Telltale has adapted movies, TV shows, and comics, but for the first time with Minecraft Story Mode they’ve adapted a video game. Millions of players play original Minecraft, and Microsoft believed in the game enough to buy it from Notch for 2.5 Billion dollars. Can Telltale bring their storytelling magic to a franchise held dear by so many, or will their long streak of great titles meet a blocky end?
When The Plug and Play podcast spoke with Telltale at PAX Prime, they told us their primary goal was to make a game that the whole family could enjoy. Telltale has covered some dark material in The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and they wanted to have a game that kids could enjoy. From my playthrough of Episode 1, I would say they accomplished this very well. The player is presented with multiple choices that will effect the direction of the game, but the timer adds more time for decision for younger readers. The game doesn’t talk down to the player, but the dialogue is simple to understand, and of course profanity free.
That doesn’t mean the game is toothless however. The characters fight amongst each other, and are put in situations of true peril. There will be stressful decisions to make for young players, as well as combat with real stakes. As with the dialogue, there are a few more beats to get in the right button presses before doom strikes, but I still died once in my playthrough. It was monitor lag, I’m sure.
The game is a success on another level, as it brought in players like me into the world of Minecraft for the first time. As they have before with games like Tales from The Borderlands, Telltale excels at catching the player up to speed with the game universe without long narrative from the characters. Speaking of dialogue, Telltale is on top of their game as usual. The conversations are witty, snappy back and forth affairs, with just the right amount of ribbing and sarcasm. Patton Oswalt is great as the main character, and all the other voice work is top notch as well.
Episode 1 kept my attention from beginning to end, I played straight through in one sitting. It was a great introduction to the characters and the conflict for the season, and just the right length at about 2 hours for young players. My two children watched me play the entire time, and immediately after, my 11 year old daughter begged to play. For anyone purchasing this for their children, I thought my daughter’s impressions might be valuable.
Minecraft Story Mode was very good. This is my first Telltale game and I really like that you can choose the character’s dialogue and choices. Depending on your choices the game could completely change in the next episode. When you say something to a character that offends them, or makes them happy or mad, the screen might say something along the lines of, “he will remember what you said.” Sometimes you have to disappoint one character or the other and sometimes the choice you make you lose either way. Since this is Minecraft of course there is zombies and spiders at night so you get to fight them and build shelters. Some of the time you have to act fast or you lose hearts.There is also an element of exploring. You get a certain area to explore and find the items you need. The end of Episode 1 makes you want to play episode 2. Even if you don’t like Minecraft this game is really cool.
Based on my experience, and the experience of my daughter, I would have to rate this game E:
I think practically anyone could enjoy this game, whether seasoned gaming veteran, or child picking up the controller for the first time. No experience in original Minecraft is necessary, and the game’s story and dialogue makes a fun experience for all.