The 25 best Minecraft custom maps
Custom maps were never an intended feature of Minecraft, but inevitably in a game based around creation, people wanted to show off their handiwork. Eventually that ballooned into survival challenges and fully fledged adventure games, full of puzzles and quests.
A whole sub-community of mapmakers has emerged, using Minecraft less as a game, and more as a tool to create their own games. And Mojang has caught on. The last update added support for an adventure mode, disabling the player's ability to break down blocks, and 1.4 will see a Command block, greatly increasing the number of things creators can do with redstone. But even without these tools, there is amazing stuff being made available.
Fortunately, custom maps are much easier to install than any of Minecraft's many great mods (which you can read about in our top 25 Minecraft mods feature). You'll be able to install most of the maps on this list by searching for %appdata% in your start bar, opening the .minecraft folder, then placing the map in the Saves folder. But be sure to check the installation instructions on the download page, as some of these maps are improved with custom texture packs or mods.
1. Zelda Adventure
Zelda Adventure uses the AdventureCraft mod, allowing the creators to utilise cutscenes, music, custom UI elements and brand new weapons. As such, it's probably one of the most detailed and unique adventure maps available, completely overhauling the game while still taking place in a world that is recognisably Minecraftian.
Your quest (as always) is to rescue Princess Zelda by fighting through six dungeons pulled from Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. It's a fantastic piece of mapmaking, both as an homage and as an example of the flexibility of Minecraft as a launching pad for custom projects. Download Zelda Adventure and Adventurecraft here.
2. Survival Island
One of the oldest and most popular survival maps out there, Survival Island puts you on a remote desert island with limited resources and asks you to survive. The clue was in name really.
But, as is common practice for these maps, building shelter and finding food is only the start of what's in in store. The download page contains a series of challenges it expects you to perform, scavenging off the land and finding hidden secrets to tick off a checklist of actions that at first seem almost impossible. Here that includes building an underground tree farm, crafting some bookcases and finding the treasure of the Lost Curator. Download Survival Island here.
3. The Dropper
Here's an ingenious map. You're placed in a test chamber and told to stand on a platform and pull a switch. When you do, the platform disappears and you're sent plummeting into the unknown. The only rule: survive to the bottom, dodging obstacles and often fiendish tests of agility.
Take the second room. Just a typical scene from a Minecraft forest, but sideways. You're dodging trees, marvelling at the sight of leaves whooshing past and, oh look, is that a lake over there? Ha, it's also sideways, that's clever. Wait, so what's that in front of me? OH GOD IT'S SOLID GROUND! Download The Dropper here.
4. Crafting Azeroth
It's not an adventure map, but that doesn't diminish the achievement of this project, which uses custom software to auto-map the terrain of World of Warcraft's Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdore continents. The result is a 275 square kilometer world that is recognisably Azeroth.
Naturally that world is big to the tune of a 2GB download that unpacks to a 24GB map. For that reason, the best place to see this World of Minecraft is through a multiplayer server, such as the adventure server here, which protects the world and enables the fly command for all users. Download Crafting Azeroth here.
5. Kingdom of the Sky
An absolutely beautifully crafted map, both in terms of the sculpting of the floating world you're adventuring across and the effort put into creating an interesting story to experience along the way. Instead of the usual sign heavy text dump, map creator Blame The Controller has created a series of YouTube videos to play in the background, narrating along to you as you play.
It's also one of the tougher maps available. You'll face plenty of mobs as you're dungeoneering, and exploration is encouraged because the secrets hidden around the map actually help to keep you alive. Download Kingdom of the Sky here.
Head to the next page for rooftop chases, deep space adventure and cityscape collages.