New Minecraft map brings a fan-made Pokémon adventure to life

Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst is a promising new entry in the Minecraft Pokémon League. Released last week, it joins the ranks of other fine fan-made Pokémon games on the web with gusto. Of course, what makes Amethyst and Cobalt particularly special is that this full-length Pokémon game is built entirely in Minecraft as a vanilla map that anyone can download and play without officially modding your game.

A Few Good Pokémon

This means that, unlike most Minecraft mods that utilize a heck of a lot of external resources, Amethyst and Cobalt is coded almost entirely using vanilla command blocks to deliver a fully realized Pokémon world set in Minecraft's unique blocky aesthetic.

Despite this, Amethyst and Cobalt is more than just Minecraft with a Pokémon twist. Once you load up into developer Phoenix Project's world, you're in a full blown Pokémon adventure featuring over a hundred new Pokémon, it's own set of gyms, an original story, and ultimately a trip down victory road and beyond like you would find in any other Pokémon title. A challenge that the developers claim will take 60-80 hours to complete due to the open world nature of the game.

You can see more of what Cobalt and Amethyst has to offer, as well as how to get your hands on the map, in Phoenix Project's launch video or via their official walkthrough.

The install is pretty simple and just involves copying over the world files to your current Minecraft saves folder and loading into the map the same way you would load any single player Minecraft world. After that, controls are managed via a series of inventory items that you right click or throw on the ground.

Phoenix Project is extremely particular that you should always click the arrow option in the chat window and that you should never scroll up in chat once you've finished a prompt. It's a bit of an interesting system to get the hang of at first, but once you dive in you pick it up surprisingly fast, partly because of the way it slightly mirrors a traditional Pokémon game.

With that in mind, you're ready to dive into Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst's world.

But can it last? 

There's no doubt that Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst has a really cool look for a Pokémon game, especially if you've enjoyed other Minecraft/Pokémon crossover mods in the past. Yet, there's a looming fear of grandpappy Nintendo that's struck down many a fan-made game in the past.

Despite Nintendo's aversion to fan-made Pokémon games, players in need of their Pokémon fix have managed to quietly make a number of these titles into underground hits in their own right. And despite the number of DMCA takedowns that have rolled off Nintendo's legal chopping block, Minecraft-themed Pokémon mods have somehow managed to stay largely unscathed.

This could be because these mods stay out of the realm of a full-blown Pokémon game in favor of a Minecraft-style adventure that just happens to feature hundreds of Pokémon friends that you can capture, train, and battle at your leisure. Or maybe the higher ups at Nintendo just legitimately enjoy seeing Pokémon and Minecraft come together to make a glorious blocky Togepi baby.

Still, there's no doubt that Pokémon Amethyst and Cobalt goes from lightly toeing the Pokémon/Minecraft line to leaping over it with wings outstretched. We have to wonder if Nintendo is soon to send out a dreaded takedown notice to another fan project that talented fans poured years of their lives into making.

On the other hand, it's possible that Nintendo will stay their legal banhammer for a short period of time to keep up relations with Mojang and Microsoft alike. Doing otherwise could cause Minecraft to drop low on Mojangs list for a possible port to the newly minted Nintendo Switch. Considering the bulk of young Minecraft users and Nintendo's target audience fall into a similar Venn diagram, Nintendo would do well to make sure that their newest console makes it possible to take Minecraft on the go in a big way. And pissing off the Minecraft community at large could make a significant stink that Nintendo may want to avoid so soon after revealing the Switch.

Of course, that all depends on whether Nintendo sees this new Pokémon game as a significant threat to their IP, and whether or not Microsoft and Mojang make it clear that these kind of non-profit fan made projects are important to the spirit of Minecraft as a whole.

On some level, if we see this fan game shut down anyway it's understandable – Nintendo has to protect the landmark IPs that make up the bulk of their profit margin. Yet, with the level of passion and raw talent that goes into each and every Pokémon fan game, it's always sad to see them blown away by the same company that inspired those fans to create something amazing.

So here's hoping that Minecraft and it's own granpappy Microsoft can manage to shield this particular fan-made adventure from being wiped off the internet.