I expected Minecraft Dungeons to be like a LEGO-esque iteration of the classic dungeon crawler game Diablo. I expected that we’d get a kid-friendly blast from the past. What we got instead was a surprisingly fresh take on the combination of the game format and the Miencraft brand. And there’s a lot of room for growth. All the game needs is one update.
This summer, when the masses (hopefully) join in on the game online, Minecraft Dungeons has the opportunity to grow into a game worth playing. Like LEGO video games made over the past decade, this Minecraft game doesn’t take full advantage of the format. For LEGO, most (not all, but most) games toss the vast majority of LEGO brick building in the garbage – relying instead on slapstick comedy to connect gameplay to the original plastic toy.
They’re not the same thing. There are apparently enough people out there that take the LEGO game format serious enough that they’ve changed PRECIOUS little over the past half-decade. But the potential for a LEGO game that builds is, in my opinion, so massive, it’s like they’re avoiding it on purpose.
The same is true of Minecraft Dungeons. The greatness of the original Minecraft is the user’s ability to tear the environment down and rebuild in ways that are awesome and often unexpected. Minecraft Dungeons is one of the growing collection of games that forgets the most envigorating and unique part of the Minecraft universe.
All Minecraft Dungeons needs is an update (or a game mode) where the entire universe is an open sandbox. All I want to be able to do is go on the story quest delivered by the game… at the same time as I’m able to exploit my very basic knowledge of how to make a sword out of iron and create traps by digging out hallways in the ground, where my enemies numbers mean nothing.
Because without that bit, Minecraft is, in itself, just an exploitation of the brand without the payoff. If I’m going to play a game that’s all boxy with pixel-centric graphics, I’m gonna want to be able to punch the trees and build towers with the dirt.