Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3 months
Minecraft Legends review – an excellent action strategy game in the Minecraft universe
I, a Minecraft noob, decided to venture into the new action-strategy spin-off Minecraft Legends. Despite initial difficulties, the colourful block game is thrilling.
Minecraft’s idyllic world is in danger of perishing. Evil Piglins from the depths of the Nether are looking to take over. Only you can prevent that.
In Minecraft Legends, you’ll take on the role of a nameless hero. You’re tasked with uniting all creatures of the surface world and going into battle against the nefarious Piglin forces. Gameplay builds on the classing Minecraft crafting principles, wrapping them up with a neat action-strategy bow. Previous knowledge of other Minecraft games isn’t necessary.
Although the game didn’t convince me initially, I fell in love with it the more I played. This is mainly due to its satisfying gameplay loop and the chaotic battles that always surprise me.
Story mode as a tutorial
Before entering the multiplayer fray in PVP mode, you’d better learn the game mechanics of Minecraft Legends in story mode. It’s structured like a long tutorial, introducing you to the addictive gameplay loop. It takes a while to get going, but it’s all the more fun.
Optionally, you can play the story with up to three other team members. Due to the limited number of players before release, I played through the story mode alone. My solo adventure lasted about 15 hours and was a lot of fun, even without human support.
Off into the fray!
In Story Mode, evil Piglins are absolutely everywhere. Across the world, they set up camps and deface beautiful landscapes to dig for gold.
To rid the world of the Piglin menace, attack their bases. You won’t be doing this alone. At your side are various Minecraft creatures, or mobs, which you’ll unlock in the course of the game. To recruit soldiers for your army, you’ll build spawners from which new mobs emerge at the push of a button.
Each mob performs a different function in battles. Use Cobblestone Golems and Creepers to break through enemy walls and buildings. Plank Golems and Skeletons attack Piglins from afar. In close combat, zombies are essential. Rounding out your army are Grindstone Golems and Mossy Golems – the former stun your enemies while the latter heal your own creatures.
You control your mobs in battle using various commands. With a wave of your flag, you gather the critters around you or send them towards enemy Piglins. With banner view, you control your soldiers a bit more precisely and send them towards a specific target.
You can select either all or individual creatures. This way, your Creeper can blast through enemy walls while your Skeleton Army eliminates a horde of Piglins with arrows from a safe distance.
Commanding works well in most cases. Every now and then my creatures get lost somewhere on the battlefield and just stand around stupidly because they can’t find their way to a target. Annoying. But what else can I expect from stone monsters and mindless zombies?
On your quest for revenge against the Piglins, don’t forget about the numerous villages throughout the surface world. Every night, the hellpigs prepare for a new attack with the aim of enslaving villagers. To save these settlements from destruction, you’ll build defensive constructs.
Walls provide protection against enemy attacks. Various towers automatically attack Piglins with arrows, ice projectiles or flames. Catapults hit hordes of enemies with precision even from long distances. You can increase your attack power with expansions such as the Blast Tower or give your wooden walls a stone upgrade with a Masonry building.
Unlike in the original Minecraft, you don’t build block by block yourself. You choose the structures and little helper spirits take care of the rest.
The tower defence gameplay is excellently implemented and fun to play. As the game progresses, you’ll build increasingly fancy defences and battles will escalate into beautiful chaos. And you’re right in the middle with your army of golems, zombies and skeletons. Wonderful.
Collect, build, fight, repeat
Both mob spawners and your defensive buildings consume resources. You can mine for these in the huge open-world game world. Wood and stone abound. Rarer resources such as diamonds and redstone are sometimes well hidden. You’ll need them to build the best defensive constructs and spawn the most powerful creatures.
You also need resources for permanent upgrades that give you access to new creatures, buildings and raw materials.
