Mojang, the creators of the super successful indie title Minecraft, has released a version for Android (eat that iPhone!) 2.2 or higher, with special support for the Sony Xperia Play’s control pad. Fans have been pining and praying for this moment, including me, and after waiting patiently I can enjoy the building, mining, and creating that I so love. Or so I thought.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition elicits a “meh” response. It looks just like normal Minecraft, and it supports multiplayer on the same Wi-Fi network, but no Minecraft Server support. It does allow you to work on that epic replica of Minas Tirith that you’ve always wanted to do, though. It seems to be lacking the best part of single player though: survival. And with no survival means no tools, crafting, or porkchops!
The game controls well on my Nexus S 4G, with a good draw distance, no stutters, and the touch controls are actually the best I’ve used. Jumping is a little awkward at first since the jump “button” is directly in the center of the touch d-pad. I can hit it with the lower portion of my thumb while running around, and it has great response, but on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 it’s damn near impossible to jump with one hand. It’s apparent that Minecraft: PE was intended for phones first, and tablets if you’ve got huge hands. There is also no crouch, which could cause problems, depending on what you’re building.
To break blocks, you simply touch and hold on the block and a circle surrounds where your finger is touching and begins to “fill up” with white. Once the circle is full *POP* and the brick is destroyed. To look around, touch and swipe to the left and you’ll look right. Touch and swipe to the right, and you look left. To place a block, tap on the screen wherever you want the block to go. You’ll here the wonderful *PLUNK* that you hear on the desktop version, and you’re block is placed. And that’s it. That’s the whole of the controls. Super simple, and very intuitive.
Even with the excellent graphics, and great touch controls, I would find it hard to recommend Minecraft: Pocket Edition to anybody other than the most adoring fans right now. Once survival mode and crafting is added, which I hope is a when and not an if, then I could recommend it to the masses. Until then, wait and watch.