Creeper Catastrophy or Slime Success?
Minecraft Dungeons is a fun, fast-paced, ARPG which is quite heavily influenced by the Diablo series.
The story starts off by telling you about an ‘Illager’ who’s cast out by society. In his anger, he finds the ‘Orb of Dominance’, becomes the ‘Arch-Illager’ and begins his reign of terror. Ominous, right? In telling this story the game is humorous from the off and sets the tone for what is a very enjoyable game.
Instead of allowing you roam free in an open world, the game is divided into missions. In each mission, you have a certain task to complete. For example, destroying a cauldron that the Arch-Illager uses to create his potions or searching underground mines for evil enemy weapons.
In each mission, you explore a large map filled with a variety of monsters, though in the first few missions this variety is a bit limited. It expands as you progress. To get your killing done, you can use have a melee and a ranged weapon. One handy thing to note is that attacks with the ranged weapon automatically drop or increase in height as they track their target. Meaning you can hit things high up at a distance, whilst standing safe on the ground. You also have 3 artefact slots that can be filled with a variety of different objects.
Artefacts boost your power by giving you additional skills to use in fights. These vary from, defensive boosts to explosive devices, to boots of speed, amongst others. Each of these has its own cooldown and further add to your characters customisation options.
A New Take on the Genre
There are plenty of different types of ranged and melee weapons to find as you play through the game. The level of the item has a greater influence on the damage than the rarity. For example, you may find that a Common weapon of a higher level may deal higher damage than a Unique weapon of a lower level. However the unique items in the game often have quite useful affixes, so it can be worth using them even if you sacrifice damage.
The unique thing about Minecraft Dungeons is that when you level up, you gain an enchantment point. You use these to enchant your weapons and armour to give them special effects. Rather than your character directly becoming more powerful with each level up. This is a new spin on the genre, although it does mean that upon some level-ups, you do not gain any additional power.
If you find an item that is of no use to you, you can salvage it in return for emeralds. The good thing is when you salvage an item that you’ve already enchanted. The points used are returned to you ready to use on another item. This means there are no real penalties for trying something out or experimenting with a build. This a refreshing thing to see
Minecraft Dungeons or Diablocraft?
It’s quite clear as you play this game that it takes quite a lot of influence and inspiration from Blizzard’s Diablo series. For example, you will find different brews that give temporary boosts to speed, attack power, healing etc. These can be thought of as shrine equivalents. When a unique item drops, it gives off an orange beam which shoots upwards, much like legendary items do in Diablo 3. There is even a cow level.
You are able to change the difficulty of each mission in any of the three difficulties (Default, Adventure, & Apocalypse) by changing the roman numeral under the title from I to VI. This is not at all similar to Torment level, not at all. By killing monsters and opening chests, you can get emeralds. These can be used at the Blacksmith and the Wandering Trader to gamble for new gear and artefacts respectively. In much the same way that Blood Shards can be spent with Kadala in Diablo 3.
Some DLC Upgrades Needed?
Minecraft Dungeons does take a little while to warm up. Bare this in mind as you play through the first few levels, don’t turn it off if the start is a little repetitive. Stick with it and you’ll be well rewarded with a fun and frantic experience.
One issue with Minecraft Dungeons is that there are only three gear slots. Melee weapon, chest armour & ranged weapon. When you compare this to other games in this genre it feels like something is lacking. There are, however, two sets of DLC coming so we will have to see what they bring in terms of developments.
In conclusion, Minecraft Dungeons is a fun game which brings some new elements to the ARPG genre. Whilst the storyline isn’t very long, the longevity in the game is provided by the games’ three difficulty levels. Along with discovering all the various secret levels. It runs very well on the Nintendo Switch with only some minor frame rate stuttering on the odd occasion. The combat is immersive and the bosses provide a good level of challenge.
If you haven’t played regular Minecraft for many years, you could even say that the game brings forward feelings of nostalgia. As a massive fan of the Diablo series of games, it’s nice to Minecraft Dungeons take so much inspiration from it.
All screenshots were taken on a Nintendo Switch Lite.