At the most basic level, Minecraft for the Xbox 360 is, well, Minecraft. This port done by 4J Studios will likely be exceptionally successful in the eyes of gamers and accountants. It captures the essence of Minecraft almost perfectly, but it does so with a few major flaws and problems.
The big gap between the console version of Minecraft and the one out for the computer platform is the method of input. This game is controlled with a controller, not a keyboard and mouse combo. That means inventory management is performed with an analog stick and cursor, rather than a keyboard and mouse. Get ready to slowly glide back and forth over items a lot when playing, it’s kind of a pain.
You’re also going to be limited to a small space for each level you create. I actually recorded a video and uploaded it to YouTube in order to best demonstrate this issue. So, enjoy…
As Erik and I talked about during our Watch Us Play for this game, you’re also dropped into the game with a slightly less significant amount of challenge and unknown. Minecraft on the PC was partially about trial, error and learning. You try to survive, you research recipes for items and you build them in order to live and be creative.
Here? Your recipes are all already present and accounted for in the game’s crafting and inventory system. It makes navigation easier, but there’s no barrier for entry and learning. On one hand, that makes this game simpler to dive into for new players. On the other? The mystery that comes with Minecraft died a little by the introduction of a recipe-packed crafting system and in-game tutorial.
Otherwise, this is the experience we know and love. You'll be able to build, explore, fight and play multiplayer with up to 8 of your friends. You'll even be able to enjoy four player split-screen on a local level.
The console version of this game also promises to enjoy frequent updates. If that's the case, then we might see it grow considerably and cover ground between its version and the current one PC gamers are enjoying. That game features a whole slew of goodies that the Xbox 360 edition does not.
Ultimately, purchasing Minecraft for the Xbox 360 comes down to two easily answered questions… Do you have a computer powerful enough to run this game (it doesn’t take much)? Do you have friends who will play over Xbox LIVE?
This is not at all a bad port. Map size, inventory managing and recipe presence are its biggest problems. It is, plainly put, not as good as the PC version. The PC version allows modding, free skins, more players and a more up-to-date version of Minecraft.
If the Xbox 360 is your only capable platform, you have friends who will play with you and you consider yourself creative, buy this game. If you have a workable computer, consider the mouse and keyboard flavor for its much better presence.
We received a review code for the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft a week before the game’s launch. We built a few maps over different difficulties and dumped roughly 20 hours into the experience. We played the PC version of the game for literally months and months on end.