Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Mojang, a Swedish indie developer, took Minecraft's addictive gameplay and remade it for Android. Pocket Edition's limitations (such as the limited number of blocks) might frustrate some Minecraft enthusiasts, but it packs the heart of Minecraft into a mobile device.

Pocket Edition is a game similar to Minecraft. Players are dropped into a landscape of different cubes. These cubes can be "mined" by players, which can then be used to "craft" items and buildings.

Pocket Edition has two modes: survival and creative. Players can fly around the game and build with an unlimited supply of materials in creative mode. Survival mode is the core gameplay. Daytime is used to build above ground structures (e.g., stacking blocks to make bridges, castles, etc.). Night brings monsters that attack players and destroy their creations. There is no story and creativity is the only thing that will help you survive in hostile environments.

First ImpressionsFor those who have been playing Minecraft for a while, Pocket Edition brings new life to the game. It's thrilling and dangerous to jump into combat against a group of skeletons at night while frantically tapping the screen. When I built my first house, I couldn't put the game down.

Pocket Edition looks great on mobile devices, and the controls are very responsive. Even with 15 apps running in background and the game's graphics set up to "fancy", I only noticed the slightest stuttering as I scanned the digital landscape in creative mode. Despite the touchscreen, I noticed that my Samsung Galaxy S III became noticeably more warm. Survival, an AI-powered monster, was a bit slow at times, but not enough to interrupt gameplay.

It is annoying that grease spots on the screen are more noticeable during dark periods. This is not only gross, but it also makes it harder to see the screen.

How to Get Around
Pocket Edition features a highly mobile control scheme that includes directional arrows at the top and a jump button in the middle. Tapping and holding on the forward button pulls up the left and right strafe buttons, which you can tilt and slide your thumb towards. This is a great addition to version 0.6.1 and allows you to move in a more dynamic manner. It is also easier to circle your enemies when fighting.

To interact with the world, select blocks using your thumb and tap and hold them to mine them. As you mine, a halo forms around your thumb. It fills with minerals as you go. Satisfying! Experiential players will be pleased to know that Pocket Edition allows you to place and mine blocks farther away than the PC version. This makes it easier for mobile play.

Split controls can be selected in the options menu. This restores the center-screen function and mouse-like functionality. It's like trying to emulate a PC game with a mouse. I find the default touch controls to be more comfortable.

Creative mode offers a completely new interface that allows players to access a palette that contains every block in the game. Flying is also possible, something that was awkward in previous versions. However, it has been greatly improved since 0.6.1.

Pocket Edition's best feature is its seamless multiplayer capabilities provided that all players are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. It is possible to jump in and out from any other player's world. This makes it easy for players to start playing with their friends. It does not have ban commands. You should not worry about griefing if you have Pocket Edition.

Pocket Edition players are currently unable to connect to PC Minecraft multiplayer servers.

The Joys of Work

The Joys of Work
Minecraft's defining characteristic is the way players have to work for everything. You start with nothing and must harvest the materials to make tools to increase your building materials. Although the labor can be tedious, it brings you a deep sense of satisfaction when you complete any task in the game.

Pocket Edition sometimes ignores this concept for better mobile play. Your character will automatically swim through water if he approaches a ledge. Although it feels against the spirit and design of Minecraft, it works well on mobile platforms and is clearly the right choice.

The game uses the Minecraft Advanced Touch Interface System for crafting, which is most annoying. Pocket Edition players don't have to arrange materials in a specific way to make them into tools or items, like the PC version. Instead, they can select what they want to craft from the scrolling menu and the materials will be deducted accordingly. MATTIS is used in all aspects of player crafting, including the crafting table and the unique Stonecutter Block.

This makes it feel too "easy" and takes away the excitement and joy of discovery. Minecraft is a game that came without any documentation or explanations. Players must learn how to achieve goals and even research them. Selecting an item from a menu doesn't carry the same emotional weight. It's not unique and it doesn't have magic. It's just menu navigation. Mojang has created some beautiful controls that I believe can be improved.

What's missing?
Pocket Edition is important to know, especially for those who are experienced Minecraft players. Pocket Edition is not a way to continue working on your PC Minecraft game while you're out and about. It's also not a direct port of the desktop version. Pocket Edition does not contain many key minerals, and redstone-an in-game way to create electrical circuits-is not available. Pocket Edition is still missing experience orbs, enchantments and potions, as well as books. It doesn't even have fancy explosion animations or caves or generated structures, nor a sun in its sky.

The Nether, Minecraft’s hellish hyper-space travel dimension is absent. However, Pocket Edition has one unique characteristic: the "Nether Reactor", which brings a taste from the Nether to all game-pigmen. The Nether will visit you even if you are unable to go to the Nether.

The inventory view does not allow you to see the name of a particular material or the item's health bar. It is difficult to choose a tool that isn’t at risk of being broken. Even though the controls are becoming more intuitive, it is still difficult to eat food with them. This makes it easy for someone to accidentally destroy something.

For experienced Minecraft players, Pocket Edition doesn't generate infinite worlds. Although the worlds are large, they can be explored easily with very little effort. A small world means that there are limited resources. Miners who plan to invest serious time in a new world need to be mindful of conserving non-renewable resources such as coal.

You can get better all the time
The PC version was the first to offer a new distribution model. This allowed the game to go on sale while it was still in beta, and developers would push new features to players. Minecraft Pocket Edition is a similar game, with only a few features growing rapidly on Android.

This may sound like rationalizing the shipping of an unfinished product. However, many aspects of Minecraft are charming in their imperfection. It is a creative game that can lead to incredible creative breakthroughs. The game also keeps the game updated.

Get ready to craft
Pocket edition isn’t a straight port to Minecraft. It aims to bring the core experience of Minecraft onto a smartphone. Minecraft-Pocket Edition is very close to reaching that goal, considering how reluctant I was to quit playing it. Minecraft-Pocket Edition is an Android app that will give you a creative and fun way to spend your time on your phone.