Apparently, Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode is so lucrative, the developer needed to find a way to keep the train rolling. What was supposed to be a five-episode interactive story, set in Mojang’s hit sandbox game, has now been extended. Three more episodes have been added to the series with the all new “Adventure Pass” that includes access to Episode 6: A Portal to Mystery, along with the upcoming seventh and eighth episodes. Luckily, the adventure game maker seems to have finally found its stride with Minecraft: Story Mode.
In the past, I’ve criticized TellTale for trying to appeal to too many disparate audiences with the series, by using Gen X personalities, like Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, and Pee-Wee Herman’s Paul Reubens, while making a game for clearly a much younger audience. Previous episodes have also rushed from area to area, seemingly in an attempt to cram as much Minecraft as possible into their adventure game, regardless of what there was of the narrative. Ironically, it’s really only after the completion of the main story arc, in Episode 4, that series really seems to find a balance between the gameplay and its overall narrative.
Since the end of the whole Wither Storm story, Minecraft: Story Mode has essentially made each of the last two episodes self-contained, though apparently, the finale will be a two-parter. As for the most recent chapter, Episode 6: A Portal to Mystery, the group again continues their journey through the portal hallway. This time, Jesse and his or her crew land themselves in another strange new world, one completely overrun by zombies. However, it’s a well-placed book, with a strange invitation to a spooky mansion off in the distance, that really gets the party going.
What ensues in A Portal to Mystery, is competent play on the classic Scooby Doo mystery formula, complete with celebrity appearances. Of course, since it is Minecraft, the celebrities are special guest stars from YouTube’s Minecraft community. Players will get to interact with Joseph Garrett as Stampy Cat, Stacy Hinojosa as Stacy Plays, Dan Middleton as DanTDM (The Diamond Minecart), Lizzie as LDShadowLady, and Jordan Maron as CaptainSparklez, who all play characters from their own YouTube videos, and despite their collective voice acting inexperience, they all do a pretty good job. Again, while it does seem that TellTale is still targeting two separate audiences, at least this time it’s much less scattershot.
Honestly, I was getting to the point where I was about ready to write off TellTale’s dedication storytelling. Taking on Minecraft, still seems to me like more of business decision than a creative one, but then again, licensing The Walking Dead isn’t exactly a high-risk proposition either. As TellTale’s individual episodes have gotten shorter, it’s gotten tougher and tougher for them to balance the narrative with some semblance of gameplay. Episode 6: A Portal to Mystery actually improves upon Order Up’s formula, and from beginning to end, is a fun little adventure.
Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 6: A Portal to Mysteryis rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence. This game can also be found on: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PC.