The mobile version of Minecraft (Pocket Edition) is now available to download on all Android phones, not just the Xperia. The demo is a free download from the Android Market or a $5 purchase for the full version. Here, we take a quick look at the pocket edition and give our review.
The Pocket Edition of Minecraft is a cut down Android equivalent of the desktop version. However, its not quite the same in more ways than one. Firstly, the touch controls become your controls. Swiping your finger across the screen changes the view point. Holding down your finger lets you dig or a quick tap will place the currently selected item in your inventory. Given that its running on a mobile processer, the game is surprising fast and there was very little lag on our HTC Desire handset.
How good is it?
Unfortunately, the Pocket Edition of Minecraft is well behind the full desktop version (Beta). Its more like a very early Creative alpha version. You won't find any mobs, weapons or items to craft. Its just unlimited creative block building. If you think back to how Minecraft used to look in 2010, then you'll be closer to the Pocket Edition version.
The downloadable demo comes with 16 blocks to play with, these include the standard coloured blocks, glass blocks, ladders, flowers and the torch. If you buy the full version for $5 you get up to 32 blocks, but there's no noticeable changes in the gameplay compared to the demo.
The short video above gives you an insight into how Minecraft performs using touch controls. Its pretty quick and responsive but a little fiddly. The transparent control pad does seem to get in the play when placing blocks but apart from that the tapping was instant. Digging is smooth and the accuracy is quite good for a small screen. Without seeing any mobs or having to craft any items its hard to tell how the touch interface will perform when precise accuracy is required.
So to sum it up, it's a very early version of Minecraft with a hell of a lot missing from the latest Beta builds. Without mobs and crafting, the game doesn't feel the same. It might just be that Notch and Jeb are so busy on the Beta that they haven't given enough love to the mobile version but surely this will come over time. The mobile gaming industry is booming and there's certainly a lot of fans to be made from a good mobile version.
3/5 – It's Minecraft and we've giving it a higher rating just for that, but compared to other mobile apps it needs more work..