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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn creative thinking, geometry, and even a little geology as they build imaginative block structures in this refreshingly open-ended mining and construction game. Given carte blanche to sculpt virtually any creation of their choice in this 3-D space, kids can try out tons of possibilities while working toward simple objectives. An option to work with others on larger building projects can help kids develop collaboration skills. Minecraft empowers players to exercise their imaginations and take pride in their digital creations as they learn basic building concepts. New mods, such as Home Sweet Hmm, also attempt to teach kids digital citizenship and online safety concepts by instructing them about the hazards of clicking on links, sharing passwords, and trusting others online.
About exploration, creation. Players encouraged to explore their world, use materials they find to build nearly anything they can imagine. There's also a survival aspect, which has players thinking strategically about ways to keep hazards at bay.
Positive Role Models
Player's avatar is only character considered to have any real personality traits, but even that is whatever player chooses to project onto it.
Ease of Play
No instructions. While basic controls are simple enough to pick up game and play, things get more complicated when you're moving outside of basics. Keeping track of which recipes craft which items, which materials are best for structures, figuring out ways objects can interact with one another all require a lot of research, experimentation, trial and error.
Violence & Scariness
Allows for violence from, against players, be it killing animals, fighting hostile creatures. Due to blocky graphics, there's nothing that could be considered gory, graphic. Possible to have a game set up with no hostile monsters, reducing violence considerably.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Minecraft franchise has exploded in popularity, resulting in numerous licensed products from paid downloadable content, spin-off video games, toys, clothing, books, more. Wii U, Switch editions features lots of Super Mario-themed characters, locations.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Minecraft is a multiplatform sandbox adventure game. Players explore the world and use the building blocks of the game to customize that world to create nearly anything they can imagine. That also means other players can create whatever they can imagine as well, which could potentially lead to younger players coming across potentially offensive content while exploring random worlds online. The game is relatively simple to pick up and play but is still complicated when it comes to building more complex items and structures. Although Minecraft is a standalone game, its popularity has led to a variety of licensed (and unlicensed) products, downloadable content, and more, all of which look to cash in on the success of the original game. The latest iteration, a 2017 Nintendo Switch version, includes the Wii U's version Super Mario-themed content, from character skins to puzzles to music, which could get players interested in those games as well. It also, most impressively, includes an authentic Minecraft experience whether you're on the go or holding still. This is an edge over previous portable versions, in that you can play split-screen with up to four players.
Is It Any Good?
There's an adage that, in life, you'll only get out of it what you're willing to put into it, and that's completely true with this creative adventure. You're literally dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing more than your wits. Starting off, you'll pick up some wood from a tree, which you'll use to make a batch of sticks. Then you'll attach some more wood to those sticks and make a pickaxe. Using that pickaxe, you can mine some stone to help build a house. And so goes the cycle of the game. You'll spend your time exploring the world around you and harvesting what you can to help create what you need. Over time, you'll learn more about how to find and build more complex materials and tools, combining them to craft new, intricate creations. It's a heavy investment of time and research, and it's likely to cause even the most hard-core gamer some frustration from time to time, but the payoff can be fulfilling. The newest version, on the Nintendo Switch, includes a formidable tutorial that's likely to confuse as many new players as it helps, but by and large the best way to learn Minecraft is to just start playing Minecraft. If you are new to Minecraft, the Nintendo-specific touches help it feel less unfamiliar: The Switch edition bursts with an extra Super Mario texture pack, a set of Super Mario skins for your characters, and an entire Super Mario-themed world to explore with Mario themed music and huge statues of Mario himself.
Minecraft does its best to be all things to all people. If you're the type of person who wants a gaming experience with heroes fighting villains, the game's Survival and Adventure modes offer a classic adventure with players battling the forces of evil while trying to maintain their homesteads. Zombies, skeleton, creepers, endermen, and more come out in force when the sun goes down, forcing the players to craft strong defenses if they hope to see the next sunrise. For those gamers who are less about using an arsenal and more about using a toolbox, there's Creative mode; this is essentially the game's God mode, where you get full access to everything in the Minecraft wheelhouse without having to worry about such things as hostile mobs, hunger, or other things that might cut short your time in the world. Here, players can build to their hearts' content, crafting and testing extravagant projects before sharing them with the world. Even newer mods, like the Home Sweet Hmm mod, has been used to teach users about Internet safety. while the mod is relatively short and easy to go through within about 15 minutes for experienced players, the fact that the game's also attempting to educate while entertaining is notable for users. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that, at any given moment, there are thousands of other people thinking up things to build as well. For every intricate, highly detailed re-creation of some building, game, or other such massive undertaking, there's going to be someone who has used the tools at their disposal to make something juvenile, obscene, or otherwise offensive. And unfortunately, there's no way to really know what you're getting into until you've joined another player's game. This is definitely one time parents should keep an eye on where their kids are visiting online. But once you know what you're doing, you'll be hard-pressed to leave your computer without placing just one more block.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.