Articles | Minecraft Dungeons review. Neither mine, nor crafts, nor dungeons

In an effort to appeal to children’s audiences, Minecraft Dungeons has become both primitive and surprisingly faceless.

Close to the spirit

Minecraft all ages are subject. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have become the most popular game in the world with – scary to imagine – 200 million copies sold. But for some reason, its spinoff is mostly aimed at children. Story Mode told a completely unremarkable story about the struggle between good and evil and the power of friendship, and a new Minecraft dungeons story is reminiscent of a fairy tale.

And that’s fine, if the mechanics were as deep and varied as Minecraft itself. Sadly, she took the path of maximum simplification, making her both too primitive and surprisingly faceless.

Nowhere simpler

If you haven’t heard it, Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler about a group of heroes (one to four, behind a screen or online) who have gone to save the world from the « Archdeciders » schemes, which have obtained a powerful artifact. That’s all you need to know about the plot: it is only presented here with short sentences for each level and is not interesting. The NPC is not there at all. All the attention goes to the gameplay.

And here it is quite standard and generally unpretentious. We go through the procedurally generated levels (it’s even hard to call them dungeons, most of the game takes place outdoors), we fight tons of enemies. Many of them are known from the original Minecraft: vines rise and explode, skeletons run back and shoot from a bow, endermen are teleported. Of course, there are several new adversaries. For example, knights with shields and golems made of red stone, which lay mines everywhere.

Equipment: Contact weapons, bow, armor (with a single lock for armor) and three artifacts that give different magical effects. It could be a speed boost, a healing aura, a wave that knocks back enemies, a piercing beam, etc. And at the expense of mana are the souls of dead enemies. For pumping up the heroes, you get points which can be invested in improving passive bonuses on equipment (you cannot choose these bonuses).

Three lives are distributed per phase: when all the heroes die, they are a little rejected and automatically come back to life. And with common play, a fallen comrade can be raised « for free » by spending a few seconds there. Otherwise, death does not have negative consequences: the health of enemies does not recover, and you do not lose anything at all. No experience, no loot, no progress.

The levels themselves are quite diverse – pumpkin fields, witch forests, mines, ancient temples with traps. The maps are randomly generated each time, of course, but there is little difference between the different versions of each specific location. They are always linear and there is always an arrow on the screen that neatly points out where to go. Thinking in Minecraft Dungeons is not necessary at all.

Unlike Minecraft, where you can organize all kinds of villains for your comrades, when playing together, dungeons don’t harm your allies and even loot loot for everyone. Unless general healing food can be stolen

Short and boring

Minecraft Dungeons is hard to recommend to anyone other than kids – it’s extremely primitive. Almost any opponent can be defeated by the simple tactic of return. There are not many varieties and they are quite boring. Zombies that encounter close combat and skeletons that shoot from afar are not functionally different from each other. One can only dream of « elite » monsters with special abilities in the spirit of Diablo III.

There are no quests, no class system, or at least a way to purposefully develop a character. The money is only needed to buy clothes from the camp merchants or any other artifacts. And skills, I remind you, are closely related to them – they don’t even talk about builds. Aside from your gear, your hero is a dummy.

By the way, there are very few powerful enemies that would drop cool gear. Branches towards the end of the level sometimes reward the player with chests, but useful things rarely drop. Therefore, instead of exploring all the corners and cutting all the monsters into one, as in the best representatives of the genre, it is easier to run straight to the exit. Boring – not even a cooperative saves.

By the way, there is no pause even if you are playing offline. If you suddenly have to move urgently and at least one monster is there, sorry

Moreover, Minecraft Dungeons is not only simple, but also short: only a dozen levels of 20-30 minutes each. Of course, any completed location can be repeatedly erased – for this the game has a smooth gradation of difficulty levels. If you want you can go hardcore at the same time, even with weak clothes on, but it almost makes no sense. New difficulty levels are added to the early slots of enemies, increasing the number of monsters and the frequency of their enhanced “enchanted” versions. The rewards should grow in proportion to the complexity, but they’re so rare and random that the motivation to grind – and generally play – clothes quickly wears off.

Because it’s hard to imagine that Minecraft Dungeons could be of interest to everyone except the most modest and young players. While there might be issues with this, kids already have Minecraft. A game in which, in addition to dungeons, there is a huge space for creative self-realization and unusual experiences – this is especially for the younger generation. Marcus Persson’s creation had many brilliant qualities, but the dungeons did not inherit them – apart from the « cubic » style and recognizable monsters.

Missed potential

And it’s not about the “creative” part of the game (although the ability to customize your camp is great), but the adventure. After all, Minecraft was mostly about exploring dungeons: Valuable resources were hidden in the bowels of the Earth, so players had to search for them. They waited for endless miles of caves, deep gorges, ancient ruins and abandoned mines. Danger at every turn! Monsters could appear from any dark angle, falling from a great height meant death, and lava destroyed not only the player, but their entire inventory as well. The stakes are always high and not all risks are predictable. Thanks to this unpredictability, Minecraft offered an unforgettable gaming experience even for those who weren’t interested in creativity.

Dungeons are much more convenient to play from the controller – you can move around and aim in different directions. WASD cannot be used for movement – just click on the desired point

In this case, building mechanics were an important part of studying dungeons. The « bypassed » areas became part of an orderly and established underground realm, which was constantly expanding. Torches blocked the appearance of enemies, stairs and waterfalls were starting points, a railroad connecting the player’s base to caves that were not yet mastered. Ultimately, the destructible environment also came in handy in combat – pressing it all the way can block enemies from spawning or flood segments of the maze with water. Or better yet, lava.

And in Minecraft Dungeons there is nothing you can do. Neither digging, nor crafting, nor somehow randomly spaced cubes change the landscape. Even the explosions of climbing plants pass without leaving a trace. The levels run fast and are quickly forgotten and leave some unnecessary items behind. There is no whole world. Plenty of room for expression – too.

From collecting and crafting to building and destroying walls, using the environment against enemies to needing to light tunnels to scare away monsters, almost any Minecraft mechanic would take root in the dungeons. Without them, she became not only terribly boring, but also faceless. Like a typical licensed game, in which only the most superficial remains of the original source.

Nice to meet you

  • A fairly wide range of weapons and artifacts
  • Each of the ten levels is visually different from the others.


  • Excessive primitivity of all mechanics
  • It’s not Minecraft

« Futility »

Reach a level that requires one and a half times more cool gear, and still don’t get anything meaningful.


You can play Minecraft Dungeons, but you don’t have to – there’s absolutely nothing for the person who’s played a decent dungeon robot to get. If you want to spend hours and hours exploring the complete dungeon monsters alone or in the company of friends, you have long since made another game. It’s called Minecraft. Without the dungeons.

Source: Game Informer