I mean...It's Minecraft.

But that's not all there is to say, is there? So first and foremost, I have to set the stage of what we're looking at. This is the new, multi-platform capable, Better Together updated version of Minecraft, which has completely replaced the old Minecraft: Switch Edition that was up until a few days ago. That has a lot of consequences both good and bad, and we're going to get into all of those.

Yet before we can even do that...I mean, just talking about Minecraft is a complicated issue. The game has been around so long, and changed so, damn, much in that time, that it's hardly even recognizable from what it started as. The last time I played this game regularly, there wasn't even a hunger bar. Entire subsystems and progression mechanics have been introduced, and apparently I can enchant things with bloody magic now? That's a thing?

I'd be genuinely surprised if you'd never heard of Minecraft from this point, but if it's been a while or if you never actually paid that much attention, the pitch is simple: You start in a world made of cubes with nothing but your bare hands. Night is coming. Almost every material can be broken down; the softer ones, like dirt and woods, can be churned with your bare hands. Harder things like stone require tools. Build a shelter, survive the night. Forge those tools. Fight back the darkness, and eventually craft yourself a home.

I'm making it sound more dramatic than it is, most of the time. You do a lot less 'fighting back the darkness' than you do 'tilling soil to plant crops to make food'. Or, you know, 'building a god damned computing engine through miles of redstone and rudimentary programming'. Because that's also a thing you can do. This is a game that truly offers near-endless possibilities. There is a reason that it sits firmly in just about every platform's all-time best-sellers lists when it's available at all, and regularly pops up in monthly sales charts.

But that's talking about the very broad game as a whole. Let's dial in and focus on the Switch. Like I mentioned, up until the last few days, you could get what was known as Minecraft: Switch Edition. This is what is colloquially known as one of the Console Editions of the game, because they basically all were built on the same featureset, which was a little distinct from the regular version. And now that version is gone.

So...What do you lose, exactly? Well, honestly if you've been playing the game already, not much. The interface for the new version of Minecraft is a little more rough around the edges. It feels a bit less designed for console controls, and you spend some more time noodling a cursor around denser menus with the dpad than you did before. Though on the flip side, it must be said that this interface also provides some extra power that wasn't there before, and some more thorough data.

No, the real true loss of the new version, is that we no longer have the tutorial island. All of the Console Editions have this really great tutorial you can go into that teaches you the very basics of mining, building, toolmaking, all the most core skills you need to play the game...And then when you're done, it lets you go into this huge town that's literally just full of little tutorial areas for everything from minecart track design to glider flight. Not only does it give you an early taste of some later-game concepts, but it really helps show the sheer scope of the game and break it down into more manageable chunks.

And this new version is lacking that entirely. It's really the one big thing I miss. While there's a guidebook in your pause menu, and it's pretty damn thorough, that tutorial island was just so nice, and made a wonderful introduction to the game.

But, okay, it's gone from the Switch version. (It is, to my knowledge, still there in the PS4 version, as well as any previous consoles that have not been brought up to multiplatform parity) So what do you get in exchange?

...So much.

Not only are there all the new additions from this latest updates to the unified version, including a whole new bunch of aquatic stuff, but there's all the things that just being on that unified Bedrock Edition brings. Things like going from a maximum world size, to a literally infinite one. Tons of rendering options, letting you pick your balance between performance and gorgeousness. And of course, the biggest deal, cross platform multiplayer. Some of the kinks are still being worked out on that one, but the simple fact that there is an ad out now showing an Xbox and a Switch in the same damn ad, for both of them, is...Well, it's pretty crazy. This isn't even the first cross-play game between the two, but it's certainly the first one to have this kind of attention called to it.

Of course, being essentially an entirely new iteration of the game on the platform, this new version of Minecraft has some...I wouldn't even call them problems, so much as hiccups and quirks. While the game itself runs smooth as silk, there are some spots in the menus where it hitches up a little as it shifts gears. And for some reason, even in a single-player offline game, the pause menu doesn't, actually, you know, pause. Time keeps running, monsters keep trying to eat your face, and so on.

But a lot of this is, quite frankly, early-version growing pains. We've gone from a very polished distinct version of the game, to the main and whole version squeezed into the Switch's confines.

In the end, what I'm left thinking about this, compared to the original Switch Edition, can be summed up thusly: It's not quite as polished yet, but it's a lot more ambitious. And the polish can come with time.

So this is still technically a review, and that leaves the other question. If we assume you do not already have a version of Minecraft, then should you buy in? Well, so long as you're okay with making your own fun, and having some self-driven goals...Absolutely. This game has been going on for nearly a decade and still isn't slowing down. So get in and join on the fun.