If you’ve never played Minecraft before, the Wii U version does an excellent job of introducing you to the magic, even if it’s smaller in scale.
The release of Super Mario Maker this Fall made the Wii U the most child-friendly system in this console generation. The long-awaited release of Minecraft on the system makes that claim an even stronger one. Although the game’s map is smaller, (about 36 times smaller than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version), the Minecraft Wii U version, thanks to the ability to play on the Wii U GamePad, is a more than decent addition to the series that is best-suited for first-time players or casual returning ones.
If you’ve never played Minecraft before, the game is all about creation and survival. Thrown into a world with nothing, it’s your job to not only create a home to live in (One that survive the dangers of the night, when zombies, spiders and a horde of other enemies come out), but it is also your priority to mine the area for items that can be used to protect yourself- everything from weapons and armor can be created if you have the materials. Think of it like creating a world with Legos- anything can be created if you have the right materials, time and patience. A tremendous investment of your time, Minecraft has that “look what I built” feel to itBecause of that, it’s not for everyone. Regardless, those that have played it a ton are a special breed- the type of gamers that complete post-game quests and/or max out their characters in an RPG. If you’ve never played Minecraft before and fall into this category, the Wii U version is as good a place to start as any.
Everything that you’d expect from a Minecraft game is here in the Wii U version. The traditional Survival mode, as well as the more family-friendly Adventure and Creative modes. The same goes for the game’s co-op features, which make it easy to jump in and out with friends and family. However, it’s the ability to play on the Wii U GamePad that sets the experience apart from the handful of other versions. Simply put, having the game in the palm of your hands does change the experience as much as you think, but it’s pretty convenient and also allows the people in your home to use the TV, or in the case of multiple gamer homes, use a different console entirely.
With the added skins and GamePad play, the extra ten bucks is more than justified, making the Wii U edition of Minecraft an excellent starting point for new players and one that casual gamers will enjoy as well. Although it’s smaller in scope, everything else, from the visuals and soundtrack is on-par with everything you’d expect from one of the most engaging series in gaming today.
More Skins: It’s a nice touch to get access to a bunch of skins right out of the box and the child in you will like the added room for creativity.
GamePad Play: If you don’t have a PlayStation Vita and wanted the Minecraft console experience in the palm of your hands, the Wii U version does a solid job in its Off-TV mode.
Small World: The map is the same size as the Xbox 360 version. While this won’t be too much of a pain to the children experiencing the game for the first time, hardcore fans of the series will be disappointed.
Hard to Read Text in Off-TV Mode: While the actual visuals in the Off-TV mode are what you’d expect from a Minecraft game, the small lettering in your inventory is sometimes a pain in create mode. Veteran players will know what all the different items are, but for first time players, it could be an issue.
Minecraft Wii U Edition is like a slice of pizza. Regardless of how good or bad it is when compared to the other versions, it’s still Minecraft. The ability to play off-screen is worth the price for dedicated fans and the extra skins are a cool perk, but it’s ultimately best suited for players who have yet to experience the game before.
Nintendo provided a download code of Minecraft Wii U Edition to Examiner for review purposes.