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Minecraft: Pocket Edition first impressions and gameplay video

In case you missed it, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has just been released for Windows Phone 8.1. There are over 100 million people who already play this game, and now Windows Phone users can join the fun. It costs $6.99 without a trial, so some of you might be hesitant to give it a chance. We've installed it on our Lumia 1520, so watch our hands-on video before pressing that buy button.

I've got to admit, I haven't played Minecraft before. I've heard of it from other people, but never actually played until today. I expected to hate Minecraft: Pocket Edition, but I actually like it.

There are two game modes: Survival and Creative. In Creative mode, you already have all the tools and items. You can do whatever you want. Build your dream house and/or explore the world.

Survival Mode is a little different. You start in a random-generated map with nothing but your bare hands. I quickly learned that I could cut trees with my hand, which then I could use to create tools. That's when I got hooked. I created more tools and combined resources like rocks, coal, wool, and more to make several things that are basically ingredients to create more things. I quickly realized I'm actually having fun.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition feels snappy on the Lumia 1520. If you think your device might have difficulty with it, there are options available that you can turn on or off: Fancy Graphics, Beautiful Skies, and Animated Water. It's also worth noting that the virtual directional pad is way too small by default. Fortunately, you can make it bigger in the settings. This game supports multiplayer, but only via a local Wi-Fi network.

I didn't expect to like Mincecraft: Pocket Edition, but I'm enjoying it so far on Windows Phone. It also made me very interested in the desktop version. Will you be buying this game? Have you been playing with it already? Share your first impressions in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

186 Comments
  • Where is Daniel Rubino? He should ask to MS staff about this. MC PE IS THE FIRST NON XBOX TITLE IN THE MS STUDIOS STORE
  • Never been a fan of Minecraft but it is weird they released the game without the Xbox title.
  • No its not. The game was already a lot into development by when Microsoft finalized the deal. The only options were to delay the game or release it now, then release later. And really, the devs at Mojang would be pissed and may quit if MS cracked the whip on them, so instead of making it an Xbox title and waiting until a separate Windows Store port was done, they're releasing now and adding Xbox later.
  • is Xbox addition confirmed?
  • That's what I'd like to know as well. I believe it's all just speculation at this point. Either way I'll use some of my Bing reward points towards it.
  • Just want some confirmation of some Live support in the future.
  • "they're releasing now and adding Xbox later" Do you have any sources to back that up?
  • The problem is the lack of communication. We don't know if that's the case. We don't know if Xbox is coming later. No one at Microsoft has said anything about it. All Phil Spencer had to do is say, "Hey, we only acuired Mojang last month, and they've been working on this since the summer, back when they were independent. They opted not to make it an Xbox game, but now that they're part of the Microsoft Studios family, they will be adding that feature in soon. We would've loved to have launched with Xbox integration built in, but we didn't want to delay the launch of the game. Just hang tight. It's coming." Instead, here is a transcript of everything that Microsoft has said on the issue so far: [data = NULL]. If it's coming later, why not just say so? Until then, there's no guarantee they'll be adding it in later. This situation is unprecedented. My advice to everyone who wants it is not to passively sit back and assume or hope, but to actively ping Microsoft about it on Twitter. I've assembled a list of relevant Microsoft accounts here, and I hope those who care about the issue will help out.
  • Can you share that list
  • The list is embedded in my comment. If on a PC, it should be a clickabe hyperlink. If on your phone, via the Windows Central app, tap and hold down my post for a few seconds, up will pop a context menu, choose the one that says to follow the links.
  •   This is a very good idea. It may not change whether or not Microsoft puts Xbox Live achievements in the game but it will make them very aware that we want it.
  • I am worried that i might regret paying for it... Is it a game meant for kids??
  • No, it's for everyone: kids to adults can enjoy it.
  • I have it for Xbox one. Just bought it for my son at Cosco.
  • Is it really a big deal that you can't earn Xbox achievements?
    If it means that much just play it on the Xbox.
    People are always going to complain...
    "why don't we have Minecraft on WP?"
