|Publisher(s)||Xbox Game Studios|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||May 26, 2020|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, dungeon crawler|
Minecraft Dungeons is an action role-playing game dungeon crawler video game developed by Mojang Studios and Double Eleven and published by Xbox Game Studios. It is a spin-off of the sandbox video game Minecraft and was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One on May 26, 2020. The game received mixed reviews; many deemed the game fun and charming, with praise for its visuals and music. However, its simple gameplay and use of procedural generation were met with a more mixed reception, with its short story and lack of depth criticized.
Unlike Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons does not feature an open world, nor mining or building. Instead, it is a point-and-click hack and slash-styled dungeon crawler, rendered from an isometric perspective. Players explore procedurally generated and hand crafted dungeons filled with randomly-generated monsters and also deal with traps, puzzles, bosses and finding treasure. There is no class system; players can use any weapon or armor they wish. The game includes a four-player local and online multiplayer.
Minecraft Dungeons is set in the same fictional world as Minecraft, known as the "Overworld", consisting of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes and fluids, and commonly called "blocks"—representing various materials, and inhabited by both peaceful and hostile mobs. Unlike Minecraft, the game features a linear, story-driven campaign, and cutscenes.
The opening cutscene tells the story of an Illager named Archie, who was driven away by his people. While searching for a new home, he was forced to leave every village he found due to Villagers not allowing him to live with them. One day, Archie stumbled upon a powerful artifact known as the "Orb of Dominance", which granted him magic powers, but also corrupted him. Now known as the "Arch-Illager", he sought vengeance on all those who wronged him, and subjugated numerous villages with his newly acquired army. Players assume the role of heroes who embark on a quest to defeat the Arch-Illager, while liberating oppressed villages, fighting monsters, and completing various quests. Ultimately, the players face the Arch-Illager in his castle and destroy the Orb of Dominance, freeing Archie from its influence. Rather than punish Archie for his actions, the players show him kindness and forgiveness, and quickly befriend him. As the players and Archie depart, the Orb is shown to be rebuilding itself. In the game, after defeating Archie, the player(s) will unlock new difficulties that make the game more challenging but provide better rewards.
There are several expansion packs that continue the story of the game. Four of the six expansions (Jungle Awakens, Creeping Winter, Howling Peaks, and Hidden Depths) follow the same format: a shard of the Orb of Dominance travels to a different region of the Overworld and corrupts the nearby land, creating monsters for the players to face. In Jungle Awakens, the location is a jungle overgrown with corruption; in Creeping Winter, an island trapped in an eternal winter; in Howling Peaks, the windswept peaks of a mountain; in Hidden Depths, the murky bottom of a deep ocean. At the end of each expansion, the players defeat a boss (the "Jungle Abomination" in Jungle Awakens; the "Wretched Wraith" in Creeping Winter; the "Tempest Golem" in Howling Peaks; and the "Ancient Guardian" in Hidden Depths) and destroy the Orb’s shard, liberating the location and all its inhabitants from the shard’s corruption.
The fourth expansion, Flames of the Nether, takes place in the Nether and is the only expansion that features no narration or boss, due to the lack of a shard of the Orb of Dominance. The sixth expansion, Echoing Void, takes place in the End and was released on July 28, 2021.
With the continued success of the original Minecraft, Mojang thought about other possible games that could bring something new to the Minecraft universe. Experimenting with different ideas, the game was originally meant to be a single-player dungeon crawl game, inspired by The Legend of Zelda series, for the Nintendo 3DS. However, as the game began to take shape, these elements were changed or removed. For example, after adding in multiplayer features, the development team realized that these changes made the game more fun. According to game director Måns Olsen, the game was inspired by Diablo and Torchlight, as well as co-operative first-person shooter games like Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide and Left 4 Dead.
One of the primary challenges the development team faced was figuring out how to adapt the gameplay of dungeon crawl games like Diablo into the world of Minecraft. Since Minecraft characters did not have any special innate abilities, Mojang had to think of alternatives to things such as character class that would normally be found in games of that genre. Their solution was to focus on creating weapons and armor that the player could make more powerful through enchantments, allowing the player to explore their creativity through customization.
In addition, Mojang wanted to streamline the traditional dungeon crawl game experience into something more accessible. Olsen remarked that other games in the genre "are approachable to some degree, but they're typically games with very deep, interconnected systems", and that they wanted to make getting into Minecraft Dungeons "super easy" yet "instantly familiar". The decision to not allow building or crafting, a staple of the original Minecraft, was also made in order to focus on the core dungeon-crawling experience. To give more experienced players a challenge, the team added options to change the game's difficulty, which would reward players with better equipment and new secret content for playing on harder difficulties.
Minecraft Dungeons was released on May 26, 2020, after being delayed from its original April release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closed beta for the game ran for a month from March 25 to April 24, 2020.
On July 1, 2020, a downloadable content (DLC) pack for the game, Jungle Awakens, was released. The expansion adds a new dungeon to explore, and new weapons, items, and artifacts. Two further ones, Creeping Winter and Howling Peaks, were released by the end of 2020. A fourth and fifth expansion, Flames of the Nether, and Hidden Depths were released on February 24, 2021, and May 26, 2021, respectively.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2020)
Minecraft Dungeons received mixed to positive reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics generally found the game fun and charming, complimenting its visuals and music. Some were divided on Dungeons's simplicity and the procedural generation system used to generate loot and dungeon layouts. Most reviewers were critical of the game's short story mode and perceived lack of depth. Shacknews called it "a fun, laid back dungeon crawler for friends to get into." The Hero Edition of Minecraft Dungeons sold 11,450 physical copies on the Nintendo Switch within its first week on sale in Japan, making it the fourth bestselling retail game of the week in the country. The game was nominated for the category of Best Family game at The Game Awards 2020.
Three music tracks from this game, Halland, Dalarna, and The Arch-Illager, are featured as downloadable content in the 2018 crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with the former two being rearranged into a single medley. These songs were added to the game on October 13, 2020, as part of Challenger Pack 7, which features content from Minecraft franchise including the default skins Steve and Alex as playable fighters and a stage based on Minecraft biomes.
Minecraft Dungeons Arcade
In early 2021, Mojang announced an arcade adaptation version of Minecraft Dungeons associated with collectible cards. This version of the game can be found at Dave & Busters in the U.S.
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The closed beta will run from March 25 to April 24 at 11am CEST (2am PDT).
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