Since ditching its comedy point and clicks like Wallace and Gromit in favour of interactive dramas like The Walking Dead, developer Telltale has skewed its tone towards something more dark and adult.
These new games, which revolve around making tough moral decisions and dealing with social politics, have so far suited more grown-up source material like gory HBO show Game of Thrones or nihilistic fairytale Fables.
With Minecraft: Story Mode, though, kids can finally see what all the fuss is about. This blocky tale is sweet and charming, and offers tween-friendly decisions about standing up to bullies or trying to look cool in front of an older kid.
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That’s not to say that this game doesn’t have a darker side. There are sinister scenes involving Minecraft’s more terrifying monsters, and the main story – which sees the entire world put in peril – is surprisingly intense.
As usual for a Telltale game, there’s a little bit of action, with quick-time events (both for dramatic fight scenes and also goofy montages) and even a super simple combat system. And some puzzles that are impossibly easy.
But it’s mostly about deciding what to say in conversation – with each choice purportedly affecting the wider narrative. If it’s like the other Telltale games, you shouldn’t expect much in the way of wildly different plot lines than your friends.
That being said, the final binary decision in episode one seems to suggest that each choice will lead to very different events in episode two. We’ll see.
For big Minecraft fans, this episodic series should be a no-brainer. But for those who have never mined nor crafted, will the unexplained references, insider jokes, and – crucially – low-fi graphics be a turn off?
Probably. If you don’t know the terrifying result of putting three wither skulls on some soul sand, for example, you’re going to struggle to keep up in this game.
But more importantly, that probably means you’re an adult (how many 12 year olds don’t play Minecraft?), and this game is not really for you. Sure, it’s still funny and sweet for older players, but this is one Telltale game that’s designed for the younger set.
And, to me, that’s just fine.