Minecraft, perhaps the first game to have its own con before its official release, still isn’t coming to the iPhone just yet. Thanks to a nice deal made with Sony Xperia, indie darling Mojang has said that it will come to iOS, but Sony and Android will have a period of exclusivity. Details on exactly how long that will be haven’t surfaced yet, but publishers are saying it will be later this year.
For those who have missed it, Minecraft is a sandbox game that lets users build the world. Though it sounds a lot like Little Big Planet, Minecraft is more like virtual Legos, and LBP is like paper dolls. The world is seemingly endless, but the farther you go from point zero tends to have more bugs. Sound too constricting? The biggest map so far is nine times the size of the earth.
There are two versions of Minecraft in the Beta version. The first is creative mode, which lets users build structures without taking damage. Creatures still appear, but they can’t hurt players. Creative mode also gives you unlimited building supplies, similar to the first unpaid version of the game that surfaced. Survival mode features a health and hunger bar, and players can take damage by falling or because of creatures. They have to mine or find their own items, and they’ll need to acquire their own tools. The survival mode is new for the paid beta, and it’s proving a perfect challenge for experienced Minecraft players.
The free, classic version of Minecraft still thrives on the internet, but it’s no longer receiving updates. Likely, the world will continue existing for a few months after beta is released and developers will rely on the shiny bells and whistles of the paid version to draw free users in. The classic version will function nicely as a free-to-play lead-in to having players make the jump.
Minecraft, for those who enjoy living under their rock, has been rocketed to cult-status. It’s being used everywhere, even in classrooms. Joel Levin, an elementary school teacher has been using Minecraft to teach students about sharing, filling leadership roles and even settling disputes, giving new meaning to online education.
When it does come to the iPhone, users can look forward to a version much like the Sony Xperia version. It will be scaled down slightly and probably use a mix of touch and traditional controls, which will be simulated on the iPhone. Since the iPhone is based on touch-controls only, chances are decent that if developers haven’t taken a lot of time on the project, it could come out slightly buggy.
However, that shouldn’t stop fans of the series from downloading it, and it certainly shouldn’t stop new devotees from joining. If you’re looking for a Minecraft-esque experience now, check out Minecraft World Explorer, which lets you download your Minecraft world into your phone. There are several other versions available, but World Explorer isn’t buggy and the controls work well.