Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive have joined forces to deliver the action-strategy game Minecraft Legends. Minecraft is renowned for its immense versatility and longevity as it continues to dominate the gaming space over 10 years after its initial release, so Minecraft Legends certainly has a lot to live up to.
Overall, Minecraft Legends is a gripping extension of the larger Minecraft universe that retains the heart and soul of the beloved block game while expanding it into something greater.
Spoilers for Minecraft Legends ahead.
An effectively engaging and simple storyline
Minecraft Legends’ storyline is fairly straightforward, but it manages to be gripping nonetheless.
The overarching quest of the game is to become the hero of the Overworld. The story begins with a scene connecting Minecraft Legends to regular Minecraft as the Hosts pull players through a portal from the first-person point of view in Minecraft to the third-person point of view in Minecraft Legends.
Once players have been transported to this new world, protecting the Overworld means defending villages from the wicked Piglins, rallying forces to aid you in battle, gathering supplies for success, and upgrading your abilities. It’s clear what you need to do to progress the main narrative after completing each task, as Minecraft Legends‘ storyline is grounded by the three Hosts that escort the player through the campaign story.
Meanwhile, scenes from the Nether also steer the story as they exhibit the Piglin armies growing stronger, signaling an increased threat to the player that sees the Overworld becoming more lively and battles becoming increasingly difficult.
However, as Minecraft has always prided itself on self-expression, an immediate drawback of Minecraft Legends players are likely to notice upon beginning their journey is that you cannot import your own custom skin. Instead, you are presented with 10 free options.
These skins have a lot of personality, but it would have been much better to allow players the option between the premade skins or their own so they could better represent themselves. Minecraft’s custom skin system is a beloved staple for the block game, so its absence is noticeable in Minecraft Legends.
A vibrant world bursting with life
Minecraft’s signature blocky style has never been more visually stunning than it is in Minecraft Legends. Each unique biome is packed with lively mobs, hidden hazards, various resources, blooming flora, and helpful boosts. Players will find bouncecaps that allow them to leap through the sky and glowing patches of speedwheat that will help them move faster, but they’ll also come across poison vines that continuously deal damage and twisted redthorn that will drag them down.
Minecraft Legends‘ weather mechanic interacts with the world in extraordinary ways, as raindrops bounce off water, fog trickles through biomes, and snow dances through the sky, coating even the fiery Piglin outposts. Everything is constantly moving and changing, so players feel immersed in the dynamic blocky world as they progress through it.
The mobs make the game
At the core of Minecraft Legends’ magical world are the iconic mobs associated with the larger Minecraft franchise. Minecraft Legends, however, puts a unique spin on every single mob players are familiar with to create something truly special.
Instead of having to carefully listen for the signature hissing sound of an impending Creeper explosion or dodge incoming Skeleton arrows, Minecraft Legends allows players to become allies with mobs that are usually foes. This includes Creepers, Skeletons, and Zombies, which all have a much more friendly and charming look than in vanilla Minecraft. Teaming up with these creatures is one of the best parts of the game, as they all come with powerful benefits that are crucial to success.
Minecraft Legends also introduces an intriguing new type of mob called the Firsts. These ancient beings are powerful golems, and each of the four players can unlock possesses a unique look matched with a special skillset. These beings are extraordinary, both in how imposing they look and how powerful an ally they are in battle.
But it’s not just mob allies that can give you the edge in a fight. There are four different mounts players can acquire in Minecraft Legends, each coming with its own benefits and drawbacks. The Brilliant Beetle can traverse walls and glide through the air, the Regal Tiger is the fastest of all, Big Beak is best at soaring through the sky, and the classic Horse (also available in vanilla Minecraft) is dependable on any terrain. Because you spend the entire game on a mount, the unique differences each one possesses can drastically affect the outcome of a battle.
Pitted against the nefarious Piglins, Minecraft Legends’ main antagonists, you’ll want all the help you can get. There are many unique versions of this mob, ranging from the extremely goofy to the downright formidable, which allows them to strike the perfect balance between being imposing yet endearing, encapsulating the spirit of Minecraft itself perfectly.
Combat is surprisingly versatile and complex
Starting with a diamond sword and permanently affixed to a mount might seem limiting initially, but Minecraft Legends’ combat is surprisingly balanced and intricate. Even though you cannot switch your weapon or dismount, there is so much to manage during battles that you may barely lift your sword.
Strategy is the key to success in battle, as players will have to summon allies and command what they want their troops to do while also rebuilding defenses around the villages under siege as they fall. Meanwhile, players also need to keep an eye on their health and building materials which might even have them sending out Allays to collect resources during intense battles.
Overall, there are many features to pay attention to during battle, but these aspects strike a perfect balance between being complex yet manageable for an engaging and intriguing combat experience. The combat system feels immensely refreshing and different from the one in classic Minecraft.
Promises longevity in unexpected ways
Vanilla Minecraft remains immensely popular due to its unprecedented longevity and sandbox style; Minecraft Legends follows in its footsteps.
Just like with regular Minecraft, whether you play alone or with friends will drastically affect how the game progresses. For the campaign, every map will generate differently, just like in vanilla Minecraft, which allows for massive replayability.
While solo play is enjoyable, the true longevity Minecraft Legends possesses shines through while playing with others. Players can navigate the campaign while teaming up with friends or opt to get competitive in the versus gameplay mode. The versus mode presents players with the unique challenge of defending their area from other players rather than protecting villages from Piglins, which makes for replayable (and competitive) fun.
No matter how you choose to play, Minecraft Legends is a cinematic and engaging experience that can be equally enjoyed by avid Minecraft players or those looking to appreciate the iconic blocky world and its beloved characters for the first time.
Disclosure: Our review copy of Minecraft Legends was provided by Microsoft.