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.
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.
This massive undertaking used custom software to auto-map the terrain of World of Warcraft's Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor continents. The result was 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 multiplayer. Unfortunately, the official version is now "indefinitely" offline, so you'll need to find a fan-run server to save that heavy hard-drive space. Download Crafting Azeroth here.
Johto shows just how much you can achieve with Minecraft's command blocks and adventure tools. Sure, it's crude in places—the opening tutorial is told through signs hung from an NPC made of wool and levers—but it contains magic potions, trading NPCs and the most important thing for a Pokemon map: a selection of bizarre looking, weirdly named creatures.
Those creatures are reskinned weapons, meaning you'll be using your pokefolk directly in combat as you travel between the region's many cities. In addition to the detailed locations, quests and bosses, the map even contains it's own soundtrack. Download Pokemon Johto here.
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.
Try to ignore the way the map's creator has decided not to capitalise the opening T of "the Code". That's a matter best left to the punctuation police. And the questionable name is attached to a fiendishly clever puzzle game that's well worth your time. In the code, you must work through a series of challenge rooms, each of which hides a specific number sequence. Find it, and—by renaming a scrap of paper with the Anvil—you can unlock the next room.
This initial map has spawned two sequels, both of which continue with increasingly clever challenges built out of Minecraft's systems. Codes 2 & 3 should work in the latest version of Minecraft (1.7.9). To play the first, you'll need to create a profile that rolls the game back to version 1.6.4. Download Title here.