When I got home last night I was greeted by a strange sight. My normally loud and squirmy 9-year old twin boys were sitting quietly at the kitchen table doing their homework. They were so focused that not only did I not get my usual puppy-like greeting, but I was wondering if I was in the right house. It wasn't until one of them looked up at me and said "We are almost done! You ready to try the new Minecraft game?", that I understood what was going on. Minecraft: Story Mode had come out and they were doing their best to finish their work and start playing!
When we first heard about TellTale Game's new Minecraft adventure game, I was not sure that it would be suitable for my children, as TellTale is known for telling mature stories. As we sat down and reached the opening screen, though, I could immediately see that it was more lighthearted that most of TellTale's other games. Minecraft: Story Mode is a game that is told through 5 different episodes, with only the first episode being available at this time. The PC version costs $24.99 for all 5 episodes, but it also available on the Playstation, Xbox, iOS, and Android as individual episodes or the full sesason pass. The game itself is an interactive story where you get to make choices at pivotal points in the adventure in order to progress the story. In many ways the TellTale games remind me of a movie version of the the old Choose your Adventure books that I read as a kid.
The first Minecraft: Story Mode episode is called the Order of the Stone where you play the character Jesse. With the help of some friends (and Jesse's pet pig) you decide that this is the year you are going to win the EnderCon Building Competition. This year the winners of the building competition get to meet their hero Gabriel; a member of the legendary Order of the Stone who in the past had entered the Ender to fight and defeat the Ender Dragon. Unfortunately, at EnderCon events do not go as planned and the evil monster called the Wither is summoned. The Wither wants nothing more than to destroy the world. It is now up to Jesse and his friends to find the other members of the Order of the Stone and save the day.
Like other TellTale games, Minecraft: Story Mode is more like watching a movie than actually playing a video game. You do get the option to move your character, some basic combat, and make choices that can change the direction of the story, but you wont be able to go and create your own house or deviate from the course of the story. For Minecraft purists, this may be a difficult pill to swallow.
If you expect this to be a traditional game where you can control all the actions of your character, then this game is not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a interactive story that can appeal to all ages then this is the perfect game to play with your kids. Especially if they are Minecraft fans! The story is lighthearted with enough action, humor, and silliness to keep any kid and their parents entertained. If I had any gripe it would be the length of the first episode, which only took us about 2 hours to complete. Otherwise, it was a memorable experience for all of us.