Minecraft Review

Developer: Mojang

Publisher: Mojang AB

Release Date: June 21st, 2018

Price as of Article: $29.99 USD, £19.99 GBP

Rating: E10+
File Size: 658MB

Introduction

* Note: For the sake of this review, I will be referring to the original Minecraft release on the Switch as the Nintendo Switch Edition, and I will be referring to this current release as Bedrock Edition.

Minecraft became a worldwide phenomenon in the years since it was originally released on the PC. Since, it has seen a wide variety of releases on other platforms including the console our website is dedicated to: the Nintendo Switch. The original Minecraft: Nintendo Switch edition had a limited world map size of just 3072×3072 blocks and an outdated UI system.

The Bedrock Engine utilized by the PC and IOS versions of the game allowed them to have practically infinite world sizes. While there is technically an edge, it could take you years of constant walking just to reach it. This engine has been brought to nearly every currently supported version of Minecraft which now includes the Nintendo Switch! This also means that since the game runs on the exact same engine as on other platforms, cross play is possible and has been indeed activated! Now, by making a Microsoft account and Xbox gamer tag, you can join players on the Xbox One, Windows 10, IOS, Android and VR platforms! Details on this will be expanded further upon in the Gameplay section of this review.

Juan had previously played Minecraft for our Youtube channel, but we agreed that with the scope of this update and the fact that Mojang is marketing it as a new game with a brand-new listing on the eShop that it was time for a refreshed review on Minecraft. After I unexpectedly fell in love with the game after having never played it prior to its Switch release last year, I am excited to at last bring you my full review of Minecraft (Bedrock Edition)!

Story

In Minecraft, there is no real story to speak of. It is a game where everything is left to the imagination and creativity of the player. If you want Minecraft with a story, I would highly recommend Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode.

Gameplay Part 1: Some Minecraft Basics
Minecraft trees

When you start out, you will have nothing but your fists and wits. (And a map.)

What Minecraft lacks in story, it makes up for 100-fold in gameplay. This is where the true meat of the game lies. What appears at face value to be a simplistic game designed and targeted at young children hides a truly deep and challenging adventure that could take you years to master. Even after spending over 300 hours with the game, I still feel like I have barely even scratched the very outermost layer of the complexity and depth to be found here.

At its core, Minecraft is all about blocks. Nearly every single thing in the world is made up of blocks which can be broken and subsequently collected. When you first start, you will just have your fists and wits, and you need to find blocks you are capable of breaking. The stronger and generally more versatile the material, the stronger the tools you will need to mine them.

As you mine different materials, the items you can craft become increasingly robust. You have a wide range of decorative blocks such as wood planks of as many varieties as there are types of trees and different kinds of stone slabs. These can naturally be used in the objects you craft to great visual effect. Many players use these blocks to erect enormous statues or craft and visually stunning massive cities or landscapes. I have even seen legitimate works of art. However, the true depth of Minecraft comes from the various mechanisms and red stone. More on that later.

 

Minecraft Canyon

After deciding to dig my canyon, it was just a matter of doing it!

The beauty of Minecraft is the world is yours to explore, and the way you choose to approach the game is limited only by your imagination. The way you wish to play is dictated by your own style and self-set goals. Minecraft is really a game targeted at people who don’t need a set quest list. You have to determine the best way to approach the game and use your own problem solving skills to navigate the world.

I get into it far deeper on my feature about how much I enjoy Minecraft, but the general gist of how I play the game is that of an adventure. I have a huge world to explore with a vast system of underground caves and landmarks to discover. Rather than spending my time sculpting objects, I have opted to find ways to make my world simpler to navigate. My focus eventually ended up being to make a road system to easily navigate my world along with a world map to help keep me from getting lost. I built several safe houses along the road for havens in which to sleep at night, but I want to later build several inns along the road inspired by those from Skyrim just for the sake of having some visual flare and somewhat less primitive places to sleep.

 

Minecraft Water Temple

You have to use creativity to navigate the Minecraft world.

My adventure even took me to an underwater temple where I spent over a week strategizing a way down to it and actually clearing out all the water and enemies to take it over. Now, I have an underwater lair which I am still working on customizing to my liking!

