Minecraft Dungeons Review

Richard Walker

Minecraft Dungeons is like Diablo for beginners, which might sound like a terribly reductive thing to say, but it's a fitting description for a hugely enjoyable action-RPG that has a surprising amount of depth. Set within the universe where everything is made out of blocks, Minecraft Dungeons has your bespoke blocky hero battling the minions of the nefarious Arch-Illager, scooping stacks of loot while battering seemingly endless hordes of baddies. It's simple, but remarkably effective.

Deceptively challenging in spite of its endearing style, Minecraft Dungeons might look child-friendly, and to begin with the action is delivered at a gentle, bright, and breezy pace. The difficulty soon ramps up, however, and by the time you've fought your way to the final showdown, at the top of Highblock Castle, you'll be juggling the best armour, bow, weapon, and triumvirate of artifacts you can find, to squeeze out the highest Power stat you can muster.

With a loot-snaffling gameplay loop up there with the finest dungeon crawlers around, Minecraft Dungeons has bags of appeal, the simplistic hack and slash, bow and arrow wielding, and exploration proving constantly compelling. Every level has its own batch of secrets to discover, be it hidden levels, 'fancy' chests harbouring powerful loot, or small nooks where you'll find urns to smash, filled with emeralds you can spend on randomised stuff.

Every piece of loot has its own set of attributes, with rare and common items trumped by 'unique' gear that normally has the maximum number of perks and enchantment slots to take advantage of. Each time your character levels up, you're granted an enchantment point that can be spent on upgrading your armour, main weapon, and bow, and often you can choose from a variety of different buffs or abilities. These can be anything from health regeneration, to swift movement, increased damage output, or elemental attacks.

Like any action-RPG worth its salt, you can while away plenty of time optimising your character build in Minecraft Dungeons, rolling the dice on items bought for emeralds from the blacksmith or wandering trader, or boosting the difficulty to acquire superior loot. You'll burn through different gear as you progress, salvaging the crappy stuff for emeralds while regaining any enchantment points you might have invested, so you can put them to use for your shiny new thing. But do you keep that trusty legendary sword for a better, less flashy one with fewer perks? Or do you change things up completely with a pair of sickles or a slow but lethal war hammer?

Weapons encompass simple swords, cutlasses, glaives, and maces, as well as more elaborate fare like gravity hammers, venomous dual-wielded scythes, or mighty broadswords that can cleave through marauding mobs like a hot knife through butter. Changing things up keeps things interesting, and chances are you'll be switching gear every few minutes anyway, as some glittering new prize pops out of a chest or vanquished enemy, sparkling with superior stats and the promise of exciting new abilities. An option to trade loot with friends is sorely absent, however, and would have been a neat touch.

Combine everything that Dungeons has to offer and it's all immensely involving, especially if you can get three friends to join you in exploring places like the creeper woods, soggy swamps, redstone mines, cacti canyon, desert temple, pumpkin pastures, or the subterranean lava-strewn workshop of fiery forge. Each level proves a joy to scour for secrets, slicing and dodge-rolling through legions of mobs, activating your chosen artifacts to keep enemies at bay by deploying a bubble shield or a spitting llama; fire a giant laser beam from a soul-sucking cube, place a health-replenishing totem, or imbue your arrows with flame to burn through foes.

Things can get more than a little hectic at times.

Once you've dispensed with the story once, you'll unlock Adventure difficulty, which enables you to revisit each of the game's ten levels (as well as the numerous secret levels you can unlock) and grind for even better loot, in preparation for the crunching, ultimate Apocalypse difficulty level. You'll likely want to dive back in and replay levels with friends, too, and Minecraft Dungeons has plenty of support and options to encourage repeat visits, in addition to the inherent fun factor.

As far as dungeon-crawling RPGs are concerned, then, Minecraft Dungeons is more than a mere Diablo clone. It's a wonderfully charming and hugely accessible genre example that's worthy of your time and attention, even if you have no previous history with Minecraft and its lore. Put in the time with it, and Minecraft Dungeons also proves massively rewarding, even when played alone. Don't be fooled by its chunky block-based Minecraft stylings – Dungeons is a deep, alluring, and consistently gratifying romp.

Minecraft Dungeons

A robust and engaging dungeon-crawling action-RPG with depth to spare, Minecraft Dungeons might not have the wealth of stats and loot that Diablo and its ilk have, but it's an enormously impressive take on the genre, regardless.

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Some spellbinding tunes and lovely sound effects, as well as a nice scene-setting voice over preceding each of the game's missions. Nice.


The trademark Minecraft blocks in all their pixel-textured glory, across a range of atmospheric environments with lovely lighting. Occasionally, the frame rate can hang when things get a little bit hectic, though, which is a shame.


A simplistic dungeon-crawler packed with difficulty options that deftly tread the line between accessible and challenging, providing an experience that's appealing to players of all skill levels. The perfect balance.


While a straight line through Dungeons' story will take about 5-6 hours at the most, additional modes, secrets, and the ever-present pull of shiny loot will keep you coming back for more.


A nice, well-balanced list with a good spread, rewarding both short-term objectives and lengthier tasks that will take some grinding. Beating the Arch-Illager on Apocalypse difficulty, being an example of the latter.

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