A Portal to Mystery is a continuation of what made Order Up! great: it’s a completely unexpected, self-contained story. I’d like to emphasize “completely unexpected,” because I never thought Minecraft: Story Mode would tackle a murder-mystery storyline. Jesse and the gang end up in a new world and are immediately invited to a gathering at a large mansion. As if the zombie-filled world wasn’t creepy enough, once they arrive at the mansion the guests are mysteriously killed off one by one. While an overused setup, it works surprisingly well in the Minecraft universe.
It’s another fun episode, even if it’s an imperfect interpretation of the genre. Despite honest attempts to keep you guessing, the story doesn’t have enough teeth: the final death count is a tad low, and the killer’s identity is pretty obvious from the get-go. But even if you’re not at all surprised by what happens, the payoff in the end is well worth the playthrough.
Episode 6 prominently features some well-fitting guests stars, as the party guests are played by popular Minecraft YouTubers. Granted, I had no idea who any of them were, but I’m assuming they were playing themselves (or their online personas), as they all went by their YouTube handles. I feel like much of the episode was lost on me as a result; if you’re a fan of even one of the YouTubers, though, you’ll probably get a lot more amusement seeing them take part in this game of life and death. All the guest stars did a good job in their performances, so A Portal to Mystery is still tolerable even if you don’t know them. The only real issue is the episode relies too heavily on these real-life personas being in-game characters. They’re all just a slightly different variation on the super friendly YouTube host, so they’re not the most captivating bunch despite being incredibly likable.
While A Portal to Mystery is best suited for the hardcore Minecraft/YouTube audience, it’s still a fun experience if you’re out of the loop. While a bit tame for a dinner party murder story, for a family-oriented game starring internet celebrities it doesn’t hold back. It’s not as good as the previous episode, but the benefits of telling one self-contained story per episode are still paying off.
Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 6: A Portal to Mystery was developed and published on Xbox 360 and Xbox One by Telltale Games. It was released June 7, 2016 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Telltale Games for review purposes.
To find reviews for the other episodes (as they become available), check out the Minecraft: Story Mode review hub.