Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Adventure & Strategy
Release Date: 11th of May, 2017 (JP, EU & NA)
* * * * *
The year was 2011 and Mojang had just published Minecraft and the world was never the same again and fast forward to the present, Minecraft has come to the Nintendo Switch!
By no means is Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition the first time Minecraft has come to a Nintendo platform as it did come to the Wii U back in 2015, (as well plenty of other platforms over the year, which includes mobile devices), but while they each have their own strengths and weaknesses, it is quite possible that Minecraft has finally arrived on the console that serves it best and that is what I will be focusing on in today’s review.
Sure I could go in-depth over every little detail, but the fact of the matter is Minecraft is an old game, an old game that is also the second best-selling videogame, which almost everyone in the gaming community has either played, or at least heard of, so while I will cover the gameplay in general and the game’s various features and modes, my main focus will be how it handles on the Switch and answer the question as to whether it is worth purchasing once again if you own the game on any other platform. So to properly begin this review, this is me summarising Minecraft.
Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition, like every other Minecraft version on any of its playable platforms, is a sandbox video game that was designed by the Swedish game designer Markus Persson. A game where players are able to build pretty much whatever they can imagine, as well as set items out of “textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world, but they can also forage, craft and even battle various monsters and animals, which includes horses that you can beat to death with a flower. (Yes, you heard me correctly, a flower such as a Daffodil can be used to beat a horse to death.)
It’s also a game that has its own Survival Mode, which can be fun if you’re willing to invest the time into it, as it does offer a challenging experience thanks to forcing you to live in a world where you must gather resources, stay on top of your life and essentially survive. But just in case Survival isn’t your thing, and it’s many in-game achievements that give act as both a goal and a worthy additional reason to play Survial, there is a creative mode where players have unlimited resources and can build whatever they want, (why build Hyrule Castle when you can recreate the entire Hyrule Castle Town and Castle from Ocarina of Time?)
But if one player isn’t you’re thing, there is of course the multiplayer option as players can visit worlds built by others and have others visit their worlds and partake in online battles, by playing modes such as Tumble. (Players are dropped into an arena and must essentially take out the blocks beneath the feet of their opponent, causing them to fall to their death via a pit of lava.) And just in case you’re curious, local play supports up to four players, whereas up to 8 can play together online and although four of you huddled around a single screen isn’t exactly an appealing idea, such a thing is possible when the Switch is undocked. (Do bear in mind though that each player will need 2 Joy-Con Controllers or a Pro Controller each as single Joy-con play is not supported.)
And now that I feel I have done a good enough job telling you what Minecraft is as far as this review goes, let’s actually talk about what exactly it is the Switch version offers. Well we’ve seen Minecraft go mobile before, but nothing quite like this, as Minecraft works perfectly both on the big screen and the little screen as both experiences don’t dip below 60fps (at least, it didn’t feel like it did in all my time of playing it,) but when docked, there really isn’t much difference between the draw distance between the Wii U and docked Switch versions of the game. Or to put it another way, no matter how you play it on Switch, hours of joy await, as long as Minecraft is a game that is to your liking.
That said, get ready to spend a lot of cash, because if you own the Wii U version of the game and have brought every Skin pack going, you will have to purchase them all over again as the Nintendo Switch version does not offer you the same purchase security the PlayStation version of the games offer (where you buy it on one PlayStation platform and can have it for free on any another PlayStation platform Minecraft is playable on.) Still at least the Super Mario Mash-up Resource pack is available from the start, so Mushroom Kingdom shenanigans can be had right from the start.
As for another thing the Switch version lacks, if you’re used to chatting away to other online players when playing Minecraft, don’t go expecting to do the same thing with the Nintendo Switch Edition as voice chat is not supported and even if such a thing is coming, it could be a long time before being put into action. So between now and then, for you to chat to others, even friends with whom you’re playing online with, you’ll have to consider using phones and even tablets to do so and while that isn’t bothersome for some, it is for many of you out there. But is it enough to put you off getting the Switch? Well that’s a question that only you can answer, but as for the “is it worth buying again?” that’s a question I’m going to answer right now in my conclusion!
* * * * *
Now given the fact I did say a few paragraphs ago that Minecraft is a good game if you like this kind of thing, as much as I tried to like it, despite how well it runs on Switch, Minecraft is not my cup of tea apparently. So while it was a top scoring game back in its day and is still such a thing now, as far as this reviewer is concerned, the uniqueness of Minecraft has started to win, so as far as a score from me goes, Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition earns no less than a 7/10. It is not the definitive version of the game, but it is actually one of the very best versions of the game in existence, so if you have the cash to spare and a love for Minecraft than by all means get it, as the Switch version is something you can take with you everywhere, but if you don’t, than there are plenty of other games worth getting for your Switch this month and one of them is Disgaea 5 Complete. At the end of the day though, the choice is yours!
THE VERDICT: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Microsoft