2nd Opinion: Minecraft Story Mode: Episode 1: The Order of the Stone (PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android)

MINECRAFT_BOXMinecraft is an incredibly popular open-world building adventure game with stylishly blocky graphics.  It’s become a bit of a phenomenon since its release a few years back, especially with kids.  In fact, Toys R Us has nearly a whole aisle dedicated to Minecraft playthings!  But there’s not really much story behind it.  Well that’s about to change because point and click adventure experts TellTale Games has crafted an adventure game based around the Minecraft universe!  It’s available for nearly all current home consoles, PCs, and tablets, but reviewed on PS3 here.

In the game, you can choose to be a male or female (both are named Jesse).  You and a group of friends are entering a building contest at a convention, when you run into another old acquaintance named Petra.  You help her with a trade with a shady character in exchange for a diamond, but when she gets swindled, you and your friends give chase and find out that the mysterious character is planning on unleashing a monster into the world!  Now you and your friends must search the areas for warriors belonging to the Order of the Stone and find a way to defeat the monster ravaging the lands.

Like most TellTale games, Minecraft Story Mode is told in episodes, each one releasing a month or two after the last.  You can download them separately, or buy a season pass so you can have them when they are ready.  You can also buy a disc that acts like a season pass, too.  However, the game plays more like a kid-friendly Walking Dead title (another popular TellTale entry) rather than a true point and click adventure.  Most of what you do is listen to people talk to each other, and every once in a while you can choose what you want to say.  But be quick because you are timed, otherwise you’ll just go with the ‘silent’ option.  Choose your words wisely, though, because people will remember how you react to them later on.  This encourages a little bit of replayability as you can try different dialog options in another playthrough.

Every so often, you’ll get a chance to move around on your own.  You’ll control Jesse directly with the left pad, and can move around a cursor with the right stick.  You can highlight items to look at, pick up, or talk to certain people.  These parts of the game are most like a point and click adventure, too bad they don’t last very long.  Finally, sometimes you’ll have to do quick time events, where you must press buttons prompted on screen quickly to dodge obstacles in action sequences.

One neat aspect is that every now and then, you’ll get to craft new items from materials you’ve found.  You must place the correct items on a grid to make new ones that you can use.  However, all aspects of this game feel like they are just leading you around by the nose, and there is hardly any actual gameplay involved.  I know that the Walking Dead style of games proved popular for TellTale, and that’s why they probably went that route with this one.  But I miss the ‘old’ TellTale games like Sam & Max, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, and Tales of Monkey Island, which all felt more like ‘true’ point and click adventures.

But TellTale does have a tendency to improve a season as the episodes progress, and this is only the first episode.  If anyone can improve it, I believe TellTale can.  At the end of the episode, you can see how many other people who played it made the same choices you did, which is kind of neat.  The voice acting and storytelling are certainly top-notch, and while the game has blocky graphics, they are still charming and expressive.  Another good thing is that you don’t have to play Minecraft to enjoy this game, but I think fans of Minecraft will get the most fun out of it.


Kid Factor:

Minecraft: Story Mode is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  You can attack monsters with swords and other weapons, but they just disappear when defeated.  There are times when you can die, but the screen just fades out and you can start back over shortly before you made your mistake.  Plus the blocky visual keep the violence from looking too graphic anyway.  Language is used very sparingly; in fact I only heard the word ‘hell’ just once.  Good reading skill is a must for the text.  I think young Minecraft fans will still enjoy this one, especially since it is so simple.  After titles like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, it’s nice to see TellTale working with a family-friendly license again.

2 Responses to “2nd Opinion: Minecraft Story Mode: Episode 1: The Order of the Stone (PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android)”

  1. Give me some gameplay! I’m not into these marginally interactive stories.

  2. I’ll see how I feel about this style of game since Walking Dead Ep 1 was free on PS+.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!