With 126 million active monthly players and available on every thinkable platform, yes even Raspberry Pi, I don’t think Minecraft needs an introduction. While I personally haven’t played a full hour I massive respect Mojang and the original creator Markus “Notch” Persson for coming up with Minecraft’s concept and of course Microsoft for turning this IP into an even bigger phenomenon. Minecraft Dungeons is a simplified Diablo-like dungeon-crawler spin-off game and features absolutely no mining or any sort of building. Will Dungeons become another game with millions of active players? Nobody can predict the future but I can give you my opinion about this really fun co-op experience!
What we liked!
- Your own playstyle: You don’t have a class selection when you start Dungeons, you kinda fall into your role depending on what weapons or skills you choose to use. For me, I built myself into a healing/support class with a healing aura and a healing totem. My girlfriend, with who I played Minecraft Dungeons took a more loose approach and changed things up along the way. Sometimes picking the archer kind of play or a tank. You can change whenever you want, depending on the gear you find and this is one of the really fun elements. You’re not stuck in a specific class or aren’t forced to use a weapon or skill to finish the game.
- Mobs: Minecraft fans will love that all enemies from the original Minecraft can be found in Dungeons, with some new enemy types to make the virtual life a little bit harder. You’ll face a wide selection of attacks and boss fights that require some tactics to overcome them.
- Easy to pick up: You can make the game hard or easy, controls are extremely easy to learn, and thanks to some UI guidance you are never lost on the map. This is one of the best co-op experiences that you can decide to buy, everyone can play it! While Dungeons is a lot more fun if you increase the difficulty, it is still magical to play this with your girlfriend, a young kid, or a person who isn’t familiar with videogames.
- Depth with loot and improving gear: As I mentioned in the “Your own playstyle” part, you’ll come across many different weapons and gear that have a surprising amount of choices. Each weapon or armor has benefits and depending on your playstyle you’ll have to think about what to improve with your purple gems. These shiny little things are earned by increasing your character level and can be spent on improvements. For example, healing your friend with an aura or picking up more arrows, while I missed character classes in the beginning this Minecraft Dungeons mechanic really makes up for my first impression.
- Looks fantastic: Visually it surely looks better than the classic Minecraft game with some very cute and charming things to look at. Environments lack any sort of destruction, something I was expecting but the effects from fire or lighting look really good. Small touches like pigs with a chest, keys with small feet, and adorable eyes will put a smile on your face. Minecraft Dungeons is an example that a game can look fantastic without going for a realistic style.
- Short but replay value: I was a bit struck by an Enderman when I realized how short the campaign is, unlike other dungeons crawlers you don’t really have a motivational reason to explore every corner from the map so most players will just follow the main guiding point, resulting in a very fast store completion around five hours. You have a system in place with difficulty setting that unlock so there is definitely enough replay value but I really wished that it had more different story levels with more diversity in environments.
What we disliked
- Doesn’t have the Minecraft spirit: (no score influence) Microsoft’s latest tactic appears to be expanding their famous IPs into spin-off games, just take a look at Gears Tactics or Forza Street. Minecraft Dungeons fails to really bring the spirit from Minecraft, sure it sounds and looks like Minecraft but the spirit from it is far, far away in Dungeons. It feels too much like a Minecraft-skin just for the sake of getting Minecraft players in or getting more marketing.
- Pointless story: I could cheat and look up the story but all I remember was some kind of arch bad guy and you safe the world… it is such a typical story that seems copy/paste from a million other games. A missed opportunity if you ask me, as the foundations for something much better are present.
Minecraft Dungeons is a perfect pick up and play co-op game that can be enjoyed by everyone. While it misses some of the Minecraft spirits and has a pointless story it features some incredible fun and addictive gameplay. With more free and paid content on the way this game that’s available on Xbox Game Pass will be played a lot by gamers in 2020 and maybe even afterwards!