Minecraft is a game using textured building blocks mostly in he form of cubes. The game is not restricted to just construction but also involves combat, exploration, crafting and so on. There are three main modes and a secondary mode. These are Survival, Creative and Adventure with the Secondary or Hardcore mode as a variation on Survival.
Stripped to their basics Survival requires players to get hold of natural resources from their environment and maintain a degree of Health and Hunger. In Creative players do not need to acquire resources as there is an unlimited supply available and there is no Health or Hunger or unfriendly beings to worry about. In this mode the player also has the ability to fly. Adventure Mode is like Survival but with some restrictions. The Secondary Mode, Hardcore, is the same as Survival but set to the greatest difficulty setting. In this mode there is only one life and all that the player has done is lost upon loss of this one life.
Described as Open World there is no particular predetermined objective, resulting in a large amount of freedom and scope for creativity, although the creativity is somewhat limited inasmuch as the blocks can only be placed on a fixed grid but can be moved from place to place. The game is normally played from a first person perspective by default with the option of a third person view.
Now, you may have got the idea that this is just a glorified Lego type game, but it is much more. The building blocks represent natural resources such as stone, rocks wood water etc. The world the players traverse contains mountains, caves, seas, lakes and more and these terrains may be covered in forest, jungle and even snow. The world is also populated by living things such as animals and humans, some friendly some not. The friendly creatures such as pigs and cows appear in daylight hours as determined by the game's internal clock which runs on a day cycle of twenty real minutes. As the friendly animals appear in daytime so do the unfriendly things appear at night, zombies, skeletons and others prowl in the darkness. Some of these have unexpected abilities.
Items that can be fashioned are not restricted to world construction but include weaponry and armor needed in hostile environments especially after dark and which may prove useful in the other worlds that the game presents. As well as the so called Overworld there is also the Nether World which is a sort of Hell like place and the End which is a desolate world where a Dragon lives.
There is an interesting multiplayer mode in which players can interact in a single world in which groups of players can set the operating rules which any newcomers are bound by.
So far from being a children's block building game it is really a grown up game as there is so much more to Minecraft, this review really only touches the surface. It has scored highly in ratings but it is difficult to decide what to compare it with. But for sheer enjoyment value a comparison is not needed and I too rate it very highly.