App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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SurvivalCraft. What can I say about SurvivalCraft that hasn’t been said already about the game it’s clearly based on? I really want to say that it’s similar to Mojang’s runaway train of an indie hit, but also stands on its own. I want to say it’s just different enough to be worth a look from Minecraft and general sandbox game lovers alike. I want to, but there’s a catch.
Some poor sap is tossed out of a ship and left stranded on an unfamiliar shore. That’s about all there seems to be to SurvivalCraft’s story. From there it’s simply a matter of survival. Players must gather materials such as dirt, wood, and stone to construct shelters and the tools necessary for more material gathering. They can hunt for food, tame horses and camels, create relatively simple mechanical traps, and otherwise try to carve out a life on this uninhabited chunk of land they now have to call home. Or they can jump into a worry-free creation mode and just go nuts with unlimited resources and the ability to fly.
SurvivalCraft does manage to differentiate itself from Minecraft a little bit. For one thing the worlds are significantly larger; possibly endless. Another change-up is the inclusion of more real animals. Rather than zombies and kamikaze hedge monsters the land is full of horses, birds, wolves, sharks, and so on. The creature models are also a fair bit more detailed in this particular sandbox, although their animations are still practically nonexistent. I also have to admit it sports a legitimately pretty sunset. What really helps it stand out, at least from Minecraft: Pocket Edition, is the community. Players can create their own texture packs and maps, then upload and share them with the world. Those same maps and textures can be acquired easily from within the app and used to explore someone else’s creation, some of which actually include player-made challenges.
But SurvivalCraft isn’t a replacement. For every comparable item that made the list, there’s another one that didn’t. Players can create mechanisms but not armor. They can plant trees that thrive in specific climates but can’t farm. Levels can be shared but there’s no multiplayer. Similarly, the controls are both intuitive and a hindrance. Being able to easily slide a finger from block to block to chop wood or mine is great, but the movement stick/zone is too small which leads to lots of looking when I meant to walk.
SurvivalCraft is not a stand-in, but rather more like a companion piece, to it's original inspiration. It’s missing a fair share of options and features when compared to Minecraft itself, but makes up for that by including a few things that haven’t made the mobile cut from Mojang yet. It’s kind of the yang to Minecraft’s yin. Too bad there’s no way to combine the notable parts from both of them.