current build, easy 100% here and a full recommendation of $20.  At $15 though, you would be crazy not to buy this game.