Home / Technology / Minecraft Dungeon’s review: elegant, family-friendly prison holding cross

Minecraft Dungeon’s review: elegant, family-friendly prison holding cross

I didn’t expect a Minecraft game to teach my kids the basics of dungeon-crawlers or loot-focused hack-and-slash games like Diablo, but here we are. Minecraft Dungeons is a simplified take on the top-down brawler, but it doesn’t lose any of the genre of fun because it boils down all the unnecessary parts that serve to slow down more complex games.

Minecraft Dungeons is not easy, exactly – it’s just easy to learn and play. But it’s always been the secret to the rare, fun family-friendly games from huge studios: It̵

7;s not about making things easy, but making sure they are elegant. And this game is above all elegant. Microsoft is branching out with the Minecraft name, but doing it in such a way that fans get deeper into the gaming world, while teaching them some pretty complicated ideas about tactics and strategy.

Break down how Minecraft Dungeons plays and what smart things Mojang Studios has done with the genre, however, are only part of the story. This is Minecraft, through and through, filled with the kind of small, loving details that make the core product a lasting influence on gaming. There are mushrooms that play musical notes as you fight through them, and powerful bows with arrows that send their targets flying through the air.

The story is thin, but charming. There is an evil “evil” that does bad things for good people and good land, and your brave band of adventurers must fight through all his minions until you finally reach and fight himand ended his reign. The campaign itself is short at launch and should take 10 hours before even the most diligent explorer should finish, but that’s just the beginning. Completing the game in the default difficulty setting unlocks the next higher difficulty option, and you can further adjust the challenge at each level to increase the quality of the German released by enemies.

The crime is the secret to the whole thing, because there are no character classes in it Minecraft Dungeons, and very few ways to change how your avatar looks. Each player chooses a design at the beginning of the game and can only adjust the character’s aesthetics by equipping different armor and weapons. There are enough basic looks for the heroes that everyone should be able to find one that they like, but I would still love for Mojang to add a proper character customization screen in the future.

Your character has a hatch for a weapon, a place for a weapon, a place for armor and three places for artifacts that give you different magical abilities. You get a spell every time you reach a level, and spell points are used to select from a set of menu with secondary effects on your weapons or armor.

Would you like the sword to release a cloud of poison gas to help deal with crowds, or would you rather increase the chance that you find gems when you kill enemies? Each enchantment option has three levels of power, so choosing your gear and then choosing how to enchant it is the way you expand your characters.

However, no decision on your points of enchantment is permanent; You can always save older weapons to get the spells back for use in another weapon. The weapons or gear you save to regain these points will disappear forever, even if new equipment is assigned at such a steady clip that it doesn’t feel like a loss for a long time in most cases. As these decisions become challenging, even younger players will have spent enough hours in the game so they are not intimidated.

These changes from regular dungeon crawlers may seem small, but they serve the goals of a family-friendly brawler. Most games of this type ask you to choose a character class at the first moment of the game, and you are lucky if you stop disliking your choice. But Minecraft Dungeons never forces that type of do-or-die character building decision on the player.

Despite all the simplification of character building, it was gratifying to see my children learn the basics of prison cheaters, such as strategies for crowd control and assault effects. I don’t often have the chance to play games for the whole family which also gives me an excuse to explain “kiting” to my kids, but here we are. This is the best kind of elegance. The design is not only a fun game; it prepares players for more complex ideas from other games in the genre.

This gives players the ability to just move around with their building – try different weapon styles and experiment with which combinations of artifacts make their character the most powerful, or the most capable of healing the group or cutting through the game’s solo. Figuring out how to use the various forces is just the first step. The challenge of customizing your gear options with the right spells is a puzzle that kept me happily busy throughout my time review Minecraft Dungeons with my children. We had a rhythm: No one controls their new gear until the end of each level. Then, back in camp, we take tours through what we found and possible enchantments, discuss what we think everyone should do and think about how all our characters would fight together.

The systems are simple, but the amount of tools, the combinations of enchantments and learning the best ways to attach everything together will keep things interesting for a long time. If Minecraft in its original form, it was about building structures and environments, Minecraft Dungeons is about building a fighter. There are still many ways to be creative, but creativity is expressed through your gear decisions, which transform each character into a customized class.

The inventory screen from Minecraft Dungeons, which shows a simple interface

The inventory screen is simple but powerful.
Image: Mojang Studios / Xbox Game Studios

Other systems are equally simplified without losing their inherent tension or strategic flexibility. Each player has a single healing pressure, but that drink has a cooling timer to prevent players from mashing the full button. The switch is reserved for specific players when dropped, so that children will not get caught and fight over who got the last sword or artifact. But disposable items – apples, breads, bundles of arrows – are about to force the team to communicate or cool down over who needs these items more versus who ended up getting them.

The game is easy to describe, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. Maybe “simple” is a bad word and “elegant” is more appropriate. Although it seems Minecraft Dungeons perhaps just a stripped down take on existing, more “adult” games, that the setting of pairing genre conventions to their basic forms does not hurt the act a bit. The game is easy to understand and start playing, with a single effective tutorial, but players will still need to learn how to handle large groups of enemies, how to work together to share resources and plan character building, and how to run their plans for every boss character with skill and precision.

Death mechanics are also simple, but effective for creating tension. A single dead character can be revived, while a team drying means a team life will be used. Once everyone is gone, you will be sent back to the camp, with all the gear you picked up intact … except you have to start at the beginning of the mission again.

I made the mistake of expecting to fly through this game without having to think about what I was doing, and had to adjust my attitude a few hours into it. “Simple” does not mean “easy” despite what a lot of modern game design seems to think. My party and I were sent back to camp without completing the assignment more often than I would like to admit.

We already know that more dungeons are on the way, and there are many features and options that Mojang can add to expand Minecraft Dungeons if it’s here I think it will be. But as a $ 19.99 release ($ 29.99 if you want to pay advances for the two upcoming enlargements and some extra cosmetic options), this is one hell of a first step in bringing Minecraft into a world of prison cutters. The game itself is clear, but my fondest memories of the past week are the times I spent with my children in the camp, going over tools and discussing ideas and building before I tested them in combat.

Microsoft and Mojang have created a game where you meet endless minions and boss characters with all sorts of pointed weapons, but they did it in such a way that the game still feels creative and liberating. It is a very welcome magic trick from a series that is trying something new, this with confidence.

Minecraft Dungeons are out now Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. The game was reviewed on Xbox One X with a download code from Microsoft. Vox Media has affiliated partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find further information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Fight your way through a whole new action adventure game, inspired by classic dungeon crawlers and set in the Minecraft universe!

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