Minecraft developer Markus "Notch" Persson entered rapid game-dev competition Ludum Dare, which provides just 48 hours to see a project from inception to completion. One must start from scratch, but Notch went even further, livecasting every second of the process and blogging the milestones. The result was Minicraft, a stripped-down 2D version of the megahit.

It has crafting, exploring and fighting, all built around familiar toolsets, ores and beasties. The third dimension is replaced by levels, in the manner of a traditional roguelike, and the player has an objective: to find the Air Wizard and kill him, thereby letting the game meet the competition theme of "Alone." Minicraft is hardcore, too, with no save feature and a good hour or two of play ahead of you to get there.

A spectacular achievement in just a few hours of coding, Minicraft casts the same spell as the real thing. It does, however, suffer from shallowness and grind. There's not much to do except plow through the process of emptying each level in search of better ores. And if there's a way to place blocks (i.e. build things) I couldn't find it. But it's free and the source is right there, so who's complaining?

Play Minicraft


  1. It would be really cool if somebody assembled a crack team of game critics and established game developers to go through all the raw entries submitted by up and coming game makers to Ludum Dare, providing constructive criticism.  And maybe some press for the solid ones.  

    It is getting to be a bit of a tall task as LD grows though.  There’s over 700 entries, and the next compo is their 10 year anniversary.

    1. Not entirely the same thing, but sounds to me like you might enjoy the IGF Pirate Kart reviews: That should keep you busy for the next year :)

  2. The building is limited – if you dig up dirt, you can put it down in water to make land bridges.  Collected acorns can be planted to grow into trees that form a wall.  To craft, “use” your workbench to put it on the ground.  Walk up next to it and press the “X” button to open the crafting menu.

    1. I figured out how to use the workbench, but when I pull up the crafting menu it won’t let me make anything, even if I have gathered dozens of pieces of wood.

  3. Watch out! Seemed like fun until I un-focused the game. Then it just said “Click to focus” and I never could get it to focus again. Using Mac OS X 10.6.8, Firefox 8.0.1, Java “1.6.0_29 from Apple Inc.”

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