Minecraft Dungeons – If Minecraft and Diablo had a child …

From a purely aesthetic point of view, Minecraft Dungeons screams Minecraft with every single pixel. The blocks, the textures, the characters, enemies, objects … all of this is clearly recognizable as Minecraft at first glance. But in terms of play, this has nothing in common with it, Minecraft Dungeons is a real action RPG, a Diablo in block optics. And, it seems, far more than a cheap copy.

Honoring Minecraft instead of copying it was one of the declared goals, as the developers note during a video presentation of the latest version of the game. A big difference to Diablo, for example, is that there are no classes in Minecraft Dungeons. In other words: every player has the opportunity to equip everything that can be found in the game.

On the surface, it sounds simple, but the game shouldn’t lack complexity and depth. Especially when you immerse yourself in the systems. The motto here was “accessible, not complicated, but complex”. In the end, different character builds are of course possible, which specialize in areas such as speed and damage. In addition, you have different levels of difficulty that challenge you. Individual artifacts that you equip serve as a kind of skills, and weapons and armor can be enchanted and thus improved – which special properties items have is always different. “You are what you wear,” says one of them.

It goes deep.

The game’s story is “not very profound,” the developers admit, and overall they strive for a more arcade-like gameplay. Means: There are no cooldowns and no timers. Get everything you can and show it to your enemies. At the same time, the game does not do without the Minecraft-typical humor. For example, you have “growing arrows” as a possible weapon that grow in size the longer they fly around.

A big game is not waiting for you here. One run through the main story keeps you busy for about five hours, they estimate. To compensate for this, various options are planned to increase the replayability. On the one hand, you discover secrets in the individual areas that lead you to more open forests and mines that are more cramped and dungeon-like. The levels consist of prefabricated and randomly generated passages. You have, among other things, larger rooms and sections where story things happen and which are the same for everyone, the corridors and paths that connect them are created by the game at random. There you will find branches where treasures and other surprises are hidden.

Furthermore, before the start of a mission, you set the level of difficulty using a slider. Using a marker, you can see how the game assesses your skills and whether you are up to it. Of course, the more difficult all of this is, the greater the rewards in the end. You can find rare and unique variants of weapons with different enchantments, for example. In addition to the slider for individual missions, there are general levels of difficulty in different levels, geared towards different types of players, from beginners to experts. Rare opponents appear randomly on your adventures, including the skeleton horsemen, who may get you into trouble because they are more difficult to defeat.

You cut numerous opponents short and sweet.

There is no PvP in the game, you play alone or in cooperation with others. Therefore the developers “don’t care” whether individual things feel overwhelming or not. It’s all about having fun, not about competition. Unfortunately you have to do without crosssaves or crossplay at the start – come later! – The same goes for options for making weapons or a level editor. The developers would like to implement the latter, but it is not 100 percent certain.

What is certain, however, is that Minecraft Dungeons will grow with two DLCs after its release, and that initial work is in progress. And they are “big” according to the creators, and should each offer several hours of gameplay with a story. The DLCs are also the only things that are sold here. There are no microtransactions that affect gameplay, nor do they – like Minecraft – plan to release skin packs. The reason is simple: you wouldn’t notice much of it in the course of the game either way because you wear armor and similar things.

Minecraft feeling exudes Minecraft Dungeons just by watching. The blocky look, known (and new) opponents, all of this creates a level of familiarity with which Mojang piques the interest of fans. At the same time, it is completely different from what you know from Minecraft in terms of play. Anyone who has experience with Action RPGs will find their way directly here, at the same time the creators want to appeal to a new audience. So Minecraft Dungeons could become a good entry point into this genre. Because based on what I played at gamescom last year and currently a little bit in the beta, that’s definitely fun. Whether this is the case in the long term will be shown when it is available.