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Minecraft vs. Minecraft Copy

Posted by: Cooper | Filed Under Opinions, Other, Weekly Articles | No comments 
Sep 14


Minecraft has been available on the Xbox 360 for a while now, but one type of game has been there even longer. The Minecraft copy genre has exploded on the Xbox Indie Games market, and has been there since Minecraft was in the beta stage on the PC. All of these copies are less than a fifth of the price of Minecraft, so it begs the question: Would it be better to get one of those games rather than Minecraft? Here is a list of the most popular Minecraft copies available on Xbox Live right now and how they stack up.

Disclosure: I know calling these games “Minecraft Copies” is unfair. I know some of you will say “but Minecraft was a copy of something itself!” but it doesn’t matter. You know these are copies of Minecraft and so does everyone else.


Total Miner:

Price: $3 (240 Microsoft Points)

Total Miner is a mixed bag. It hits the nail on the head in terms of being a good Minecraft copy. It has crafting, and the ability to have player created mods (through updates). It also has world seeds and TONS of different modes that you can play in, ranging from survival to even RPG. That and the fact that you can buy materials and tools from a store are probably the only two distinguishing features of this game. One other feature that I really like is the map at the top left corner of the screen which shows your position and also the materials above or below you. This makes mineral hunting a breeze. The game also nails the Minecraft look by surrounding you with a 3D/8-bit world. It runs very smoothly and never seemed to really slow down too much while playing. This may be because the map is INCREDIBLY small. Seriously, in my play time I hit the end of the world THREE TIMES. On one life! In Minecraft I’ve hit the end of the world maybe once and I actually had to TRY to get there. I know the world size in the 360 version of Minecraft is considered small compared to the PC, but it is a blessing compared to this.

The game gets the look right, but not much else. Also, what is up with the bloated pickaxe?









On top of all of that, there weren’t any NPCs (animals, people, enemies) that I could see at all. The game boasts having tons of content, but I just don’t see it. It may have just been my bad luck on my playthroughs, but this game is a definite pass. At the end of the day it just gets boring way too fast. Hardly worth $3.


Fortress Craft:

Price: $2 (160 Microsoft Points)

Fortress Craft was the game I was expecting to be the best. It apparently has a huge following, along with a lot of developer support with 10 free patches to date. I first played this game when it was first released on XBL. Back then it had everything you’d expect from a Minecraft copy. Now, though, the game has made itself into something a little unique. First off, the game follows the Creative Mode format. It lets you build to your hearts content and doesn’t force you to search for materials. This can be either good or bad for some people. I particularly don’t like the fact that it eliminates any form of exploration from the game. Now all you will explore for is the perfect spot to build your crazy castle. But what the game lacks in exploration it more than makes up for in creative freedom. You can actually create your own blocks, and they don’t even have to be perfectly square. This mechanic is something I would actually like to see in the official version of Minecraft someday. The game also has a plethora of tools and objects you can use to help you mine. My personal favorite is the builder gun, which rapidly shoots out the desired block, which can result in some crazy designs. The graphics are also very good (for an indie game) which looks almost as if Minecraft had a graphical facelift. The game also uses your Xbox Avatar, which is a nice, but overall meaningless, addition.

The game allows you to create your own blocks, making the building possibilities limitless.









My only real problems with the game is the water mechanics are terrible (don’t put a water block on a really high up block, it will flood the whole world!), the world generates and loads slowly, and the NPCs are confusing and just plain creepy. They tend to just run in random directions away from you, and if you get close enough they just go in a puff of smoke with read glowing eyes. It is very bizarre and once again I don’t know if it is just me or something I’m doing wrong, but I’m gonna chalk that up as a con. But, nonetheless, if you wish minecraft was more about creating than surviving, then this is definitely the game for you.


Castle Miner:

Price: $3 (240 Microsoft Points)

Oh boy. There’s always one isn’t there. There is always one part of the group that is just so bad you don’t have the words. That is this game. Castle Miner follows the same creative mode template as Fortress Craft, but without any of the passion or ingenuity. Lets start the list shall we? There is no crafting whatsoever, the frame rate is awful even if the game does look decent, there is a set water lever so you can’t dig down very far without going completely underwater, your character’s arm is placed awkwardly in front of the camera, and worst of all, there isn’t really a reason to do anything. Sure the game lets you unlock materials by mining certain amounts of others, but there still is no point. The game has no ambition and is completely bland. Stay FAR away.

Even though the game does look great at times (especially at night), the frame rate destroys just about everything.









Castle Miner Z:

Price: $3 (240 Microsoft Points)

Considering how bad Castle Miner was, I wasn’t expecting Castle Miner Z to be any different. But I was completely wrong. The only things they really have in common is the Castle Miner name and the annoying hand placement when holding a pickaxe. Everything else is different, and considerably better. You can play either offline or on, even though online is recommended. The best way I can describe the gameplay is as a perfect mix of Minecraft and DayZ. You have the building and crafting mechanics of Minecraft, and the scavenging and surviving mechanics of DayZ. You start off with a pickaxe, some torches, a pistol, and some bullets (plus a knife and a compass, even though I never saw a need for them).

While playing online, if you watch someones back, they will watch yours.









As soon as you start, everything is up to your scavenging abilities. You have to mine certain materials and then use them to craft weapons, ammo, and even walls to build shelter. All of this while zombies, skeletons, and even big-ass dragons are breathing down your neck. All of this comes together as an incredibly (and surprisingly) intense and fun experience. All of the problems of the first games were fixed, the frame rate never really dipped too low for me, and they added crafting which adds an extra layer to everything. I would also like to point out that the makers of Castle Miner Z should really consider making a first person shoot without the mining backdrop, their shooting mechanics are that good. Definitely the best indie first person shooter I’ve seen from XBL. Really my only problem with the game is the graphics took a hit in the transition, but if this was to fix the frame rate then no complaints here.



When it comes to besting Minecraft, none of these games pull it off. Minecraft really is the best that all these games have to offer combined into one. Some of them showed promise, but really if you are looking for the best mining experience, you are better off shelling out $20 for Minecraft. On the other hand though, Castle Miner Z deserves an honorable mention. This game seriously is good enough in its own right and I can actually see myself going back for more. The game has such a unique feel, and considering DayZ hasn’t yet reached consoles (if it ever does), this is your best bet for a true survival horror experience (excluding having to eat food and keep hydrated). That, along with its low price, CMZ is a no-brainer.

– Cooper

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