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Game Info:

Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series
Developed by: Telltale Games
Published by: Telltale Games
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Available on: Android, iOS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language
Price: $24.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Telltale Games for sending us this game to review!

Minecraft has sold more than twenty-one million copies since its release in 2011.  People of all ages enjoy the ease of building in the creative mode or the challenge of foraging and staying alive in survival mode.  People definitely have not purchased Minecraft for its story, because up until this point, there never was one.

Telltale Games is known for making fantastic (but not kid friendly) adventure games.  We have reviews of their popular Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us series.  While the Minecraft: Story Mode’s story isn’t as good as its predecessors, it’s still serviceable and adds a fun twist to a game that many know and love.  If you’re looking for a game that lets you build and explore as much as you like, then you’d better stick with the original and story-less game.

The game tells the story of the Order of the Stone, four adventurers who defeated the ender dragon.  People today still talk about these heroes and look up to them.  In fact, Gabriel, the warrior of the Order of the Stone, is a keynote speaker at an upcoming building competition called Ender Con.  

Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series
Highlights:

Strong Points: Adds a decent story to a popular franchise that is lacking one
Weak Points: Steam achievements did not unlock for me
Moral Warnings: Characters will be attacked by zombies, creepers, ghasts, and skeletons; a couple of instances of hell and d*mn in the dialogue; some stealing takes place 

Jesse and her (or his if you choose to be a boy) pet pig, Ruben, plan on competing.  The problem is that Jesse and her friends have yet to impress anyone at Ender Con.  Jesse is hopeful that things will change this year.  In fact, what they build is determined by input from you.  The actual building is simply done by pressing a key on the keyboard or gamepad controller which both work flawlessly.

Your actions in Minecraft: Story Mode are pretty much guided and there is not  much freedom to go off the “rails” of the story being told in this game.  Most areas make you feel like you're trapped in them until you find what you need.  Like the previously mentioned Telltale adventure games, your actions and conversation replies alter the direction of the story.  Characters will change their opinions of you or their existence based on the choices you make.  Annoyingly, a non-response counts as an action.  I missed an opportunity to respond to a question while my kids were talking to me.   

There are plenty of obstacles to dodge and mobs to fight.  If you’re slow on the draw, there are frequent save points to restore from with little loss in gameplay.  If you have a Telltale account, your game save will be stored in the cloud which is a nice feature.  Although Steam achievements are available, they haven’t seemed to unlock for me despite completing the first chapter in roughly two hours.  

Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 76%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

Maybe the achievement will unlock when my kids play it, not using the cloud save system.  While Minecraft: Story Mode is more kid safe than recent Telltale games, it’s not without its flaws. Like regular Minecraft, characters will be attacked by zombies, creepers, ghasts, and skeletons.  There is some blood shown, but it quickly vanishes.  There is also some language including the words hell and d*mn.  

When it comes to the visuals, Telltale Games nailed the look and feel for Minecraft.  The environment is all block-like and the characters have a little more expression to them with their added eyebrows.  The menu system is spot on and looks identical to the original game.   

The voice acting and dialogue is great and adds depth to the characters in the game.  One interesting question that kept coming up throughout the game was "Would you rather fight ten zombie sized chickens or one hundred chicken sized zombies?"  (Feel free to leave your answer in the comments below!) The background music fits right in with the original Minecraft game as well.

While Minecraft: Story Mode isn’t as solid as The Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us games, it’s still an enjoyable experience.  My kids are curious about it and are looking forward to playing it.  While I wish the mild language wasn’t present, it’s certainly a lot better than other Telltale games.  If you like adventure games and Minecraft, keep an eye out for this series.  If you just want to build and explore, stick with Minecraft. 

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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