Review: Minecraft PlayStation Vita Edition

Developer: Mojang | Year: 2014 | List Price: 19.99 | Buy from Amazon

MCVitaMinecraft is a game that you never really stop playing once you start. Oh sure, some months have gone by since I played a serious session on the computer, but I recently got the PS Vita Edition of it, and boy have I been playing it! In fact, just a couple of days ago, I got my first ever PSN Platinum Trophy when I ‘beat’ it. Minecraft Vita brings the original game to a portable platform and really does it justice.

Minecraft is on pretty much every system imaginable at this point. PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita, iOS, Android, heck, even the Raspberry Pi has its own version of Minecraft! All of these versions have their own unique quirks and limitations and it’s impossible to deny that technically, the PC version is the most complete. That said, I truly believe the PS Vita to have the definitive version of Minecraft. This is due to its portability and when you get down to it, Minecraft is a game that you really can play on the go. Want to make a tweak to your castle or farm? Now you don’t have to wait until you get home to do it.

If you haven’t played Minecraft before, you’re basically placed in a blocky rendition of our world with nothing but your bare hands and the will to survive. By day, the world is pretty tame, but monsters will emerge at night. Through resource-gathering, dungeon-exploring, and crafting, you’ll soon establish a settlement and make more effective gear as well as some contraptions. Minecraft really is what you make of it. Everyone has their own way of designing their homes and their own methods of finding food and gathering loot. While some may slave towards lavish projects and fancy farms, others may prefer more modest abodes and a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Also, because of the random-map generation, no two playthroughs will be the same.

Unlike the Pocket Edition for mobile phones, this is the full console edition running in your hands. Apart from some of the stuff added in updates and unlimited maps, it’s also pretty similar to the PC version as well. (It’s roughly equivalent to Minecraft 1.3 on PC, but there are updates planned in the future that’ll add horses and the like to all of the console editions.) For some, the limited maps will be a deal-breaker, but I personally didn’t find myself running out of places to explore. Maybe it’s just because I never played with more than two players, but I found the 800×800 maps to be well sufficient. On the subject of multiplayer, you can play with up to four players either online or in ad hoc mode. It usually runs well, but sometimes if you’re not the host player, you’ll run into holes in the map that can be fixed simply by exiting and re-entering the game.

If you already bought Minecraft on PS3, you’ll get this version for free due to cross buy. There really isn’t any reason not to get it, since you can transfer your world back and forth between the two platforms without a hitch. If you already have the PC version, there’s nothing really new here, but $20 is worth the portability in my opinion. I personally can’t see any incentive to return to PC, unless there’s a lot of stuff added in a future update.

Design: 9/10 Minecraft gives you a fully open world to explore, and you can do anything from cooking to weaponsmithing, and from spelunking to zombie-slaying. Due to the freedom you’re given, there’s no story to tell you what to do next, but look to the trophy list if you’re looking for checkboxes to tick off. Otherwise, you’re free to do as you like and you’ll have fun doing it. Minecraft truly is the ultimate timesink.

Visuals: 9/10 Minecraft isn’t trying to win any prizes with its graphics, but it pulls off its visuals with a unique, charming style. The world and the creatures that populate it are almost wholly made of cubes representing different materials, and yet some of the vistas you’ll come across can be truly stunning. Minecraft’s flair is one that many have tried to emulate, but none have quite attained the draw of the original.

Sound: 8/10 The soundtrack isn’t always noticeable, and there are times when the world will be silent, making you feel as alone as you are. But there are some tracks that are quite memorable and you won’t tire of them, since there’s some variety and they play at random.

Gameplay: 10/10 Those who subscribe to Minecraft’s philosophy of complete freedom in gameplay will have an absolute blast. There is no other game that is quite as player-driven, and although it’s not necessarily for everyone, Minecraft pulls off what it sets out to achieve perfectly and sets the bar for all open-world sandbox games to come.

Value: 10/10 For only $20, Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition is slightly cheaper than the PC version and will give you just as many things to do and places to explore. It’ll take you at least 40 or so hours to get all the trophies if you’re really gunning for them, but you could easily spend dozens more making the world your own.

Total: 46/50 (A)

List Price: 19.99 | Buy from Amazon

Have you tried Minecraft on Vita? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!

I got Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for 3DS yesterday, so look forward to a review on that as well as some other titles soon. If you have any recommendations for games I should review, put those in the comments as well. Otherwise, you can find the rest of our video game reviews here, and see the always-up-to-date list of my favourite games right here!

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