Telltale marry their adventure game nous to the Minecraft phenomenon
Game review: Minecraft Story Mode
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC
THE very idea of a story mode may seem a curious fit with Minecraft, the phenomenon that has inspired millions of players around the world to invent and construct their own worlds, but the mashup of Mojang’s acclaimed title and Telltale Games - the firm behind episodic adventures such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us - is aimed firmly at its devoted young audience.
Based around the adventures of a group of friends and their pet pig as they try to find a way to save the world, the narrative is a light, breezy affair that does not take itself - or the player - too seriously. It has no relation to the game other than the fact it looks like Minecraft, something that counts in its favour - the use of Minecraft’s crude block-based graphical style lends proceedings a charming feel.
The game is packed with Minecraft in-jokes
Two episodes in, the story is perhaps a little insubstantial to hold the attention of most adults, with few jokes included for parents watching on as their children play. That said, this is not a game without humour. The developers have clearly played Minecraft extensively and the story mode is populated with a host of in-jokes, from wooden swords that break all too easily through to, of course, chickens. Those who know the Mojang universe inside out will be delighted.
The gameplay itself is by the numbers Telltale, with a series of choices waiting to be made during dialogue trees, interspersed with QTE action sequences. None of these are particularly memorable or challenging, but in its defence, the first few episodes of a new adventure is always a tricky proposition, given that its main purpose is to introduce the characters and the story. And the inaugural episode has a pleasing shift of pace, touching upon some interesting subject areas, such as bullying, that will hopefully be explored further.
Story mode is best suited to younger players
As things stand, this is a game that will find a captive audience among young players who have already sank several weeks if not months building and exploring in Minecraft’s hugely successful sandbox world. There are elements that will be familiar to them, such as availing yourself of a crafting table, but the whimsical adventure narrative that many thought ill-fitting to the Minecraft series works surprisingly well.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Take out the Creepers one at a time. Allowing them to gang up on you makes combat tricky.
Encourage younger players to explore each area. As is the case with other Telltale Games, items of interest are clearly highlighted.
Don’t worry too much about narrative choices. They are less important in Minecraft Story Mode compared to other Telltale titles.