Minecraft, a game that is known worldwide for its creativity and exploration has again expanded into a new genre. This time taking players into the depth of a more competitive and combative version in Minecraft Legends.
Minecraft Legends is a story driven action/strategy game that will take the player on an adventure against a new foe, the Piglin, as they plan to take over the Overworld and all it contains.
In this game the player takes on the role of their Overworld’s hero-to-be as they are called on by the Caretakers of the Overworld to defend it at all costs. This is no easy feat as the player creates troops and defensive structures to assist in the war with the Piglins. In true Minecraft style, the player requires many of the resources from across the Overworld to craft and create, this time it is both troops and structures, the majority of which are well known within the Minecraft universe.
The difference being that this time around the player does not mine and craft their way to victory, they have companions to do the work for them that come in the form of Allay’s. These Allay can be instructed to mine and build while letting the player plan their attack or defence just as any hero would do. The Allay are controlled by the player through song and these melodies can be mixed and matched to the task bar via the player’s in-game songbook. By playing the right melody the Allay can collect resources or build defensive structures, troop spawn points as well as construct player upgrades. These upgrades are constructed at the Well of Fates located within the centre of the world. This location operates as a safe space within the world and is home to the Caretakers, the creatures who will guide the player throughout their journey. These upgrades can improve abilities, storage, defences, the Allay and more to help the player accomplish victory. Do not forget to head back to the Well from time to time and construct upgrades as they are important later into the game.
With all of the differences this game brings, it is still a world that is pure Minecraft. A procedurally generated world that brings all the resources and enemies that Minecraft players know and love. The difference being that this time around the world is united against a common enemy, and the enemies of the previous games will become your greatest allies. Use them to your advantage. Need a wall gone? Find a creeper. Don’t want to get close? A skeleton will take out that long range target.
Minecraft Legends isn’t just about becoming the legend of your own world though, it’s also about working with, or against other team of players. The game offers options in co-op, competitive or solo to do that and they are:
Campaign – a co-op battle of 1 to 4 players in a procedurally generated world that has the player/s defending the occupants of the world. The world runs on a day/night cycle and the enemies evolve and advance over time, attacking friendly villages and constructing their own bases for players to attack.
Multiplayer – an online PvP battle between 2 teams of up to 4 players, putting players and tactics against each other to see who comes out victorious.
Lost Legends and Myths – There is currently only one event in here so it is unknown what this may expand into. Currently it is a wave-based defence as waves of Piglin are thrown at the player which increases in difficulty as they all try to destroy the players home base. Completion of this challenge brings with it a reward at the end.
With what the player will be doing out of the way, it’s now onto the world itself and it looks beautiful. In true blocky Minecraft style, it is full of colour and life, comes with a procedurally generated weather affected landscape, and easily recognisable resources, wildlife and characters throughout the land that any Minecraft fan will recognise. It’s a world that can be explored as much as the player wishes, while dealing with the Piglin threat, and I wouldn’t blame the player for doing just that. It is Minecraft, with an upgrade, and the graphics won’t disappoint. The sounds of the world are on par with the graphics which is great as melodies play a key part in this world. From the sounds of your Allay-commanding Lute, through to the grunt of the Piglins, nothing seems out of placeand the background music is set in true Minecraft style.
As the player adventures through the good-looking world, they will utilise a familiar, but different control scheme compared to the original game. It is familiar in that your Minecraft item bar at the bottom returns, but with tasks listed across that are used to instruct the Allay. The player also has 4 task bars to choose from by using the D-pad, with one for mining, construction, ally spawn points and upgrades. By selecting the corresponding task on the task bar the hero plays a tune and then an Allay goes to work. Left trigger to highlight the location, right trigger to build. Combat is the other side of the control scheme and can be as simple or as hard as the player wants it to be. Once the player has spawned their troops, or finds them out in the open world they can be gathered by pressing X. The troops will follow you around and attack these enemies with you.
The player can also send their troops in the direction they are traveling by pressing Yand those troops will attack anything in their path. Subsequently the player can leave their troops in one place by holding X when the preference is to operate solo. It can be as simple as that if you want it to be. If strategy is the player’s thing, the advanced controls can see the player command part or all of the troops to fight on different fronts. Right Trigger brings up the advanced directive options and you can control troops from there. The basics of this are shown throughout the game’s introduction and sees the player have a more refined control of the troops and what they do.
Minecraft has always been a family friendly game, and this one is no different. The enemies are vicious, and cute, the look is true to the Minecraft style, and the chatter is humorous and G rated, making this a game that the whole family can enjoy. The only difference now being that the controls bring with them a slightly different control scheme, with defensive placement and strategy become key to defeating the tougher challenges. Not saying that the younger kids won’t enjoy this at all, just that there is a more challenging side to the game should the player wish to take it on. The inability to play couch co-op in this game, which you can in Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons, is a bit of a loss for this one though. Some of my great, and earliest gaming memories with my kids have been created in Minecraft on the couch together, but only being able to play online will stop this from happening for many families of young kids. There may be too much going on on-screen but I still miss it.
Multiplayer was unable to be tested as part of this preview though as time zones and opportunities were not within the schedule of this reviewer. There were positive signs and discussion around the PvP aspects of this game and it is something that this reviewer will jump into as soon as possible.
Minecraft Legends launches April 18 and will be available with Xbox Game Pass.
* A digital code for Minecraft Legends was kindly provided to Xbox Gamer Dad for the purpose of this review. Minecraft Legends launches April 18 and is included with Xbox Game Pass *
Minecraft Legends is a game that grabs the world of Minecraft and moves it onto another genre to capture a new audience, and I feel that it does that quite well. The game brings a constantly evolving world, new friends and enemies, and a new challenge to keep it fresh. My biggest annoyance is with the lack of couch co-op as Minecraft is better with the kids, but this won’t stop me from playing it at all. For a Minecraft fan, there’s a lot of familiarity, for a strategy fan, there’s a lot to love and for everyone else there’s Xbox Game Pass. This game is definitely worth jumping into, especially if you like playing games.
- Enjoyable new direction for Minecraft
- Basic and advanced controls for players of all skill levels
- Minecraft style that we know and love
- Variety of solo, co-op and versus modes
- Lack of couch co-op
- May be a little too much happening at once for younger players