Minecraft Dungeons is simple, Diablo-inspired fun for the family

I played some Minecraft Dungeons earlier today and, without wishing to state the obvious, I think this game is going to be a big hit.

First announced at Minecon last year, it’s an overhead-view, Diablo-like game featuring characters and other stuff from the world of Minecraft. Given Minecraft’s reach, and this game’s attractive competence, it’s possible that Dungeons will introduce monster-crawling to a larger audience than all the previously games in this hallowed genre, combined.

I play as a solo adventurer, or as part of a team of up to four players, in online or couch co-op. I venture into an underworld, and am soon fighting familiar foes from Minecraft, such as Skeletons, Spiders and Husks.

I pick up emeralds to spend on upgrades, like weapons, potions and armor. It’s worth noting that the currency is all in-game; there are no loot boxes or micro-transactions. Loot drops also give me random goodies, including health boosts and other consumables.

The rooms are randomly generated, as are drops and enemies. My weapons are melee and range, and they’re all boosted heavily by random enchantments which I spend as and when I feel the need. The game’s upgrade path is all about increasing my ability to use these boosts, rather than statistically upgrading my character or its individual weapons.

I can also collect “artifacts” which are special weapons that cool-down after use. A big part of the fun is equipping stuff that’s appropriate to individual challenges, as well as working with teammates to maximize team effectiveness.

Basic lever-style puzzles break up the combat, as well as dangerous traps. During my play session, I found the game to be pretty forgiving and fun, though it’s worth noting that the last dungeon crawler I played was the intensely challenging Below.

Minecraft Dungeons looks like a family favorite, which kids will greatly enjoy. It’s due out for around $20 in spring 2020, for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Mobile versions have not yet been announced, but I wouldn’t bet against their appearance in due course.

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