(available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One,
Nintendo Switch and PC)
(PlayStation 4 version used for review)
Minecraft Dungeons is a spinoff of the popular series that reimagines the world of Minecraft as a top down dungeon crawler similar to games like Diablo. My attitude on the game has always been the same since it was revealed a year ago at the Xbox conference at E3 “seems interesting, fits the franchise well, not really into Minecraft though so probably not going to get it”.
However, enough people requested this one that I had no real choice but to see how it is. Now keep in mind this review is coming from someone who doesn’t play a lot of Minecraft and doesn’t play many dungeon crawler games so I’m not exactly the target audience for it. Because of it’s genre it’s now got to match up with Diablo 3 which is widely considered the best Dungeon crawler of this generation and is available on every console that this game is on plus the PC. now on base price Minecraft Dungeons is a more budget friendly dungeon crawler coming in at around £15 for the base game (slightly more for the hero edition which gets you upcoming DLC) however Diablo 3 is a few years old now and goes on regular sales so it’s not always too expensive. I aesthetic of Minecraft does suit the genre as anyone who has spent time building dungeons in Minecraft or going through the elaborate caves you find in survival mode will tell you. the story centres around a land being conquered by a creature called the Arch Illger who after gaining the orb of power pillages the land and you must now stop him. you play as one of several pre set avatars and take on several missions in a variety of Minecraft themed locations to stop the Arch Illger. Like much of the game it’s very basic and if you play a lot of Minecraft you’ll recognise most of the environment types and many of the enemies like the Zombies who once again make up the bulk of enemies in early level. you won’t be getting a traditional Minecraft experience this game is a dungeon crawler through and through, I go into more into it in the cons section but in short you won’t be doing much building only combat.
- Good combat and mechanics: this game is very good at introducing new player to the mechanics of a dungeon crawler but also keeps the game simple. The game has you manage a melee and long range weapon as well as a few items that grant abilities and the game does a good job explaining what each one does to customise your character to your strengths and weaknesses which you’ll discover over time. The controls are also really suit the gameplay so getting the hang of it won’t take too much time
- Good multiplayer: Minecraft can be an excellent shared experience so to have a good and easy to use multiplayer which is simple and easy to get the hang of is really to the game’s benefit. The game allows up to 4 players to team up cooperatively either locally or online and the game does a good job with it’s level design to accommodate the multiplayer aspect
- The look of the world: I really the incorporation of the Minecraft aesthetic into the world design. I get a sense the level designers looked into multiple people’s creations and incorporated it into the game.
- The difficulty: the game offers multiple difficulty values to challenging yourself. This gains you better loot if you can succeed at the harder difficulties which adds replay value to game that otherwise wouldn’t have much of it. it also allows players to learn the mechanics and progress over time and considering that this game aims to act as an introduction to Dungeon Crawler it’s a greatly apricated feature
- Not as deep as others in genre: Minecraft Dungeons is not as complex as others dungeon controllers in how you customise your characters compared to games like Diablo. On the one hand it’s a good jumping on point for newcomers and is well suited to that crowd which is greatly appreciated but on the other hand it doesn’t offer much for people with experience in games like Diablo. The simplistic gameplay was one of the bigger drags for me and meant I lost a lot of the engagement in the game to keep going, a good story might’ve made up for it but once again it’s so simplistic that it provides no real extra incentive to play
- No customisable avatars: I seriously don’t understand why you can’t add a bit of your own personality to these avatars given you can In the main Minecraft game. it’s not as if these pre set avatars have specific attributes all the differences are purely cosmetic so not adding customisation is a really bad move.
- No crafting or building: I’m genuinely surprised this game doesn’t have anything of what makes Minecraft. You won’t be mining for materials to create weapons or support items and the game doesn’t have a dungeon maker which I think would’ve gone a long way to the games longevity to share with friends online, kind of like how Mario maker and Dragon Quest builders have. This would’ve really helped the game standout and really would’ve created a community similar to the original
- The shops: the shops in the market require you to use gems you collect on missions to pay for new gear and abilities. here’s the problem you have no control over what they give you it’s entirely random and you often end up getting better items in the actual mission which means that there’s no real point to them. I really don’t like mystery boxes in games and this is no different, it sucks I’d rather have a choice in gear to spend my gems on
- Quite repetitive: I know this is a kind of a staple of any genre especially dungeon crawling but with the fact that I don’t find the gameplay too deep and customisation doesn’t go very far I don’t find it too engaging and I notice the repetitiveness all the more
- Game length for the main story: you’ll want to 100% this game because the main story is only between 5-6 hours for the main story which even for a game aimed at a more casual market is really short. according to Howlongtobeat.com the game goes up to a playtime of 21 hours if you’re going for 100% which is a decent length for a game like this but not everyone is going for completion so lengthening the game out only for the compeltionists seems like an unwise idea and leaves everyone else with a miniscule length game.
Minecraft dungeons is a valliant attempt to bring dungeon crawling and has decent gameplay and controls which will be accessible to a more casual audience that the Minecraft franchise has . But it’s not too challenging and engaging and as a result lost my interest pretty quickly and anyone that is really into dungeon crawlers could probably find better games on sale on any of the systems that this game is on and I think this game missed an opportunity not incorporating the customisation aspect of Minecraft into the game
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