Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
There are a lot of Minecraft mods, and they do everything that you could imagine, and perhaps some things you couldn’t. Want to spend your time baking in your self-built kitchen? There’s a mod for that. Want to joust others on horseback? There’s a mod for that as well. Want to indulge your strange obsession with My Little Pony? Yes, there’s a mod for that (several, in fact).
In short, there’s a mod for almost every niche, no matter how strange or unpopular. But the fact that a mod exists doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, most are rather disappointing and don’t really change the game in a way most people would care to enjoy. But there are a rare few that really add to the core game and tack many hours of extra fun. Here’s five of the best.
Minecraft is a scary game. Seriously. While the monsters may not seem that threatening, the fact that you’re placed into the world with no tools, no weapons and no promise of survival ups the ante on anxiety. And then there are the Creepers, who just love to silently walk behind you before erupting into an ear-deafening explosion.
But alas, eventually you do gain diamond armor, you learn the enemy’s tricks, and you’re no longer scared. Well, now you have the chance to scream in terror all over again! This somewhat poorly named mod introduces eight new demonic monsters to the game’s hardest zone, the Nether. And all of them are inspired by Doom, so that means they are all seriously scary.
More importantly, though, the monsters are extremely well designed. Each has its own gimmick (some shoot fireballs, others are fast and small, others rush you and explode) and is rendered with excellent old-school textures and unique effects. This is the mod to get if you’re looking to be scared of Minecraft once more.
Tinker’s Construct (and Natura)
The number of items you can build in Minecraft is staggering, but there’s not a lot of flexibility in the system. An iron mining pick does what it does but, outside of enchantments, can’t be enhanced or changed.
Tinker’s Construct changes that by introducing a new modular item construction system that allows for a more diverse set of items. Rather than just making a sword, for example, you can make a specific kind of sword using specific parts. Some attack more quickly, others do more damage, and so on.
Crafting itself is much more complex, too. There are multiple stations used for different purposes, and metal tools generally have to be built with a smelter, a complex series of blocks that’s far larger than the ovens used in regular Minecraft.
This mod is best used alongside another one called Natura, which changes world generation to create a more naturally beautiful world, as well as proliferate resources that can be handy while tinkering.
Minecraft’s world generation has come a long, long way since alpha, but there are still plenty of new features that could be added. ExtrabiomesXL takes the game world a step further, adding a wide variety of new jungle, autumn, desert and forest biomes that look absolutely beautiful.
Besides adding visual variety, the biomes also add new challenges and experiences. There are new types of trees and new types of terrain, including a wasteland biome that can be very hard to live in. Players can even custom tailor their experience by choosing to enable or disable Minecraft’s default biomes, allow the spawning of villages, and more.
There are certainly other biome mods around, but if you’re looking to get more out of the game by changing world generation, this is a good place to start. Oh, and it’s compatible with Tinker’s Construct/Natura.
In some ways Minecraft is a fantasy game, but it’s missing a crucial feature; magic. Well, no more. MineMagicka II adds that, and it does so in grand fashion by emulating Magicka, an action-RPG with a cult following.
MineMagicka, like the game it pays homage too, uses an elemental combo system to generate spells. There are eight base elements, which include the usual things like water, fire and lightening along with magical elements like arcane and shield, each of which can be used independently to create fairly predictable effects. Water can push stuff around and put out fires, lightening does damage, and so on.
The real insanity comes from combinations, which blends the effects of different elements together. Want to have a shield that protects you from fire? Combine fire with the shield element. Want to push back opponents and do a lot of damage? Use water with lightening. And so on.
There’s a discovery and exploration element to this mod, too, because you don’t receive magic from the start. You have to earn it by crafting staves and finding alters that bestow elemental powers. This gives you a reason to once again venture into the world.
Maybe you’d like to go in another direction. Instead of using magic, you’d like to use some good ole’ man-made grunt. I’m talking about machines, of course, something that you can build in Minecraft with redstone, but is often limited by the immense amount of work needed to build anything complex.
IndustrialCraft 2 enhances this side of the game with many new options like high-voltage wires, batteries, new metal tools and items, new crafting blocks and much more. What this adds up to is both the ability to create new, more complex machines and the ability to create simple machines (like draw bridges, for example) with fewer parts and ultimately less work – once you understand the very large list if new components.
Besides adding items, this mod also adds a few new ores and changes existing items to give them new effects. Redstone now can act like a power source, sugar can be burnt in a furnace, and uranium has be added for, you guessed it, the construction of a nuclear reactor.
With so many mods available, narrowing the selection down to just five was difficult, and many excellent mods were missed. I decided on these based both on the changes they make and their overall quality. Some Minecraft mods make equally sweeping changes, but don’t work well mechanically or have bugs that grind the experience to a halt.
What mod have you used to give Minecraft even more life? Let us know in the comments.