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Minecraft - Pocket Edition gets update that makes it more like PC game

by Phil Hornshaw

The popularity of Minecraft, an independent 3-D game that lets users build structures and mine for elements, has been pretty stupendous. Almost as notable has been the success of its mobile counterpart, Minecraft - Pocket Edition.

But the Android app version of Minecraft has had some significant differences from the PC edition: most notably, the lack of bad guys. Minecraft - Pocket Edition has all the building that players can do with the PC game, but it doesn’t include zombies, skeletons, endermen or wild animals, many of which give Minecraft its unique flavor. That is, until the latest update hit the Android Market.

After its update on Feb. 11, the latest version of Minecraft for Android more closely resembles the PC game players have been enjoying for more than a year. Developer Mojang has thrown in the first elements that will bring the game in line with the bigger version, adding random, roaming sheep to the mix, as well as deadly zombies. Sheep can be shorn for their wool, which can be used to make certain items through the game’s crafting system, or they can be eaten for food; zombies are the first of the game’s enemies to appear in the Android version, appearing at night and in dark spaces to challenge players as they explore the game world.

In the PC version of Minecraft, mining, crafting items and building structures are all important, but they are largely part of a larger necessity. At night and in dark places deep in the earth, enemies appear and attack players; building a house (or a castle or a model of Penn Station) protects players from attack during those dangerous nights. Up to now, Minecraft on mobile was constrained to a “build-only” game type, in which players could mine different materials like cobblestone or iron and use them to build things, but without consequences.

The new update to Minecraft - Pocket Edition provides players with the choice between “creative mode,” in which players are free to build unhindered, and “survival mode,” in which enemies appear and players have to concern themselves with things like avoiding getting hurt and keeping themselves fed. The update also provides additional features, like the ability to fly in creative mode to give players better perspective of their projects, and the addition of new blocks such as doors and fence gates for structures.

Mojang says they’ll be further expanding Minecraft - Pocket Edition in the future with more bad guys and more elements. Currently, the updated version is only available on Android, although an update to the newer iOS version is coming sometime soon as well.