Iíll be blunt, I held off on getting this game. In a small way it was a mistake because I missed buying it in the alpha stage, but at the same time, I wasnít sure if I would play it enough to constitute the price of purchase. However after a trailer, some funny vids and of course, Yahtzeeís review, in which he is actually positive of it, I decided to just bunker down and buy the game. Iíve only spend a few hours playing, so that is why this is a first impressions. So letís take a look at Minecraft.
Despite having seen this game with high resolution texture packs, even the default look has an old-ish charm to it. The blocky, pixelated world Minecraft creates for you is a (somewhat) peaceful and relaxing, giving you fields, mountains, caves, lakes, snowfields, deserts, and beaches to explore and build upon. Sound effects are passable, but considering the origin of this indie title, itís easy to let it go. The music, while infrequent, is good stuff that helps draw the player into the world. With the graphics the game has, the lighting engine is actually very impressive, you canít see anything in an enclosed space without a torch, and even then itís still very dim. Only sunlight is bright. The game also has a nice day/night cycle, although you canít enjoy night until a tower or something is built so you wonít get attacked.
Simple gameplay with real depth is hard to achieve and make it fun. Minecraft accomplishes this, by basically being a world of Lego bricks, this allows the imagination of the player, no matter how twisted, to create amazing structures. On the multiplayer server I play on (currently run by a temp group), the storage bank is a complete remake of the Scrooge McDuckís money bin, with a giant 8-bit art of Scrooge McDuck himself floating over it. This is just one example of the awesomeness that can be done with the gameís engine. However there is more than just mining and building. When it gets dark, either due to night or entering a dark cavern, you could be attacked by either zombies, skeletons, or the most feared creatures, creepers, thing walking, exploding plants. The crafting system itself is well done and intuitive, to make something, simply place the ingredients in the basic shape of the object and click the new icon. It works well and means thereís room for many combinations.
Minecraft is hard to really explain. It just has to be played to get. Itís more fun than it looks, and despite some things that are bugs (nothing game breaking, which is actually amazing for this beta) itís an impressive beta. The fact that you can change your skin by loading the template into a paint program and change it there means almost anyone can make a skin. I donít give scores for first impressions, however I will say this:
If you are on the fence on this one, or think building whatever you want while fending off monsters at night is even slightly interesting to you, I really think you should get it, besides, once it comes out it will be more money, so if you didnít get it in alpha, should do it now. And really, the thing MUST be good, in less than 6 months the game has amassed over 1 MILLION purchases and the game is still in beta.