The 25 best Minecraft mods - updated! Now 1.3.2 compatible

PC Gamer

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Compiled and written by Phil Savage and Tom Hatfield.

It's always great to see a new version of Minecraft and to experience the changes and new features the Mojang team add in. The downside is that every new version requires modders to go back and fix the incompatibilities that creep in.

For the 1.3 update, many haven't. With the promised official modding API on the way, some creators have decided to hold off on the fixes until they can build with more stable tools designed to work more efficiently with the game.

That's had a knock-on effect on our mod list, with previous favourites like Mo Creatures, MineColony and Humans+ all trapped in the Nether. There are enough lost mods now that the curious may want to rollback to 1.2.5, which we'll show you how to do at the end of this list.

For now, here's the 25 best mods compatible with 1.3.2, from updated versions of old favourites, to brand new, exciting additions. Be sure to check each download for installation instructions. While most will use ModLoader or Forge, there's still no standardised method for modding the game.

1. OptiFine

Minecraft should be the perfect laptop game, but as anyone who's tried to get it to work on older systems will know, it's something of a resource hog. OptiFine uses... magic, probably, to improve performance on slower computers. There are three versions, with Light being the build to pick for your ageing system. The others, Standard and Ultra, are for systems with a bit more grunt, adding support for HD textures and fonts to make the game compatible with hi-res texture packs. Download OptiFine here.

2. Millenaire

The 1.3 update added trading to game's weird looking villagers, but it still feels like they're slowly working towards the point Millenaire reached ages ago. The mod populates the map with randomly spawning 11th century villages, offering not just trading, but also culturally specific items, the chance to create player-controlled villages and a new multi-chaptered quest. More generally, the NPCs just look and act better, making the game feel far more populated and real. Download Millenaire here.

3. Biomes O Plenty

Minecraft gets a lot of mileage out of its twelve biome types. That's not to say that it wouldn't benefit from having a few more options for the terrain generator to pick from. Like 60 new options. That's what Biomes O' Plenty offers, creating a constantly new and highly explorable world to get lost in. There's everything from mountainous Alpen regions to volcanic lava flows, and even a parasitic disease that can spread through the land. Download Biomes O Plenty here.

4. Better Than Wolves

A huge mod that adds loads of new content to the game. The key addition of Better Than Wolves is mechanical power, letting you play with windmills, water wheels and gear boxes to create some fantastic automated contraptions. There's also plenty of materials, enchantments and block types to play with, including cement, pottery and light-directing lenses. It also tweaks many of the game's existing features, with the latest patch giving the Endermen an overhaul. Download Better Than Wolves here.

5. Single Player Commands

A cheat feature was added into 1.3, but it's limited and requires you to enable the option at the start of a new world generation. Single Player Commands still gives more scope for being the god of your world by carrying over a nearly full complement of server commands into the single player game. It's a great tool for testing out other mods, cheekily giving yourself some Obsidian to save time, or creating a giant explosion for giggles. Download Single Player Commands here.

6. TooManyItems

Another mod whose raison d'etre is to enable blatant cheating. TooManyItems is an inventory overlay that gives you a complete selection of the game's blocks, tools, items and mobs to equip, even in survival mode. On top of gaining access to every item in the game, a toolbar at the top of the utility gives you dominion over time of day, whether effects and lets you switch between creative and survival modes at will. Download TooManyItems here.

7. Smart Moving

Smart Moving gives you a range of moves to make traversing the randomly generated blocky terrain a more pleasurable and natural experience. You can hoist yourself up two block high walls, climb fences, crawl around caves, dive into lakes and shimmy along ledges. Also, because it wouldn't be a Minecraft mod without dipping a toe into the ridiculous, you can fly about in your best imitation Superman pose. Download Smart Moving here.

8. Rei's Minimap

Pops a minimap into the top corner of your map that gives you an overview of your surroundings. Which is kind of useful, but hardly an essential feature. What really makes Rei's Minimap brilliant is the waypoint feature, which lets you place down a diamond marker so you can always find your house, mining base, or NPC village. It's not as showy a landmark as a fifty foot lava tower, but it's less likely to set your house on fire. Download Rei's Minimap here.

9. Balkan's Weapons

There are a lot of mods that add weapons to Minecraft, but Balkon's Weapons Mod is one of the best. The weapons all keep within the spirit of Minecraft while still being fun to use. The new melee weapons; spear, battleaxe, halberd, and warhammer all behave slightly differently, offering more variety than just swords, while the javelin offers an early ranged weapon without the need for feathers or string. The real highlight of the collection is the musket. Complicated to make and using a lot of tricky materials, but with incredible stopping power at the expense of reload time. You can even attach a knife to it to use as a handy bayonet. Download Balkan's Weapons here.

10. Biosphere

Adds a Biosphere option in the More World Options menu during world creation. When activated, the generated world will be comprised of hundreds of floating spheres, each containing a different biome. Each sphere is connected by a bridge, with smaller spheres off to the side containing essential ores. It creates a beautiful abstract landscape and presents an interesting new challenge to play through. Download Biosphere here.

11. ComputerCraft

Okay, this is just showing off. ComputerCraft adds programmable computers to the game. Using the Lua scripting language, they can automate processes, password protect doors and, bizarrely, play a little Minecraft text adventure. Even cleverer are the robots added in the last update. Give 'em a pickaxe and you can send them to work on your newest construction project. Just try not to program in self-awareness. That never goes well. Download ComputerCraft here.

