Minecraft Dungeons

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Minecraft Dungeons
Minecraft Dungeons cover art.png
Publisher(s)Xbox Game Studios
Director(s)Måns Olsen
  • Annica Strand
  • Steven Taarland
  • Daniel Brynolf
  • Laura de Llorens Garcia
  • Matthew Dunthorne
Programmer(s)Niklas Börestam
Artist(s)Daniel Björkefors
Composer(s)Peter Hont

Samuel Åberg

Johan Johnson[1]
EngineUnreal Engine 4
ReleaseMay 26, 2020
Genre(s)Dungeon crawler
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler video game developed by Mojang Studios and Double Eleven. It was published by Xbox Game Studios. It is a spin-off of 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 general praise directed at its visuals and music. However, its simple gameplay and use of procedural generation received more mixed reception, with its short story and lack of depth also being met with criticism.


Unlike Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons doesn't feature an open world, nor mining or building. Instead, it is a hack and slash-styled[2][3] dungeon crawler, rendered from an isometric perspective.[4] Players explore procedurally generated and hand crafted dungeons filled with randomly-generated monsters and also deal with traps, puzzles, bosses and finding treasure.[5][6] There is no class system; players can use any weapon or armor they wish.[7] The game includes a four-player local and online multiplayer.[8]


Minecraft Dungeons is set in the same fictional world as Minecraft, 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 a homeless "Illager" named Archie, who was rejected by all those who met. One day, he stumbles upon a powerful artifact known as the "Orb of Dominance", which grants him great powers, but also corrupts him. Now called the "Arch-Illager", he seeks vengeance on all those who wronged him, and subjugates the world with his new army, raiding villages and forcing villagers to work as slave labor. The player explores various locations and completes quests in order to pass on to the next level. Ultimately, they face the Arch-Illager in his castle, defeating him and destroying the Orb of Dominance in the process, which frees Archie from its influence. Afterwards, they show kindness to Archie, much to his surprise, and together they celebrate that evil has been defeated and the world saved, though the Orb is later shown to be rebuilding itself.


Dungeons is developed by Mojang Studios for Xbox One, Windows 10, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch using Unreal Engine 4.[9][10] Console ports are being done by Double Eleven.[11]

With the continued success of the original Minecraft, Mojang thought about other possible games that could bring something new to the Minecraft universe.[12] 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.[12][13] 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.[14] According to game director Måns Olsen, the game was inspired by Diablo and Torchlight,[10] as well as co-operative first-person shooter games like Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide and Left 4 Dead.[12]

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.[13][15]

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".[16] 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.[12] 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.[15]

Minecraft Dungeons was first announced on September 28, 2018 during the Minecon live streaming event.[17][18] A video showcasing gameplay was released during E3 2019.[19]


Minecraft Dungeons was released on May 26, 2020, after being delayed from its original April release date[20] due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[21] The closed beta for the game ran for a month from March 25 to April 24, 2020.[22][23][24] The game is available in either the "Standard Edition" or the "Hero Edition", which contains downloadable content packs and cosmetics.[25]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PC) 70/100[26]
(NS) 70/100[27]
(XONE) 73/100[28]
Review scores
Game Informer7/10[31]
GamesRadar+3.5/5 stars[2]
PCGamesN3.5/5 stars[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[35]

Minecraft Dungeons received mixed reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[26][27][28] Critics generally found the game fun and charming,[2][32][33][35][3] complimenting its visuals[29][2][33][35] and music.[35] Some were divided on Dungeons's simplicity[34][33][36] and the procedural generation system used to generate loot and dungeon layouts.[34][30][31][2][3] Most reviewers were critical of the game's short story mode and perceived lack of depth.[34][2][34][29] Shacknews called it "a fun, laid back dungeon crawler for friends to get into."[37]


