There can be no doubt Minecraft is one of the biggest success stories in gaming in recent years. Released by indie developer Mojang, it has clocked over 4 million sales before even moving past the beta stage. Most surprising is the fact it has gained such popularity despite being a very unconventional game. There are no victory conditions in Minecraft and no “end game.” It is more like a creativity tool than a video game. The player is simply given the means to craft and shape the game world as they see fit using a variety of tools, and the rest is left to their imagination. The player can level mountains, build a house or construct a mine. The only limit is their level of dedication. This has led to some very interesting creations by particularly committed people, with videos of working CPUs, sprawling metropolises and even a 1:1 scale reconstruction of Middle Earth circling the internet.
Recently released on the App Store, Minecraft Pocket Edition is essentially a cut down version of the PC release. Monsters and animals have been removed, as has the ability to craft objects such as swords and pickaxes, but the core principle of Minecraft remains. You have a vast expanse of land in front of you, a variety of building materials at your disposal, and the opportunity to let your creativity run wild. This will all feel very accessible and familiar to veteran Minecraft players, but newcomers may be left wondering what they are supposed to be doing, or how to go about doing it. However, despite the lack of an introduction or tutorial the controls are extremely intuitive. Using the touch screen to place blocks and move the player through the on screen D-pad can be quickly mastered and functions without any major problems. The graphics are as basic and as blocky as the full release but retain a certain cute charm.
Overall, Minecraft Pocket Edition is a great buy for Minecraft fans who want to craft on the move, and a brilliant supplement to the full game.