The ending of the last episode of Minecraft: Story Mode made two things clear. The first was that we would have to buy another season pass to complete this new story arc. The second, and more importantly, is that Jesse and company are now in a universe hopping adventure that gives Quantum Leap a run for its money. I’m not exactly sure what direction I was expecting the next episode to take once it was evident that Jesse would not be returning home anytime soon, but I don’t know if a murder mystery was what I had in mind. A Portal to Mystery is the most different Story Mode episode we’ve had, and in a way that might be why it’s the best one yet.
Before I get to the review, I want to address the world-jumping aspect of this episode and presumably future episodes. While the Multi-Minecraftverse might seem like a cheap ploy to keep the game going for as long as possible (Minecraft prints money after all), it does remove any restrictions that the original story had from being like it’s source material. One aspect of Minecraft that is a huge selling point is the ability to visit other players’ worlds to see what they have created. Traveling through these different worlds in Story Mode is their way of approaching this gameplay mechanic, similar to how we were introduced to a Minecraft world with a narrative in the first episode. If this episode is any indicator, I look forward to the next episodes of this arc.
The gist of episode 6 is that Jesse and his friends end up in another world after going through one of the many portals they are presented with at the end of the last episode. Our heroes are trying to make their way home, but that is proving harder than they’d hoped. This world at first seems safe enough, but then there are the hoards of zombies, two moons, a creepy mansion, and a white pumpkin wearing serial killer trying to kill a bunch of people. Unsurprisingly it is up to Jesse to solve the mystery of the White Pumpkin and find the portal out of this world. Oh, did I mention that the targets of said serial killer are all famous Youtubers?
The big gimmick in this episode apart from the murder mystery is the cast of this world’s residents. Each character is a famous Youtuber known for their Minecraft let’s plays, and they’re playing themselves. I would highlight who’s in the game, but I honestly have no idea who these people are. I’ve heard of Captain Sparklez, Dan the Diamond Minecart, and Stampy the Cat, but I don’t watch any of their content. There are five cameos in total, and while it might be a bit of gimmick, they help make the story entertaining. The writing is sharp in A Portal to Mystery, which it needs to be the coherent whodunit that it aspires to be. In addition, the decisions you make throughout the episode have a significant impact on the events of the story which contribute to making the mystery element that much more substantial.
Overall, A Portal to Mystery is a great episode. There are still the same bugs that are unfortunately common place in most Telltale games, but this time around they’re not the game breaking issues I’ve had the last couple times. If the next two episodes are as stand alone like this one was, I’m excited to see where Jesse and the gang end up. Fingers crossed it’s Achievement City. But in all seriousness, I hope that the celebrity cameos were just a one-time thing and not a regular occurrence. They’re probably all going to be lost on me otherwise.