Minecraft Dungeons is a unique action-adventure title. It delivers the beautiful and blocky world of Minecraft and uses it as a framework for the most convenient dungeon crawler we’ve ever imagined. It’s not easy to create an engaging title that manages to be challenging for a wide variety of ages and abilities, yet Minecraft Dungeons has managed it.

Minecraft protagonist attacks enemies with his sword in a castle

While a basic playthrough can easily be completed in a day, there are still many secrets to explore, items to collect and difficulty settings to beat, giving it replay value beyond the initial sitting.

Minecraft Dungeons is based in the universe of Minecraft and includes numerous places, mobs, and conditions that arise in the main game. Unlike the sandbox framework of the original, it’s a dungeon crawler with a variation.

3 Minecraft characters attack a golem and creepers in cave filled with lava

Comparisons between Minecraft Dungeons and Diablo are to be foreseen. After all, Blizzard’s dungeon crawler franchise is usually held up as the yardstick for others to be weighed against. While the fundamental premise is alike, Minecraft Dungeons is a lot more convenient for younger or amateur gamers without negotiating on the fun. It even has a secret cow level that sees you face off against mushrooms, in a nod to Diablo 2.

Dungeon crawlers are all regarding travelling, assassination, looting, and striving together to gear up and conquer more difficult bosses. All of these viewpoints are present, as are hidden chests to discover, hidden areas to traverse, and enhanced difficulty levels to tackle with procedurally made levels keeping everything fresh. However, the more difficult elements of classes, gearing, and optimization have been streamlined, creating them easier to understand.

The game uses Minecraft mobs, like villagers, creepers, evokers, and more, to form an easily recognizable contrast between friend and foe. There’s also no class system, with all players getting on a simple character with a sword and bow that is customized through gear. Both of these features help to make the game more convenient for all ages.

A Minecraft character holds a key in a desert area filled with skeletons

Currently, family-friendly games are in interest by many, who are looking for something everyone can experience together. Minecraft Dungeons is fully cooperative and can be played by up to four players. We played on the Xbox and the multiplayer mechanics are friendly and simple. Players appear all on one screen, with anyone out of the area being “popped” back to the group if they stray too far.

There is a home base where you can safely rest, trade, and sort out your gear. Several missions are then reached through a map, indicating no obscure navigation is required to discover each area. While these levels still hold secrets, they are more accessible to follow through than the sprawling maps of other dungeon crawlers, and waymarkers on the ground help lead players in the right direction. Coupling this with a huge range of difficulty levels implies everyone can enter in, especially if you have a more skilled player or two in the group to help things along.

If a player goes down, they can be revived by another. However, if you all die at once you will waste a life. Your team has three lives and following that, you need to restart the mission. It should be noted that a restart won’t affect your gear or anything you got, so if a level is too hard you can replay an earlier one to obtain better gear and added experience before trying again. There are also recommended gear and skill levels listed for the various difficulty levels to help you work out if your team should be able to cope.

Minecraft characters fight creepers at a campfire in a forest

The disadvantages of the game are surprisingly few, but there are some, and they do have an impact on how it plays.

In the initial game especially, armour often looks identical, so sometimes it can be difficult to spot your avatar at a glance, especially for less-skilled gamers. Players are identified by a Px marker on their head, in a colour that resembles their health bar, but this isn’t always easy to spot amid a fight.

Loot is split up equally and the game selects who gets each piece of gear, meaning no arguments. However, you cannot trade gear; one player may end up with two high-value weapons, while another is still using a lower level one. This is the greatest annoyance in the game, but the gear is easy to equip, so it’s manageable.

Group of characters approaching a locked door with a key

As well as a simple map, other operations in the game have also been streamlined for convenience, including gear, enchanting, and boosts.

All equipment is labelled by level and rarity, making it easy to find if you’ve grasped an upgrade. While you do require to check individual stats, as these will vary, the digital system and colour markers for quality, help those who are unknown with gearing systems.

Gear can also be delighted, and the points you require for this are formed as you level. Each piece of gear has restricted choices for enchantments, indicating the system isn’t amazing but does have some adaptability. If the item is damaged, the enchanting points are returned. You don’t need to bother about saving them for more useful gear.

In terms of boosts, multiple items can be obtained and used as you envy, but you can just hold three at once. This is a nice number as it gives a reasonable amount of utility without being too complicated.

Group of characters standing on the edge peering deeper into the dungeon.

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