Minecraft: the inventor’s paradise. Of course, it’s also the connoisseur's nightmare, since there are so many user-created maps out there it is almost impossible to find the finest creations on offer. Who has time these days to sift through hundreds of Minecraft maps, devour them with your digital senses, and come to a conclusion on which ones are worth your time?
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Well, us actually. We’ve scoured forums, marathoned YouTube videos, and sampled more maps than we can count in order to bring you the definitive list. These are the Minecraft maps that you simply must try before you can claim to have tasted the very finest creations of the community.
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Adventure maps are self-contained Minecraft experiences that are generally a lot less about the building and a lot more about exploring and, very often, fighting. They're frequently full of traps, puzzles and all sorts of secrets and while you can play many of them quite happily by yourself, there's more than a few out there that have been designed for more than one player. Best of all, because the Minecraft community is so industrious, there are thousands of them out there and many of them are very, very good.
Plucked from those thousands, here are fifteen adventure maps that you absolutely must try. Bear in mind that almost all of them will have particular rules or settings that you'll need to follow to ensure they work properly, such as setting the game to a particular difficulty level or being sure not to break any blocks when you start playing. Each map has its own rules, but don't worry, for each map that you try, the creators will let you know what you should and shouldn't do before you begin.
Are there any problems in the world that can’t be solved with parkour? This map’s creator doesn’t seem to think so. There are ten visually distinct levels for players to platform their ways through, each one based on a different biome - leap from Nether to cake, then hop straight into a twilight dreamscape.
Dreams and nightmares have for centuries been the fascination of psychologists and people whose job it is to think loads. In recent times, Minecraft map makers have stepped up to tackle the question of what happens when we go to sleep, in this case making for a ridiculously fun romp through space, the Nether and just a few burning buildings.
There's no way I could put together a roundup without including this, which was so popular last Hallowe'en. Herobrine's Mansion is the work of Hypixel, one of the community's most respected mappers and someone who I'll be featuring again in this roundup. This map is packed with things to find, including custom enemies, half a dozen bosses, special items and unique potions. It's widely regarded as one of the very best adventure maps out there and if you only try one map from this collection, make it this one. Though it's designed to be played with friends, you can try it solo.
What time is it?
… If you don’t know the answer to that question it’s a good bet that much of this map’s content will be lost on you. This Adventure Time inspired map utilises a specially made texture pack to transport players to the fantastical Land of Ooo. Go that extra mile and don an Adventure Time skin for the perfect cosplay experience.
This map doesn't just feature some of the most impressive builds in this collection, it also boasts minigames and its own soundtrack. The Tourist is one of the longer adventure maps out there, clocking in at around four hours, though your own mileage may vary depending upon how long you want to spend just staring at things in the game. That's what the Yogscast spent quite a bit of their time doing when they gave it a play.
Kingdom of the sky
The high fantasy adventure that is Kingdom of the Sky adds the rather novel concept of narration, provided by a series of YouTube audio recordings videos that the player is given links to at key points during the map. It's a little bit like listening to the audio logs in System Shock or Bioshock, as you can carry on playing while the narration chats away to you.
Deep Space Turtle Chase
A labour of love, this sci-fi map took its creators three months to build and saw them transform Minecraft into something remarkably different. Deep Space Turtle Chase is the search for wanted criminal Dr. Earl S. Testudine, who is hiding somewhere on a mining station beyond Tarsus 3. Catching him will require all your wits and ingenuity.
Because this map is pretty much a total conversion for Minecraft, you'll want to back up your original copy before following the installation instructions, a process that will see you end up with a game that's been quite considerably modified.
Wrath of the Fallen
Another work from the excellent Hypixel, this hack-and-slash adventure map is once again full of beautiful structures, custom weapons, potions and items, as well as boss fights, challenges, secret sections and easter eggs. It's recommended for two players, but you should be able to solo your way through it if you grit your teeth.
The Escapists 2
Taking inspiration from one of the best prison simulation games (if that’s even a genre) around, this map features eight massive cells, jobs, and a currency system. The aim for players is to hatch the ultimate escape plan, using any resources you can find and gaining notoriety among your fellow cellmates in order to earn their assistance. As Minecraft adaptations of games go, this is a classic.
Last Jump Hero
Don’t concern yourself with context, cohesive visual design or gameplay variation when loading up Last Jump Hero. This parkour map asks only a couple of things of prospective Minecrafters: a willingness to jump, and a pre-acceptance of failure.
Do you want a diamond lightsaber? Of course you do. Also by Hypixel, and for use with the Mine Wars texture pack, this epic adventure of stormtroopers and Star Destroyers has you fighting your way through snowy wastelands and takes you into deep space. It ticks all the Star Wars boxes, featuring blaster rifles, Jedi knights, AT-ATs and just about everything else you might want, and I should add that those Imperial walkers look pretty damn good in the Minecraft engine.
Boasting the white and red aesthetic of freerunning favourite Mirror’s Edge, Fireworks Parkour is a classic Minecraft platforming map with a unique twist: instead of expertly timed jumps, you’ll be propelling yourself through the map with TNT. It’s just that little bit trickier than jumping, because once you start a sequence of explosions you won’t be able to pause and catch your breathe. The fireworks that pour out of each blast make for a neat visual touch too.
Providing the 3D Pokemon adventure that you always wished Nintendo would grant you, this Pokemon map is based on Gold and Silver’s Johto region. Offering a quest-line filled with bosses, NPC shop keeps, and fully-functional Super Potions, Johto finishes up the authentic Pokemon feel with its own soundtrack and those Minecraft blocky visuals that make it feel like a GameBoy game. Of course, fighting monsters have to be in there somewhere, and whilst this map doesn’t take advantage of the Pixelmon mod for its battle system, it does amusingly reskin weapons as Pokemon monsters and get you to physically fight with them.
The Dropper 2
Hilariously subtitled ‘Newton vs Darwin’, The Dropper simply releases you from a vertigo-inducing height and asks you to survive the fall. Plummeting down a complex spider-web of blocks and barriers, you’ll need to shift your body in the right direction to prevent splattering against an obstacle (mining away the block as you hit it is firmly disallowed). Think of those insane space debris sections from Dead Space and you’re halfway there.
Containing what may be the most horrific re-skin of Minecraft’s zombies ever made, Zombie Apocalypse is an entertaining mix-up of frantic hack-n-slash action and survive-the-night tension. Owing a small debt to Left 4 Dead, when Zombie Apocalypse lays on the zombies, it lays them on thick and fast. Ambushes inflict panic, and panic normally leads to some hilariously bad outcomes. You’ll need to bring a friend, not only to thin the hoard quicker, but to solve its co-op puzzles too.
Hypixel’s maps are basically Minecraft gone AAA, and the analogy even goes as far as sequels. Herobrine’s Return is the follow up to Herobrine’s Mansion, and as such contains a familiar setup of custom enemies, big boss fights, magic spells, and NPC-crewed shops. The RPG tropes are carried through with a fun selection of side quests, and there’s even some great scripted moments that add a level of cinematic sparkle rarely seen in Minecraft.
One of the largest adventure maps, Teramia is an open world, non-linear RPG. Lacking a focussed core quest,Teramia leaves you free to wander, exploring its various districts, and helping the NPCs you encounter along the way. Split into four regions populated by a vast variety of mobs and friendly villagers, the areas are also home to nine dungeons and a series of fortresses to claim as your own. A project two years in the making, Teramia is still considered ‘beta’, with the world continually growing with new updates.
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