Minecraft Dungeons Preview

April 16, 2020 at 4:51pm
By Jason Stettner

I was finally able to get some hands-on time with Minecraft Dungeons, and was generally thrilled by what I had played. This one somehow slipped by all of the events I attended the prior year, and now that it’s in beta I was finally granted access to check it out.

This is a completely new experience for the world of Minecraft, and it’s incredibly fun. This is a dungeon crawling sort of title that’s similar to Diabo in nature. It moves away from classes to allow complete item freedom and that works well for it. I like not being locked to a traditional role, so that I can change to whatever sort of character I want on the fly.

You just pick a hero style, and I went with classic Steve for now. This is also a cooperative focused experience where a group of four can play together. It won’t have cross-play at launch, but apparently this is being worked on and I think that would be great for this title.

The game is based around a battle against the Arch-Illager. This is a villain that you are aiming to defeat as you save villagers across the land, and deal with a massive mob threat that has grown. It’s actually an interesting sort of narrative, and I hope that gets dug into as you play more. With this beta the content was somewhat limited, but it really did give you a good idea of what the full game is really going to be like.

I had a grand time with it, slicing down mobs and exploring what felt like a vast series of worlds. There are multiple areas on a large map, with distinct biomes. From creepy dark forests to brightened fall landscapes. There was some good variety not only in the theme, but also in the layout of the maps. They felt vast like I mentioned, and offered some freedom of exploration.
Minecraft Dungeons coop
You could go off the beaten path to find a secret chest, or chase around some regular passive mobs like cows if you’d like to. It does have a bit of a linear style if you’re working through it quickly, but the options are there to take your time. As you play you’ll be battling various traditional mobs, and some new ones as well.

There’s a decent challenge here, and that grows if you go back to play later with higher loot to battle for. That adds replay value, and I imagine some extra modes might be present too. An aspect that I suppose I’ll have to wait until the review version is available to check out. I’m very much looking forward to covering this one fully. I can see this being a massive release considering the legacy and scale of Minecraft.

It would also be neat to see this concept applied to other game genres as the series comes across as so versatile. Anyways, back to gameplay it has some neat mechanics to it. For the most part you’re taking on hordes of enemies, but you can do so in interesting ways. I rocked the whole sword setup, but it actually has a very fluid control scheme. I went from tapping to slash, to shooting arrows occasionally and then also unleashing special items.

My particular items included a stunning fishing rod, a firework that could be shot and a piece of meat which allows me to summon a wolf to help out. For armor, you can also get more dynamic when using the enchantment options. These enchantments allow you to choose between perks, and then upgrade them further on items. The items can then be salvaged, granting you emeralds and your enchantments back to use again. The items you can use these enchantments on include weapons or your armor.

It’s quite a neat, and streamlined system that can be adjusted quickly. Loot is obviously a big part of this, you’ll find it constantly in the game, or even in some buildings. You can also buy special loot randomly from the base spawn camp. That area acts as a lobby for your team as well. Anyways, I certainly had a good time check this out and I think it has a ton of potential. This could be a massive experience as it felt polished, dynamic and full of gameplay. I was also just having a blast playing it, and I think I could just sink hours into it. If I could also get some friends into it too, this could be one ever lasting enjoyable cooperative time too.

I think this is also really great at capturing all audiences of gamers. For the younger ones this might be their first dungeon crawler, that in itself is rewarding looking forward. For the more veteran players, I think they’ll appreciate the mechanics and scope of the experience being presented here. It really does stand as a testament to the versatility of Minecraft, it just works perfectly within this genre. It’s quite exciting actually, and I do hope it’s the first of perhaps many smaller spin-off titles based on this incredible core game that I’ve continued to enjoy over the years.

Our Minecraft Hub
Read about RTX in Minecraft Survival

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner