Thursday, December 30, 2010

Minecraft Canary Review

I've stumbled across an amazing application, available on both the Android Marketplace and the iPod App Store. It is called Minecraft Canary and and it has several pretty useful functions. Now, I will also use this as an opportunity mark the starting point for my application reviews. See the separate page (at the top of the blog) I have created for a more detailed explanation about the grading system.

Minecraft Canary, developed by Ninja Coders, is an application designed to help you out with Minecraft. Complete lists of recipes, relevant information for use the game, and the day and night cycle timer are just a few of the useful things this app has to offer.

Overall: 42/50

Functionality: 9/10
From the very beginning, this app is simple enough. After the Ninja Coders screen, a main menu appears and contains 4 options: Canary, Workshop, Links, and Game Info. Firstly, the Canary acts a timer for your day/night cycle in the game. You start the timer when dawn or dusk starts and it displays how much time until the next change. It is somewhat confusing at first, but it quickly begins making sense after screwing with it for a while. Next, the Workshop section contains a list of all of the recipes. You can view them all at once, or only view certain categories. Occasionally, I found myself not knowing which category to look under, but I don't see that as a fault of the app. Every recipe is complete with a picture showing exactly how to craft everything. The Links section is the most useless. Here you will find links to sites like Notch's Blog/Twitter, the Official Minecraft Forums, and the Ninja Coders website. Easy enough, but generally useless. The Game Info section is more interesting than one would expect. It contains information on several catergories, as well as tips for in the game. All in all, if you are a Minecraft player, this app is definitely worth the price of FREE (with ads) or 99 cents without adds.

User-Friendliness: 10/10
It truly looks like an official Minecraft app. Everything is done with the Minecraft font and the background is the same as the game's. Everything is simple and almost always right where you would expect it to be. From the simple main menu (see picture to the right) to the easy sub-menus, this app makes it easy for anyone to use as long as they know how to tap the screen.

Entertainment: 7/10
This app certainly makes Minecraft more interesting after you learn of the formulas and the mobs and how everything works. The Canary will also keep you on track so you won't be left out alone at night time. A nice improvement however might be to add videos that explain the more complex ideas like track circuitry and such. The works very well, but after the first time, you will only go to when you need help.

Usefulness: 10/10
This app was designed to help you out in Minecraft. No doubt, this is exactly what it does, and it does it well. Very well. There is nothing that gets in the way of it so long as you know what you are looking for.

Span of Use: 6/10
Probably the biggest problem with this app... Once you know all of the recipes and have read all of the info, the only thing it really leaves is the Canary. Even then, once you craft a watch in game the Canary becomes generally useless. Of course, it is useful to keep around in case you forget a recipe or just want to re-read some neat information about the game.

Overall: 42/50
This app is great if you are a beginner. It could also be useful for a veteran that wants to learn more about the game on a deeper level or just wants to see how many minutes until sundown. The biggest problem is that this app loses its value over time. Besides that, I do believe this is the best Minecraft application out there, so the free version is definitely worth it. As Minecraft develops however, I expect this application will as well, so buying it would be smart as well (not that it makes a huge difference).