Could humanoids similar to the cubic-based beings found in Minecraft be physically plausible? The requirements are not that human can take such a shape, but rather that a being of such size and shape could function normally, similarly to how a human would? Assume the biology of our Minecraft figures is equivalent to human biology, save the structure of bones and tissues that shape humans into the external shape we know well.
Lets start with some minecraft people
I'd note the lack of usable fingers (How do they even pick up tools) and roughly the same range of motion as lego people. Non functional hips. No knees of elbows. No feet (how are they even standing????)
Essentially this bodyplan makes tool use difficult, these folks would find it impossible to get up if they ever fell over and there's no plausible way it would work.
No, not just a regular no, but really not yes no
Biology loves equality in it's proportions. Both in symmetry and distance from bone, this is why there are no lumps of skin in the natural human body. Even if for stone reason a species evolved such a form, breaking bones and cutting oneself would become extremely common place.
Any animal that evolved this shape would be a result of.... intelligent design. So, in other words, no the answer is no, in every way there is no way.
answer: a:) anisotropic space, b:) ordered construction.
A: anisotropic space: In Minecraft, physics is very different than the real world, and certain assumption of real biology seems to be invalid in minecraft biology. Specifically, the specific property that makes up a Minecraft world is Anisotropy of space: there are three universal directions of space in Minecraft, while we still didn’t see any direction-ess in the real world. This leads to a specific breach within the laws of physics: the law of conservation of angular momentum doesn’t apply in Minecraft.
Wonder how you can still look around while falling in Minecraft? This is because there is no angular momentum currently being applied in modern editions of Minecraft, and entities takes orientation only around the y axis. Block operations, on the other hand, follows what is called a Manhattan coordinate system: the law of trigonometry simply doesn’t apply within a Manhattan coordinate system, instead of D^2=x^2+y^2 in a Cartesian coordinate system, the Manhattan coordinate system have D=x+y. In other words, in Minecraft, there are no circles because circles are square. For example, Water spreads into the shape of a diamond(geometry), yet all different flowing water blocks with the same level would also the same distance from the source, in Manhattannian terms, while being of different distance in the Cartesian terms, when viewed by our eyes.
The unique property of a space structure with a definite direction and Manhattan coordinate system, is that the Most material efficient container for packing in space is also the most material efficient container for storing material alone, both of which are cubes. This also means, that, a round house in Minecraft won’t take up less material per surface area covered than a square house, except it can not be packed closely, and would therefore less efficient in ultilizing space. For cells, it means that the only thing matters is the size, and all the most material efficient configurations are the configurations without "crimps" or extrusions, which are rectangles.
Why limbs moves if space itself does not properly rotate? Use special relativity. Even though every minecraft space themselves have a definite anisotrophy, different local reference frames can be of a angle between each other, like how boats and horses can be rotated alone it’s own axis, it keeps the Local anisotropy while rotating the entire entity, albeit in an unnatural manner that have nothing to do with angular momentum. Think of raising to a complex power within a complex plane, or multiplying with a rotational matrix of a point in 3d.
B. Ordered construction: think of crystals, or other things in the real world that have absolute geometrical symmetry, like granules of salt or tightly packed bearing balls.
Life of some types would simply find that it is computationally easy to build bodies with a form of translational symmetry, for example, because of how proteins in the real cell assembles into an atomically perfect straight tube, called microtubules, that is literally straighter than even the most precise straightedges we have in the field of machining. Your cells can also be using protein self assembly, or other ordered construction techniques, instead of the chaotic gradient and diffusion powered growth process in earth animal or plant cells.
With self assembly, translationally symmetric voxels are much computationally cheaper than the complex diffused/ sloped, or "organic" shapes, which is best described by diffusion.
Maybe because the complexity prevents certain cell schemes from evolving organic shapes that is sufficiently predictable yet still useable, let alone favorable for the functions they were supposed to do. For example, 3d printed Voxel fingers may be worse than the (really advanced) organically shaped counterpart, but the organic shape would be far more difficult to grow properly without malforming within the sensitive grow process, and would take up far more base pairs to properly design, let alone evolve, for certain biological schemes.
Therefore, maybe because that cellular computation and developmental processing is far more expensive in minecraftian life than in earth life, or because the assumption of biological growth and development is based on a specific coordinate system rather than a relative distance system, just like how our computer works, minecraftian life uses a simple and predictable self assembly process that favors square, voxely simple shapes much more than the much more complex organic shapes that does not really add too much performance.
In addition, if the biosphere that alters and erodes the lithosphere is also based on the assumption of a coordinate system, and is responsible for much of the terrain, you would get blocks as well, just like those you see in Minecraft videos.
Essentially, life don’t have to look more like flesh to outperform life that looks like flesh, even in the "organic" sense.