    Minecraft PE comes to WP.
    "why isn't it Xbox Live?"
    If it were Xbox Live...
    "why is it PE and not the full Xbox version?"
    If it were...
    "why isn't it the full PC version?"
    "why isn't it free? Microsoft owns Mojang."
    Etc., etc., etc.
  • This thread explains why Xbox achievements are important to many Windows Phone owners.
  •     All very valid points but look at it from this perspective. As WP users, we only have two things left that are exclusive to us. Cortana (which more than likely is going to end up on competing OSes) and Xbox Live achievements. Most games/apps come to the platform months or years after their ios/android counterparts, if at all, and oftentimes cost more. So yes, we would like to be able to at least get achievements to make up for those discrepancies.
  • You are right , it should have Xbox title at least
  • It has been In development before Microsoft bought them.
  • When I first got a WP, Xbox achievements were a part of why I went with WP. I thought it was a cool way to integrate the console features I enjoyed so much. However, I really just don't care anymore. Especially since the amount of Xbox titles are slim to none nowadays. So yes, I am a bit surprised this doesn't have xbl integration.
  • Cool, glad it's at least now on the Windows App Store. Sadly it's not on BlackBerry World but o well. At least they can run android apps via emulator Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • There are already games that have two Xbox live versions so that theory isn't valid.
  • I'm running it on my BlackBerry and it's perfectly smooth. All features work well Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Im not sure its worth 7 bucks. If they lower the price to around 1.50-2 bucks, or maybe even free, for a limited time, i might leave behind survivalcraft, and start playing this.
  • Btw: If you enjoy, the PC version is literally 20x better.
  • I bought it :-) this year for my birthday (Jan 19th) but, when i'm away from pc i still wanna play it lol
  • I got Minecraft when it was still in Alpha. I've had kinda addictive times with it. One I spent months creating my own world... Then a huge update forced me to delete that. Since then, not went as crazy with it. Haha.
  • I had it since alpha too got the PC version for 10 dollars. I hate to say " I liked it before it was cool" But I really did. I spent from 2009-2012 playing it pretty hard core. There's really only so much you can do you know?
  • I think for windows phone users, that it should either be free, or less in price
  • lol no
  • I wonder how long you would keep getting your games for free once all the developers died off because they couldn't pay for food.
  • Agree it shuld be free for windows phone.....to promote windows phone.
  • Do you enjoy working for free?
  • LOL
  • I worked once 2 weeks for free then paid those who employed me. It was for a good cause.
  • Maybe if Microsoft offered free Minecraft on Lumia phones as an incentive. It could also target kids so that they will be exposed to WP as well
  • What about making food free, to promote those devs?
  • Lol
  • Haha good one
  • I'm alive so everything I like should be free.
  • Your mom too? ;p
  • No such thing as a free lunch
  • Yes must be less In price
  • For being a Windows Phone user, Microsoft should pay my mortgage, or at least half of it.
  • Let us know when you've opened your coffee shop and you give away cappuccinos for nothing.
  • Two stores I go to do this.  One also gives a newspaper after spending £5, the other free bacon sandwiches on certain days.  So what's your point?
  • Firstly my point wasn't aimed at you it was at Travis. Secondly, I was suggesting if he starts a business he should give everything away for free (as he hints that Microsoft should do with Minecraft). Thirdly, you mentioned a minimum purchase which is nothing to do my analogy.
  • Minimum purchase only for the newspaper.  The coffee was free, so was the sandwich, the analogy stands, I just added extras.  Last time i check his post, he didn't suggest giving everything away for free, and neither does your first post. Unless you're suggesting Minecraft is all MS do? 
  • I agree it should be cheaper.  We could all throw the "devs can't work for free" card, but just because people would get the WP version for free or cheap, it doesn't mean they'd stop getting the other versions.  They can subsidise it.   MS need to draw people to WP, a cheap or free MC is one thing they could do to help do that - it doesn't have to be free forever.  I think they should do it with Surface too, if a Windows Store version is released.  
