September 18, 2020

Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft Dungeons Cover

Minecraft Dungeons is not made for me. I am a 46-year-old fat man who is reminded every day that my body needs to rest and my mind isn’t what it once was. Sorry, what was I saying, oh yes, Minecraft Dungeons, or as it has become known in my house “Not Diablo” is actually quite good fun, for a few minutes at a time and that is only because I can’t remember what just happened so don’t mind doing it over and over.

I am not bashing Mojang Studios for this procedurally generated approach and I am not bashing Minecraft Dungeons itself as judged on its own merits it’s a pretty good hack and slasher with a fair amount of content. The problem it has is that we don’t do that do we, we compare, we compare it to other things like it and therein lies its problem. 

Minecraft Dungeons Lava level

There are only a few levels that you are encouraged to play again and again. Each time you play the dungeons are somewhat different, clever this procedural stuff you know, but what you do in each, is the same.

So there you are fighting through mob after mob and suddenly, the game’s antagonist, Arch-illager slips a little mini-boss for you to fight. Crush them and carry on, fight some more mobs and then you are reminded that this game is definitely aimed at younger minds because you come across a puzzle. Find the key, I wonder what door it opens? Maybe the only door that’s locked. Arggh more mobs and now the key is heading away from you back to where you got it from. Fight more mobs, now you are locked into an arena, quickly kill every enemy that pops up. What now, let’s fight some mobs.

Archie was originally an Illager or arch-illager who, presumably due to his shape and small size, was ridiculed by his fellow Illagers, and later exiled from his kin.

After being rudely shunned out, Archie set out, attempting to find a new home. However, he was also shunned by the Villagers in their fear.

Eventually, Archie’s search for a new home led him to the Orb of Dominance. Under its influence, Archie, now the Arch-Illager, built an empire of Illagers, with himself as ruler, and forced all to do his will in revenge. Should any refuse, they were raided and enslaved.

Minecraft Dungeons Wiki

To be honest, that was my experience of playing this game alone and I would have probably panned the life out of it but then I played with my son.

He’s 8 and now I get it, I get why this is “the best game we have ever played ever Oh my god I can’t believe we have Minecraft dungeons!”

Playing with someone else and it’s not a Diablo clone, its Gauntlet with customisable characters a better story and more interaction with the environment, and whilst I’m talking about it what a great environment.

Minecraft Desert

It looks like Minecraft sure, but switching to Unreal Engine has taken it to a whole other level. The lighting is incredible and I am actually disappointed it doesn’t (currently) have ray tracing. There are lots of particle effects and in the later levels, it’s not uncommon to see the screen alive with enemies showering your eyes with spells and weapon effects while torches give a soft, subtle glow to everything as fireflies dance around glowing mushrooms. It truly is a pretty game.

We have stopped playing games together on his Xbox because when he likes a game he gets too excited and stands in front of the TV hopping about and this drives me insane so I knew this game was great when he couldn’t contain himself and was strewn across my desk to get closer to the monitor as the action intensified. Sure I shouted but it was nice to see him having so much fun.

Picking a character skin became an important decision and one that took a while, during play when he first saw a creeper I thought he might wet himself because it “looks awesome” and the joy he had in the small things, things I hadn’t really paid attention too, the fires at the camp or getting the right enchantment made the game exciting and fun.

MinkiSan Dungeon Crawler

I had a bow that I had enchanted to make the arrows get bigger as they flew, this was wrong and I was a noob as I should have had the enchantment that something, something, something like his that set everything on fire.

As we moved on through the game the breadth of the customisation opened up and the combinations seemed endless. Every weapon and piece of armour can be augmented with an enchantment and each time you visit camp the offering is randomised. You can then upgrade the enchantment 3 times and some items can have several enchantments.

On top of this, you can pick up artefacts which are bound to your X, Y and B buttons (yes we played with Xbox controllers)  like the rocket which means your next range shot explodes on contact to do area damage and looks awesome.

I am sure we haven’t seen all the enchantments, weapons, armour and artefacts in Minecraft Dungeons but so far Kobi’s favourite thing is a bone that gets a wolf to fight with your party, I have to admit it’s pretty cool.

Minecraft Dungeons Large Fight

In between levels you can spend your emeralds buying gear from a blacksmith. These items are appropriate to your level and emeralds are awarded every time you kill something or smash jars/open chests full of them.

Later on, you will be able to visit the trader too as your little camp gets bigger and bigger. You can go smash some training dummies and view the map to select your mission.

The missions you go on can be replayed again and again as the map changes with each playthrough however, the objectives don’t change. There were a few things I noticed playing with my boy but most striking was his acceptance that this wasn’t actually Minecraft.

Campfire after Dungeon Crawling

He hasn’t asked if he can build or mine or even if he can tame a wolf (in our current Minecraft world he has 13 wolves and wants more). I asked him what score I should give this game, he said 10 out of 10 as its probably the best game you have ever played. He is, of course, wrong, I have played far better games but to give him is his due, it was an absolute blast playing with him.

In Summary

Minecraft Dungeons is not aimed at me, it is aimed at the younger gamer and if you have one in your house, I urge you to grab a copy. I picked up the Hero Edition for £24.99 from within the Minecraft launcher but was still forced to sign in with my Windows account. I think based on the time we have played together and the fun we have had this is real value. However, unless you have a younger gamer to enjoy this with I really don’t think it’s worth a penny.

Gauntlett and Diablos love child?
  • 88%
    Gameplay - 88%
  • 80%
    Graphics - 80%
  • 83%
    Sound - 83%
  • 67%
    Longevity - 67%
  • 74%
    Value - 74%
78.4%

Summary

A great game to play with your kids or stupid friends but its a chore to play alone.

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