The 25 best Minecraft mods

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.

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