Every attack on an enemy base and every village defence must be financed with enough resources – otherwise the Piglins will overrun you with ease. This is time-consuming. At the start of the game, it’s also confusing. You’ll be overwhelmed with so much information about creatures, constructs and similar-looking resources at the beginning that you’ll quickly lose track. It’s exhausting and feels like work.
Over time, I became comfortable with the gameplay loop of gathering resources, building, and fighting. I even learned to love it. The more you play and the more creatures and structures you unlock, the more you get caught up in a whirlpool of interrelated, pending tasks. As you’re constantly making progress, this vortex feels more and more satisfying.
It’s shortly before midnight. I’m just quickly gathering some resources for the next attack. And suddenly it’s two o’clock in the morning. Because after collecting the resources, I still destroyed two forts, defended a village and unlocked new creatures.
Intense multiplayer games
Minecraft Legends unfolds its full potential in PVP mode. Team-based multiplayer matches can be played in 1v1 to 4v4 modes. Each team starts with one tower on an empty base. Whoever destroys the opposing team’s tower wins the game. But that’s easier said than done.
Similar to story mode, your goal is to collect resources as quickly as possible and install defensive structures around your base. After that, your team should buy improvements as soon as possible to unlock access to new resources, creatures and constructs. To make things even more complicated, you’ll have to contend with increasingly aggressive Piglin hordes in addition to human opponents.
For my test I played 1v1 and 3v3 games. An encounter lasts up to one hour, depending on the course of the game. No matter if alone or in a team, all matches were extremely intense and exciting until the end. In a 1v1, you’ll need to be well versed with the game mechanics, as you have to do all the tasks yourself. In 3v3, communication with your team members and a clear division of tasks is the key to success.
I’m particularly impressed with the strategic range the game gives me in its creatures and constructs. Each match is unique and offers unpredictable situations and battles that are hard to beat in terms of drama and intensity. For example, I lost one multiplayer encounter because an opposing team built a second base near ours. Without us noticing. From there they overran us with a horde of creatures and bombarded us with a catapult. GGWP.
Pretty block optics and a smooth soundtrack
The block world in Minecraft Legends is procedurally generated. This means that in each new PVP match and in each new run of the story campaign, a completely new map will be created.
No matter which random constellation you’re served with – Minecraft Legends looks beautiful. The game uses the classic Minecraft look and mixes it with decent cel shading. The colourful world is atmospherically lit by a day-night cycle and looks impressive despite the simple style.
I’m also thrilled with the soundtrack. In heated situations, the game will bombard you with epic orchestral arrangements to make your pulse soar. In quiet sections of the game, catchy melodies spread good mood and fit perfectly with the wholesome world of Minecraft.
Verdict: two thumbs up, even for Minecraft noobs
Minecraft Legends is a beautiful open-world game with a focus on resource management and a satisfying gameplay loop. The mix of tower defence and real-time strategy provides decent fun, chaos and unpredictable situations. If you can get used to the time-consuming resource management and the sometimes clumsy AI, you’ll be rewarded with a surprising amount of strategic depth.
The game unfolds its full potential in PVP mode. Team-based matches against other players are hard to beat in terms of intensity and drama. Story mode serves as a balance to the tiring multiplayer battles. Here you can dictate your own pace of play and learn the game mechanics. Story mode is sluggish at the beginning, but quickly becomes all the more fun.
I’m curious to see how long the gameplay loop can keep me entertained. So far, I’m showing no signs of fatigue. Even as an absolute Minecraft noob, I’m thrilled with the game. And I’m sure I’ll spend many more hours in the colourful block world of Minecraft Legends.
Minecraft Legends will be available on Game Pass for PC and Xbox Series X/S starting April 18. It’ll also be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. The game was provided to me by Microsoft for testing purposes.
Mojang C2C Minecraft Legends Xbox CH
Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S
Mojang C2C Minecraft Legends Windows CH
Sony Minecraft Legends DELUXE PS-4
Sony Minecraft Legends DELUXE PS-5
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