If you know a thing or two about computer gaming, you might have heard of Minecraft, a browser-based game where players have built working 8-bit CPUs, 1:1 sized replicas of Star Trek’s Enterprise ship, roller coasters, and cities, among other things, using (almost) nothing except for virtual cubes. Unfortunately, if you were expecting Kingly Games’ Eden – World Builder to be a mobile port of the most recent version of Minecraft, you may be disappointed. While Eden is more of a port of a very stripped-down version of Minecraft, you’ll find that for $0.99, the app is a worthy investment.
Gameplay and Controls
As strange as it is, there are no rules or goals in Eden; even stranger is the fact that it is one of the biggest gems on the App Store that you’ve never heard of. As mentioned earlier, Eden‘s gameplay revolves around the concept of a world under your own control built entirely of cubes. As you might expect, the only two things that you can do are creating or destroying blocks that you find in your virtual-natural environment or that you may have summoned yourself.
The blocks mainly vary in color, ranging in composition of wood, crystal, shrubbery, and stone. While wood and shrubbery and similar pieces that surround them can be lit on fire by your almighty magic lighter tool, stone and crystal cubes are (obviously) inflammable and remain unaffected by anything that goes on around them, including gravity.
No gravity means that anything can float, including this castle.
There is also a TNT cube that allows you to destroy any blocks within the vicinity of its detonation. When put hand-in-hand with fire, these pieces allow you head beneath the ground of your virtual world in order to create caverns or tunnels of epic proportions.
Caverns like these can be shaped in about 1 minute thanks to the TNT.
If you have the creativity and determination that it takes to construct some amazing things like those that you may have seen in Minecraft, then you’ll find that Eden will be a good fit for you. If you’re not, that’s okay. You’ll be surprised about what you can do with an unlimited supply of cubes at your disposal.
A (incomplete) cluster of buildings that one of the developers of Eden created for download within the app to get your gears grinding.
As players find themselves shuffling through different types of blocks frequently, the controls that Eden uses should be fluid with the rest of the virtual world’s style and design. Sadly, this requisite was not well met. As you can see, the ignite, delete/destroy, and jump buttons on the right side stick out like sore thumbs, as do those concentric squares that actually serve to be a joystick pad. They look unprofessional and extremely ugly. Although it’s a pain to have to see those buttons over your display, they do work as you might expect them to. I experienced no problems with their functioning, and I found that the swipe-to-control-view controls worked well in the app.
Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★
Presentation and Graphics
Being that Eden was intended to be of poor graphics, it’s hard to rate this game on graphics, but for the purpose of this review, the graphics will be rated based on those of its father Minecraft.
On my Retina Display, as the images suggest, all images appear to not have been properly ported to the higher resolution that newer devices utilize. While it may show at a respectable quality on non-Retina screens, it is inexcusable to look so poor on newer devices, especially considering that it was released far after the release of the iPhone 4. As the earlier images show, the sides of cubes are non linear and choppy.
The only menu that you’ll ever come across in Eden.
The main menu is quite thematic and likable, but again, the images appear to not be up to par with current resolutions of updated and newer apps that are abundant on the App Store.
Presentation and Graphics: ★★★
While Eden forces your backgrounded music player to be shut off, it doesn’t seem to justify its actions. A nice song plays at the main menu, but it cuts out as soon as gameplay commences. Strangely, there seems to be no way to re-enable it, which did affect me in the sense that I found myself somewhat bored without any music. Besides the non-existent background music, the only sounds that you’ll hear are crunches of leaves from jumping, crackling of fires, and cracking noises that come from the creation or destruction of blocks. While these audios sound perfectly fine, they are not enough for players to be truly enticed into the gameplay of Eden.
This is the category in which Eden truly shines. As I explained earlier, your options are limitless in this sandbox game. I can honestly say that I’ve put in at least a few hours into my own creations, and that there are definitely more to be spent. If you’ve heard Minecraft referred to as the ultimate time-waster, you may have been skeptical, but I testify for this. While the concept of a world composed of cubes may seem stupid, the graphics are something that can be easily overlooked and instead seen as a complex virtual sandbox in which you’ll keep coming back for more. If I could rate this category with a six-star rating, I would, but I can’t, so forgive me.
Replay Value: ★★★★★
Value For Money
As the “Replay Value” section indicates, the area in which this app truly shines is indeed in its replay value. For $0.99, it’s extremely difficult for me to imagine how this app could not justify its own price. You’re basically paying 99 cents to be a god for as long as you wish. Call me crazy, but I’d pay at least $5 to be a god for even a split-second, so the dollar that it takes to purchase Eden is well spent.
Value For Money: ★★★★★
If you’re expecting an official or more similar version of Minecraft to be making its way to mobile devices any time soon, you’re out of luck. Eden is about as close as you can get to a knock-off of the real deal as of now. There does seem to be a similar alternative, Minecraft World Explorer, but users are reporting that the app is extremely slows to respond and very buggy, not to mention that it normally costs $4.00 more. With future updates, it is entirely possible that Eden will become much more similar to Minecraft, but even now, the $0.99 will be well spent.
† All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All applications and accessories were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.