Minecraft has seen massive global success and become a cultural phenomenon for its simplistic pixel graphics and gameplay that people of all ages have latched onto for its endless possibilities and creativity. Minecraft has a spontaneous beginning and an endgame as some sort of closure, but it has never had a story. That’s where the narrative and character focused developer Telltale comes in.
Many of Telltale’s adaptations have come from rich source material with fleshed out characters and storylines. Minecraft provides an enormous world to expand in any direction they see fit, and their chosen path with Minecraft: Story Mode has built something that anyone can enjoy, not just Minecraft fans. Of course it will be a greater experience for players of the game as there is plenty of meta humour that will make Minecraft players laugh at a bit harder. Despite this, Story Mode is still mostly self-contained as the focus is on the cute, charming characters and their epic adventure.
There may be few moments with explicit explanations for things in the world, but Telltale does a good job of providing answers to questions that concern the immediate story. For instance, there is a puzzle that requires you to build an item with the random resources you have available and instead of leaving you to staring blankly at a crafting table, a recipe for a bow is provided in the bottom right corner.
The story begins with Jessie and his group of friends who are preparing for a building competition in order to get to Ender Con. Along the way a grander story unfolds involving a mysterious stranger and his dastardly plot.
The writing in Story Mode is great with typical Telltale dialogue and a combination of humour, and large scale action. The voice acting performances from Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber as the protagonist Jessie, as well as the entire cast, really helped to bring these characters to life.
Minecraft is all about creativity and letting your imagination take you down whatever road it creates, but in Story Mode you won’t be building inventive structures of your own design. Just like all Telltale games you’ll Instead be rapidly pressing the Q key as you move through guided quick time events. It is nice to have a little bit more interaction but this is more of an interactive Minecraft movie. Story Mode offers a level of interaction that is suitable for just enough of a game feel within a movie. You will be slashing zombies with your sword, placing resources on work bench to craft new items, and shooting arrows just like in the Minecraft. There could have been more problem solving moments, but the experience is enjoyable enough that it doesn’t take away too much from it.
Telltale does a wonderful job of working within the world of Minecraft to crave out their own compelling story. Minecraft: Story Mode tells an epic tale and brings along a host of cool, hilarious, and cute characters with plenty of personality thanks to the fantastic writing and voice acting performances.