Minecraft Dungeons: All Aboard the Hype Cart

May 26th 2020 marks a new chapter in the Minecraft universe with the release of the highly anticipated Minecraft Dungeons.

Mojang announced Minecraft Dungeons back in September 2018 at the Minecon Earth event with a short teaser trailer. I for one was instantly hooked, the prospect of a new Minecraft game featuring fresh game mechanics and quirky mobs is enough to get me aboard the hype minecart.

Over the past 18 months gamers have been drip fed blogs and trailers showing off the upcoming game, we at Generation Xbox have collected together all the information you need to know about the upcoming block based behemoth.

Minecraft Dungeons is, unsurprisingly, based within the Minecraft world, so veterans of the franchise will instantly recognise many settings and characters from the franchise they know and love. The main story focus of Minecraft Dungeons are the outcast, aggressive Illagers under their leader, the Arch-Illager. It’s a classic tale of boy meets ‘orb of dominance’, becomes evil villain, and raises armies of mobs to take control of the Minecraft world. Couldn’t get any more fairytale right?

The developers and writers of Minecraft Dungeons have said that they have worked on injecting emotion and depth into the story, allowing players to enjoy the quirky content whilst also getting a level of satisfaction from the games progression and ending. One of the game designers, Max Herngren, also teased that the end of the main story will potentially set up the game for future content releases, which is always a promising sign.

With Minecraft being such a massively popular franchise the gameplay and aesthetic of Minecraft Dungeons needs to stay true to what gamers have become accustomed to whilst simultaneously creating enough new content to give gamers something they’ve never experienced before. It looks like the small dedicated team based in Stockholm have done exactly that! With the game being based on classic dungeon crawlers like Diablo, The Binding of Isaac, and Gauntlet, the play style will be very different from vanilla Minecraft while featuring a top down view.

Everyone’s favorite and maybe not so favorite mobs are featured in Minecraft Dungeons, from zombies and spiders, to the dreaded skeletons and creepers. But the Swedish team behind Minecraft Dungeons have been sure to add variation and challenge to the game with new mobs. For example, they have created the Redstone Monstrosity, a mini-boss, and The Nameless One who can summon the undead. Neither of which sound at all annoying to fight, right? From screenshots and gameplay clips alone, you can see that players will face huge swathes of mobs which will make for some enjoyable hack and slash action.

There looks to be a good variation in level design too in Minecraft Dungeons, from desert temples and swamps, to creeper infested forests, looming canyons, and of course, mine shafts. The environment designs look atmospheric and very much in keeping with the Minecraft aesthetic. For a blocky world it really does look like a pretty game…well as pretty as a dark dank dungeon can look anyway.

The levels are semi-procedurally generated too which means that dungeons will feature certain set-pieces that will always be the same no matter how many times you visit that area, whilst connecting areas will be generated at random. This is in order to progress the story and maintain a good pace for players, whilst still providing each playthrough with variation and originality.

Players can decide to either adventure alone and be the hero all by themselves, or call up their friends through online or couch co-op. Minecraft Dungeons provides support for up to four players, the best way to experience the game according to the developers. It’s been reported that the gameplay will scale to how many players are present, so this should provide enough challenge for even the most hardcore of Minecraft players.

Lots of questions have been asked about the inclusion of character classes, like mage, warrior, thief and so on but Minecraft Dungeons has decided not to do down that path and instead play style will depend on the combination of weapons and enchantments. One minute a player can be unleashing a wave of fire upon the enemies and next they may choose to equip an enchantment to deal chain lightning instead. This freedom of choice feels like a good decision from the team at Mojang, as it gives players so many more options when it comes to tactics and play style, which is exactly what you want from this type of genre.

The customization of characters is always an important feature in any dungeon crawler game and from what we’ve seen it looks like there will be plenty of fun and interesting cosmetics for players to truly make their hero unique.

Minecraft Dungeons will contain three main types of pickups, consumables, emeralds, and equipment. The consumable items are things like food and potions for health, as well as throwable TNT for when fights get a bit intense. The emeralds that drop from enemies and treasure chests are used as in-game currency to buy items from merchants. Finally, the equipment, like weapons, armour and artefacts that players equip and can level up throughout the game.

Players will also be able to summon companions or familiars for when the blocky battles get a bit brutal. These will come in the form of mobs like wolves and iron golems to name just a couple. It’s these kinds of details and features that make me feel like the develops really understand Minecraft as the iconic game it is. Instead of shoehorning in the games most recognizable mobs they have implemented them into the game in a way that makes sense and feels natural.

All in all, Minecraft Dungeons is shaping up to be an enjoyable and thrilling game and not one that is simply cashing in on the Minecraft name *cough* Minecraft Story Mode *cough*.

A major plus for Xbox Game Pass subscribers is that Minecraft Dungeons will be coming to the service on launch. You can even pre-install the game right now!

Are you planning on entering the Minecraft Dungeons with your brave blocky buddies? Let us know here at Generation Xbox, we’d love to hear your opinions.

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