Review: Minecraft Dungeons

I don't think I need to say anything about Minecraft as a franchise? But, Minecraft Dungeons brings a different take on the familiar gameplay. Is the game worth it, or is it a flopped spin-off?

Minecraft Dungeons will be released on May 26, 2020. Watch the trailer below to get into the groove!

Gameplay

Minecraft Dungeon plays nicely. The game can be calm, but it can also be quite hectic. You play from an isometric perspective, pretty much the same camera angle as a Diablo or Path or Exile game and you mainly do one thing: solve dungeons. Sure, there's a storyline too. But, for me the most fun is killing forests full of spiders and dungeons full of scary monsters.

Armor, weapons and other items can be found everywhere: In boxes, from enemies and so on. Weapons often have an attack chain, for example, the third attack when carrying an Ax has a spinning attack to hit multiple enemies at once. You notice that the game wants to remain as simple as possible in almost every aspect. It's cool to make your own build, there is armor with more defense or armor that can carry more arrows. You also have artifacts, these are special skills.

A disadvantage I could think of is mainly a wish from me. I would have liked it more if we could destroy certain aspects in an environment, or if they did something with building, maybe like in the Lego games? How cool would it be if you could also use a TNT here to blow holes in the grass, in order to discover secret items or collectibles? Missed opportunity if you ask me. It just doesn't feel like a Minecraft game because of this and that's a big board to miss. Despite that, the game plays fine, but simple.

Controls

The controls of Minecraft Dungeons are smooth. At least, that's what I had with the Controller myself. Do you play with mouse and keyboard? Then moving can be compared to League of Legends or Runescape, where you click or hold the mouse to walk in one direction. Why did I choose the controller? Well, the game plays great as you can walk with your left stick, all the special buttons are close together and you can dodge roll with your right stick. In my opinion, the game plays a lot better with Controllers. This will be different for everyone. You notice that the studio knows how to implement their controls.

The map feature is one that makes me happy every time I open the map. Well, you don't really 'open' the folder. The map will appear under your feet and will follow you like a TomTom. This is a very nice feature, no menu needed, no minimap needed, just a navigation system! These are effective ways to make the game run more efficiently and it works great.

Graphics & Ambiance

The ambiance and overall atmosphere impression is at a high level in Minecraft Dungeons, despite the fact that you play in a block world. Every sound has been carefully chosen, for the environment as well as the character actions and voice acting. The voice acting is mainly a narrator, who tells the story as a kind of female Morgan Freeman. This gives the game a more familiar fantasy vibe.

Speaking of that block world, Dungeons looks good. The game of course retains that well-known Minecraft style and does not deviate from it. That's more than fine. You do notice that the lighting sometimes makes a significant difference. Certain flowers, torches and buildings come to life just that little bit more. All in all, there is not much to complain about in terms of graphics either!

story

The story is actually way down at the bottom of the review. This is because the story is not the focus for the game. This is a shame, considering Minecraft has so much lore. You are looking for the Arch-Villager and you have to save people and kill monsters on your way to your goal. The story has good pacing, but is a one-way street. The story is way too linear, especially when you consider how Minecraft itself has a lot to tell. This was the chance to learn more about the lore, unfortunately they miss the mark here too.

The many different enemies from Minecraft can also be found in Dungeons, with some perks! There are the Zombies, Creepers, Archers, Spiders and so on! The lore of Minecraft is great, as I mentioned earlier. They apply this well in the areas, enemies and so on. This is another nice plus for the game.

Verdict

Well, it's a bit double, isn't it? The game is cheap, plays nice and simple and is very accessible. On the other hand, it is not a Minecraft game. Yes, Dungeons is wearing the Minecraft jacket, but the content is missing. Why can't we build, demolish, dig, discover? There are a lot of missed opportunities when you look at the franchise. All in all, it's not a bad game, but it could have been so much more. I especially recommend the game to kids, fans of the franchise, and those with an appetite for Diablo-esque titles. Have you already played the game? Leave us your opinion in the comments below!


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