May 30, 2017

Minecraft For Nintendo Switch - Review

By now, I don’t believe there isn’t a gamer alive who does not know Minecraft, be it from the original PC release or to the console and mobile versions, it is a well-known game for a reason and now it’s on Switch.

If you have played a version of Minecraft before, especially on consoles, then you won’t be lost here, the game is same, from the default texture packs, to the same basic controls. Of course, the Super Mario texture pack is included, as it was on Wii U and it’s just a joy to discover and use here as it was there. The biggest changes of course come from playing the game in the variety of supported ways that Switch offers, TV mode being the big one and handheld being the other one, it does support tabletop, but unless you are showing the game off and you don’t have your dock, you are likely not to bother with it too much.

If you have not played Minecraft at this point, I am not sure what to tell you, the game offers up two distinct solo modes and a host of multiplayer modes, which is very different from when it first released. Solo, you can choose to enjoy the game and all it offers in Creative, with unlimited freedom to discover the worlds that they have created. Given the boundless potential of creative mode, it does wear thin quickly unless you have a set goal in mind, for some people that is building things, others its creating artworks, without a set aim, I find creative to just be a passing interest.

The other solo mode is survival, here you are dropped into a randomly generated world and tasked with surviving at least, to begin with. To do that you need to build yourself a place to sleep, because as night falls, the strange and dangerous creatures of the world start to appear, but building without tools is not going to help you. The game does not provide you with many tutorials, as the game is all about discovery, however the mobile and console versions do streamline the crafting from what the PC version offers. Once you have begun to collect enough materials to build up your inventory of tools, armour and other items, you can start to explore the world, or mine deep to its core.

Solo the game offers up quite a lot of variety, sometimes I would find myself just entering creative mode to do something random, in order to quell the anger, I had at survival for not being able to locate specific materials. The games multiplayer modes though are new, well new-ish, and while they do offer fun diversions, they really need to be played in TV mode, playing them off the small screen, while doable, is not an ideal solution. If you are playing survival mode or creative, the menus for building or inventory management are a hassle to use on the small switch screen and that is only with two players, I can’t imagine how it would look like with 4 players. You can take the game online as well, playing either the multiplayer game or the other modes and here you can enjoy the game with 8 players involved. The game performs the same way, however the lack of voice chat means you are limited in how you can interact with other players, something that hopefully Nintendo fixes soon.

Performance wise, the game blends a mix of running smoothly, but at a sacrifice of draw distance and while most people may not care, once you notice the pop in the game has, it becomes something you will always see. Given the short view distance, it is not a huge deal in survival mode, but when in creative, you can move a lot faster than the game can render out the world, which means that you will see the pop up... a lot. No matter the mode that you are playing in, the game runs very smoothly, without any hiccups in its performance, which is a welcome plus, the only issue I can spot there though, is the game does not run in 1080p when docked, a minor thing though really. Sound wise, the game sounds the same as it always has, the Mario texture pack brings forth a selection of tracks from the series, however they still play without a significant purpose, so they do tend to not fit the visuals at times.

Minecraft for Nintendo Switch is a great version of the game, the ability to take the proper console version anywhere is very welcome. While the game runs very smoothly, the lack of draw distance is an issue that, while not game breaking, does detract from the experience. 

Thanks to Microsoft for supplying the game for review

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