Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games in history, and a testament to that is the fact that over 200 million copies have been sold worldwide with a 126 million-strong, active player base every month. Minecraft grew so much that Mojang Studios decided to bank in on their legendary franchise and sold it to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion, indeed a hefty paycheck worth of a legendary game.
Minecraft has had countless modders customize it over its lifespan. Even though it’s been almost ten years since launch day, veterans, newcomers, and enthusiasts still flock to the game for that classic open-world, sandbox experience. In May of 2020, the developers released Minecraft Dungeons, which cemented the game to hall-of-fame status, yet again.
What Is It?
Minecraft Dungeons isn’t anything new, and the core mechanics of the game are inspired by what many of us call “dungeon-crawlers.” A big nod to some of the pioneering titles such as the Diablo series, the Baldur’s Gate series, and even newer ones like Path of Exile. The angled, third-person perspective of these games are what you can expect in Minecraft Dungeons.
Minecraft Dungeons also features that same experience, similar to the familiar hack and slash gameplay of dungeon crawlers. Everything is given that classic Minecraft flavor and updated graphical fidelity. Players will be delighted to have that same zero to hero feeling when they start a new game.
Character development is somewhat the main focus here, emphasizing looting and treasure hunting, which is best played with a teammate or a dedicated group. Veterans will be surprised to find out that this new iteration of the franchise will have absolutely no base-building involved, making it a unique experience for everyone.
Platform Diversity and Compatibility
Some of the dungeon crawlers we’ve had in the past were exclusive platform releases that not everyone had the chance of playing. Luckily, Minecraft Dungeons is available on all platforms with an update for cross-play compatibility in November 2020. However, cross-saving your data across platforms is still not possible at the moment.
Campaign and Gameplay
If you like playing solo, Minecraft Dungeons won’t disappoint you as it has a separate story and campaign mode for achievement-hunters and completionists. The plot is relatively straightforward with a unified enemy that everyone needs to defeat to prevent the world from potential destruction.
We will avoid spoilers for now, but the campaign follows you playing the role of a knight and savior that has come to purge the evil boss standing in everyone’s way to rainbows and happiness. It’s not a unique kind of plot but still quite enjoyable for players looking for a great storyline to follow.
Going back to what was touched upon earlier, Minecraft Dungeons sways from the main franchise by not adding any base-building aspects instead of focusing on character building and development. You will basically see yourself putting more time and effort into making yourself stronger with each dungeon you encounter.
This is the first time that Mojang and Microsoft have introduced an authentic RPG experience for Minecraft as glimpses of these elements were only previously seen in modded servers. An unfamiliar but welcome change for players coming back and trying out the game for the first time.
Classes and Job Specialization
The formula for dungeon-crawlers is potent in Minecraft Dungeons with a variety of classes to choose from with their skill trees and some form of a job specialization when playing with a squad. Players can choose from a Wizard, Crusader, Barbarian, Necromancer, Witch Doctor, Monk, and Demon Hunter. These are all regular classes if you’ve played titles like Diablo in the past.
Weapons and gear also have job-specific attributes that make it so other classes can’t use them. Minecraft Dungeons shines in the customization of personal playstyle where specific builds that cater to particular approaches like stealth, life-stealing, AOE damage, and many more can make the difference in completing a level.
Enemies and Bosses
The variety of enemies and bosses that you will encounter may be a little overwhelming as you first set foot inside the world of Minecraft Dungeons. Still, with trial and error partnered with a dedicated party, hours will go by like minutes, even for the casual gamer. Familiar mobs like creepers, skeletons, and zombies can also be found in the game for those who want a taste of nostalgia.
The boss levels are challenging and unique, so there won’t be a single item or character build that can handle everything, making so-called cheese strategies obsolete. Developers have also hinted at the possibility of the Ender Dragon from the main game making an appearance.
Minecraft Dungeons is a refreshing take on the classic genre, and with the quality and dedication put into the main franchise, you can expect this game to receive support for years to come. Quarantine in 2020 is one of the worst situations to find yourself thrown into but with rare gems like these coming out, enjoying life in lockdown isn’t so bad.