Over the last few years Minecraft has managed to become a household name. This was largely due to the licensing of the property which allowed it to expand into other merchandise such as toys, clothing, and books. The one place it hadn’t reached however was back into another video game. That changed with Telltale taking the IP and placing it into their adventure game formula creating what is surly going to be a huge seller to the Minecraft market. The question now is, will it’s reach expand past just fans of the series?
If you’re familiar with Telltale’s previous adventure games then much of Minecraft: Story Mode will be no surprise to you. The game follows Jesse (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who sets out on a journey with his friends to find the The Order of the Stone. The Order is a group of heroes who slated the Ender Dragon to save the Minecraft world. The set up is rather simple and I don’t want to give too much of it away because much of the enjoyment from these games comes from the story itself. Just trust me when I say that everything about it fits perfectly in the game and universe.
Gameplay is pretty standard affair for a Telltale game with a few nods to the Minecraft series thrown in. Players choose dialogue options with the threat of a timer counting down. Players are given control over Jesse only a few times throughout the 2 hour episode and can move around contained environments searching for items or dialogue options that will progress the story. In Minecraft: Story Mode these segments seemed a bit easier than normal. Previous Telltale games have made some of these segments a bit challenging but with the assumed younger player base here, they have been simplified to fit the demographic.
There are a few combat segments that require players to swing their sword. Again, these were not challenging to a seasoned gamer but for a younger gamer it may be. I played the game with my kids and my 6-year old was tense and stressed as a creeper slowly descended on Jesse. It was her job to slash the creeper with Jesse’s sword and only well timed trigger pulls would do damage. Though challenging for her, she had a blast doing it and had a feeling of accomplishment when she completed it successfully.
The story itself does a great job at incorporating much of the world of Minecraft into it outside of just the environment. References to things like the Ender Dragon or crafting itself in the game makes it really feel like you are taking part in something much larger in the games universe. The game actually has a few crafting segments that had me personally stumped on how to craft certain items, but had my son (a self-proclaimed Minecraft expert) shouting at me the correct recipe to place on our crafting table. This game is no doubt Minecraft at its core.
I had an absolute blast playing the game with my kids. We completed Episode 1 in just one sitting passing the controller back and forth and making decisions together. We had a lot of fun together shouting and laughing at the TV as Jesse and his friends made there way through this first episode. There are some great laughs and moments that were fun to enjoy together. On top of that, Reuben the Pig is hands down the stand out character. Jesse’s voiceless sidekick has some great moments and let’s face it, he’s a Pig!
So far Minecraft: Story Mode is off to a great start. With only the first episode out and the remaining four set to release over the coming months, I’m not willing to put a score on it just yet. I will say however that it is a ton of fun to play. The story so far is funny and exciting and has me hooked. In typical Telltale fashion Episode 1 ends on a cliffhanger and has left me craving for the next episode. It is currently available on the Xbox platforms, Playstation platforms, PC, Mac, Wii U, iOS, and Android.
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