I’ll be honest, I was a little ‘meh’ about it. I’ve never really been a Minecraft player (apart from one afternoon with my wife which ended in lots of arguments!) and hadn’t much looked into it to be honest, but I like to go into my reviewables with an open mind. So I did a bit of research first, like I always do. A Telltale game you say? well maybe things just got interesting! Aside from Tales From the Borderlands I’ve devoured everything Telltale have given us recently, The Walking Dead season 1&2, The Wolf Among Us and the stellar Game of Thrones, of which I’m going to get in on the last episode as soon as I’ve sent this to the Ed.
So I was intrigued, had a peep at the cast list… Patton Oswalt (if you’re playing as a male), Awesome! Ashley Johnson (TLOU) too? Wow, you’re spoiling us! Say it in hushed tones, but… there’s also a GOONIES cast member in there… I KNOW!
So I fanboyed a bit and went at it, it’s a fairly breezy play compared to what we’ve seen before from Telltale, much more family friendly. Of course everyone is going to remember everything you say, which is unfair as sometimes I say things I don’t really mean (just ask my Destiny raid team). But conversations certainly aren’t as hard hitting or as morally polarising as it’s stablemates. There are giggles, lots of them, movie quotes, pop culture nods all in a subtle way that’ll make you laugh without that cynical snort!
You play as Jesse (male or female) the de facto leader of a gang of ‘builders’ as they’re about to go enter the ‘Endercon’ to try and win with their building work, the building itself has been tooled back and made very simple, you won’t spend a long time crafting, it’ a decide and build mechanic that keeps the game moving along at a decent pace. The combat is nicely handled and offers a little more control than I have previously felt in a Telltale game, and it made the experience feel a bit more ‘played’ rather than spectated. I liked it.
Visually I was impressed, the tone of Minecraft is certainly still there, vivid colours, the blockiness was there too, and I was impressed how they used it to bring the Minecraft world to life, instead of the relentless squares being an issue, they were utilised to great effect, I found myself nodding at the ingenuity of the setting they’d created and executed.
It’s a jaunty game and there’s jaunty music a-plenty to go with it, I’ll be honest, I found it a smidge annoying, but it is in keeping with the tone and pace of the game and to that end, it was another hit. The voice acting, with a cast made up of some recognisable names, and some voices that have been in games and animated shows for so long it’ll bug you until you look them up (aside from ‘Lee’ from The Walking Dead, who’s voice you couldn’t mistake ANYWHERE), was great, performances were slick and captured character, even the annoying ones, perfectly!
It’s certainly a great mix, with Telltales winning formula and Minecrafts wide reaching appeal and it feels like a story that could pull you in, but the first episode doesn’t quite do it. It’s certainly enjoyable enough, but if I’m honest, I don’t care enough about this world or these characters and the peril they find themselves in to go back to it, and I think that’s where the game lets itself down, it’s TOO breezy, and I found it put downable as a result.
Accessing it on PlayStation maybe gives a reason as to why. As with any game there are a LOT of gameplay videos, this seems to be no exception, and almost every male voice I heard is unbroken, or breaking. Maybe for the early teen market, this one grabs them right where it should. Maybe it’s a great story game to play with your kids. But for me, it was a nice distraction, and not a lot more.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 6.5/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of Minecraft:Story Mode for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of five days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.