During the weekend, Notch was hard at work producing "Minicraft" for the Ludum Dare contest, and the end-result is a fascinating one, to say the least. Pulling elements (yet not the entirety) from Minecraft, this top-down Zelda-esque game contains a lot of familiar themes: mine materials, craft new and better items, slay monsters. It is, in this respect, where the two games diverge a bit, thematically. Building homes isn't an option, in the conventional sense; while you could push together a number of workbenches to achieve that affect, it serves little purpose to do so. No, the goal of the game is simultaneously much simpler than that, and much harder to accomplish: Kill the only other sentient person in existence, so you can be alone, forever.
Once the game starts, you begin with a bare handful of equipment (not including the classic pick), and must gather materials to create workbenches, anvils, tools and more, all the while exploring a large, diverse environment. As your equipment improves and you explore more of the world, it all culminates into your sole objective (kill the Air Wizard) - at which point, you are victorious, if not endangered.
One thing quickly becomes apparent; what sounds like a childishly simple task reveals a startling level of depth and complexity, especially for a game developed in approximately two days.
Aside from the eerie theme, the game could be said to draw from Minecraft, rather than be a 2D port of it. While certain aspects of the game are shared between the two (mining, crafting items), the driving goals of the game are wildly divergent. Stacking up against 700 other competitors, time will tell how Minicraft fares - you can play it right here.
Have you heard about Reckoning? We got an exclusive release video on this very game - check it out!