Minecraft is one of my favourite games and this love was born out of playing the Pocket Edition, a simpler, mobile version of the incredibly popular PC and Mac game.
Back in December, we took a look at Minecraft Pocket Edition but, since then, the game has received some pretty significant content update, as is the nature of Minecraft. Let’s take a look at the key additions of the game and perhaps adjust our thoughts in light of the slew of updates.
One of the biggest changes to Minecraft Pocket Edition is the addition of Survival Mode, and the renaming of the previous gameplay mode (the default and only option in the game back when we did our original review) to Creative Mode.
Players of Minecraft on the PC and Mac will be familiar with the Survival Mode that introduces a day/night cycle — and with night, something else that we’ll get on soon — and a system of health. Environmental damage will be applied to a pretty generic health system that can be healed but does bring about the chance of death.
Perhaps more notably is that Survival Mode actually requires the player to actually take blocks from the randomly generated world to be replaced, rather than having access to unlimited resources. You can’t fly, either.
Should you want to fly and have access to unlimited resources, starting a world in Creative Mode allows for that. This can be appreciated by those that don’t necessarily want a challenge, and instead prefer to just express their creativity.
With Survival Mode comes the introduction of mobs. Both passive and hostile mobs exist; the former including animals like pigs, cows and chickens which offer food for the player, aiding recovery.
However, there’s an added challenge in Survival Mode with hostile mobs. Zombies, skeletons and spiders will spawn in the dark and at night with the intention to kill the player. Of course, there’s also the infamous and explosive Creeper that has become an icon of the game. Fortunately, crafting tools will help to fight off the onslaught and constructing a bed can even help you skip the night all together, eradicating the time-based spawning of monsters.
When we first reviewed Minecraft Pocket Edition, there was one pretty big element missing: crafting. Crafting is now in the game and allows survival players to create blocks that aren’t generated and obtainable in the game world.
Crafting is a little different than in the PC and Mac versions, using a system dubbed the “Minecraft Advanced Touch Technology Interface System,” or MATTIS. With the system, you need to only tap on the item you want created and, if you have the necessary materials, see it enter into your inventory. This way is a little more friendly to touch, not needing players to lay out individual materials in a 3×3 grid.
Alongside crafting comes furnaces which allow certain blocks to be smelted into more useful resources (such as turning iron ore into useable iron for tools).
New Items and Blocks
In the last year of updates, there’s also been a number of new blocks and items added to the game.
New items include the aforementioned tools that can help with mining, collecting resources and fighting enemies. Adding a little more depth, you can also mine for valuable ores underground, smelt them into useable resources and then craft stronger tools.
Players of the PC/Mac version will also appreciate some familiar blocks making their way into the Pocket Edition, including bookshelves, coal, iron/gold/diamond ores (smeltable into their applicable resource) and saplings for growing trees. Chests are brought across for storing items while beds now allow you to set a spawn point and skip the night — a very welcome addition. Naturally, in a game like Minecraft, more stuff is always welcome.
iPhone 5 Support
iPhone 5 users, rejoice! A recent update to the game brings optimisation for the iPhone 5′s larger screen, something that definitely makes a difference, offering more screen space to the actual game rather than the on-screen touch controls.
With the fast-paced development of Minecraft, chances are that the Pocket Edition will never be on par with the PC/Mac version. However, the updates since our original review go very far into making them more feature-similar, especially with the introduction of Survival Mode and crafting. This contributes to an overall better gameplay experience that pushes up Minecraft’s standing as a stellar example of mobile gaming.
And as one of the few games optimised for the iPhone 5, now is the perfect time to pick it up (if you haven’t already). If you’ve never played the game before and are thinking about jumping into it on your PC or Mac, the Pocket Edition is a great bridge to what can be a complicated game at first.
We have no reason not to recommend Minecraft. If you’ve got an iPhone and haven’t already installed it, you’re missing out!