12. Finite Liquid

Finite Liquid really shows how a mod can evolve and change in scope over time. It started with a simple idea: to replace Minecraft's unusual water physics with a more realistic system, but more and more features have been added. Now you can pump water, boil water, mine for oil and even construct a scuba outfit for undersea exploration. Download Finite Liquid here.

13. Trains and Zeppelin

If there's a type of hobbyist more obsessive than Minecraft fans, it's trainspotters, so Trains and Zeppelin is a potentially dangerous mod. It swaps out the boring old mine carts for a whole bunch of different train types. If you're not convinced by the thrills of running your own transpennine express route, there are also Zeppelins. Something for everyone then. Download Trains and Zeppelin here.

14. SuperSlopes

Kaevator stopped supporting his magical diagonal line adding Slopes mod a few versions ago, but it's since been resurrected by the modder MetaDark as SuperSlopes. It's the same deal as before, letting you build sloped roofs and pyramids, but now supports the creative mode's block inventory. Download SuperSlopes here.

15. TNT mod

For when you need to mine on a truly industrial scale, the TNT mod adds a variety of high powered explosives in to the game. Perfect for mining, large scale landscaping or just setting great swathes of the area on fire. I particularly like the way the nuke turns sand into glass. Download TNT mod here.

16. Buildcraft

Are you the kind of person who enjoys fiddling with Minecraft's redstone circuit system? Then you'll love Buildcraft. This mod is all about adding more elaborate high end bits of machinery for you to construct. Pipes, engines and autocrafters are all included, opening up a whole host of new possibilities for builds. Download Buildcraft here.

17. Industrialcraft

Like Buildcraft, Industrialcraft is a building mod, offering new construction options to those who access to the high end resources. The difference is that while Buildcraft concentrates more on physical mechanics, Industrialcraft's additions go all the way up to high end science. There's even a nuclear engineering facility! Download Industrialcraft here.

18. Natural Disasters

Open up your world to terrain destroying earthquakes, meteors, volcanoes and sinkholes. If you've a reckless streak, you can start them with a special bucket, but they'll also occur randomly in the world. It's like an angry god is playing Sim City with your Minecraft. Download Natural Disasters here.

19. Tornadoes

Creepers and Endermen not scary enough for you? How would you like to add the awesome destructive power of a Tornado to your Minecraft world? Install Tornadoes to add 'acts of Notch' to the list of possible perils your house can experience. Download Tornadoes here.

20. Portal Gun

Everything is better with portals. This mod started with the simple goal of bringing the Portal Gun into Minecraft, but since then it's expanded to add more and more Aperture Science themed items. GLaDOS not included. Download the Portal Gun mod here.

21. Clay Soldiers

Koda's impressive Clay Soldiers mod gives players the ability to construct adorable little figures out of clay and make them fight to the death for your entertainment. The tiny little men are capable of epic battles, and can even mount dirt horses to form cavalry. Awww. Download Clay Soldiers mod here.

22. Inventory Tweaks

Such a simple mod, but Inventory Tweaks is essential for anyone who regularly breaks out in cold sweats over an inventory full of detritus. Hit the R key and the mod will reorganise your loot into neat, customisable piles. It will even auto-replace tools when you break them. Download Inventory Tweaks here.

23. Fossil Mod

With previous dinosaur mod Jurassicraft now seemingly extinct, it's up to Fossil mod to carry the weight of our dinosaur hopes, and it does so wonderfully. While digging, you'll encounter fossils, which you can then analyse and cultivate as new dinosaur mobs. There's a whole variety of new creatures included, both friendly and aggressive, all carefully constructed to fit in with the Minecraft ecology. Download Fossil Mod here.

24. X-Ray Mod

X-Ray mod's primary purpose is to enable the mapping of underground areas by rendering surface blocks invisible. This lets you easily pick out caves, mines and strongholds. There's also a mode that only shows ore, helping you hunt down that elusive diamond. Finally, you can customise which blocks are shown in the menu, allowing creators to easily debug their redstone circuits. Download X-Ray Mod here.

25. Griefer Creepers

If you thought Creepers were the ultimate griefer unit before, try out Griefer Creeper to see what they're truly capable of. It makes the green assholes shoot 100 arrows into the air, 75 of which do explosive damage with the other 25 setting things on fire. Not that I'm suggesting you sneakily mod it into a friends copy of the game. No, I'm NOT suggesting that. Download Griefer Creepers here.

If you can't wait for your favourite mod to make the jump to 1.3.2, you can easily rollback the game client to the previous, and widely supported, version 1.2.5.

1. Download the 1.2.5 Jar file from the Minecraft servers at http://assets.minecraft.net/1_2_5/minecraft.jar

2. Type %appdata% into either the Start Bar or the Run command prompt.

3. Open the .minecraft folder and, inside it, the bin folder.

4. Back the existing Minecraft.jar for when you want to upgrade back to 1.3.2, then copy and replace the 1.2.5 jar file into the bin folder.

Now, you're free to enjoy any of the great, sadly outdated mods available for the game. Mods such as:

Technic Pack: A huge bundle of mods that overhaul many aspects of the game to massively up the number of buildings and contraptions you can construct.

Mo Creatures: Adds 32 new species to the game, including crocodiles, foxes, ogres and werewolves.

Flans Mod: Fight them on the beaches, and in the forests and the mines and everywhere else with this pack full of World War 2 themed planes, vehicles and weapons.

Thaumcraft: Boosts the enchantment system massively with a bunch of powerful spells that can be added to weapons and items.

Unbelievable Shaders:

Gorgeous lighting effects and texture rendering tweaks to make Minecraft feel more alive than ever.

Water Shader: Gives water a moving, reflective surface to - shock of shocks - make it actually look and behave like water.

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