  • Lol at all these so hard!! Haha, should be 4.99 on WP though, but I don't mind 7$
  • I agree that It should be cheaper especially for those that already own the PC, Xbox 360 or Xbox One versions. Regardless, I'm glad that they are offering a WP version.
  • I didn't know it made it to the phone so fast, I guess ill give it a try..
  • I've bought Minecraft for my Xbox 360, but I just haven't really played it. I should try it out, since I'm so late to the game. And if I like it, then I'm sure this on my WP will soon follow. :)
  • It's quite addictive.
  • Definitely play it! You're missing out on a purely fun and creative game.
  • It wont work on Lumia 1520. Bought it for two phones, both get stuck on loading. Nice waste of $14.
  • Watch the video, it is a Lumia 1520.
  • So the 1520 in the video is fake?
  • Works great on my 1520.
  • Great on my 1520
  • Why do you have to pay twice?
  • Different Microsoft accounts probably.
  • Back to the 90's. Just look at the graphics.
  • Not the point of Minecraft ;)
  • You missed the whole point of it.
  • Show me a game from the 1990s that had an infinite, mutable world where you could move anything around and it remembered it. The reason the game looks like it's from the 1990s is because it's such an enormous, complex game, no phone or mainstream PC could really handle much more.
  • The reason it looks "like it's from the 1990s" is that since the world is made up of 1 meter cubes and will look blocky no matter what the textures or mobs look like, so it best fits the aesthetic to have the pixelized graphics and blocky character models. They could easily have made the textures smooth and have higher polygon count in the character models without impacting the performance of the game, but it would have looked wrong.
  • Question: Bought this on PC. Is this relevant in any way? Can I redeem the game for WP ?
  • nope
  • then, I've purchased MCPE on my ipad. could I redeem on WP?
  • Yes... Of course. And Android too... LOL
  • And you forgot to mention the blackberry version too. (just kidding)
  • How much is it on other mobile platforms? If it's the same quite a few posts are irrelevant. If it's more, then I have to wonder why.
  • It IS the same on other platforms, don't worry!
  • He didn't know what view distance was for? WTF?
  • Do you know what cylinder heads are for?
  • Yes.
    Do you know what a GbE analyzer is for?
  • My kids (13 year olds) have been hooked on MC PC for a long time now. They're experts at it! Which is part of Microsoft's strategy, I believe, in buying Mojang. It creates a developer mindset in our youth.. the next generation of developers! I've been a computer guy since the DOS days, and thought it would surely rub off on the kids, and it has of course, but Minecraft has taught them so much on it's own! I hear them talking about making custom skins, running their own servers, etc etc. and I never had to show them a thing! Plus the existing install base/framework is huge! 100 million plus users, mostly young people, just waiting for the next thing that MS sends down the pipeline.
  • Same with my 9 yr old daughter. It's crazy!
  • My 7 yr son lives in minecraft world.. with his friends 
  • Wow i didnt expect that!
  • Do you mean the next piece of software they spend billions on ?
  • Cue the "make it free" crowd... This game is worth more than the $7 they're asking for.
  • i bought the PC version for $32 where i live so $9 for me is a steal 
  • Meh..there's already a cracked version....
    Long Live The Pirates
  • Don't advocate piracy here. Thanks.
  • Or what?
    Is it against the rules of the site or something??
    I don't know,..
  • Yes, it is against the rules of the site.
  • Sorry mate :)
  • Tareq,
    Have you ever wondered why clunky DRM exists in the first place? Look in the mirror and you might find out. On behalf of all the gamers who try to support the developers, go boil your head. Please and thank you.
  • Zidane..giving by the name you're in the middle east...and you might as well know how pain in the ass I could be to set up a visa or pay for something online,if there could be an easier payment method I will go by it,if I was a developer I would be mad too,but I once set up a visa and linked it with PayPal for payment,as I couldn't pay through the visa directly...next week all the money was gone,so no thanx..
  • My daughter has wanted this for years but there is no iOS or Android in this house. Was really happy to fork over $7 for her.
  • Excellent
  • Funny. Sounds like my house.
