It didn’t take long until I started to fall in love with Minecraft Legends. Mojang’s sandbox world builder has been around for nearly twelve years, capturing the creative minds of players of all ages. While Minecraft Dungeons might not have been as much of a success, it didn’t stop the developers from attempting another genre untouched by the blocks and colours of their flagship title. There’s a heck of a lot to learn from the moment you begin, but with enough practice and perseverance, players are going to have a lot of fun building bases, exploring the world, and fighting off the hordes off pesky Piglins.
There’s a great depth of strategies in Minecraft Legends that become more complex as you start to defeat Piglins, whether on their home turf or when they decide to launch an attack against a nearby village or a settlement. Breaking it down to its most basic level, you’ll spend much of your time mining for different resources like stone, wood, diamonds, and gold; crafting upgrades to help you in a multitude of ways, whether gaining stronger fortifications for your defences or unlocking new armies (known as mobs); and fighting off hordes of Piglins that come in all shapes and sizes. These fundamentals are built upon greatly with new ideas and options for you to make use of, and the world itself is filled with different areas and secrets that make exploring one of the more exciting elements of it.
Traveling around the map will often reveal new crafting components, mounts, enemy bases, and more. In the early stages, you might find a mining outcrop of Redstone, but it isn’t until you understand how everything works that this important resource can be mined. The central area of my map (as the world is randomly generated), called the Well of Fate, is where you’ll be able to build upgradable shrines and towers that provide various benefits. Everything you build here will cost Prismarine which is obtained from destroying enemy bases, as well as a certain type of resource and amount. These upgrades can range from the ability to mine rarer minerals; increase the overall size of your mob (which starts off at twenty and grows by four or ten); obtain the help of large totems that offer important support in battle; and build new defensive and attacking structures like catapults and ice traps.
It took me a while to understand the systems of upgrades in Minecraft Legends, but when it clicks, you feel like a whole playbook of opportunities open up to you, and they make attacking Piglin bases and defending the good people at villages a thrilling and surprisingly epic experience. Everything is about preparation, and planning is key in every decision you make. One does not simply walk into Mordor, after all. Piglins will target a particular village or friendly community every night which you’ll be made aware of. Of course, you don’t have to help them, but by keeping these villagers on your side, a chest filled with valuable resources will always be available to you. To defend the villages, you’ll need to build traps, walls, arrow towers, and other mechanisms to stop them from destroying whatever lies in their path. Once you’ve built your defences, you’re free to go off and continue your adventure, but as soon as the sun goes to bed, it’s time to fight.
Your mobs are key to your survival, and as long as you build the spawning points, different golems can be summoned, along with some other familiar faces. There are golems that are quick to destroy structures, fire arrows from range, heal nearby golems, and more. Once upon a time, you’d be fighting zombies and skeletons in Minecraft, but now they’ll also be available to summon as long as you go and liberate their settlements from further Piglin attacks. Upgrading the Flames of Creation will grow your army in size, and when you’re in charge of thirty to forty, battles are about as epic as they come. It isn’t just the villages where you can take full advantage of having an army. You can take the fight to the Piglins, which, is where Minecraft Legends is at its best. The whole purpose is to rid the overworld of the snorting scumbags, and the best way to do so is get rid of their huge fortresses and destroy their Nether Portals.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it felt like I was participating in the Battle of Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings. These battles are both exciting and nerve-wracking, where decision-making on the fly is not only encouraged, it’s a necessity if you’re going to be victorious. One battle went on for a good thirty minutes as I carefully began to deconstruct the fortress. There are different parts to these gargantuan Piglin structures that can catch you out if you don’t plan your tactics. Certain structures spawn more Piglins, others stand tall and fire arrows at you from large towers, and some fortresses even have defensive pillars that need to be destroyed before you attempt to break down their Nether portals.
As for the Piglins themselves, they take many different forms and can catch you out if you aren’t prepared. Some are just your standard infantry with swords and shields, however, there’re bigger and bulkier enemies, some that fire arrows at you from a distance, some that are equipped with explosives, and more. They’re all over the map, and at night, they aren’t just restricted to their Nether Portals, but it is their strength in numbers during these massive fortress battles where you’ll become engrossed in the strategy and skill involved to overthrow them, breathing a sigh of relief when done while sitting in awe of the grandeur of what you just witnessed.
On top of the campaign, you can also team up with or fight against friends in a base-building multiplayer where you take the bones of what you’ve learned on your own onto an open battlefield. There’s a wealth of options for how you build your base, and it plays out in a similar way to when gathering resources and using them to upgrade various structures in single player. At night, Piglins will attack both player’s bases, so not only are you trying to destroy the opposition, there’re waves of the evil piglets you’ll have to slaughter. Managing your resources, planning what fortifications to make, and deciding when is best to attack are all factors of the multiplayer, and the possibilities are endless. Once the opponent’s base reaches zero percent, you win, however, as long as your creativity is on point, the process could take a while.
Minecraft Legends is a fantastic strategy title that has more layers to it than I expected. When you begin to understand the systems at play, you’re free to be as creative as you want. The interface is easy to get to grips with, and the scale of some of the bigger battles is like nothing I’ve seen before. Mojang has managed to give players of all skills and ages a way to enjoy what many understand about the franchise, yet give a much different twist on the gameplay. Despite some issues controlling my mobs, or having them fall off cliffs or down chasms when I least needed it, I can’t think of a similar game in recent memory that I’ve enjoyed playing quite this much. It’s a nice reminder that Minecraft is, at its core, about being creative and having a great time doing it.
Full-scale battles are excellent
Plenty to do
Interesting mining and building mechanics
Fun to explore
A fair amount to learn
Controlling mobs can be awkward