If anyone truly knows me they will know that I utterly detest Minecraft. The graphics are off-putting, the sandbox element seems boring to me and it just doesn’t click with my personality. Don’t misunderstand me – I love other sandbox games, but this one just doesn’t work for me. My son often asks me to play multiplayer with him, often on the Nintendo Switch version, and I usually refuse. So Christmas 2020 came and I purchased Minecraft Dungeons for my son, and a second copy for myself so I could join in games with him. And I have to say, I am somewhat addicted.
So what is it?
Coming from a background that had minimal Minecraft experience I began this game with a fresh pair of eyes. The game is quite simply a dungeon crawler, similar in theory to Diablo and other games like this. The premise is that you scour levels, battling hordes of enemies and looking for treasures, weapons, secret locations and more. There is a linear story line to this game, which progresses across the levels. However you do not have to play the levels in a linear fashion – you can play one level 5 times and then go back to the previous one if you wish.
There are enough levels to create enough variety and there appears to be a magnitude of weapons. Each level also has a tier system in place, with higher tiers needing a higher player power, but giving better rewards in terms of stronger weapons, artifacts and more.
Completing the “final” level will allow you to unlock Adventure Mode. This unlocks a new tier system for each level with bigger difficulties.
As well as the constant struggle to power up your character to reach the final level of tiers (Apocalypse Mode) there are also daily challenges. These trials change the levels by adding skills to the player, enemies, changing the enemies for more tricky ones and more. Some of these levels make gems heal the player while others instantly end if you get downed just once. These add a new skill level to the game and keep things fresh.
The game plays really well. I own it on the Xbox One X and it is very fluid indeed. The Nintendo Switch version is great but at times suffers from frame-rate drops and also seems to crash a lot, especially compared to other Nintendo Switch titles. The graphics (which I slated on the original Minecraft title) seem to work really well in this style of game, and the sound is nothing short of great.
Multiplayer works really well too. I have been able to play on the same console, but best of all is playing online across two Nintendo Switch consoles. It still has it’s buggy side where it might crash or close the software unexpectedly, but the overall experience is great when you are working alongside another hero.
Longevity seems to be ok, as I think I can rack up 40-50 hours playing this game. However there might not be enough levels for people to remain interested for this long. The levels do randomly generate so they are not always the same layout, and there are many secrets to find that will open up new areas. However it appears further levels will be part of DLC packs, which may be offputting to some.
The game uses your email to link to your existing Microsoft Account (or it will set up a new one), but disappointingly the save data is not transferable – meaning the character you create on the Nintendo Switch will not be available when playing on the same profile on the Xbox One.
All in all I would recommend this game. It has a very low price tag – even on the nintendo Switch which has further overheads for the cost of the cartridges. It will definitely give you your money’s worth in regards to hours per pound or dollar, and it is great to play with a friend. If you like exploration if it a fantastic entry into the world of dungeon crawlers and it is especially exciting for children to play too.