Minecraft Zombies

Minecraft can be especially dangerous at night or in caves.

I initially started by digging a tunnel system to keep me safe from the devious and explody creatures that wander around at night. If you played Minecraft, then you know exactly what I’m talking about! The over world is a surprisingly dangerous place after the sun goes down! Creepy critters and crawlies begin wandering out of the most innocuous of places, and you will find yourself dying more often than not if you aren’t careful. Enemies can range very from slow but tanky zombies to skeletons which wield bows and arrows.

Two of the most dangerous enemies you will encounter are Creepers and Enderman. Creepers are, aptly enough, creepy! They sneak up silently behind you and all you will hear is a hiss before an explosion might take you out and whatever you are working on. Enderman are tall, black entities which are fairly docile by nature until you make eye contact. Once you do, they let loose bone chilling screams before unleashing their fury upon you. There are strategies for fighting these creatures, but I will leave that to you to uncover.

Underground can be equally dangerous as it is always dark there, but by crafting some simple torches out of charcoal and some sticks, you can keep your tunnels well-lit and safe. Just beware that vast, underground caverns lay about across the entire world map, so you never know when you may stumble upon one. They may be dangerous, but they are generally fantastic places to mine for materials such as iron ore, gold, aquamarine, red stone and, most importantly, diamond.

Red Stone, Aquamarine and Mechanisms

While iron ore and gold are excellent for crafting useful tools, the three materials you will really be searching for are red stone, aquamarine and diamond. Diamond is simply put the strongest crafting material in the game, but it is also the rarest. You will really need to dig down to just above the deepest depths to harvest this wonder material. Aquamarine is very useful as it allows you to enchant your tools with special effects such as knockback, increased durability or additional damage. However, the material which really makes anything possible in this game is red stone.

Red stone is really an amazing facet of Minecraft and is one of the most versatile materials in the game. It is essentially like the electric power supply in the Minecraft universe. Red Stone is found most frequently deep underground near lava, and it can only be mined with iron pickaxes and up. Anything worse than that, and you are just going to be wasting your tools and red stone. Once you have some, you can create a seemingly endless variety of mechanisms within your game. Red stone gives you the ability to make anything from lamps which automatically turn on when it becomes dark to a literal, functioning calculator. Many kinds of wild things can be made such as a working iPhone that can make real calls, but those are done with command blocks which is a whole other can of worms. However, that is an item currently only available on the PC and phone versions.

My most elaborate creation with red stone was a zombie processing unit. By creating a red stone line from a button and a lever, I was able to open doors from a distance as well as spawn a mine cart onto a set of tracks which would automatically transport it to where I wanted. It may have been a small accomplishment, but I was still quite satisfied with the results!

The Nether

Minecraft Nether

The Nether is a really dangerous place if you aren’t prepared for it.

Two alternate dimensions exist in the game which I didn’t even get to earlier called The Nether and another place I won’t spoil for you. I haven’t even been to the other place! I’ve only heard about it and seen it in videos. The Nether is especially dangerous. It is a place full of ceaseless enemies far more deadly than most of what you will find in the over world, and it is a land of lava and desolation. I won’t tell you exactly what you need to get there, but I will tell you that you have to build portals. Additionally, the Nether is 1/4th the size of the over world, so you can travel between your Nether portals for some handy shortcuts! I’ll give you one more hint about the Nether. There is a flying enemy there who shoots fire arrows of destruction at you. Those arrows explode upon contact and destroy the ground when they do. However, I know they do not destroy cobblestone blocks. Do with that information what you will.

Survival, Creative and Adventure Modes

You will find three modes in which this game can be played. In survival mode, you have to worry about your health and even hunger meters. You will need to maintain your hunger by eating or your character will lose the ability to sprint and you will even start taking damage if the meter reaches zero. This mode is quite challenging because if you die, your entire inventory drops on the ground. After about five minutes, your items will disappear, so you will need to get back to them as quickly as possible!

