Minecraft—there isn’t a parent on earth—unless perhaps you’re Amish—that has not heard of it, and oh, man, do I hear of it when there is a “new game, mom. OMGOSHHHHH!” Yep, Xbox LIVE did it again, they put a new Minecraft anything front and center for my kids to see the moment they powered up the Xbox 360. At first I thought it was yet another cheap skin pack, but to my surprise once it was downloaded I got another run of OMGoshes as they realized it really was a new game. That new game was Minecraft Story Mode.
If your kids haven’t pestered the crap out of you about this new $4.99 Minecraft game to the point you already bought it, you may be wondering, what is Minecraft Story mode for Xbox 360 exactly?
Well, you remember those pick-your-fate books most of us had as kids? Where you read a bit then came to a page that made you pick a page to see what happens next? It’s kind of like that. The game plays much like a movie, but at times you get to choose what you say or what you do, and those choices change the storyline.
As the lame parents that don’t let our kids watch YouTube really, I was happy to see an alternative to those annoying Minecraft fan-vids our kids are always trying to watch that are often inappropriate, and happier to see it involved reading and cognitive thinking a bit more than classic Minecraft. Our eldest just started to learn to read. Minecraft Story mode seems a great way to encourage that outside of paper books, as like most 6 year old boys, video games are suppppper important to him right now.
Yeah, you know, I started getting suspicious the moment I realized Minecraft Story Mode was a whole new game and it only cost me $4.99. Nothing Minecraft is cheap. My suspicion was confirmed when we found the screen where you buy more “episodes.” Each episode is $4.99. I wouldn’t say they are short, and really that’s comparable to what a beginner reader book would cost me, but it still seemed deceptive. I bought one episode, now every time there’s a new one released the kids are going to want to spend 5 more dollars. Course, sounds like extra-chore caching to me. I’ll also note you can buy a “season pass” which offers new episodes 2-5 as they become available for $19.99, which Minecraft, at $4.99 an episode regularly that is not a discount—durka dur 4.99 X 4 remaining episodes is $19.96. All the seasons pass does is cost you 3 more cents to have the content automatically downloaded. How am I going to get the yard cleaned that way?
Anyway, so what’s Minecraft Story Mode game play like? Is it OK-for-kids?
I’ve obviously only seen Minecraft Story Mode episode one, as the others aren’t out yet. At start-up you pick your appearance and can create and account (which I’m sure is going to fill my inbox with wondrous spam being signing up sent me like 10 emails thanking me for joining.) Then you enter into the episode as “Jesse” (nice job on the gender neutral name, Minecraft) regaling the story of the “Order of the Stone” who defeated the Ender-dragon.
Jesse wishes to become an ultra-famous warrior too so he and his trusty pig set out to win the EnderCon competition. You meet some rival and jerk-face opponents, a blacksmith, and then things go horribly wrong as piggy gets lost in the woods. Overall the story line is simple and only includes components of the regular Minecraft game such as zombies and killing with little pixelated swords. If you find Minecraft OK, you should be fine with Minecraft Story Mode’s content thus far.
Minecraft Story Mode was released for Xbox on 10/14/15. There’s no word on when episode two will be released beyond “periodically” listed in the seasons pass and episode 1-5 bundle, nor any word of just how many $4.99 episodes beyond this initial 5 you can expect your kids to have to have.