Minecraft: Story Mode doesn’t feel like an evolution to the Telltale formula but instead a reskinning and safer bet. The story telling seems less ambitious and the concepts brought up aren’t all the interesting. Fans of Minecraft proper will find a bit of pleasure in the game mechanics brought over but they do little to enhance the gameplay. Story Mode is a let down from the usual interesting narratives we have seen.
The biggest downside is that the story is dull. The Minecraft world, with its blocky aesthetic, is in danger and you need to find the most powerful heroes in order to stop the monster. It’s a pretty generic plot and the characters don’t help alleviate this. There isn’t any real depth to the majority of the cast and most are largely forgettable. The protagonist does have a pet pig, however, that is alright. On the upside the game remains decently funny and had me chuckling on a couple occasions. Overall the story feels bland and doesn’t have me excited for what’s next.
I should point out that I really haven’t played much of the main Minecraft games. Even with that, it’s apparent that some of the core mechanics and game play scenarios have been utilized in Story Mode. Enemies come out at night, you can craft items using a grid platform, etc. The problem is that these don’t really add anything to the game. Building houses and structures have been streamlined to tapping a single button repeatedly. You can only craft during short, very specific sections before your weapon/tool is gone. These borrowed gameplay elements only act as short references instead of useful and interesting moments.
It’s unlikely that this disdain is due to a lack of interest in the source material. Personally, I know little about the backstory to any of the properties that Telltale pulls from but still end up enjoying my time with their adventure games. Minecraft: Story Mode seems light on conflict and much more simpler in terms of narrative. This causes the game to move slow and without real urgency. The difficult binary choices we have come to expect are almost non existent here. Perhaps Telltale is aiming at a younger audience this time around.
Unfortunately I’m not very excited about what is to come from Minecraft: Story Mode. The ease of play and lackluster cast left me feeling uninterested. Despite a couple funny moments, the narrative seems watered down from what we have come to expect from Telltale. Hopefully there will be more meaningful conflict and difficult decisions to play through. As it stands, I’m not looking forward to the next episode.