Creative mode is where you will be able to experiment with any of the available items in the game. You simply need to open the crafting screen, and you can put any item you want directly into your inventory at any quantity desired. This mode could be used to easily accomplish any goals you want as well, but if you want to play in a “fair” manner, it is best to just use it to test your ideas in a safe and unhindered manner. By the way, it also grants you the ability to fly! If you are curious about what lies beyond your immediate vicinity, you simply need to jump twice to enter flight mode, and you can explore to your heart’s desire. The icing on the cake is in creative mode, enemies won’t attack you, and you don’t have hunger or health stats to contend with. Just beware that by turning on creative mode, you automatically lose access to achievements. If you care about achievements, then copy your world to a new save slot and use this one specifically for testing in creative mode to leave your survival save slot intact.

Finally, last up is adventure mode. If you set your world to adventure mode, then players cannot break blocks or set new blocks. This mode is particularly useful for anyone who wishes to create an RPG or adventure world in which participating players cannot simply mine their way through the walls you create. It is simply to help you create a linear world for players to explore if you so wish! The players joining your world still have the ability to gather equipment or craft based on what items you have placed into chests, but they cannot mine at all to craft what they wish, so be sure to put everything they need into chests they can find. Unless, of course, you wish to troll them. In which case, to each his own!

Finally, you can set four levels of difficulty in all three modes although the difficulty setting really only affects survival and adventure modes. Your four difficulty setting are peaceful, easy, normal and hard. The latter three are fairly self explanatory, but in peaceful, you will find that your hunger meter doesn’t deplete, and your HP recovers over time. Most enemies won’t spawn and the ones which do won’t attack you. I would personally not consider this to be an interesting difficulty setting to play in, but it is still an option for those who want it! I found that among the settings, normal and hard were my favorites to turn it to. Even normal will provide you a sizeable challenge!

Gameplay Part 2: The Bedrock Update

This may be what some of you specifically came here for, so I separated it into its own section. This will be targeted at players who are coming from the Nintendo Switch Edition, and I will not be getting into exact details on the basics of the game. This will be focused entirely on the changes you can expect to see brought by the new Bedrock Edition update.

When Minecraft was originally released on the Switch, it was a custom-built version of the game specifically designed for the Switch to work around its limitations. It originally had fairly large limitations to the world sizes. As previously mentioned, the original largest world size you could have on the Switch was a mere 3072×3072 blocks. When filling out the maps you can craft, this amounted to a 3×3 map grid. Now, the world size has been made to match the nearly infinite worlds boasted for years by the PC and phone versions.

 

Minecraft world map

Finally, I can go beyond the original limits of my world!

It is really quite astounding to be able to suddenly explore beyond the original limitations of my world. Prior to the release of Bedrock Edition on the Nintendo Switch, when I was at the outer regions of my map, I would come to an endless expands of ocean which an invisible wall would prevent me from exploring beyond. Now, a magnificent world has completed opened up beyond that point. Interestingly, as you can see in the image above, the nature of the world changes quite drastically when you go beyond your original Switch world’s nine maps. If you have any worlds you had created on the Nintendo Switch Edition, they can all be seamlessly transferred to Bedrock Edition and will all be expanded upon in this way.

 

Minecraft PC create new world

World generation options are still far behind the PC version.

When you created your worlds in the Nintendo Switch Edition, you would have the option to choose the size of the biomes. Biomes are essentially the kind of terrains and climates you will encounter in your world. For example, these could be mountains, jungles or deserts. You could set them to small, medium or large sizes and you could turn off the option to generate a world with balanced biomes which essentially meant you could potentially end up in a world with just one biome expanding across the entire map. Sadly, as far as I could tell, this option has been completely removed in the new version. While there is a new option to select SEEDS which put you into a specifically generated world with a focus on a certain biome, you can’t customize their sizes or natures.

 

Minecraft map

Biomes are now set at default to the large size.

It would seem, however, that the biome sizes are now set at default to being the large sizes. I tested this out with a few newly crafted worlds as well as exploring beyond my original world boundaries, and every time I found that the biomes were quite extensive. But, if you want to be able to customize the sizes of the habitats in your world, you will be better off starting your game in the original Nintendo Switch Edition of Minecraft then converting it to the new game. That is the only way for you to have small-to-mid size biomes in the new game. (Speaking of which, the Nintendo Switch Edition has been removed from the eShop, so this only applies to people who had purchased the game prior to the release of Bedrock Edition on June 21st. You are able to keep on playing the original version if you already have it, but it just cannot be purchased from the eShop anymore.)

