It’s a post-Notch era at Mojang. Over the weekend, and with surprisingly little fanfare, the studio that brought the world Minecraft released Crown and Council.

Billed as a fast-paced strategy game, fans of Minecraft/Mojang will feel at home with the 16-bit pixelated style. Gameplay is decidedly in the realm of Civilization. No hammering away a la Minecraft. But prepare to click with reckless abandon. Even when the game decides not to recognize those clicks.

The release was a bit of a surprise for fans of the studio. It had a launch trailer and was immediately on Steam as a free download. Don’t worry about having a tricked out computer.

The specs are modest, and the download size? The good old days. 300MB. Yeah, that’s an ‘M.’ It’s data cap friendly in a world of 30-50GB game downloads.

Simplicity is a hallmark of Mojang, and it shows in the game. It’s both fast and easy to play. Where it could have fans coming back for more is the difficulty to win. Do you make a land grab early on or do you focus on long-term payoffs such as universities?

Strategy is a must if you expect to win. It’s a decision of do you play the long-game or do you look for a quick strike to win?

Crown and Council

Borrowing from the history of Minecraft, Crown and Council was the side project of a single developer at the studio – Henrik Petterson. It’s a similar story to how Markus ‘Notch’ Persson developed Minecraft as a side project.

Unfortunately for Petterson, there’s no $2.5 billion waiting at the end of the road from Microsoft. That boat has sailed and docked.

gameplay of crown and council

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the game evolves. Can another side-project repeat the same magic Mojang has with Minecraft? Conventional wisdom says no, but in the era of splashy graphics and gaudy specs, did anyone ever see Minecraft as the juggernaut it became?

User reviews are currently mixed, with the community split down the middle on its promise. Control issues and lack of expansive gameplay are the biggest negatives from reviewers while others are willing to give Mojang a pass as they wait for future updates.

Download the game on Steam today.

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