Minecraft: Story Mode by developer Telltale Games is the missing ingredient that builds on the existing Minecraft franchise. Telltale Games has several years of experience with episodic games such as CSI, Back to the Future, and Game of Thrones created the long awaited story mode to the successful sandbox game.
Similar to their earlier releases, Minecraft: Story Mode is a point-and-click adventure game with a touch of drama. In this game, you can choose between a male or female protagonist named Jesse. It is up to you to customise Jesse according to your personal preferences – Jesse can be male or female, and you can adjust his/her skin tone as well. Jesse embarks on a journey along with his/her friends to locate The Order of the Stone. The Order comprises of Ellegaard the Redstone Engineer, Soren the Architect, Gabriel the Warrior, Magnus the Rogue and Ivor.
As Jesse, you solve puzzles, collect items and talk to other characters with the help of conversation trees. This way, you learn more about what has happened so far and what is to be done next. What you choose to do has an effect on the present as well as the future. When asked a question, you can select from one of four responses, or just stay silent – how you respond is remembered, and sometimes you may have to make major decisions like whether somebody stays or goes. These all have a bearing on how the game unfolds.
Minecraft: Story Mode positions itself as a family game in which Telltale Games has taken great pains to ensure that there are no mature themes, such as (spoilers) the deaths of key characters. There are however combat sequences, as well as other action scenes that provide excitement which is amplified by arcade-style controls that enable you to steer around debris amongst other things.
In the first episode ‘The Order of the Stone’, Jesse and his/her friends Lukas, Petra, Reuben (Jesse’s pet pig), Olivia and Axel encounter the Wither Storm, a terrifying monster that threatens the future of the world. Not capable of defeating the evil themselves, they must now bring together Ellegaard, Soren, Gabriel, Ivor and Magnus, the five Minecraft heroes who overcame the Ender Dragon. What these legendary characters did back then was enough for them to be immortalized in lore, and collectively, they came to be known as The Order of the Stone. The episode takes place in Endercon.
The second episode is ‘Assembly Required’ and this was released a couple of weeks after the first. Together with Olivia and Axel, Jesse must first locate Magnus and Ellegaard. They then need to go to Soren’s fortress so that they can find Soren. In the third episode, ‘The Last Place You Look’, Jesse and his gang have to find Soren and then request his assistance to end the Wither Storm. In the fourth episode, ‘A Block and a Hard Place’, the rapidly growing team has to get to the Far Lands – this is where Ivor’s Laboratory is located – and find out how the Ender Dragon was defeated. The fifth episode, ‘Order Up!’, which releases March 29, 2016, has Jesse and his/her young companions becoming The New Order of the Stone. It is now up to them to save the world.
The nice thing about Minecraft: Story Mode is that Telltale Games has not altered the characteristic three-dimensional building blocks that make up the characters and everything around them. Minecraft: Story Mode remains true to the original Minecraft. The building blocks in Minecraft provide you with the same feel of working with Lego blocks, especially when building craft. The only difference is that it is virtual here and the limit is your creativity.
With Minecraft being popular at all ages it just goes to show that there is a child in all of us, and that is probably what made Minecraft the best-selling PC game of all time. It is also the third best-selling video game ever, behind Tetris and Wii Sports.
Telltale Games did a great job on the voicing. The male voice is that of Patton Oswalt, and the female voice is done by Catherine Taber whose voices both appeal to the younger generation of gamers. Telltale Games has tried to retain the essence of the original Minecraft game soundtrack as well, and they have brought in some new effects too, like that of the wood-punching sound. These are well-suited to Minecraft: Story Mode and add to the effect. Those who have played Minecraft before won’t be left disappointed by Telltale’s efforts.
As this game is Minecraft in a playful jacket, you’d expect it to be a good comedy but unfortunately, it falls short in this regard. Reuben the pig is funny, but the human characters aren’t so much. You might smile at the jokes in amusement not because they are funny, but because they are supposed to be. In some countries like the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union, Minecraft: Story Mode has been rated as suitable only for those aged 12 and higher, as the dialogues involve words like ‘crap’, ‘ass’ and ‘piss’.
Minecraft: Story Mode is a good family game, but isn’t quite as good as the original Minecraft. The pace is a bit slow and the game becomes a tad too predictable at certain points.
• Stay true to original Minecraft
• Entertaining for all ages
• Pet pig is awesome
• Slow pacing