Minecraft Dungeons is too simple for most

Minecraft Dungeons is quite simple. So simple you could probably say it’s the simplest and shallowest dungeon crawler.

Minecraft Dungeons is the polyhedral and voxel universe’s first foray into dungeon crawling. you are a basic Minecraft character, traveling through ten different worlds smashing wizards, skeletons, vines and other Minecraft enemies. There’s a bit of intrigue going on, but the main motivation here is to crush enemies for loot, level up, and keep doing it until the big numbers grow.

The entire game can be played solo or co-op, and levels scale with the number of players in the game. In solo, you get three lives for completing each of the game’s 10 main story levels. In co-op , you rely on being revived by heroes if you fall. In any case, once you are dead or out of lives, you will have to start the mission again.

The cooperative game lacks some crucial features, however. For one, there is no matchmaking. Crossplay isn’t enabled either, which is a real shame. Dropped equipment cannot be shared with other players. Players can’t steal other people’s gear, at least, but the loot drops for each level are fixed. This means that while you’re free to play as a survival melee character, ranged specialist, or the game’s equivalent of a spellcaster, you’re really glued to any loot that drops. Your gear doesn’t scale with your level, and you can’t spend your in-game currency on upgrades.

This makes it hard to really invest in synergy between your items or enchantments, as you’ll end up throwing them away in an hour for something with higher numbers.

When you have gone through all the main missions, you will unlock a second level of difficulty, the adventure. When you complete the missions one more time after that, you unlock Apocalypse, again increasing the difficulty and rewards. There are secret dungeons to find across the world, but there isn’t really an endgame as such. Defeat the final boss on final difficulty and you’re done.

The levels look good, and they echo the Minecraft aesthetically pleasing. But that’s about as far as the Minecraft comparisons go. There is no world generation or destruction as one would expect from a Minecraft Game. You cannot rebuild anything at Base Camp. It’s really fair Baby’s First Diablo wear one Minecraft skin.

And that’s mostly good. The controls handle pretty well, and all of the attack animations and effects are nice. You can change outfits and build on the fly, completely or partially. Different weapons and items have their own attack timers and cooldowns, and there’s plenty of variety with all the potential loadouts.

But anyone hoping for a meaty dungeon crawler with a good amount of endgame randomization is going to be pretty disappointed. The entire game – which includes all 10 levels replayed three times at increasing difficulty levels – will only take around 10-12 hours, depending on luck and whether you’re playing solo or co-op. It’s easier in co-op, simply because all the ranged mobs have more people to target, but it’s by no means a difficult game.

For me, as someone who grew up, I got a chill as soon as I heard the butcher roar in the original Diablothere’s not much incentive to play again Minecraft Dungeons again and again. The content is not there. The mechanics are the same as all other dungeon crawlers. The world doesn’t have that depth, interactivity, or interesting scenarios that you can find in other games. Minecraft Dungeons is competent enough except for a few bugs and geometry quirks, but it also lacks the systems, features, and options to do the basic things you’d expect from something releasing in 2020.

But I care about all these things because I know they exist. I know they exist because I’ve played other ARPGs. If I’m six or seven, and all I know about video games is everything my parents let me play since I was old enough to hold a controller without destroying it, I will not have years or decades of experience and expectation. So for a child, maybe five, six, seven or eight years old who plays Minecraft day after day, Minecraft Dungeons could be what they are looking for.

And even if it’s not, it could at least be something their parents are looking for – another harmless, charming, blocky game with no gore or any themes that could raise awkward questions at the table. It is therefore not to be neglected.

Minecraft Dungeons is too simple for most

Still, it lacks some weird systems and design choices. It has nothing to do with the money you earn in the game, other than buying random items or weapons from merchants. You cannot buy supplies or spare arrows before going on a mission, which can lead to some weird situations if you doubled down on an archer build and start a mission with 20 arrows. Being able to disassemble gear into arrows or at least other random weapons would have made sense – that’s Minecraft, after all. Creating things is the purpose of the series.

But you get none of that in Minecraft Dungeons. These are the basics of a dungeon crawler. He is competent, but lacks ambition. It’s mechanically satisfying, but in the same way that eating a fry can give you a short, sweet adrenaline rush. It only lasts a very short time, so you take a second token, then a third and a fourth, until you stop or the bag runs out.

Minecraft Dungeons‘bag of stuff looks and sounds like Minecraft, but once you’ve seen its first trick, you’ve seen all it has to offer. For kids and parents looking for something harmless and light to play with, this might be fine. But kids are a lot smarter than most give them credit for. And the adults? There are a few hours of fun here, but you’ll find more food elsewhere.

Minecraft Dungeons is available now on PC (via the Microsoft Store), PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.