Minecraft Dungeons review

Minecraft Dungeons is a new game in the Minecraft Universe that combines the characters and world of Minecraft with the mechanics of a dungeon crawler like Diablo. Those adept with other dungeon crawlers like Path of Exile may turn their noses up at this game, however, for the pure fun factor and a chilled vibe this game is definitely worth checking out.

This is a new action role-playing game that expands the Minecraft world with loot, levelling up and exploration. There’s a bunch of lite-RPG mechanics introduced here including vendors, artefacts and the need to repeat levels to get the best loot in the game.

Minecraft Dungeons is all about exploration. When you’re in story missions make sure you’re looking around for hidden chests. You can follow the yellow marker which will take you the fastest way through the level, but you can bring up the map to find areas where you haven’t explored before. Hidden chests are a great source of Emeralds and also contain some of the best loot in the game. You can find chests and also hidden rooms that can be full of enemies protecting more great loot. When you open up chests you’ll come across emeralds too, you’ll want to save these up so you can purchase items from vendors back at camp later.

There’s a few types of combat in the game. There’s close-range combat with Swords, Knives, Glaives and Axes and there are also longer-range attack weapons too with bows. You’ll pick up different weapons as you make your way through the game and they have different benefits. Knives, for example, have a shorter range and you can attack faster, whereas the Glaive will give you more range but a slower attack speed.

There are different bows too – you have your standard bow that shoots a single arrow, your triple bow that shoots multiple shots and also a crossbow for fast, precise attacks from range. Find the weapons that work for you and experiment to see what you like best. When you find something you like, then invest some Enchantments into them to give them unique abilities and perks.

The Enchantment system offers players a certain amount of depth in Minecraft Dungeons that players of similar games are looking for. Don’t’ get me wrong, this isn’t going as deep as Diablo or Path of Exile. This feels like Dungeon Crawler light – An easy entry into the genre for those with little experience of the other games that inspired Minecraft Dungeons. When you first get an item you have the chance to choose which Enchantment you place on an item and you can cycle through the available options. Pick one and then start to level it up. You can upgrade enchantments up to 3 levels each time costing more, so use them wisely. Enchantments can stack on top of one another so if you find an Enchantment you like, then you can boost the effectiveness by using more than one.

Some of my favourite Enchantments so far are Thundering, which gives you a chance at a lightning strike when you kill enemies with an effect that also damages enemies that are close, so this is useful for big groups. Piercing is also good for your range attacks as fired arrows sometimes gain the piercing effect which allows them to fly through multiple enemies.

These are items that modify your playstyle further. They can be found in loot chests at the end of levels, or they can drop from enemies. They include special abilities including dropping a healing rift, summoning a wolf that will help you out in attacks or adding fireworks to your arrows to increase the damage. Artefacts combined with Enchantments, weapons and armour can be combined to create specific builds.

There’s a big heart in the middle of the screen that acts as your health container. As you get hit in battle, your health will go down so you’ll want to top this up from time to time. You can pick up potions, food that enemies drop after killing them and also some artefacts provide health regeneration. You’ll notice that there are some cows and other animals around the map, you can take these out with your weapons and have a chance for some health to drop – allowing you to get out of a sticky situation.

Once you’ve made it through a few levels back at Camp there will be 2 vendors – The Blacksmith and the Wandering Trader. The Blacksmith offers random gear and The Wandering Trader offers random artefacts, both for emeralds. It’s also worth noting that secret chests can be found in camp, so make sure you explore the camp to find those chests to pick up some bonus emeralds. There’s also a house and upstairs it looks like your room and as you progress through the game you’ll add more detail to your personal room.

It’s unlikely you’ll find all the secrets on your first time through levels. Use your map and find the hidden nooks and crannies in levels. When you’re higher in power, you can also adjust the difficulty of levels. This will add more enemies, or buff enemies to make them stronger, but the higher difficulty you go the better loot you’ll get from these levels – so more risk, the greater the reward.

Finally, this game is best enjoyed with friends. You can play online or in local co-op with up to four players in total. The game scales the difficulty based on the number of players in the game, but if you can get together a group it’s a whole lot of fun.

Minecraft Dungeons isn’t a long game, but it’s entertaining and acts as a good introduction to the dungeon crawling genre. There’s just enough depth in the game to keep your attention as well as the different difficulty levels to keep you coming back. The fact that this game is available on Xbox Game Pass makes it very accessible to new players. For example, I probably wouldn’t buy this game but the fact I had it on game pass made me want to give it a go. I had a great time with the game throughout my playthrough and recommend you give it a try.

Developer: Mojang Studios
Release Date: 26th May 2020
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Graphics70
Audio65
Gameplay80
Replay70
Fun75
Value75
Final Score73

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