There was another feature apparently lost to world generation, and this could have major implications for some players. There is a world type called a super flat world. In this kind of world, literally not hills, mountains or anything of that nature spawns. The world is completely flat and is a great place to test new ideas in creative mode. However, there is something missing in this new release of Minecraft.

 

Minecraft Super Flat

You used to be able to make your Super Flat world any way you wanted. Not anymore.

In the original Minecraft Nintendo Switch Edition, you had dozens of options for your super flat worlds. You could set the specific biomes they would be located in. You could set whether or not structures would spawn along with the frequency at which they would along with the sizes of villages. You could even set the types of blocks the ground would consist of. If you wanted your ground to consist of a layer of diamond, a layer of emerald and a layer of TNT on top, by God, you could do it. Sadly, in the new release, these options don’t seem to be present whatsoever. You can simply select super flat among your world type, and that is as far as your options go. I can’t fathom why the world customization options have been limited in the new version, but time will tell if these features will be reintroduced in future updates.

 

Minecraft zoom out map

To zoom your maps you, simply place your map on the crafting table with paper around it like this.

There is one other difference I have noticed on a gameplay level, and this one revolves around maps. In the Nintendo Switch Edition, your maps were always a certain size, and they were somewhat lackluster. They didn’t often update to reflect the changes you made to the world, and they were fairly vague. Maps have been vastly upgraded in this new version! Now, when you first create a map, it will be fairly zoomed in on your location. You will notice that it has a rating of 0/4 initially. By putting your map into a crafting table with 8 sheets of paper on all the squares around it, the map will be zoomed out. If you want to make your new maps consistent with the maps you had on the Nintendo Switch Edition, you will want to zoom it out to 3/4.

There has been one change made to the maps, however. In the Switch Edition, if you were to die and lose your map, you simply had to craft a new one and activate it while within the confines of the area the map originally covered. By doing so, the map would automatically fill itself back in exactly as the original was. That is no longer the case in the new Minecraft. If you lose your map and have to craft a new one, you will have to go through the painstaking process of traversing the entire map to fill it back in. Be extra careful with your maps here, or you could end up wasting a lot of time!

Host Priviledges Are Present But What About Commands?

Minecraft Host Privileges

You can access your host privileges by opening the chat box.

I originally thought there were several missing host privilege functions, but I finally discovered the way to access them was simply changed. In the Nintendo Switch Edition, you had to activate host privileges. Then, you pressed the minus button to access a specialized screen which let you select options such as setting player spawn points or world spawn points, teleporting to and from players, setting certain weather effects and setting time of day to night. In Bedrock Edition, you need to press the left button with cheats activated. This will bring up the chat window. Here, you can select a toggle on the bottom of the screen to set these features. It is really quite an elegant new way to access the options.

Now that you can access a keyboard in game, my curiosity was peaked if this meant commands were also available on the Switch. On PC, players could type a command by using the \ key followed by a specific word or words. This would alter things in the game to your desire. For example, typing \falldamage would turn off fall damage or \duplicate would completely copy the item you presently had equipped and would drop it on the ground in front of your. You could even type \atlantis to completely cover your world in water with the exception of the very tallest mountains. Commands appear to not yet be activated in the Switch version. According to digminecraft.com, they are presently only functional on the PC and phone versions of the game. Time will tell if these features will come to the Switch and Xbox One or not, but if they do, they will open up a vast array of options for console players.

Update Aquatic Phase 1 Is Part Of Bedrock Edition On The Switch

Minecraft Update Aquatic Phase 1

Update Aquatic Phase 1 is here to make the oceans far more lively.

The oceans and swimming have been completely overhauled. The water surface has been redesigned to look more visually appealing while showing more of what lies beneath the surface, and the contents of the oceans have been made far more immersive than they were before. What was previously just simple blocks of dirt accompanied by occasional squids (not squid kids, mind you!) or underwater temples is now a thriving underwater ecosystem with seaweeds, fish of all variety, coral reefs. There are even underwater canyons and shipwrecks for players to find and explore along with treasure chests to discover. The oceans are immensely improved over their prior existence, and in a world with as much ocean as mine has, the update has made my world far more exciting and enticing to explore.

