Minecraft – Pocket Edition ReviewDave Bouchard
Minecraft is a game that needs no introduction and/or brief description. Minecraft has seen over 10 iterations for the PC, by updating each build release, and releasing it for the public to test and play, until it was finally complete. For almost as long as the game has been released, players have been clamoring for an iOS adaptation, and as of recently, Mojang has finally decided to release a working and playable version for the Apple Products. Now the question is, does the portable iOS version live up to the hype and does it include all the best features that are included in the PC version?
Unfortunately, the Pocket Edition of Minecraft lacks many of the features that make the PC version of this indie title so exceptionally great. Granted, this version of the game is a resemblance of Minecraft in its earliest alpha stages, even with that fact, the game does have its own number of misses, and hits.
First things first, Pocket Edition currently only supports the Creative Mode, and provides the user with a limited amount of blocks (~27) as opposed to the PC version which sports near 100 types of blocks. Now, the avid Minecraft user will feel limited in their execution of building and creating, and Pocket Edition quickly becomes a portable game that loses its appeal quickly after building a few towering structures or so. Also, as a huge negative, the makers have opted to remove the flying feature, which is possibly the best feature in the creative mode, forcing the user to know exactly where they built their structure.
Since Pocket Edition only includes a version of Creative mode, that means there is a complete lack of enemies and the day and night cycle that many players feel are the core elements that make the game that much better. Without enemies in the world, the created world can feel a bit devoid of life, leaving the user alone, and feels almost like a creative wasteland more so than it feels like a creative playground.
All these negatives aside, Pocket Edition does manage to hit a few sweetspots when it comes to gameplay and controls. The controls are solid, and felt like they were built specifically for the iPod from the ground up. The player has a 4-way d-pad, and a jump button, fitted simply with a bar that displays the selected blocks to build with. A simple tap on an empty space places a block, and tapping and holding your finger on the screen starts the mining of a block until it disappears. The controls are tight and responsive, and I have hardly had any issues when roaming around the personally created worlds.
Another great addition is the use of Local Wi-Fi multiplayer. Although use of Wi-Fi enabled multiplayer would be great, the local Wi-Fi multiplayer works like a charm, and I have encountered no problems at all when connecting to a game on the same network. After all, any Minecraft game is much more enjoyable when building, destroying, and adventuring with a friend or two.
All in all, Minecraft Pocket Edition is a fun app that works as a great introduction to the Minecraft world for those who have not experienced it before. Also, Pocket Edition is a decent distraction for the avid player, although it does have some issues. As an avid Minecraft player for a long time, I personally felt disappointed with the finished product. I hope that they continue to release updates to eventually add the much needed elements that the game needs. Although it doesn’t include many of the core gameplay elements that are found in the PC version, Pocket Edition is a lot of fun on the go and especially with friends.
You can purchase Minecraft – Pocket Edition for $6.99 USD from the Apple App Store.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.