Having seen a trailer for Minecraft Dungeons at Xbox’s E3 2019 press event, I was mildly interested in the game. And, to be honest, it fell off my radar completely not longer after. So, when i fired up the game for the first time I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or if I would even enjoy it all that much.
After spending a week with the game, I can tell you that it caught me completely off guard in a way that I could never have imagined. It’s a hack and slash dungeon crawler in the same vein as Diablo and Darksiders Genesis without a steep learning curve. It’s not overly complicated, it’s fun to play and is one of my top ten games of 2020 so far.
Minecraft Dungeons Details
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch and PC
Reviewed on: Xbox One X
Developer: Mojang Studios and Double Eleven
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Genre: Dungeon crawler, hack and slash
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
An all-new adventure set in the Minecraft universe
So, let’s be totally honest here. While I enjoy playing Minecraft, one of my biggest gripes is the lack of a real story that you follow from point a to point b. I might be old, 42, but I enjoy an adventure with a story that gives me purpose. I like something that guides me along the way and doesn’t take itself too seriously. And, I was worried that Minecraft Dungeons was going to be the same as Minecraft. I was wrong!
The game’s antagonist is the Arch-Illager, who isn’t well liked by other villagers and is bullied around. One day, he finds a powerful artifact that gives him god-like powers. With these super powers, the Arch-Illager seeks revenge on all those that treated him unkindly and terrorises villages and villagers across the land. Naturally, you and your friends set out to stop the Arch-Illager and his hordes of minions.
What I really liked about Minecraft Dungeons’ story is that it gives you a clear series of objectives to do, has some slapstick humour, and isn’t overly complex. It really boils down to good vs evil and is easy to follow. And, while I do enjoy games with deep and rich storylines, it’s nice to take a break from them sometimes.
Simple, straight forward and fun gameplay
Minecraft Dungeons takes place in Minecraft‘s world but its gameplay is totally different. There is a heavy emphasis on combat and loot, much like other classic dungeon crawlers. The dungeons have procedurally generated branching levels that you can play with up to three friends either online or offline locally. Basically, you run around killing hordes of your favourite Minecraft baddies, collect loot, and complete each level’s objectives.
Loot includes in game currency, weapons, armour, potions, and power ups. Each item has its own stats and as you level up your character, you can level up your weapons as well using points earned. Finding your objectives in each level is made easier by using your map, which overlays on part of the screen as needed or by using the on screen arrows.
Each dungeon has plenty to explore, which will reward you handsomely and help level up your character. Again, much like its story, Minecraft Dungeons‘ gameplay is simple, straight forward and fun. You really couldn’t ask for much more.
Trademark Minecraft look and feel
Minecraft Dungeons has the look and feel of other dungeon crawlers in that it uses an isometric view. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, the game retains its well known look and feel of the Minecraft world and bumps it up some. Your journey takes you across a variety of different environments including dry deserts, lush forests, and soggy swamps. All look fantastic!
The action on the screen can get quite frantic at times and the resulting use of weapons and magic can put on quite a colourful show. The game’s sound design, voice overs, and dialogue really add to the story telling. It’s clearly inspired by the sounds and music of Minecraft.
Drop-in and out co-op play, locally and online
Multiplayer with Minecraft Dungeons is a must. While the game is fun to play by yourself, it is 100 times better with friends. Players can join or leave a session at any time and the game adjusts the difficulty according to your party size.
Up to three friends can join in on the fun and is a blast! Currently you can play with friends on the same platform. However, cross play between Xbox One, PC, Switch and PS4 is planned for the near future in a free update. I mostly played with my daughter locally and we had a great time.
Minecraft Dungeons is a great game for all ages and best when played with friends
Minecraft Dungeons is an easy to pickup and play that regardless of your age and skill level, you’ll enjoy. Gameplay is simple, straight forward and satisfying. The game features 10 levels, all with adjustable difficulty levels, and numerous secret levels you can unlock. And, once you have beaten the game, you’ll unlock Adventure difficulty.
This allows you to go back to each of the levels and grind for even better loot if you should choose so. The replayability factor is extremely high and with a budget price, Minecraft Dungeons is an absolute must play title!
+ Local couch co-op and online co-op is extremely fun to play
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Fun and entertaining story
+ Lots of loot to collect in every level
+ Incredible replay value with lots of secrets to uncover
+ Budget price makes it a must own game
– Unable to drop loot in multiplayer games to share with friends
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MINECRAFT DUNGEONS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5