Product Review: Survive the Night: Beginner’s Guide to Minecraft
Strategy guides are something of an oddity in the gaming community. With many players turning to free, online resources, such as Wikis and GameFAQs, printed strategy guides have become a dying commodity. However, many publishers are embracing the online trend by releasing digital strategy guides. Survive the Night is one such guide, authored by Zack Lancing and published by Stone River Solutions. Currently it is available on Kindle, however physical copies are planned.
As far as guides go, Survive the Night is definitely on the lighter side. The basics, such as basic mining and crafting, are covered in detail, but most other subjects are only briefly touched upon. Granted, the guide’s target grade level is 2-12, so perhaps the lighter approach is an attempt to ease younger players into Minecraft without overwhelming them with every minutia of the game. Certainly the Parents’ Guide at the book’s closing reinforces this idea. The guide’s lower price point also makes this a viable option for parents who are interested in an easy-to-digest guide for their children. However, all the information in this guide (and much more) can be found for free on The Minecraft Wiki, and I’m sure that anyone of my age or experience would much prefer the Wiki format.
Most of the information in the guide is accurate enough, however I did notice a couple inaccuracies, including an incorrect number for the maximum spawn height for Diamond Ore and the notion that Rotten Flesh poisons the player when instead it inflicts them with the Hunger debuff. While most of the language is simple and kid-friendly, the chapter on Tools contains the phrase “… which can really blow when you realize you’ve wasted a rare ore!” which does not seem appropriate for younger audiences.
While the guide contains many tables to show detailed information, most of these break across pages, which can get confusing. I also found the layout to be a bit simplistic. Perhaps this is the fault of the Kindle app making poor layout choices, however I experienced the same issue on both the Android and Windows 8 versions of the Kindle app.
All in all, Survive the Night is a decent mini-guide, especially for younger players who are just starting out. If you’re looking for a good Minecraft mini-guide, Survive the Night is certainly not a bad choice. Personally, however, it does not appeal to me.