  1. ^ Wilborgh, Thomas. "The Sound of Scary". Minecraft.net. Mojang Studios. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Avard, Alex (May 22, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons review: "A more approachable entry point for the hack and slash genre"". GamesRadar+. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Maxwell, Ben (May 22, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons review – my first Diablo". PCGamesN. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Ben (May 26, 2020). "A new 'Minecraft' game is out today, and it shakes up the iconic series with a bold new hack-and-slash style of gameplay you can play with a friend". Business Insider. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "'Minecraft Dungeons' is a blocky, smash-and-slash adventure". Engadget. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Campbell, Colin (June 10, 2019). "Minecraft Dungeons is simple, Diablo-inspired fun for the family". Polygon. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  7. ^ McCarthy, Caty (June 10, 2019). "Minecraft Dungeons is Diablo for People Who Are Intimidated by Diablo". USgamer. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Marks, Tom (June 9, 2019). "Minecraft Dungeons Release Window Announced - E3 2019". IGN. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Kain, Erik. "'Minecraft Dungeons' Is A New Action-RPG Set In The 'Minecraft' Universe". Forbes. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Minecraft: Dungeons is made in the Unreal Engine". PCGamesN. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "Announcement: Minecraft Dungeons". Double Eleven. September 17, 2019. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d Williams, Mike (May 5, 2020). "Inside Minecraft Dungeon's Journey From a Zelda-Inspired 3DS Game to an Approachable Dungeon Crawler". USgamer. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Beckhelling, Imogen (October 28, 2019). "Minecraft Dungeons started life as a Nintendo 3DS game". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  14. ^ O'Connor, James (May 5, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons Was Originally More Like Zelda Than Diablo". GameSpot. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Roxburgh, Ewan (May 5, 2020). "Taking Minecraft Into New Genres: An Interview With Minecraft Dungeon's Måns Olson And Daniel Bjorkefors". Press Start. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Talbot, Carrie (November 18, 2019). "Dungeon crawlers can be "tricky" but getting into Minecraft Dungeons "is super easy"". PCGamesN. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  17. ^ Gilbert, Ben (September 29, 2018). "For the first time since the original, a new 'Minecraft' game is in the works — and it's arriving in 2019". Business Insider. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  18. ^ Campbell, Colin (September 29, 2018). "Mojang announces Minecraft: Dungeons". Polygon. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  19. ^ Grubb, Jeff (June 9, 2019). "Minecraft: Dungeons gameplay debuts at E3 2019". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Chalk, Andy. "Minecraft Dungeons is delayed until May". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  21. ^ Beckhelling, Imogen (April 1, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons is coming out a little later than planned due to the pandemic". Rock Paper Shotgun. Gamer Network. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  22. ^ "Minecraft Dungeons FAQ". Minecraft Help. Mojang. Retrieved April 24, 2020. The closed beta will run from March 25 to April 24 at 11am CEST (2am PDT).
  23. ^ "How to play Minecraft Dungeons Beta". Windows Central. April 3, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  24. ^ Lee, Helen A. (May 18, 2020). "Do you have to own Minecraft to play Minecraft Dungeons?". Looper.com. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  25. ^ Holt, Kris (March 31, 2020). "'Minecraft Dungeons' is delayed until May 26th". Engadget. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  26. ^ a b "Minecraft Dungeons for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Minecraft Dungeons". Metacritic. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Minecraft Dungeons for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Carter, Chris (May 24, 2020). "Review: Minecraft Dungeons". Destructoid. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  30. ^ a b Phillips, Tom (May 27, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons review: a Diablo-like that's just deep enough". Eurogamer. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  31. ^ a b Cork, Jeff (May 26, 2020). "Review - Minecraft Dungeons". Game Informer. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Watts, Steve (May 28, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons Review - A Cuter Looter". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  33. ^ a b c d Macy, Seth (May 23, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons Review - IGN". IGN. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  34. ^ a b c d e "Minecraft Dungeons review: Foundation for adventure". Shacknews. May 25, 2020.
  35. ^ a b c d Stuart, Keith (May 26, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons review – hours of fun for locked-down families". The Guardian. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  36. ^ Corliss, Cameron (May 24, 2020). "Minecraft Dungeons Review". Game Rant. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  37. ^ "Minecraft Dungeons E3 2019 preview: Creative sidestep". Shacknews. Retrieved June 11, 2019.

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