Minecraft, as you may know, is the massive multiplayer online game that currently has tens of millions of registered and active users. It's played in various ways, but it's mostly about building and working within worlds. The Minecraft Papercraft Shelter Pack is a fairly unusual application of the game to offline play. Kids create paper blocks that they can build in various ways. The blocks reflect the eight-bit art of the game, and this set has 48 pieces when they're all put together. To build, punch out the blocks and fold them into cubes. Then, build. That's about it. In addition to blocks and doors, you can build the character Steve and a dog.
Given that kids start playing the online version of Minecraft as young as 7, this toy has proven to have real appeal to those players as an offline version. The online game is all about creative building, and this replicates that play pattern in a simple way.
We were originally skeptical that this wouldn't have broad enough appeal to kids, but just as today's kids will play an eight-bit game if the gameplay is immersive, the cardboard and tape construction doesn't hinder the creative play opportunities. Still, this is such a different experience than playing the game online that we wondered whether or not it would appeal to offline players. However, kids who are Minecraft fans have really responded to this new way to play their favorite game. And it inspires just as much creativity and interaction as the online version, proving once again that the play is always central to the play experience of any toy.
Minecraft Papercraft Shelter Pack is for ages 6 and up.
We do wish the set included more mortar, that is, printed tape to hold the blocks together. We did find, however, that it can be reused several times if kids are careful with how they pick it up and put it down again.
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