Minecraft Mod Examination: Spice of Life
Food issues are serious, but they can come from more than just a simple lack of sustenance. Even though people can completely fill their bellies with bread, they won't survive for long if that is their only form of nourishment. Nor can one survive solely on pork, carrots, beef, or potatoes. Humans all require a balance of various kinds of nutrients if they wish to survive, but in Minecraft, players are able to live long and healthy lives eating nothing but cake or rotten flesh. While this illogical setup may provide casual players with a clean and simplistic gaming experience, those looking to completely immerse themselves in their worlds may find The Spice Of Life mod to be to their liking.
The Spice of Life makes very few visible additions to the game, with no new blocks, few new items, and almost no new graphics, but it still manages to be one of the most game-changing mods one can install. It keeps track of everything that the player eats, and after each meal, it reduces that form of sustenance's future effects. This resets after a certain number of meals, but with the basic settings, if one eats six loaves of bread, the seventh will not fill even the tiniest part of the player's hunger bar. Furthermore, as one eats a lot of one type of food, they will start resenting it, and so it will take them a lot longer to eat it. These two changes force players to vary their eating habits, giving them good reasons to plant multiple type of crops, breed as many species of animals as they can, and even occasionally dine on zombie meat just to add more a bit more variety to their palate.
But The Spice of Life does not simply add in its tweaks to the game without giving the player ways to help manage its system: three new items have been added to help players conquer their hunger. Two of these are new, carry-able containers in which players can store a small number of food items without taking up large sections of their inventory. The other is a simple food journal that players can reference if they wish to see what all they have eaten recently, the amount of hunger that each bit of food restored, and in what order those snacks have been eaten in. Players can easily survive without using any of these items, but they do a lot to help one manage their supplies and are really nice additions to the mod.
While the idea behind The Spice of Life is great, the mod would not be nearly as worth including in one's game if it did not come with such an impressive configuration file. It is extremely easy to adjust how many meals one needs to eat before the mod's penalties reset. Players can also set up a grace period at the start of the game, preventing the mod's diminishing returns from taking effect until after players have eaten a certain number of meals. One can also change the record system so that it uses time, rather than just recent foods, to determine when the player can return to a type of fare that they have eaten a lot of. And there are plenty of more advanced options available, such as limiting the mod's effects on saturation or increasing lunchbox stack sizes, for those who want to adjust every part of their culinary experience.
And what may be the best thing about The Spice of Life is that it is one of those rare mods that do not really have any issues. It is of course, not for all players: the time spent on dealing with food slows down progression, and the way in which its changes effect the player at all times may annoy some people. But it is remarkable stable, is automatically compatible with most mods, gives players a serious reason to cultivate many crops and farm animals, and helps plug one of the original game's many logic gaps. It may not present the player with an obvious threat in the way that mods such as Enviromine or Lycanite's Mobs do, but its malnutrition system provides a new and excellent challenge for players to overcome.
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