  • I wish I had Windows Phone 8.1 update for my Samsung ATIV S still waiting.....live in Canada....want to play so bad but can't and with one more year to go in my contract. FML should of bought the Lumia 1020 instead!
  • Or you could get the developer preview...
  • No
  • 'v0.10.4 alpha' ? Um, what? Is this a final release or is it an alpha build? Am I missing something here?
  • Alpha.
  • The iOS version is also "Alpha 0.10.4" so it's just how they have decided to number it. I don 't know if anyone outside of Mojang knows what it will take to be considered a full release of Minecraft PE.
  • So essentially what you're saying is is that Mojang have been selling an Alpha build of Minecraft for 8 bucks because.....reasons?
  • Because it's making them rich?
  • Not yet it's not. Maybe in a couple of years when they finally break even. Still, I can't be the only person that has a problem with a company the size of Microsoft charging money for alpha-quality software.
  • I don't think you understand Minecraft. It will probably never be "completed" it gets updates that add new content, but the game wet be completed because there isn't really an end to how much stuff they could add.
  • But I do understand games. Going by that logic then, any game that gets released is never really 'complete'. Games are software, which means that even from version one, they can all theoretically be updated and expanded upon with new features and content. Minecraft is no exception to this rule. Would you be okay if EA labelled 'The Sims' as an alpha and then proceeded to sell it to consumers for $60? I mean as games go, The Sims is never technically complete. You only have to look at the last 10 -15 years and the 20+ expansions that Maxis have released over three iterations of the series. If people want to dump money on alpha quality software, more power to them. I won't however and that's fine too! If this version of Minecraft is in fact a stable, working build with a few non-game breaking bugs then, imo, it does not need the alpha label in is build string.
  • No, what im saying is that while they call it alpha for ... reasons, the quality is on par with released games, so the fact that is is called alpha should be ignored.
  • So why have it billed as an alpha? If the game is stable and works from the get go, I don't understand what benefit there would be by labelling the mobile build of the game an alpha. Alpha quality software is usually always riddled with bugs and is, generally speaking, mostly used for testing purposes only. So when I see a piece of software being sold with an alpha label and it's accompanied by a high point of entry (for a mobile game), it's kind of hard not to ignore!
  • We get it, dude.
  • I'm not trying to argue semantics. I'm just trying to figure out why this is the way that it is. Releasing beta/alpha builds as full games seems to be commonplace nowadays and I'd rather not be part of the problem. You only have to look at ACU and the way that was mishandled by Ubisoft to understand why I'd be looking at this with some trepidation.
  • It doesn't do much good to conflate Minecraft (which did openly release in what we consider "Alpha" state on PC originally, but is now basically a full game) with publishers releasing retail games before they've been fully bug-tested and optimized. There's a tinge of similarity, and "Early Access" games certainly have their own issues, but they're really different very different situations. And also, nobody likes it when someone essentially says the same thing over and over. ;-)
  • Haha. Fair call. In my defense though, I was replying to two separate people who both asked the same thing. I think my main issue is with the wording. 'Alpha' has a very specific meaning in software development, so using it to categorise something that is essentially 'finished' seems odd to me. I disagree regarding the two situations though. Minecraft is/was a retail game and was so when it first launched. It is after all just software, which means it should also be held to the same standards of criticism that any untested or un-optimised piece of software warrants if it's released to consumers too early. I'm not saying that that's the case with Minecraft PE, specifically, because the game obviously works well. I'm not sure why you brought up early access though as that's a separate issue entirely. As far as I'm aware, Minecraft isn't in early access so the rules that govern EA don't apply here. Even then, EA consumers know the risks associated when purchasing EA games. Either way, I personally think Mojang should just drop the alpha label if it's not an 'alpha' build as it's just strange and confusing. :)
  • It is pretty solid actually. Some of the gameplay is a lot different from the PC version,and takes a bit of getting used to. But seriously, I am impressed. I will probably play this as much as I played Terraria (a lot).
