Microsoft Xbox 360
$20 (XBLA download)
ESRB rating: E10+
Review rating: 3.5 stars
"Minecraft" on the PC was an unexpected indie game that turned out to be a huge hit, so it's no surprise that the game has been crafted on the Xbox 360. This unique software is actually more of a game design tool than an actual game, which is why it's so popular. What I can't understand is why the console version costs nearly the same as the PC version but offers substantially less content.
Every gamer has wanted to create their own game, and "Minecraft" is the perfect tool for the job. There's no story, or even much direction, because it's up to players to create their own worlds using blocks to modify randomly generated levels. It's possible to fabricate whatever players want, from houses to forests to plateaus jutting out of the ground and much, much more!
Players are only limited by their imagination. Well, that and the actual build used to create the Xbox Live version. You see, the 'new' version is actually an old PC beta version that doesn't offer nearly as much content as the current PC version. The maps are very small and there is no Creative mode, only Survival. This means players always have to contend with potential enemies, which can limit the time spent on fabricating vast structures. It isn't enough to ruin the game, but anyone who has played the PC version will be disappointed.
Abilities seem limited at first, but as soon as players realize their character's main ability is punching (trees to harvest wood, mines for minerals, etc.), they'll most likely get punch-drunk! These items can be used to craft more useful items and weapons, and part of the fun is discovering what can be made.
A handy new crafting menu, smooth controls and great online multiplayer options help to alleviate the missing components of "Minecraft," and the result is still a fun, engaging experience.