Minecraft XBLA Hands-On - Now We Know What We're Doing!

We sit down with the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game and learn how to make shelter.

Even with all of its popularity, a large number of gamers have not had the opportunity to sample Minecraft. Despite that fact, the developers behind the game have found ways of introducing it to more people. The game is soon to be released via Xbox Live Arcade, and we managed to be among the first to sit down to finally learn how to properly play the game.

The first noticeable difference between this version and other versions has to do with the controller. Upon grabbing an Xbox 360 controller, we noticed the difference in how one version played when compared to using a mouse and keyboard. To accommodate the change, the controls are set up as you'd expect a first-person shooter to be: Your right trigger performs key actions, such as swinging an axe; the A button is used to jump; bumpers are used to change items on the fly; and so forth. If you've played any FPS during the past decade, you will automatically adjust to the controls in Minecraft on XBLA.

The other difference has to do with the introduction of a nifty tutorial mode. The PC version of the game has thrived on a community of people that has uploaded videos and written numerous tutorials on how to do everything. But a lot of times, some people start playing, don't know what is required, get frustrated, and stop playing. To help those who still want to experience what Minecraft has to offer and not get discouraged, the tutorial will get you going in the right direction.

There is a lot to explore in Minecraft

The tutorial gives you the basics and leads you at a nice gradual pace. As you walk around your world for the first time, it will teach you the basic controls, as well as what you need to create your first crafting table and your first weapon/collecting tool. You'll also learn about what you need to collect to build a house and to be safe inside when night falls. As you build specific weapons and tools, you'll learn how to best use each item. This way, you're not using a shovel to chop down a tree. Thankfully, for those who do have previous knowledge of Minecraft, this mode is completely optional.

This version of Minecraft also introduces an improved and easier to navigate crafting system. Going back to the issue of players not knowing what is required to make certain items, here, everything is placed in a nice menu that details every bit of information you'll need to make any specific item. Navigating through the menus is easy and helpful. With all required ingredients shown to you in advance, you can focus on what you need to collect and be well equipped when you decide to explore the deeper regions of your world.

With the inclusion of an optional tutorial mode, simpler crafting system, and easy-to-grasp controls, the Xbox Live Arcade edition of Minecraft looks poised to be the most approachable version of the game. We managed to spend a solid 30 minutes with it, and in that time, we learned the basics, killed some enemies, and managed to build a fairly decent house. We didn't get a chance to start decorating the place, but if we had more time, we would have been able to do so.

The easy to navigate crafting menu makes building so much easier.

There is still a lot that hasn't been revealed in regard to what we can expect once the game hits Xbox Live Arcade in 2012. We know there will be both Kinect support and multiplayer, but how those two aspects are implemented will be talked about sometime down the road. It will also be interesting to see how different this version ends up being from the PC and mobile versions, especially in regard to how much freedom Microsoft allows for making changes post launch. Expect to see and read more about Minecraft on XBLA during the next few months.

Written By

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

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Discussion

23 comments
Purpledust
Purpledust

1600 msp... HAHAHAHA funny stuff. this games cost 30$ hahahahahahahahahahaha

i'm laughing so fkin hARD RIGHT NOW

GhostofWar75
GhostofWar75

Im playing total miner but this just looks way better. Cant wait. but not to say total miner is a bad game.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

My wife loves this game, but can never get me off the laptop, so I'll DL this for her when it's here and she can play it on Xbox whilst I stay on Skyrim on PC

CronosXIII
CronosXIII

@punkdsk8erdude You mine materials. You use those materials to craft different materials, and you build things. You can build a little house, or a mansion, or a whole city. Hell people have built whole worlds spanning tens of kilometers. Minecraft is a game about mining/crafting/building and adventuring. You can do anything. Also survival mode, is all that + you have to survive against random enemies that spawn around the world at night time.

CronosXIII
CronosXIII

@jtthegame316 If Minecraft were released as a full 360 title, it would easily trump 95% of console games. Trust me. Minecraft is one of the best games out there on PC, and the 360 port won't be nearly as good (because Minecraft isn't really a console game) but it will still be amazing.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

I am kicking myself i want this for ps3

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

minecraft does not look like a good game but a lot of people seem to like it so i will give it a chance when it comes on xbla with the trial game but i am not expecting much.

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

The only problem with minecraft is that it isn't very approachable for new players. Now they've got rid of that problem what's stopping Minecraft on the Xbox getting a perfect score?

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

@TxtBin thanks! so when i see videos of players who created a replica of Hyrule castle from Ocarina of Time (lol) that originally started off as just a small shelter, and they built it up to be that? Thats a pretty awesome concept. Maybe ill give it shot now that its coming to XBLA!

geezer1916
geezer1916

@Ovirew the block type indie games like total miner etc seem to be doing ok

UxoriousLimited
UxoriousLimited

I only hope there are mods and pc cross over play. Hey maybe if you own a PC version of an XBLA version you get the other one free. Who knows? As long as there are servers and kinect support this will be just--- wait, kinect support? Lolwut?

SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

I want that house in the top picture :D

oKiRe
oKiRe

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

TxtBin
TxtBin

@punkdsk8erdude It's like a survival game (depending on the difficulty you play on). You or your friends all team up and spawn randomly in the world. There is no fixed world, every time you start the game, a random island is generated and you spawn in different locations. From then on, you need to collect resources like wood, coal, iron etc to build a shelter, and you can slowly expand it to create a large castle or w/e you want. The thing is, when it becomes dark, zombies and spiders and that sort of stuff turns up to kill you. You need to seek refuge from them, and to recover you need to kill the pigs and use the meat from them to revive yourself. It's a pretty basic concept but very fun to play. I'd recommend it.

gunslayer5
gunslayer5

Nah.. I'll rather stick to the PC version of Minecraft. Lots of other mods and millions of other players and servers.

hombreg1
hombreg1

cool, been wondering for quite a while about how the console's interface would change, seems like they nailed it.

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

to this day, i dont know what minecraft is, but it looks like you can basically just create your own video game world & adventure in it...is that accurate??

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

@talool1 you can't play the witcher 2 on highest settings. trust me. if you find my comment offensive, then go and try it before you reply ;) ontopic, i too dislike using keybaord and mouse (except for crpg games which doesnt exist anymore) so i have an xbox controller to play all those games on my computer. but i do prefer to play on a ps3 (or xbox if that was my console) because you can sit back and relax instead of crouching over to the pc screen to read the text, or at least feel like you are seeing more because your face is closer to the screen. i really hate that... on the console and tv, everything is made so big that you can just lean on your couch, which is nice. and its easier to "Hotseat" on the console than the pc... on pc you gotta change seats and all, on console you just give the controller over! although i do think that minecraft is probably not a console game. and i think that even though notch is great developer, he is a greedy guy. just check out the minecraft app on android market. cost your shirt off!! greedy bastard...

talool1
talool1

@Ovirew I can probably play BF3 or The Witcher 2 highest settings on my laptop, but I refuse to play games on a computer. Which makes me extremely hyped for this release, and the Witcher 2's release on a Console.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I dislike using keyboard and mouse to play games, I don't care too much about mods (especially in a game where you already have a lot of freedom to create stuff), and Minecraft is too much for my laptop to handle, so I'm really interested in this XBLA version of the game. I guess the big question is, will enough other people out there want to play the 360 version of Minecraft, too?