One positive aspect of having only just played Minecraft for the first time last year is that, unlike some folks, I haven’t already invested in the game on a million different platforms. That, and, the fact that I can still play vanilla Minecraft and be blissfully unaware of all the mods that are out there.
I do love my PC version for all the mod potential that it has. I bought the Wii U version on a whim, but struggled a bit with the console controls. In fact, the console controls were one of the reasons I almost didn’t pick the Switch edition.
However, several things happened this weekend that pushed me into the impulse buy:
- I had a 4 day weekend thanks to it being my birthday last week
- I learned you could select from different control schemes on the Switch (this may have been true for the Wii U version as well, but I never thought to look)
- The worlds are larger than the Wii U version
- Easy to take and share screenshots
- I had more than enough gift card cash on my Nintendo e-shop account
- I had a “lack” of games on my Switch screen
- I decided this is probably the best portable version of Minecraft you can have (supports both controllers and touch pad)
New Minecraft Adventures
Anyhow, it’s always fun to start a new Minecraft adventure. Also, this time around, I figured out how to select a proper skin for my avatar, as well. The Switch version came with a number to choose from, but I went with the Knight.
The game started me out on a savanna, though the biomes on this map changed very rapidly and were somewhat crammed together. Of course, they teased me with seeing a lovely horse within the first few minuets of spawning.
Sadly, this was the first and last time I saw this pretty horse. I’m not sure what happened to it. 😦
I built the normal beginner hut and started putting up fences and lighting. Somewhere along the way, I managed to pick up some bones and tamed a wolf. I’ve tried taming wolves before in other games, but this was my first successful attempt — on the first bone!
I want to take note of the Achievement system. I don’t recall seeing this on the Wii U version of the game. I know the PC version has something similar, but not quite the same in-your-face achievements.
Once I got the standard housing set up, my big goal was to find a saddle because the game kept teasing me with the horses that were roaming around. I did some fishing (needed food anyhow), but eventually decided to explore and work through some caves.
My adventure took me further than I expected…
And before I knew it, I was totally lost.
One thing I had never learned about in Minecraft was the mapping system. It seemed confusing back when I first started playing the game, so I ended up adding a mini-map mod to my game on the PC.
That wasn’t an option here, so if I were to find my way back to my cozy little box house, I knew I had to learn how to map.
After uncovering as much map as I could find, I realized that this one map did not, in fact, cover all of the world. It was only a small part of the area! Unlike the PC version where you can add to a map to make the original larger, it seems the console version requires you to just make another blank map to start mapping the new areas.
Maps require a good deal of cane to make paper. This was pretty rare to find during my exploration, so I ended up making a bunch of cane farms each time I stumbled upon a new zone of the world.
While I was waiting for cane to grow, I spent the time fishing for food. Sure enough, luck was on my side, and I fished up a saddle, right near a horse spawn!
I wasted no time selecting a nice black horse and taming him.
This made all the difference in my exploration. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to walk that entire map on foot. Riding and mapping was so, so much better.
Not to mention, as far as horses go, this one was quite nice — look at all those hearts!
Anyhow, it took many hours before I actually found my way back home. I had no idea that I’d walked two full maps away from my original spawn point! Since I had a lot of iron, nice gear, a saddle, and a horse, I was totally motivated to get back in one piece.
Here’s my fine horse, who carried me home, finally taking a well-earned break. 🙂
Not only that, but I discovered that just to the west of my base, and not that far away, is a village. I’m excited to start building a road out that direction, set up some defenses for them and build it up some.
A quickie review of my impressions — obviously, I had a lot of fun with this version of Minecraft. I spent a number of hours with it, and it played just as well docked as it did in handheld mode.
I didn’t expect to need to play it handheld, but a set of nasty storms rolled through my area on Friday night. I was stoked that I could just undock my Switch and keep playing even while the rest of my electronics were unplugged and turned off during the storm. If I had lost power that night, it wouldn’t have stopped my gaming, either.
I really like having full controller support for the handheld version of the game. I haven’t played the pocket version, but I’ve heard people say that the touch controls are not always idea for Minecraft. I could see that happening. I did use touch controls very sparingly, mostly during crafting and moving inventory around, and was happy that was an option.
I also always love how the console version makes crafting much simpler than the PC version. Sorry. I have so much trouble remembering recipes… it’s more of an annoyance to have to open a wiki to figure out what the pattern is for simple crafting items. The console version just auto-makes things for you if you have the materials in your inventory. I appreciate that a lot!
I know that you can play with your Minecraft friends easily, just by joining their game on the Nintendo network, which is another plus for those who want to play multiplayer online. You can also play with others on local split-screen.
So, is Minecraft Switch Edition worth getting? It was for me. But again, I’m not someone who already has 5 different copies of the game and years of experience playing it.
I think it’s a solid version of Minecraft. I think for someone new to the game, or someone who wants a good portable version of Minecraft, this is a good buy. Or… if you just want another game to add to your Switch screen. Yep.