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With more than 120 million copies sold, Minecraft is one of the most popular games ever released. Now, the game has finally made it to Nintendo Switch. Minecraft Switch Edition is available beginning May, 11th, and features all of the rich gameplay one comes to expect from a game in the series. Minecraft Switch Edition is the first true portable version of the game that features full controller support. While the game has been available on mobile devices for some time now, Minecraft on the Switch is truly unique in the sense that it is as much of a hybrid as the Switch console itself.
Minecraft has always stood out to me as an inspiring game of creativity, due to its inventive gameplay but also the aesthetics. Even though the visuals have had a dated look and feel to it for some time now, few games have visuals so recognizable and charming. The simplicity of the graphics make the game easily customizable, hence the many skin packs the game comes with. Furthermore, the game looks beautiful on the crisp screen of the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. It feels like you are holding the huge world in your hands, which is something I always enjoyed about games on handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Switch.
Getting Started with Minecraft Switch Edition
First time you start the game you will be prompted with the main menu, at this point we couldn’t contain our excitement, so we choose a character Skin ( Mario ), and created our first world right away. Within the options of your server, you have the ability to choose if you want to create an online or offline game. If you do opt to go online, up to 7 other friends will be able to join, and mine with you. You can however restrict the people who can join your game. For example you can allow only friends, or friends of friends.
Once you have selected your desired server settings you will be able change the gameplay options. The game modes you can choose are Survival, Creative and Adventure. These are three modes known from previous versions of the game. And each one of them changes the gameplay just a little bit. You may also change the difficulty from easy to medium and hard.
Creating, building and crafting are a few of the most important actions you will perform in the game. While the beginning can be a bit overwhelming, the tutorial explains the basics of these three core actions. Even though new players may get lost mining all sorts of different materials, from trees to sand, not knowing what to do with either of it. The Crafting user interface luckily is pretty straight forward. You can even use touchscreen controls to navigate through the menus, making it even easier to perform your tasks. As pretty and sleek as the user interface is, you will still want to have your Minecraft Wikis at your fingertips for crafting recipes, tips and tricks.
Once you do decide to start crafting, you might feel a little frustrated at the beginning. There is no way to know what materials you need to create a torch, a pickaxe or anything else your heart desires. You will be forced to rely on Minecraft wiki pages to know what is needed for the item you want to make.
There is definitely a learning curve to all of this, if you are a first time player to Minecraft, the huge world and options can make you feel lost at times. But Minecraft is fun enough to warrant the learning curve. Once you overcome the first hurdle, the addiction kicks in once you crafted and created your first items. By this time you will proabbly have noticed, that the sun has been setting for a while, and scary noises will appear all around you. Thats right the day and night cycle is still part of the gameplay, and different creatures will appear during the night.
This is where the game will really pull you into the world. You will either have to find shelter, craft or find a sword. Even a wooden stick will help you make you feel more secure. This is also where I began worrying, as I was running around holding a bag of seeds, feeling beyond helpless if anything scary should cross my path. I started looking around, trying to get a hold of materials I could use to make some simple tools. A shelter, some weapons or even a simple stick. Like a cavemen stocking their first fire, building basic tools, torches and a shelter – all of these things will make you feel a lot safer in Minecraft, especially during the night. And once you survived the first night, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. As the sun rises, and shines some light on your newly created survival kit, you can’t help but somehow feel proud of what you have built.
Create and Build
Beyond creating a sense and feel of safety, you will also be building the land of your dreams. As you mine more, you will establish a good amount of materials in your inventory. Once you mastered crafting your basic survival kit ( tools and torches ) you will expand your repertoire to include superfluous pieces. In order to build your first tiny shed, house or mansion, depending on how big your ambitions are, you will need to craft ladders, stairs, doors, windows and more. This is where the expansive crafting systems turns from a necessity to survive, into something you frequently do, simply out of joy to complete your next big project. There is always something to do in Minecraft.
Once I finished my first house on the top of a mountain, I looked out of my ( personally crafted ) window, and noticed there is a higher mountain in the far distance. Off I went to go exploring and climbing that new taller mountain I saw from my window. Once I completed my journey, I started building a new project, just on the tip of the mountain. The feeling of freedom and exploration, the ability to alter and change your world to your very own desire, is to date a very unique experience only found in Minecraft.
The crafting system in this game is as powerful or as simple as you want it to be. You can stick to crafting torches and weapons, or make it more complex and start building houses, or even a self-powered rail system, that will connect the entire world. There is no limit besides your creativity, and building an underground railroad system, is one of the best experience you can have, especially when done so in multiplayer with friends.
Adventure Alone or with Friends
The feeling and the thrill of exploration, with unforeseen events is impeccable. The Minecraft Switch Edition captures this just as well, as any previous Minecraft version on the market. There were times I spend my day farming, maintaining my house, hunting for food and just sitting back and relax. But other times, you will find yourself stumbling upon a gigantic mine, a mysterious cave, or an area of the world you haven’t yet explored. These are the kind of moments that invite you to an unexpected adventure. Because worlds are randomly generated, you never know what secrets you may uncover next.
Of course adventuring is always better with friends, in my opinion at least. Minecraft on the Switch offers multiplayer for up to 8 people. You can play with your friends, or the friends of your friends, the choice is yours when you create and open your world to others. The multiplayer is supported through local as well as Online network. If you have the option to play with others, we highly encourage you to do so. Building that underground rail road system, or the beautiful mansion by the beach is twice as much fun, when done in a collaborative manner. As you build your empire, friends can drop in and out at any given time, and it is great fun to stun your friends with what you have built after they been away for a while.
Minecraft Switch Edition is a wonderful game, that adds to making the game lineup for the Nintendo Switch even stronger. There is little new for a longtime Minecraft player to be discovered. But to be able to take the game on the go, with full controller support, and online multiplayer, makes this one of the best Minecraft iterations of the series so far. The graphics, though beginning to look somewhat outdated, look still stunning on the crisp display of the Switch. The huge world size, and the different skin packs make the game very replayable. Minecraft performs and plays beautifully on Nintendos Hybrid console. The team behind Minecraft has managed to make this is the perfect game to play with your friends, and is a must own game for every Switch owner who enjoys sandbox games – regardless if you have already played Minecraft before or not.
Big thanks to Microsoft for providing the review copy of the game.