tue 17/10/2017

Minecraft Pocket Edition | reviews, news & interviews

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Minecraft Pocket Edition

The baby version of the hit PC game is now the real deal

Minecraft Pocket Edition: now infinite space to roam

Minecraft Pocket Edition has been around on Android and iOS since late 2011 and is still officially an alpha release. After a couple of years of slow development, version 0.9.0 arrived this month and finally turned the portable Minecraft into something worth reviewing - and playing.

Over the last couple of years the team tasked with devloping the mobile incarnation of one of the most successful PC games of all time have added more and more features and tiles from the PC version but with a hard limit to the size of the game world and therefore a finite amount of resources to uncover, Minecraft Pocket Edition (MCPE) has never been able to match its big brother, remaining a fun diversion but lacking the depth of the full game.

MCPE - Now with villagersVersion 0.9.0 (actually 0.9.4 at time of writing, thanks to some much needed bug fixes) has changed all that, transforming MCPE to a Minecraft worthy of the name. Put simply, it is pretty much all there.

The most important change in 0.9.0 is that, providing your phone or tablet can handle it, the random game worlds are now infinite. Wherever you roam, the game will generate persistent terrain with a whole, hidden world of tunnels and precious ores beneath your feet. The impact this has on the game is enormous (well, it is infinite). The 256x256 cube of old made it feel as though you were in a terrarium and set a hard limit on what you could achieve. Now you are free to roam anywhere and there is always something new over the mountain or around the next bend in the river.

Almost all the 'mobs' (monsters) from the PC version are now present and correct. Alongside zombies, skeleton archers, exploding creepers and giant spiders you will now find squirming silverfish, bouncing slimes and the fearsome Endermen - slender black giants who wordlessly rearrange blocks on the landscape unless disturbed.

Sheep, pigs, cows and chickens roam the world, often with adorable baby version of themslves in tow. These can be farmed and husbanded to provide a supply of food, feathers (for fletching arrows) or leather. Wolves are a new addition and - as on PC - they may be tamed to gain a loyal companion.

MCPE - abandoned mineshaftI updated the game last week and marvelled at how full the world seemed, After a few days of play I climbed over a big hill into a valley just a few metres away from where I had built a rudimentary shack out of earth and wooden planks. There, next to a pool of blue water was a village - a handful of immaculate wood and stone buildings populated by strange, big-nosed humanoids dressed in robes and pootling about their business. It is this sense of the world suddenly shifting from a tightly restricted sandbox to a living, breathing ecosystem that is the 0.9.0 update's finest achievement.

Not everything from the full game has made it to MCPE yet, of course. There are still no Nether or End dimensions (there is a sort of nether gateway that you can craft which summons.. well, you should find out for yourself), no trading with villagers and most disappointingly no Redstone with which to craft machinery and working levers or switches. It is really close however and the sheer amount you can now do in the world means that you can finally just set off and explore without worrying that you will bump your nose on an invisible barrier.

If you are a fan of Minecraft on the PC, MCPE is finally ready to compete for your time. If you have never played either, this is one of the most absorbing open worlds on any platform and there has never been a better time to start digging.

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The random game worlds are now infinite

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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