 

In addition to the new things to find underwater, this update brought some mechanical changes to water exploration as well. One big change is to how your characters swim. No longer do you just bob up and down to slowly progress forward as you constantly hold the jump button to keep from sinking like a rock. You now slowly sink in the water between each press of the jump button for more natural feeling swimming. You can sink faster if you wish by pressing the crouch button as well.

However, one of the big changes comes in the form of your air. Prior to Update Aquatic, you could simply resurface as your air was running out, and it would automatically refill your air to the max. That is no longer the case. Your air refill as slowly as it drains, so you need to resurface for air for much longer than you had to before. While this is more realistic and it forces players to be more careful and creative in their underwater exploration.

For returning players who may have known ways to create temporary pockets of air by using torches or filling up buckets of water near your head to refill your air meter, I am going to warn you now. Those strategies no longer work at all. You can’t place torches underwater anymore, and the brief second of air the bucket creates does not refill your air nearly enough to help. However, permanent air pockets are still created around certain objects such as sign posts or item frames. If you want to explore underwater for prolonged periods of time, this will have to be your strategy from now on.

Crossplay works brilliantly!

Minecraft Crossplay

Now, you can invite your friends from across various platforms!

Now onto the big and positive changes! The first and most pressing is the ability to play crossplay with your friends! You can create a friends list with players on other platforms by searching for their Xbox Gamertags. Once they are on your friends list, you can see them when they are actively playing and vice versa and join them at a whim. You can even send them invites at any time! I didn’t notice any more lag during crossplay than I did while playing with my friends using the Switch itself. I mostly just found myself overwhelmed by actually seeing myself actively participating in my brother’s world on his PC. Just bear in mind that you also need to create a Microsoft account and get an Xbox Gamertag. Thankfully, you do not need an Xbox live account. The game is run entirely through Nintendo’s servers, and once Nintendo’s paid online service is released, you will need to purchase a membership to play Minecraft online.

The implications of this cannot be understated. Minecraft has been out on the PC for 7 years, and there are people who have been dedicated to working on their worlds for that entire time. The level of polish and complexity of the worlds players have been working on for so many years is simply astounding, and now you have the ability to actually play on those worlds on your Nintendo Switch. That thought is just mind boggling! Until now, you were rather limited in the kind of worlds you could play, but now all of those millions of worlds are potentially open to you if you simply get the Gamertags of the players they are associated with. The options are practically limitless for what worlds you can join, and it makes the entire game better for it.

The worst part about crossplay is you don’t have the ability to play on your friends’ worlds unless they are actively online. This appears to still be the limitation on the Switch. As it has been explained to me by Minecraft aficionados, you have the ability to play in your friends worlds regardless of if they are online or not. Other players you aren’t associated with can even drop in on your world anytime if you leave the option turned on. This is sadly not yet present on the Switch but will hopefully be coming soon. I’m not 100% certain since my personal experience on Minecraft is limited to the Switch, but I believe this ties to the game’s present lack of servers.

Servers are a feature present on the other platforms which allows players to join worlds anytime regardless of a host being present or not. The servers coming to the Switch in the future appear to be limited to featured ones set up by the developers, so here you may get to experience playing with many other players on special worlds. On the PC, there is a way to set up your own server so your own world can be interacted with by anyone at any time, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this will come to the Switch as all that is indicated at this time are “featured servers”. Sadly, this might also limit your ability to choose servers established by your friends. That is pure speculation at this point in time, but I will keep an eye out for official information as it becomes available.

 

Minecraft Chat Box

The new chat box feature may not replace voice chat, but it is an option at least.

One of the greatest flaws of the Switch is the lack of built-in, universal voice chat. While this feature has thankfully been fully implemented in all its glory in Fortnite, it is still not present in this new edition of Minecraft on the Switch. However, there is a new way to communicate with your friends albeit a convoluted method compared to simply speaking: typing. By pressing the left button on the d-pad, you can open the chat window and can type whatever your want to your fellow players. While this is cumbersome, it at least does present players with an option to communicate directly in some fashion with one another which is a big improvement over the original Switch edition.

