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Review: MineCraft by Mojang (Guest review by Elizabeth)
Minecraft, by Mojang (Guest Review by Elizabeth - with assistance from Chris Vitek)
• Easy to figure out user interface
• Lots of ways to build and game modes
• High replay value
• No difficulty settings to make it easier in survival mode (editor: Possibly not true)
Today we have a guest review for the app Minecraft. My daughter Elizabeth (age 9) wanted to play the game, so she agreed to write the review (with my assistance). Minecraft is a building, designing app, where your goal is to design and build a world around you. Using a variety of tools, you build libraries, houses, underground hidden areas, and just about anything else you can think of.
When starting the game, you have a choice of two different play modes - survival mode and creative mode. In survival mode, the goal is to defeat the evil monsters that try to kill you. You do this using a variety of weapons (bow and arrow is my favorite). The monsters include skeletons (with a weapon), zombies (they can fast), and creepers (which explode when near you). In addition to killing enemies, you can also build in the world around you. You get weapons, tools, and building blocks by earning them through modifying the game play world (such as digging and chopping down trees). The more you do, the more tools and blocks you get. Creative mode is a little different. In creative mode, there are no enemies (I think) so you simply are trying to build. You also don't have to earn any tools and blocks, they are automatically given to you when you start.
The starting screen to build a world - select creative or survival.
A sample of the tools available.
In both game modes, you can move around by using the on screen buttons (including the jump button). You move around to get to different locations for building (or avoiding/chasing enemies in survival mode). Once you have decided you want to build, you select various blocks from you available items and simply tap and place the items on the screen. To place an item you tap, to remove you tap and hold. When you are happy with what you have created, you are then done.
An underground bedroom, complete with torches
Building is easy with the "block approach", especially for things like stairs
There is no way to "win" this game - it is simply an ongoing process of building, tearing down, and building again (and fighting the monsters in the survival mode). Even though you can't win, it is still an engrossing game because you can completely build the world around you. Your creativity can come to the forefront as you design and implement your vision for the world.
As much fun as it is, there are some things I don't like. The island where you start is a little small, although you can move to other islands. In survival mode, it is a little difficult to kill the enemies, so I wish there was a difficulty setting to make it a little easier (note, Daddy just found the "peaceful mode" option under options, so presumably that would address this problem). There is a multiplayer (wifi) option where you can presumably have multiple people working together, but we have not tried that version.
A completed house (with interior decorations that aren't visible)
All in all, this is a fun, creative, and addictive app. The process of building and designing is enjoyable, and the app makes it easy to express your creative ideas. There are lots of tools and block to use, and the game play is very easy. At $6.99, it is a little expensive (so say Daddy) but there are frequent updates and no in-app purchases. I give this app a four out of five stars rating.
Chris' comments: This game is one that my daughter wanted to play. She has been playing it almost continuously for the past two weeks. She enjoys the building aspects, and my brief attempts to look at the game confirm her impressions that it is a very easy, intuitive app. If you are someone that enjoys building and creating structures (which seems to be the primary purpose of this app) then you probably will enjoy Minecraft. I know my daughter and all her friend do!
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.