Minecraft Pocket Edition Game Review for iOS, Android, and Windows

Minecraft Pocket Edition

The Creative Challenges of Minecraft Pocket

Minecraft is a game about making do with what you have to create something that is so much more. You get access to some tools, and more importantly, an assortment of blocks. With these you can build, create, and compose some of the most impressive things (or un-impressive things) you could ever think of. So what about Minecraft Pocket? If the original game is all about going big, what can you do when you are on the go? This mobile version of the popular desktop game tries to bring in all of the many elements present in the main game (with plenty of limitations of course), and still manages to include the survival mode for those who want to do something more than just build. Continue Reading

Release Date: 17/11/2011

Available on: iOS, Android, Windows

App Store Rating: 4.5/5

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How much time do you have on the go? How big a house can build while waiting for that next conference meeting? Or how much can you mine before the bell for the next class rings? Or will you finish building that bridge or will you be called into the dentist’s office first? There are so many things you can challenge yourself within Minecraft Pocket Edition! All you need is a little bit of imagination, and plenty of guts to take them on. Well, it also helps being familiar with how the game plays so you can build in the fastest and most efficient manner possible.

Building a House

The most basic and instinctive concept that anyone playing Minecraft would want to do, a house is basically anything that gives you a roof over your head to shield you from the sun and rain, and has four walls to keep hostile creatures from getting to you. It is a simple concept and one that most of you would want to try out. But how far can you truly take it?

Some people have been clever enough to build into the sides of mountains or just going for the simple 4-walls and a door type domiciles. But how would you build a quick house? Some inventive ideas include creating small three houses using the existing trees as the foundation. Others would build small islands, creating a nice quiet home away from the larger land masses. Some homebuilders try to get extra creative and build on more isolated locations such as in between ravines, or under cliffs (you will have to carve out your own cliff).

Now, if you are feeling extra adventurous and had decided to use survival mode, then the game is going to get trickier. Minecraft players should be aware that there are two basic types of animals in the wild: hostile and non-hostile. And if you are not used to confronting these creatures, then you best stay in at night since that is when they nasty ones come out. The new update for the Pocket Edition has brought over the creepers from the original game –so you better build a safe house fast to keep you away from these exploding creatures.

Going Up, Going Down

Minecraft’s hardware limitations on the mobile platform restricts the overall size of the game world to be significantly smaller than that of the PC version, but that does not stop the world from being immense. If you intend to take a trip from one edge of the map to another, expect a really long trip ahead of you. That being said, you can challenge yourself to see how far you can go from your origin point. You can build a road, stairs, or a tunnel –any direction is fine. But the important thing is that you build a long continuous structure that when traced backwards, will lead you back to your first point of origin. Traversing the path you made will be long and fun, as you get to marvel at how far you have come without realizing how much effort you have already put in.

For those of you who decided to tunnel down, here is a tip: use torches! Eventually, the hole you dig will be so deep that light will be scarce. Fortunately, torches can be mounted on walls to provide you with much needed light. For those of you planning to take a long dip into the water, try to use large glass pillars. These will have to reach the surface, but they are also good sources of light in the murky depths where torches do not work.

Reaching up to the skies is a completely different challenge, and one that requires tricky camera work. The biggest problem you face is the possibility that you may fall off the structure. In creative mode, it means having to climb back up all over again, in survival it could mean certain death. The best thing to do when building up is to secure a good starting point –probably one of the higher mountains in your area. Take your time building a solid pathway going up the mountain and start building at the peak (in survival mode, anything you mine one the way up will be useful for making whatever structure you decide to build later on.

Speaking of going up, there is one tricky but neat idea you can do: make your structure float! The idea is to build in one direction and by making a starting ramp, as you build upwards, start hacking away at your ramp from above (instead of from below). This will make whatever you built upwards stay airborne, allowing you to create “floating structures”. Again, be sure to destroy your ramp from above, if you destroy it from below, you will not be able to climb back up. This is a lot easier in creative mode as you are allowed to “fly” (hence, no need to worry about your position when you destroy the ramp) as opposed to the limitations of survival mode.

Still Fun to Play

Despite the limitations of mobile hardware, Minecraft Pocket Edition still offers hours of fun play –as long as block-based structures are something you enjoy building. With no specific in-game goal or objective, the more casual players may find themselves at a loss at what to do at times. That being said, the amount of freedom you have in this game is truly remarkable, and while you are mostly limited to placing or destroying various colored blocks, it still allows you to let your imagination and creativity run wild.

The only catch is that fans of the desktop version of the game will see the obvious difference in scale and performance –which is why we really appreciate the presence of the local connection. If you have a friend who also has the app, you two can play together through a local connection. It is actually more fun when there are two people working together; though you should be clear in communicating with each other about what to do regarding resources so you do not waste food in survival mode (remember that there is nothing to worry about in creative mode).

The Verdict

Minecraft Pocket Edition is not a cheap game –despite that fact that it is a mobile app. So we highly suggest that players try out the lite version first, particularly if they have never played Minecraft in its original incarnations. That being said, if you found the game enjoyable, purchasing the app has its perks. You will get access to a wide variety of blocks and extra features that are otherwise disabled or absent in the lite version. Most importantly, you get to save whatever progress you made in-game (the lack which is a little cruel for the lite version). And if you have a friend who will play with you, the purchase is a must-have as it allows for multiplayer sessions to be saved as well.

The graphics, controls, and overall gameplay of Minecraft Pocket Edition tries to stay as close as possible to the original version. Sure, the textures are a little less detailed, and the controls are clumsier on a touch screen, and the overall map size is much smaller. But that does not mean that you have less of a game to play –Pocket Ed still has plenty of fun to offer. Survival mode is also constantly being updated in order to bring as many of the PC features to the mobile as well. We give this game a stray deer

85/100

Screenshots

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Minecraft Pocket Edition is developed by Mojang.

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