Improved Touchscreen Functionality

One Switch feature I was happy to see expanded upon from the Nintendo Switch Edition were the touch controls. While you unfortunately still cannot control the game entirely by the touchscreen if you wish in the same way as the phone versions do, the touch controls have been expanded and improved upon in Bedrock Edition. Originally, you could use the touch controls for most of the menus, but it could sometimes be buggy with the game registering your touch inputs at a significant distance from where you actually touched. Additionally, when you had accessed your inventory or chest inventory menus, the touchscreen was oddly non-functional. Considering how much inventory navigation you would have to do, this always struck me as odd. This has been rectified in Bedrock Edition. Now, you can use the touchscreen for every single menu in the game, and I have not experienced a single issue with the screen misreading my inputs.

However, the inventory screens still do not allow for users to drag and drop items. Touch the item you want to move and touch the space you want to move it to. In creative mode, can touch item to drag your finger over multiple empty squares to copy it into multiple spaces. In survival, you can also take an item which has multiple copies of it in one space and drag your finger across adjacent empty spaces to sparse it out individually across your inventory or the crafting table menu. With simple taps, you will be able to navigate your inventory screens with far greater efficiency in handheld mode than you would with the button controls.

I simply hope now for a future update to come along and implement full touch controls. While I do not wish to navigate the world with anything but my analog sticks and buttons, it is always nice to have the option to touch the screen to interact with the world when it is convenient to do so. I can also imagine there are players coming from the mobile versions who would be happy to have the ability to play the game in the way they are familiar.

Xbox Achievements and Minecoins

Minecraft Achievements

You can now get the same achievements as on the Xbox and, by extension, Minecoins.

 

Minecoins

By accessing the Minecoins shop, you can use coins acquired from achievements to buy DLC.

If you have not activated the cheats or creative mode on your world, you actually have full access to the Xbox achievements with the exact same reward system. You can even accrue points for your Gamer Score. This is absolute proof of the strong relationship between Nintendo and Microsoft. Never did I imagine that I could someday play a game on my Switch and be able to accrue points and achievements for my Xbox account, but here we are. Some perks of gathering these achievements is they give you special Minecoins which allow you to purchase Minecraft DLC from directly within the game, so they are actually worth taking the time to hunt!

Audio

 

The music of Minecraft is like the worlds; it is procedurally generated as you play. You will hear some basic notes that give the music a baseline to build from. It never gets really crazy or orchestrated. The music maintains a subdued nature and remains in the background as you explore. I never felt particularly inspired by the music, but it never distracts either.

Sound is relatively important in Minecraft. Sound effects such as the creaking of wooden doors opening or snow crunching under your feet are present, but what you really need to hear are the enemies. Sometimes you might be focused on mining a particular resource when you hear the groan of a zombie or the twang of an arrow, and when you hear a certain hiss, you know it is time to hightail it out of there. Nobody wants to be near when a creeper leaves its mark upon your world.

While the music isn’t anything special, I absolutely would not recommend putting this game on mute especially at night. Being able to hear your enemies is absolutely vital to your survival. Even during the day you aren’t completely safe because sometimes an enemy might wander out from some dark woods and can catch you with your pants down so to speak. However, with that said, if you are playing in creative mode or peaceful difficulty, then feel free to mute it and listen to whatever your heart desires! Just one other point about the sound is that it sometimes comes in useful when you are mining underground. Sometimes you might be able to hear water which can lead you to an existing cavern, or you might hear the sounds of animals or rain which help you find your way back to the surface.

Visuals and Performance
Minecraft Setting Sun

(Picture of the setting sun over a forest) While the game may not have amazing visuals, it can certainly have its moments.

A super-realistic, polygonal adventure this is not. You will not be walking around stunning vistas with realistic grass and foliage here. Minecraft is all about retro, blocky graphics, and that is about all you can expect here. It may not be visually stunning, but there is absolutely a certain charm to it especially when viewed at a distance. As the artwork of Chuck Close demonstrates, even unrealistic combinations of squares and colors can coalesce into beautiful images by taking a few steps back. It is with this philosophy that many players create sculptures or massive cities in Minecraft. Even just the randomly generated landscapes you will come across in this game can look pretty amazing especially as the sun sets.