  • Downloaded it haven't played it yet. It's funny my 2 nieces and 2 nephews between the ages of 8 and 11 are all pros at this game. Makes me feel old. Question, is there another game like Minecraft but with a more modern look?
  • I haven't tried it, but you might take a look at Rust. It's available on Steam, I think it is still in early access though.
  • You could try Rust, it look more realistic and is about the same as minecraft
  • You could check out Space Engineers on Steam. Same principle as Minecraft but you're in space, building space ships and space stations instead of houses.
  • If you're talking about on the PC, there are texture packs to change the look of MC and there are loads of mods to add/change things.  Look at the Yogscast complete modpack.  
  • I have to wait to get a gift card to get it :( But I will get it!    EDIT: Does anyone know if teh Moga controller works on Minecraft PE? I don't like its touch controls...
  • My two sons are getting 7 inch tablets for Xmas from Santa MicrosoftStore Claus. I bought it for my 152O. Ill be purchasing it for their tablets. They will be set. I just read that we will be able to play each over wifi. My boys will think that is cool.
  • Lovely
  • No comment by the author on the lack of achievements? Suspect ...
  • #SaveXboxWP, baby. Join the fight.
  • Stop spamming people about that. Believe it or not, not every iOS game has Game Center support and not every Android game has Google Play Games support, and hardly anybody whines about it. Minecraft doesn't have achievements on EITHER one of those platforms. Don't worry, Mojang is not discriminating against WP here. You can stop playing victim, now.
  • I'm not spamming anyone. I'm replying only to people who already explicitly expressed disappointment regarding the lack of Xbox integration--ergo, I'm targeting only those people most likely to be in the pool of potential recruits for the #SaveXboxWP movement. It's a well established tactic backed up by decades of social movement theory. You, on the other hand, just obnoxiously inserted yourself into our conversation just to tell us to condescendingly tell us what to do. That's worse than spam: it's sociopathic. Now, run along back to manners school and learn some decorum.
  • Okay
  • In the app store it shows Pandora and Facebook as related apps which makes complete sense.
  • The "related" page is a joke in the Store.
  • Works fine on the Lumia 625 no lag yet... 
  • That's impressive. What graphics settings?
  • So theoretically it should run fine on my 620?
  • Anyone know? If I already have Minecraft PE on an android tablet (or three), and I also purchased the desktop version for my computer, do I have to buy it again for Windows phone?
  • Yes.
  • Yes, as punishment for buying a crappy Android tablet (or three).
  • No,Microsoft received the money you gave to Google... Are you kidding, right? No? Lol...
  • I think i wanna start playing this, to those who have played before on pc, will it be worth it to play on phone?
  • And will the phone version is online too? I mean, we can play with the whole game community?
  • Works fine on the HTC 8, I'm not sure what the difference is between PE vs the full PC version...
  • The pc version has a lot more content and millions of mods you can download, or you can mod the game yourself if you know Java code.
  • Will it come to windows 8 metro? Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Not buying till its a universal app
  • To the author, if you turned down the difficulty level to "peaceful" in your first night on Survival mode, you completely missed one of the most exciting introductions to Minecraft. For all you other first-timers out there, enjoy the "first night" for what it is: survival horror. Don't cheat yourself out of the challenge.
  • Agreed, I dug a hole in the ground with friends and we had no torches.  Mining away in a pitch black hole waiting until day time.  
  • Great just when I finally start to have some interest in trying this game out, I see that it's still not on Windows 8.1/RT. Why not and when will it be available? I'd love to play it on my new Surface 2. No interest in playing games on my phone's tiny screen!
  • Umm, its probably not available because you could just download the full pc version on windows 8.1. Google minecraft..
  • Yeah, all they need to do is install the full version of Oracle Java and then run the MSI to install Minecraft on RT... Oh wait... That wouldn't work on RT. And for those of us who don't want to install Java, dropping it into an AppX sandbox is most welcome. I would install it on my daughter's Samsung Series 9 ultrabook from the store before I would even consider the full version.
  • From what I understand Xbox one version is the best, which I have. So no real reason for me to get this version, just glad they finally made it available!
