Minecraft has become a huge phenomenon in the video game world, with many copies of the game being sold across various platforms. The biggest contributor to the success of Minecraft for developer Mojang is the emphasis on user generated content. Since its initial release on November 18th 2011 for the PC, thousands of user created levels have been shared among players in the game.
Minecraft has become such a big deal for the gaming world that it has been made available for just about every platform on the market, including the Nintendo Wii U. Minecraft: Wii U Edition gives players the chance to build and share their creations with other gamers through Nintendo’s home console.
Here’s a simple fact about Minecraft on the Wii U, it’s exactly as what you would expect. The building blocks, the creepers, and the 8-bit stylized models are present and accounted for. This is essentially the same Minecraft that you would find on any other platform. While much to the core game doesn’t change for being on the Wii U, there are a handful of content packs that are immediately available right from the start, with additional packs that could be purchased from the Nintendo eShop. Minecraft enthusiasts that love building levels with different themes have a lot to work with when browsing through the Wii U edition’s extra content pack offerings.
Where this version of the game falls short is in having anything new to offer to Minecraft fans. On the Wii U, there is a huge missed opportunity here in utilizing the gamepad as a second screen. While playing, I could tap on the gamepad to switch between items in my inventory and navigate through menus, but there isn’t much beyond that. Nothing of significant value comes from having the Wii U’s second screen available.
As I walked through environments and consulted with the map in my inventory, I needed to constantly equip and look down to it. This was fundamentally un-intuitive on the Wii U, when the second screen on the gamepad could have been used to display my map rather than obscure my view of the level.
It makes no sense to have me focus on a tiny map rather than what is in front of me, especially if no objects are displayed on the map itself. This could have been change to compensate for the game being on the Wii U and take better advantage of the gamepad. In addition, the control scheme on the Wii U gamepad has a few flaws that hindered my exploration of levels. Sprinting required double tapping the left stick to move faster, but would occasionally not be responsive as easily compared to just pushing in the stick to sprint like in other games.
If you’re a fan of Minecraft, chances are you own the game on at least two other platforms. While the Wii U Edition of Minecraft does offer the same experience, there are small problems that prevent it from being the definitive version of the game.
Minecraft: Wii U Edition does exactly what it needs to do, port over the Minecraft experience that many gamers love over to Nintendo’s home console. This may have turned out good for some, but it’s disappointing to see not enough attention went into making the Wii U’s version of Minecraft stand out a bit more from the rest.
This review was based on a digital version of Minecraft: Wii U Edition for the Nintendo Wii U provided by Nintendo.