Minecraft: Story Mode has arrived on Nintendo Switch
For more than a decade now I’ve been absolutely fascinated by Telltale Games’ trademark style of episodic storytelling. They excel at creating immersive choose-your-own-adventures that are simply too compelling to put down until you’re done. From the moment-to-moment tension in The Walking Dead to the hilarity of Guardians of the Galaxy, they’re always so fun. Telltale Games are truly masters of their craft.
Now these expert storytellers are throwing their support behind Nintendo Switch, starting with Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure. Released last year on PS4 and Xbox One, this game is a dream collaboration between Telltale and Minecraft developer Mojang. For the first time ever you can experience a richly detailed story inside the vast world of Minecraft. This epic tale takes you through iconic Minecraft locations, from the Overworld, to the Nether, The End, and beyond. And, of course, every moment is filled with Telltale’s irresistible brand of episodic storytelling.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Captures the essence of Minecraft
Amazing enough, despite Minecraft‘s longevity and massive popularity the game’s never received a story mode. Fortunately, Telltale has stepped up to the plate and their take on Minecraft really fits this game world so well. The newly introduced characters are cute and charming in all their pixelated glory, and the story is downright funny. Plus, experiencing this land of bricks, blocks, and brain-chomping zombies from a whole new viewpoint is thrilling as a fan.
An evil comes to the Overworld
Minecraft: Story Mode’s epic journey has humble beginnings in a quaint, quiet town in the Overworld. You assume the role of Jesse, a plucky protagonist conveniently given a gender-neutral name, and for good reason. This is the very first Telltale game where you can choose to be either a female or male hero. The adventure begins with Jesse, his best-friends Axel and Olivia, and his pig Reuben all participating in the EnderCon Festival. This annual event is where Minecraft citizens compete to build the most impressive block structures they can.
The competition soon get interrupted by an ancient evil that resurfaces and crafts a truly fearsome creature: the Wither Storm. This monstrous, destructive entity exists solely to tear apart the entire Minecraft world brick-by-brick, consuming everything in its wake. As luck would have it, during the turmoil Jesse and friends cross paths with a legendary group of heroes. Known as the Order of the Stone, this courageous team decides to lend their strength to help save the world from oblivion.
Craft your own Minecraft story
Much like Telltale Games’ other franchises, Minecraft: Story Mode unfolds via a unique episodic structure. This special Nintendo Switch edition includes all 5 episodes of Season 1 and all 3 episodes of the Adventure Pass. Individual episodes are about 60-90 minute minutes each, giving you over 10 hours of content in total.
During the story you will need to make many key decisions, which can push the narrative in different directions. Choices can be as simple as selecting a secret handshake between your friends, or consequential like choosing who to save in life-or-death situations. There are also quick-time events where you can decide whether or not to tap specific directions or buttons. Generally you’re given ample time to input the command, but sometimes you have to act fast.
Story can take multiple routes
Like other Telltale games, the decisions you make have a huge impact on the story. They dictate not only who remains with your group at any given time, but how they feel towards each other. There are several scenarios that can lead you down branching paths, resulting in an extremely personalized story.
Given the target audience of Minecraft, the story is light-hearted and fun―great for all ages. And while you are faced with conflicts, you’re never placed in deadly situations like you would in other Telltale games. That does mean the stakes are a bit lower, but it feels age-appropriate for Minecraft’s younger core audience. As someone who’s played every Telltale series to date, the carefree, low-pressure nature of Minecraft: Story Mode is very refreshing.
Charming pixel block art style
I noticed right away when playing Minecraft: Story Mode is just how rich and beautiful the graphics are. Telltale Games really captured the essence of Minecraft with its retro-inspired, colourful and blocky graphics. It looks like the entire game was generated using the Minecraft game engine, with a touch of polish on top.
The characters, for example, all have the signature pixelated look Minecraft is known for, yet they all look unique, too. Jesse sports jeans and suspenders, Petra wears an adorable rogue outfit, and Gabriel dons a sturdy suit of armour. I also enjoyed the animations, especially how all characters move about with stiff, almost robotic strides. Special care was given to their facial expressions, as well, to ensure these blocky characters convey a wide range of emotions.
The game environments and enemies look superb too. Over the adventure you’ll see a colourful and lively festival, a dark, dreary forest, the molten caverns of the Nether, and much more. Excellent lighting effects accentuate these gorgeous environments even more, totally immersing you into the story. I also loved the exquisite representations of well-known Minecraft monsters. From the two-legged Creepers from the stick-limbed Endermans, they all looked like they were plucked straight from the Minecraft world.
With Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure Telltale Games have succeeded in creating a rich, engaging story set within the Minecraft world. I thoroughly enjoyed the game’s charming story, especially the witty dialogue and light-hearted approach. Fans of Minecraft will also surely be delighted by the game’s beautiful retro-inspired graphics. After playing through all 8 episodes I’m definitely hooked, and now I’m eager to start playing Season 2.
+ Gorgeous Minecraft graphics
+ Enjoyable story steeped in Minecraft lore
+ Decisions can make big impacts on the story
+ Excellent character voicing and animation
+ Ideal game for younger gamer
– Longer Episodes would be nice
– Less suspenseful than other Telltale games
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5