  • No, the PC/Mac version is the best, with the Xbox One version second to that, and PE third. Though PE has a fews blocks (like Granite) that are not yet in the Xbox version.
  • Xbox 360 version is the third.
  • Curses, not available for Windows 8.0! My Icon will just have to wait.
  • I've been waiting for this, but now that it's released, my expectations was too high. I figured they'd do it with cheevos like 360/One (own both, 100% done) but nope. Hope they add it in soon.
  • Kinda off topic, this is regarding Windows Store. I can never justify paying for a Windows Store app until Microsoft finally makes their own version of APK and iPA files readily available. There's just no telling when them devs would f*ck up a good app, but thankfully, in the case of iOS and Android, you can revert back to an older version of the app if you have a backup of the iPA or APK installer. In the case of the Windows Store, you're at the mercy of them devs, so, you never actually own the app. Until Microsoft fixes this, I will NEVER purchase any paid app from the Windows Store. I have filed a suggestion regarding this on the Windows Feature Suggestions website, kindly vote for it if you agree.
  • You can grab a .xap (WP7/WP8) or a .appx (WP8.1) file for an app and do the same with Windows Phone, too. It is a bit tricky, but it is possible.
  • The ecosystem is lucky to have you.
  • Very fun, even on mobile. I bought it. Agreed that the PC version is 20x better. This is great on the go.
  • Cant see in store
  • LOL I have the Xbox, PC, and pocket edition now of mc. I'm addicted. :)
  • I bought..a.NVR played minecraft before. Enjoying so far
  • Is this a game for kids??
  • It's for everyone. Kids love it, adults love it.
  • No LIVE, no purchase sorry MS.
  • u have to wait for all windows store merge which is possible with windows 10 wait for it then.
  • Be sure to let them know that directly, so they're motivated to fix it: details here.
  • I'm 39 years old and love Minecraft. My 8 year old loves it also, and we play together. $7 is a steal, whether it has Xbox live cheevos or not. Play this game, and you will wonder why you hadn't done it a long time ago!
  • I downvoted you because you are 39 and using "cheevos".
  • I downvoted you because you're judgmental.
  • I want to buy this but I don't know how it runs in Lumia 520 and if the controls are Ok. To anyone having it, impressions?
  • Man that looks good. If I could sync it with my Minecraft world on PC I'd probably buy it. But for now it's to expensive for my taste.
  • Make it free for windows atleast
  • Hahaha... 0_o
  • "It costs $6.99 without a trial, so some of you might be hesitant to give it a chance."   Most definatelly. No Trial = No Buy.   With a game like this i want to try it out first, see if I like the controls etc. I'll just pass on this, then.
  • Yep, this is exactly how I feel
  • What's $7 one less burger added onto my stomach. I got it.
  • For me it's not so much about the money (I have repeatedly stated this when bringing up the "no trial = no buy issue) but more about the stingy feeling of having been screwed out of it.
  • Dunno if its been mentioned but it will join and host multiplayer to IOS devices. Impressive.
  • You said you expected to hate it. Can you tell us why? What exactly made you change your mind?
  • Same it always looked so bla to me. It brought out my Lego creativity side.
  • I purchased it last night. Built a road then bridge then tunnel to easily travers part of the map. Played it for almost 2 hrs. Got mad at the girl friend for grabbing my phone. It was oddly fun. I may pick it up on Xbox soon or PC.
  • Yeah, the Xbox One version is great. Love the multiplayer and variety of add-ons you can get.
  • Not available on the HTC 8x
  • is this thing really worth 7 bucks? nah
  • Yes! Minecraft: PE is rolled out. Tomorrow I get the Wi-Fi Router and go to the Store to download it!
  • Minecraft game should be for free for those who paid $20 for the Xbox game. I wont paid 7 again
  • Cool
  • I really don't like this game it seems to me reality boring
  • Yeah, I think that is a bit steep of a price, for those who already own one or more other versions of it. I'm wondering, where would development go from here for this product to remain relevant?
  • What's the difference with SurvivalCraft then? If there's no Online mode I wont buy it.