Minecraft Dungeons, developed by Mojang Studios and Double Eleven is of course set within the Minecraft universe.  However, unlike its open-world, creative older sibling, this is somewhat of a departure from the series with it being a linear, story-driven dungeon-crawler.  Minecraft Dungeons tells the story a villager by the name of Archie who was banished by the residents and during his times of lonely wondering, he discovered the “Orb of Dominance”, an artifact that grants its beholder unearthly power.

Archie became power-hungry and embarked on a quest of revenge against those that banished him, he raided villages with his army and enslaved the many while he looked down upon those sat on this throne of dominance.  But now, it’s up to you the player (and hopefully three other friends) to dethrone Archie, destroy the “Orb of Dominance” and save the world in the process.

As already stated, this is no creative game, instead you select your procedurally generated dungeon from the world map with enemies, traps and plenty of loot and embark on your adventure.  Visually, the game has a top-down, isometric perspective with environments that will become instantly recognisable to fans of the main Minecraft offering.  The gameplay is very simple, you start at the very beginning of the dungeon and fight your way through to the very end, with some form of boss encounter before escaping.  However, before starting your adventure, you will select from the variety of avatars, including Steve, but every character will have the same skill-set.

How Minecraft Dungeons offers some form of variation with the characters is by picking up the many weapons and pieces of armour during each dungeon.  The loot drops are that frequent, that your character might end a dungeon equipped with totally different weapons and gear that you started out with.  Each weapon and armour will also have perks, which you can upgrade by spending your Emerald currency.  You will also pick-up a variety of artifacts which will also grant you additional perks and abilities such as giving you an explosive firework to fire at your enemies, an ability to heal you and your teammates, summon a protective orb and more.

During my time playing Minecraft Dungeons, I did have more fun than I thought I would.  However, I have been playing it with my son and a friend, and like most, the vast majority of games are always more fun when playing with others.  Minecraft Dungeons can be played locally or online with up-to four players in one game and the game can be blasted through in a few hours, though if you up the difficulty, it will not only make the game more challenging, but it will also force the player to use some form of strategy when it comes to equipping the best equipment and weaponry.  However, the core gameplay is quite shallow with its hack and slash nature, which has a similar charm to that of a Lego game in the sense of being suitable for a variety of age ranges, as well as slashing down enemies and collecting coins or in this case, Emeralds.

In conclusion, I am not a Minecraft fan, but despite this, I’ve had fun playing Minecraft Dungeons, though in fairness, I wouldn’t be having as much as playing on my own, given the nature of the game.  If you go into this game expecting it to be anything like the main game, at least in terms of gameplay, then you will be disappointed as this is a totally different genre entirely.  However, the environments, enemies, weapons, gear and charm will make fans of the main game feel instantly at home.  Yet coming from someone that has had little interest in its more established sibling, I’ve enjoyed my time with Minecraft Dungeons and I know I will do so in the future taking on the higher difficulties and going back into its world to discover its hidden secrets.

It would be easy for fans and none fans alike to be put-off by how much of a departure to the series that this game is, but if you or your child, niece or nephew have any interest in this series and you’re looking for something to play together, then look no further then Minecraft Dungeons, especially when the standard digital version has a launch RRP of around £16.  You won’t find anything groundbreaking or genre defining, but if you find someone to share the experience with, you’ll have a fun playing Minecraft Dungeons, likely whether you’re a fan of the main game or not.