Minecraft? Dungeon-crawling? Those two things seem to go pretty hand in hand! Find out what we thought in our Minecraft Dungeons Review!

Release Date May 26, 2020
Genre Action/Adventure
Platforms PC/PS4/XBO/NS
Developer Mojang Studios/Double Eleven
Price $19.99 US
ESRB Rating Everyone 10+
Players 1-4 Players

 

*Review code provided to FYIG by Xbox for review purposes**

I’ll be the first to tell you I had not paid a lot of attention to Minecraft over the last few years. I was one of those people that played it for a few days and left it alone after that. So, when I heard that Minecraft Dungeons was coming out, I wasn’t really all that excited about it. Then, I realized that it was a dungeon-crawler in the Minecraft universe and I became much more curious. I was pleasantly surprised by much I enjoyed playing through the game. In its most simple form, Minecraft Dungeons is a very similar game in practice to Diablo, albeit a very stripped down, more accessible version. 

You don’t necessarily think of a Minecraft game as a graphical powerhouse with its intentional low-resolution art-style but Minecraft Dungeons manages to look great. I found the lighting to be particularly beautiful in this game with the flickering of lamps in dungeons or coming into a well-lit town from a darker forest area. There’s a nice amount of ambient lighting that just makes everything pop. I thought there was a good mix of settings with mountains, forests, foggy swamps, castles, and of course, dungeons. 

Minecraft Dungeons Review
A selection of characters you can choose.

The story is pretty straight-forward. The Arch Illager has stolen an Orb of Power from the other Illagers he uses it for evil. It’s nothing you wouldn’t see in any random fantasy movie. You basically go through the game until you face-off with him. There’s not much else to say but I really don’t think a huge over-arching story matters for this game. It would have been nice, but the target demographic probably isn’t shedding too many tears over it.

You begin the game by selecting a character and there are plenty of preset characters to choose from. Sadly, there are no classes or anything cool like that. These are simply cosmetic changes although some of them do look pretty cool. There are characters that look more like humans, some with armor, and some that have awesome features like mohawks. I would have preferred to have at least a few different classes to choose from here. I don’t feel like that would have taken away from the accessibility at all. 

Minecraft Dungeons Review
Fireflies in the forest area.

You play through a level slashing your way through hordes of enemies as you search for treasure throughout the map. There’s always a boss battle at the end and a chest to collect upon victory. Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t have a traditional skill tree but instead uses an enchantment system where every level you gain grants you one enchantment point. There are enchantments that allow you to recharge your health with every hit or one that allows you to deal extra magic damage with every melee attack. There’s a nice mix of enchantments, none of which are mind-blowing but they do help you out just enough in the heat of battle. 

The weaponry is pretty basic with a melee slot and a ranged weapon slot and you can obtain different types of weapons from swords to axes and bows that shoot more than one arrow at a time. You can also add up to 3 offensive or defensive artifacts that you can find in treasure chests scattered around. There are even wolves and other creatures you can call upon with artifacts which is a fun touch. Everything is fairly simple. There isn’t a whole lot of depth to any of the weaponry or artifacts but it’s enough to keep you invested to complete the game.

Minecraft Dungeons Review
One of the dungeons with the lighting from the lanterns.

The difficulty level is pretty easy for the first few levels and then it ramps up quite a bit. You can’t just go in there taking everything out, it takes a much more methodical approach. I kind of liked that because you can get a child accustomed to playing the game a bit and then they can strive to get better at it versus it being incredibly easy the whole way through. Beating the game unlocks higher difficulty levels so you can really start to earn more experience and get better loot but it’s also a very real possibility that you’re going to have to redo levels a few times to do it. You only have 3 chances to defeat the boss before you get sent back to base camp. The good thing is that there’s no penalty to your stats or equipment so it’s not like you’re losing much. 

The loot system is about what you would expect. It was really weird for me though because the game didn’t reward you for going off the beaten path as much as I felt it should have. I explored tons of different areas and often times a chest was in plain sight while I’d walk through a somewhat secret path only to find nothing at all. You can trade-in cash for at your base camp for gear or a traveling merchant for artifacts but that’s the extent of the buy/sell mechanic. There’s no crafting so don’t expect to see that nor is there any breaking down things beyond salvaging items for gems.

Minecraft Dungeons Review
The base camp in Minecraft Dungeons

The thing that I absolutely love about Minecraft Dungeons is the ability to play co-op with up to 4 players online or on the couch which is just so rare these days. It’s the perfect type of game to just mindlessly play for hours with your friends just taking out all the creepers and zombies. Obviously, there’s no way to really synergize with your partners like in some other games of this genre but being able to play with a few buddies is still a lot of fun. 

Minecraft Dungeons is a fun diversion for a family and good for a single playthrough. I can’t see most people going back to this one after they finish it considering there isn’t much reason to. Still, it was a fun game at a low price that you can play with 4 buddies so it’s definitely worth a look.

Pros Cons
4-player co-op Not much reason to go back to the game beyond one playthrough
Accessible for kids Not much depth to weaponry
Great graphics  

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