Telltale Games’ contributions to the video game industry have always been a win/win for me in the past. The combination of great storytelling, branching paths that remind me of choose-your-own-adventure books that I read when I was a kid, super easy achievement points, and properties with which I’m familiar have always made a winning combination for me.
The last piece of that puzzle is exactly why I was curious about trying their most-recent addition, “Minecraft: Story Mode”. Minecraft is a game that I’ve never given a chance at all. It always seemed like nothing more than a digital set of LEGO’s with no real direction. While that formula might have worked for me at a young age when I had nothing but time, my adult self never had the patience for a gaming experience with literally no time limit.
I went into “Minecraft: Story Mode” with an open mind. I knew that the visuals would be blocky just like the screenshots I had seen of the core game, but I was optimistic about the quality vocal talent of Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, and Ashley Johnson. Worst-case scenario, I had an easy block of achievements to add to my ever-increasing nerd-cred number.
Sadly, this might be the first game in the series that I don’t play through to completion; it’s definitely aimed at a much younger audience who is not me. Everything about it feels scaled down for someone who is very unfamiliar with the previous entries from this developer, as if “Minecraft: Story Mode” is a catalyst for the next generation of gamers that Telltale hopes to target. The quick time events (QTE’s) feel almost impossible to fail, and the “crafting” has little-to-no depth whatsoever. Even the story and voice work feel as if I were watching something that would be on a Saturday morning cartoon.
This isn’t to say that the game is bad. What they’ve put together may very well work for fans of that universe, and I truly hope that it does. I’m of the mind that younger games should be exposed to as many different genres of video games as early as possible. This is why I would still recommend this game to families with younger fans of Minecraft. While it doesn’t have the “Toy Story” effect in offering enjoyment for parents and children alike, fans of the mature games from Telltale might be excited to see their son or daughter witnessing the effects of hard decisions in a video game that is 100% safe in terms of content.
But for those expecting a rich, mature story that they’ve had in games like “The Walking Dead”, “The Wolf Among Us”, “Game of Thrones” or even “Tales From the Borderlands”, they might feel let down by a product that can easily be described as childish. In fact, I would imagine that this makes fans of those games want more content from their stories instead of another episode in the Minecraft universe.
Who am I kidding? I can’t pass up those achievement points.