Review: Minecraft Story Mode Episode 1

Minecraft: Story Mode is a new Telltale series that follows a group of losers who are trying to save the world. Order of the Stone is the first episode in the series, which will total five episodes when it’s finished.

Release Date: October 13, 2015
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Official Website

remeshed Review

Minecraft: Story Mode follows Jesse, Olivia, and Axel as they compete in a building competition to prove that they’re not losers. You play as Jesse, who can either be a boy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) or a girl (voiced by Catherine Taber). Like other Telltale Games, you’ll watch lengthy scenes of dialogue which are driven by player choice. These are broken up with short quicktime sequences and, since this is Minecraft after all, a few building activities.

It was a little disappointing that the chances to build and craft were so infrequent. Twice during the first episode I got to use a crafting table to make a tool out of materials in my inventory. Building large structures meant hammering the action button repeatedly as it was build in fast-motion on the screen.

That’s pretty typical for a Telltale Game, but I’m not so certain their style of gameplay (which I love in Tales from the Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us) makes sense for Minecraft. The game looks like an HD version of Minecraft, but it’s limited in the areas which Minecraft players know and love.

This is just the beginning of a five-part series, though, and I would say that while Minecraft: Story Mode hasn’t quite found its footing, it still has a lot going for it.

Some of my favorite touches involved failing quicktime events. I know, I know, bear with me. Failing a quicktime event sometimes had hilarious, slapstick outcomes. At one point I was prompted to press “x” to jump into a mine cart. I missed the button press, and Jesse tumbled headfirst into the cart, her legs waving in the air. For me, these were the funniest moments of the game.

More laughs came from all the references to how freaking dangerous Minecraft really is. Running into the woods to find Jesse’s pet pig Reuben results in being attacked by zombies, spiders, creepers-the game throws everything at you. It’s somehow hilarious to see Jesse reacting the same way I react to running into spiders in Minecraft. What the hell is that doing here and why is it huge?

Speaking of Jesse, Telltale has done something new with this character as well. It’s the first time in a Telltale Game that players can customize the main character’s skin color and gender. There are three skin tone options for Jesse, who can be male or female. It’s a thoughtful inclusion for a franchise that has extremely broad appeal to children (and adults!) of all genders and backgrounds.

Minecraft: Story Mode hasn’t quite hit its stride yet. While it was definitely funny, not all the jokes hit their mark. The gameplay felt the same way: some sequences shone, others felt drawn-out.

That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to the next episodes. Though it takes awhile to get up to speed, Order of the Stone sets up a cataclysmic event, which leaves Jesse and their friends in the unlucky position of needing to save the world. Minecraft: Story Mode is definitely going places, and I hope that once it’s done establishing its characters and its setting, it will settle into a story we can all enjoy.

The first episode, Order of the Stone, is available now for digital download. It will come out on disc on October 27. When you buy the disc, the first episode will be playable and you will be able to download each episode when it is released. Our digital Season Pass (all five episodes) from the PlayStation store cost $24.99.

Reviews Around The Web, Nadia Oxford - 4/5

“The game’s story is engaging, the dialogue between the characters is snappy, and the ability to play as either a boy or a girl is most welcome. But the world you wind up exploring is mostly “Look, but don’t touch.”, Patricia Hernandez

“I only have two “major” complaints. One, every character seems to perpetually do that sort of creepy Dreamworks smirk, which proved unsettling in an unintended way. And two, the episode ends when things actually gets real. It’s a good set-up for a cliffhanger, sure, but the episode is short enough that it almost felt like it ended right when things got really good. Guess I’ll have to come back for episode two, eh?”, Sam Loveridge - 8/10

“In terms of gameplay, there’s a lot of dialogue, but that’s inevitable with a Telltale Games’ title. Thankfully it’s amusing once you get past the opening slog before EnderCon and it never feels like a chore.”, Diana Natal

“Players who are familiar with Minecraft will instantly recognize the familiar surroundings, characters and actions, like mining and fighting off mobs. For players unfamiliar with the Minecraft world characters are quick to prompt you through actions like crafting a weapon, making the game easy to play for even those with no Minecraft experience.”, Natalie Colazzo - 4/5

“Minecraft: Story Mode strays from the more mature content that Telltale normally associates themselves with and manages to create a fun, family-friendly world for one with no real story.  The episode is expertly done and gives players a perfect standalone game to the critically acclaimed game from Mojang.”

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin’s Gaming With the Moms podcast. You can always count on Simone to make it weird.
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Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. You can always count on Simone to make it weird.

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