Minecraft follows its blocky design philosophy closely, but all of the blocks you will find do their job. Each one comes with its own visual design, and the difference between cobblestone and granite is obvious from a single glance. The world can look surprisingly varied with this visual style. You will wander around encountering deserts or forests, and each one opens up before you in a sprawling manner. The visuals can be particularly impressive when you find areas with certain levels of verticality and depth such as mountainous spires or treacherous canyons.

Character models are also of a blocky nature. Again, these won’t necessarily amaze and astound you, but they certainly do their job and represent the kinds of creatures they aim to well.

What Is New In Bedrock Edition?

Now, onto the meat of this review: the Bedrock Edition upgrades. There were quite a few improvements made to the visuals and technical aspects of the game. Some new issues have cropped up across the transition to the new version, but we’ll get into that later.

 

Minecraft Nether Lava

First and most obvious, there have been some nice enhancements to the lighting and water. You will notice that lava has a certain luminosity which it simply lacked before. It really stands out in a way it simply didn’t before, and the Nether has been greatly benefited by this. I created a new world and was flying around in creative mode. While doing so, I stumbled upon a deep canyon which culminated in a river of lava at the base. The new radiance of the lava shining with intensity at the base of the canyon was really quite beautiful in its own way. Lava is not the only way that light has been enhanced. I noticed that in general, light and shadows stand out far better than they did before when cast by anything from torches to the sun. It really helps to make the game a little bit more of a treat for the eyes than it had been before on the Switch.

 

Water has been greatly enhanced as well thanks to Update Aquatic. As you can see clearly see in the picture above, water stands out in a way that it never has before. Prior to this update, it was just kind of flat and lifeless. The idea may seem minor, but by making it more transparent allowing players to gaze into the depths, it becomes significantly more immersive. Which is, of course, more relevant than ever in Minecraft because of how much more than ever before there is to discover underwater.

Both the new lighting and water effects can be toggled on or off in the video options menu by the Fancy Graphics and Smooth Lighting options. Additionally, you can turn off new cloud, skies and leaves effects here, too. Doing so will allow your world to render faster and will reduce pop-in, but then this visuals will be returned to roughly the same level they were in the Nintendo Switch Edition.

The Super Duper Graphics Pack Will Be Beautiful

Super Duper Graphics Pack

The Super Duper Graphics pack will greatly enhance the visuals of Minecraft.

While it hasn’t been released yet on any platform, it is worth mentioning that the Super Duper Graphics pack will bring significantly enhanced lighting, water effects and textures to the game. This graphics pack will not affect the blocky nature of the worlds, but it will make it certainly look like a new game when it arrives.

Pop In Looks Better While Exploring But The World Renders Slower

In the Nintendo Switch Edition, you would rarely outrun the world generation.

In Bedrock Edition on the Switch, you will encounter this issue every time you fly.

 

There are two things you may notice in the photo comparing the water effects above. First, your quick select menu on the bottom of the screen has been reduced in size, and second, you can see more trees and objects in the distance in the Bedrock Edition. As you wander around at ground level at normal running or walking speed, objects gradually fade in at a more pleasing rate than they did in the Nintendo Switch Edition. Objects also don’t just immediately pop in. It is more of the dissolve in effect which gives it a more natural feel. However, interestingly, while objects appear to fade in better, the world itself generates far slower than it did in the old version.

I particularly noticed this while flying around in creative mode. In the original edition on the Switch, I could fly around and generally the world spawned fast enough that there was always land in the distance. I never really had to stop to let the world catch up to me so to speak. This is not the case in Bedrock Edition on the Switch. The world generates far slower, and I often found myself flying above empty space and occasionally could not even move forward at all until I waited for the game to process what was happening. It would seem the update puts a far greater strain on the Switch than the original version did. You can turn off the new graphical effects in the menus, but it doesn’t help much. With that said, I didn’t experience many frame drop issues during general gameplay, so this extra strain on the system shouldn’t affect you much unless you are flying.

