Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

What is a sandbox game? It’s a game where you are free to do as you wish within the gaming world. Some examples include Grand Theft Auto, Prototype, and Assassin’s Creed to some extent. These games do also provide you with story missions when you’re done clowning around, but there’s one that takes the ‘sandbox’ element, and does away with any story. This is MineCraft; a downloadable PC game, that seems to be growing rapidly in popularity, with only one goal; use your imagination.

Mario Minecraft Screenshot

It really does seem as though you can just about build anything - Image courtesy of http://www.techeblog.com

The plot of MineCraft is as follows; you’re a guy in an unknown world… and that’s it. You have no story, and no reason to be there. You’re just dropped in a world, and you do what you want, how you want to do it. This means that essentially you can make up your own story, to give yourself motivation to explore.  So what do you actually do in this world? You start off with no items, meaning you must travel the land collecting as many resources as you can.  These include wood, stone, coal, gravel, and so on. When you collect these objects, you have the chance to craft them into tools, which will assist you on your adventure. You can craft a wide range of implements, including axes, picks, hoes, swords, and much more. You don’t just collect stone and wood to make tools; you have the ability to also build whatever you want within this world. The only limit is your imagination. Want a castle to live in? Go ahead. Feel like making rails for a mine cart? Nothing is stopping you. Fancy building a statue of Pac Man for all to bask in his glory? The world is your oyster.

Anyone who has played first person shooters on the PC will instantly know how to control the character. For those who do not, do not worry. The controls are not complicated at all; you use the W A S and D keys to move, and the mouse to look around. You click the left mouse button to interact (e.g. pick up items), and the right mouse button to drop anything you are holding. This means anyone can instantly jump in and start your quest to play around doing whatever you want.

I have to say, the graphics in this game are quite unique. Everything is made of cubes of different colours, to indicate the different materials. It’s like looking at an 8-bit game close up. Even your character is made of cubes and cuboids.  That’s not to say the graphics are bad; everything is distinguishable and clear, meaning you won’t get confused as to what you are looking at. It has a simplistic charm to it, more so when you see a blocky cow or sheep leap past you, mooing or baaing away without a care in the world… until you kill it for its hide.

Minecraft Wallpaper

The world certainly seems to be your oyster in Minecraft for PC

It may seem like a relaxing game, but do not be fooled. There is a day and night cycle, and the night time is your worst enemy. When it gets dark, the monsters come out to play. If you are out in the open at night, then zombies, skeletons, and spiders charge at you to turn your flesh into a cube sandwich.  There’s even an enemy that explodes when you get too close to it. It would be menacing, if it didn’t look like a giant green shaft. Knowing of these dangers, I found myself wandering underground with a real sense of caution and paranoia, as I didn’t want to end up spattered all over the place because of a green shaft.

I tried very hard to find a negative point in this game, but I couldn’t. The only thing that annoyed me was when the game slowed down for no reason. That isn’t the fault of the game; I blame my laptop for the fact it’s on it’s last legs.

I played this game after watching a few videos about it, and I thought, “This game cant be this addictive can it?”.  I have to say, though, that I was proved wrong; it’s a really immersive game. The sense of freedom, the open world, the opportunity to set yourself goals, rather than being told what to do, makes this game fun and enjoyable.  This game is only in beta form at the moment, but that means there will be a number of updates created all the time. I recommend anyone to at least give MineCraft a look. You might be surprised with it.

Score: 9/10

Review crafted from gravel and cows hide by: Satchel