Minecraft Dungeons is the first time the Minecraft franchise has truly branched out from its roots, and the decision to follow a Diablo-esque action-RPG style was a brilliant move by developer Mojang. Minecraft is inherently about exploration and adventure. But the basic survival mode in vanilla Minecraft leaves a bit to be desired on the combat front. That’s where Minecraft Dungeons comes in, giving players the chance to experience a more combat-heavy Minecraft that’s still all about exploration, adventure, and most importantly, loot.
As a 4-player cooperative action RPG, Minecraft Dungeons is perfect for playing with friends and family both at home and over the internet. Unlike many games in this genre, however, Minecraft Dungeons is an almost perfect combination of accessibility and deep, rewarding gameplay.
It is specially designed to meet the needs of gamers of all ages and, like a Pixar movie, provides engaging and intriguing content for veteran and new gamers alike.
Since getting access to the beta, I’ve been playing alongside my 6-year-old son on our Windows 10 PC. He uses an Xbox 360 controller; I use a Steam controller. We each have our own characters, our own goals for how we want to fight, and we often change character roles as we play. Sometimes he’s the archer and I’m the tank, other times he wants to explore and find more treasure while I watch his health bar very carefully. At all times, however, we had a great time, and there are several good reasons for that.
Nothing like a good local game
My son has been watching me play games for years and has slowly learned to play on his own. The last few months since he was 6 years old have shown a marked improvement in his ability to play games. He understands how the controls work, can understand complex inventory and crafting systems, and has a good idea of how to navigate the game’s menus and other worlds. often need my help to read certain things or to overcome “the difficult parts”.
Playing alongside him with a character that can actually help him win is something that’s often not possible in modern game design. While I played with friends on a 4-player split-screen in the N64 era, this design has largely died out for major titles in favor of online gaming. It caused a change in the way I play because, quite frankly, I don’t like being insulted by a spoiled 12-year-old after getting shot in Call of Duty.
Minecraft Dungeons brings back the joys of local multiplayer in a way I haven’t experienced since the days of N64.
No, online competitive games are not my thing. This causes attitudes that people wouldn’t otherwise have if the person they’re insulting was sitting within striking distance. Of course, that’s not a problem when I’m playing with my son. Still, I imagine friends sitting together on a couch, exploring the partially procedurally generated worlds with awe and wonder in a way that online gaming can’t offer.
Sure, you can play Minecraft Dungeons online with strangers or distant friends, but that’s just not the same as having your friends in front of one screen. Not only that, but it’s much easier to help people when you’re all on the same screen, as there’s no way for players to get lost on the map as you can’t venture out of it. of the visible area. It forces teamwork in a way that online play might not otherwise, and really makes it more fun to quest together.
Simple enough for young children, but there’s more to it than meets the eye
Much like regular Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons is an incredibly deep and rewarding game that will keep you coming back for more. The developers have crafted a game that is not only easy to understand on the surface, but also deep and engaging enough for an older veteran gamer to play as well. It’s easy to play for short or long periods of time, and you can quit at any time without having to worry about losing your loot. It’s super nice for those kids’ schedules that suddenly change and when you have to stop quickly because you realize it’s way past bedtime.
If you’ve been gaming for a while, especially on a PC, you’ve probably played a Diablo game. Then you’ll know that Diablo’s content isn’t always ideal for younger players, whether it’s themes or gameplay. Diablo can be hectic and stressful. That’s a lot to take in for a younger audience who may not yet be able to multitask and absorb as much visual information as seasoned gamers. So far in my Minecraft Dungeons experience, the game will throw enough enemies at you to make things chaotic, but never enough to feel like a Zerg rush.
Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t categorize you into a class or force you to make a big choice that will affect your gameplay right from the start.
Mechanically, Minecraft Dungeons is extremely simple. You move with the left stick, melee attack with the A button, and fire arrows with the right trigger. Healing is as simple as pressing the left bumper, and it’s those four main buttons that make the game easy enough for very young players to enjoy the game without being overwhelmed.
Unlike many action RPGs, Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t categorize you into a class or force you to make a big choice that will affect your gameplay right from the start. Instead, as you collect loot, weapons, and armor, you can equip whatever makes sense for the playstyle you like. Prefer to be an archer? Specific armor types will give you attack and range boosts for arrows, as well as bonus arrows whenever you pick up a quiver from a treasure chest, for example.
Each element has its own stats, but all are very focused. Some items will add health, while others will increase attack power. There’s no complicated stats system that requires players to do tons of math or create Excel spreadsheets to tweak their characters for maximum efficiency. You simply choose a single piece of armor (which equips you with full armor), a single melee weapon, and a single ranged weapon. It’s very simple and it’s wonderful.
Minecraft Dungeons won’t cost you more than many games these days. Microsoft has stated that it is planning at least two additional DLC packs for the game. Nonetheless, these will likely come in the form of additional worlds to explore and new items/enemies rather than special items that turn the game into a a pay-to-win scenario. It’s one of the many reasons games like Diablo 3 are so fun to pick up. You don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money just to catch up; all you need is time to play.
If you need proof, take our resident Xbox editor, Jez Corden, who is absolutely in love with Minecraft Dungeons. As someone who doesn’t have kids and loves tough titles like Ori and the Will of the Wisps and more mature stories like the Final Fantasy VII Remake, that says a lot that he’s in love with a title that some might initially think is only intended for younger audiences.
Unlimited future growth potential
Younger kids just starting to play (or even watch) can now grow into the game. Its structure is friendly and accessible from the get-go and scales up pretty well in difficulty as you progress. Like Minecraft, content is expected to continue to be released via official DLC packs and market content. After all, when the original Minecraft debuted nearly a decade ago, it was a barren landscape compared to what can be found there today.
While schools are unlikely to use Minecraft Dungeons to teach curriculum the way Minecraft: Education Edition is used, I highly doubt anyone ten years ago thought Minecraft would become an official part of school timetables. in the whole world. It’ll be a while before we see anything resembling the current thriving market offered by Minecraft, but upcoming DLC packs should offer additional content once you’ve worked your way through the base game.
Minecraft Dungeons offers nearly a dozen different themed areas to venture into. In these areas you will find procedurally generated dungeons that are different every time you go through them. Many of these dungeons will take at least 30 minutes to complete, and over an hour if you want to find all the secrets. There are tons to explore and find, like unique weapons and armor or powerful artifacts that grant special powers and abilities.
Mojang has been a fantastic developer over the years, delivering regular updates that include new free content all the time. They have openly stated that the plan is to continue supporting the game over time if it succeeds commercially, and with a name like Minecraft and a $20 price tag, it’s hard to see how the game wouldn’t succeed.
I plan to play it for a long time with my son who has fallen in love with it in recent days. Being able to jump for 30 minutes at a time and grab new gear, find something cool and unique, or even visit a new biome has always been rewarding. The light story doesn’t drag unnecessarily or add filler to an otherwise pure experience, and the overall mechanics are simple enough to keep us from getting frustrated even in the toughest sections. I can’t wait to see what Mojang adds to this title and hope my son and I can enjoy it side by side for years to come.
Adventure for all
It’s better when you play together!
Minecraft Dungeons is the first 4-player action RPG set in the world of Minecraft. Battle enemies with your friends as you level up to stop the evil Arch Illager.
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