Something which wasn’t present on the original Switch edition which will please some players is the new ability to set your POV as you like. While it was present on other versions, the Switch lacked it, and I know this is an important feature for some players, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it available here. Additionally, players will find that the UI and menus have been completely redesigned to be consistent with what you would find on other versions of the game. While it is smaller and by consequence harder to select what you want by touch, the design is certainly more elegant and makes it more familiar to players coming from other platforms. It took me a little getting used to, but I found that I prefer this new, slick look.

The Walking And Courser Glitch Is No More

One glitch which absolutely plagued me in the Nintendo Switch edition and led me to my death more than once was the walking glitch. It would occur occasionally when letting go of the analog stick, and your character would just keep on walking. This has unexpectedly led me to walking off a cliff more than once. You simply had to move the analog stick to stop it, but it was incredibly annoying. This also affected the courser while selecting items in the inventory screen. Here, it was just a nuisance. I eventually started having it occur almost every time I moved the analog stick for both walking and in the menus. It was incredibly annoying. Thankfully, this appears to have been fixed. Over the course of five hours of playing, I have not observed a single occurrence of this glitch.

A Few New Glitches

 

While the movement glitch has been fixed, it did not go by the wayside without some things coming to replace it. There were three new glitches of note I discovered which need to be elaborated on. The first will affect anyone who uses slabs. These are the blocks which are half the thickness of standard blocks. I innocuously discovered that by saving your game while on a slab, you will fall through it when you restart your game. This isn’t a serious problem if you have solid blocks directly underneath. Half of your body will fall into the slab, and you can simply jump out of it. However, if you have a bridge suspended above the ground or more dangerous locals using slabs, you will be in for a very rude surprise when you start your game back up after saving on it. You will just fall straight through and could lose more than just your time depending on what you are cascading towards! This could potentially lead to some fun troll designs where players saving on your slabs might cause then to fall into some dank and dangerous catacombs. (I am definitely NOT playing devil’s advocate here.)

 

The second notable glitch I found was in creative mode. At the base of every world is bedrock. Bedrock is normally impossible to dig through and creates a distinctive boundary to the world. However, now you can actually dig through the bedrock in creative mode. You will exit the bounds of the world into a negative space in which you can still fly freely. Be careful because this hole to the negative zone as I will call it remains, and if you fall there in survival mode, it means automatic death in a place you can’t recover your inventory from.

 

crash screen

Ahh, the dreaded crashing screen.

The last glitch is the most detrimental of the three. Where I never had Minecraft crash in the Nintendo Switch Edition, I have already had it happen multiple times in the Bedrock Edition. Thankfully, it has thus far every time except for once, it has only happened when saving and exiting the game. The game saves properly and there is no significant issue there. However, there was one time where it did randomly crash on me. I’m not completely sure what caused it that time, but the fact that it happened at all in this new edition is concerning.

*This review was written by Brian Myers for switchwatch.co.uk.

 

 

Value
Minecraft House

It isn’t much, but it’s home!

Minecraft is the kind of game which can bring an inspired individual ceaseless hours of fun. You have so incredibly much depth to explore in this game. On the surface level, you can play it as an adventure where you have to figure out the best way for yourself to approach exploration. You have dozens of potential temples or other structures to discover and there will always be a cave system waiting for you around the corner. If you wish to get into the deeper mechanics of the game, you will enter a rabbit hole that never seems to end.

If you are the type who can come up with ideas to push yourself in a game and explore your own creativity, Minecraft is a game which will never stop entertaining you. I have absolutely no doubt that you will find the currently asked price of this game to be well-worth your hard-earned cash. However, if you need realistic graphics to make a game satisfactory or need to be given quests from in-game NPCs or a story to inspire you to continue, then you may find this game won’t appeal to you.

* Minecraft was purchased by Switchwatch for review.

Pros

P

Unlimited Replay Value

P

Limited Only By Your Imagination

P

Bedrock Edition Improvements

Cons

P

Various New Glitches

P

Not For Players Who Need To Be Given Direction In Games

P

No Voice Chat