From its debut in 2011, Minecraft is a game that’s never stopped evolving. Over the years, that has meant a truly ridiculous number of creative servers brought to life by fans, as well as packs of downloadable content that bring everything from Star Wars to SpongeBob Squarepants and even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the game. Now, you can take a trip to Universal Studios in Minecraft, thanks to the game’s newest DLC pack stuffed with rides, games, and plenty of movie characters.
With the Universal Studios Experience, which was officially released on February 13 and is available now, some of the most iconic theme park rides of all time–including two that no longer exist in the United States–have been faithfully rebuilt in Minecraft, along with a bunch of minigames and an entire theme park to explore.
It’s important to note that, unlike 2021’s Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom DLC, the Universal Studios experience isn’t a recreation of a single park. Instead, the map borrows elements from both Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando, while also bringing in new elements from the movies the in-game rides are based on. You can see a map of the in-game theme park below.
Now, let’s talk about those rides. Obviously, with a Universal Studios-based DLC, you might be wondering about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World–two of the best-known properties at Universal’s parks. Unfortunately, those aren’t owned by Universal, so they’re not in the game. What is in the DLC pack, though, is an excellent sampling of Universal’s past and present.
As part of the Universal Studios Experience, you’ll get to ride Minecraft recreations of attractions like The ET Adventure (Orlando), The Mummy (Orlando), Skull Island: Reign of Kong (Orlando), the World Famous Studio Tour (Hollywood), and Jurassic World: The Ride (Hollywood), along with beloved former attractions Back To the Future: The Ride and Jaws.
While it would have been easy to create a quick and sloppy game based on dumbed-down versions of these rides (see 2001’s Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure), a great amount of work went into capturing the attractions in their new Minecraft forms.
To properly judge the Universal Studios Experience, I was able to visit the Orlando park in person, riding a number of the rides featured in the DLC. While I love theme parks, I’m by no means an easy customer–doubly so, where Minecraft is concerned. Not only have I spent far too many hours in the official and unofficial Disney theme parks in the game, I built my own theme park on a Minecraft Bedrock server during the pandemic. At this point, it’s going to take a lot to really impress me.
That said, the Universal Studios Experience is a pleasant surprise. The detail and attention that went into recreating these attractions is top-notch. In fact, I was genuinely shocked how much work went into something like The ET Adventure, which is the oldest attraction at Universal Orlando Resort–and the sole remaining ride from the day the park opened.
Even with a ride like this that would be considered ancient alongside modern theme-park marvels, every detail was accounted for, including the overly-colorful Green Planet home of ET and the cast of alien characters we meet there. You can check out a look at the ET attraction below, but a word of warning: The sound in the video is not final. We asked Universal and Microsoft about the ride audio in the DLC pack and were assured that the rides have the sound effects and music you’ll likely be expecting throughout the park. So, yes, chances are ET’s teacher Botanicus will speak to you within this Minecraft recreation, which is pretty cool for theme-park nerds.
Minecraft – ET Adventure Universal Studios DLC Showcase Trailer
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The rides aren’t all there is to do in the Universal Studios Experience, though. There’s also a series of minigames inspired by the rides. Upon arriving at the park, you may notice some letters from the Universal Studios sign are missing, and the only way to get them back is to complete a series of games that pit you against iconic movie villains like Bruce (the shark from Jaws), dinosaurs, and even the Mummy as you attempt to save the theme park.
I didn’t get to sample this part of the game, but it certainly looks like a chaotically good time. Besides, after the shark from Jaws terrorizes you on a boat, why wouldn’t you want a little revenge?
As you can tell from the map image above, there are also a number of eateries and shops in the park, where you can buy trinkets and snacks for your Universal Studios Experience adventure.
Ultimately, these theme park-based DLC packs from Minecraft are attempting to scratch an itch many of us have from time to time. Whether we have memories from our childhood of going to theme parks to ride our favorite rides, or are simply looking for an escape that won’t break the bank, recreating these real-life experiences inside video games we can play at home provides a welcome level of availability. After all, we went through a pretty tumultuous time where we were all stuck at home without the joys that these theme park Minecraft expansions can bring.
While they may not be picture-perfect recreations of the attractions we love, given the limitations of Minecraft, they do carry the spirit of the rides enough to appeal to a side of you that you might not even know exists. And, if nothing else, this DLC pack might explain to you the ridiculously complex ET lore many people have no idea exists.