Minecraft is a game almost anyone will recognize. Its block-shaped world has made its way onto almost every platform and into the homes of many. In 2020, they branched off from the traditional version of the game and brought us the dungeon crawler adventure, Minecraft Dungeons. Now, Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive have expanded even further on the game, bringing the world of Minecraft to an action-strategy game, Minecraft Legends.
Thanks to Xbox Game Studios, we got to sit down with the team behind the game, where they demonstrated never-before-seen Minecraft Legends gameplay. Executive Producer for Mojang Studios, Dennis Ries, walked us through it, and let me tell you, we are excited to get our hands on it! The game has a little something for everyone and takes some of the best parts of Minecraft, pairs them with some tower defence, and lets you collect adorable mounts while you’re at it. With approximately 20 hours of gameplay at your fingertips, it’s time to save the Overworld.
As you load into the game, you’ll find Campaign, Versus Mode, Lost Legends and Marketplace. Lost Legends is part of what will bring a lot of end-game content to Minecraft Legends, with monthly missions that Reis explained to be “a several-hour experience that will allow you to play the game in different ways as well and if you successfully complete the challenge, then you’ll be rewarded.”
We dove straight into the campaign, chose our hero—the Deluxe Edition’s Carrot Commander—and we were on our way. Different skins can have different cosmetic effects in the game, like daisies that the Carrot Commander spawns at its feet when it lands. There looks to be plenty of skins to choose from for both your character and mount, so I am looking forward to seeing more of that at launch and learning a bit more about how you can collect them.
Minecraft Legends looks like a cel-shaded version of the original. Almost like a zoomed-out version but with darker shading around the edges, creating the block style Minecraft is known for on a smaller scale. When you’re looking across the land, the game looks so unique, but I worry that in the thick of battle, things may look jumbled, making it easier to miss things.
Minecraft Legends sets you up to be the hero of the Overworld, “If there is any hope, it’s you.” New characters, The Hosts, named Foresight, Action and Knowledge, have invited you to the Overworld to save it from the invading Piglins. The Hosts will guide you through the world, which includes sending you on missions to investigate villages and protect them. And yes, even after you’ve saved a village, it can be attacked by the Piglins again later on!
Before you can fight, however, you’ll need tools. The Hosts in Minecraft Legends will provide you with the tools you need. The Loot spawns Allays, and these will be the way you collect and protect your resources and how you will build structures. The Flames of Creation will spawn Golems that fight by your side. The Banner of Courage will call the mobs of the Overworld to aid you in battle.
“Minecraft Legends sets you up to be the hero of the Overworld, ‘If there is any hope, it’s you.'”
Battle looks a lot like exploring. There is a full map, very unlike the kind you see in the original Minecraft, with different areas mapped out. You’ll collect Prismarine from Piglins, and then as you explore your map and the different biomes, you’ll use it to upgrade Improvement Hubs. This will allow you to find more materials, which means new buildings! You’ll also discover new mobs, which can drastically change the way you play the game. The more you find, the more options you have. Each unlocked material expands the types of buildings available. Each new mob will give you the opportunity to build spawners to have them join you in battle.
The gathering and battle strategies in Minecraft Legends are really intriguing. Mojang has managed to pay proper homage to Minecraft itself while still creating something unique. We have the need for gathering things like wood, iron, redstone and diamonds, but you don’t have to delve underground to get them. You won’t be pulling out resources block by block.
Instead, you call on the Allays and place what looks like a large target on the ground. Once you confirm, they will mine the area for the resource chosen—keep in mind you have to unlock new resources as you progress. Items like trees may disappear when you gather resources, but there is no terraforming in Minecraft Legends, mountains won’t be torn down, and you won’t be left with gaping holes. You work with what the map gives you!
“Items like trees may disappear when you gather resources, but there is no terraforming in Minecraft Legends…”
You won’t just be grabbing mining materials, either. Minecraft Legends allows you to collect resources that can aid you in your journey. Some things may make you run faster, and some may make you jump farther. This is part of what makes exploration so exciting. Instead of barrelling through the story, Minecraft Legends rewards you for scouting out the area.
Your trust fighters, Golems, come in all shapes and sizes, like Plank and Stone Golems, each bringing something different to the table. You will eventually unlock spawners to bring different kinds into battle, like the Mossy Golem, who can help heal. As the game progresses, you’ll be able to build more complicated structures, which include spawners for different Golems and mobs. There is also something called “Firsts” which are giant Golems you have to uncover on the map before you can build the upgrade to spawn them.
Every mob you can spawn will have different specialties. Plank Golems and Skeletons are ranged, Stone Golems can smash structures, Creepers fight close up, and knock backs don’t affect Zombies. You’ll also find some old favourites like Llamas and Chickens and new creatures like the Badger. There are plenty of mounts in Minecraft Legends that you can discover, and they have their own special abilities, just like the mobs. For instance, the Regal Tiger is fast, the Brilliant Beetle is an expert climber, and the Bird can fly.
That is part of the beauty of Minecraft Legends. Many may try to race through the game, fast travelling across the map to destroy Piglin bases and complete the story, but the further you explore, the more intricate the game gets, not unlike Minecraft itself. Instead of digging a little deeper into the ground to build new things, you need to explore a little further and follow along with the new narrative.
“Minecraft Legends will have excellent replay value.”
I could talk for ages about different strategies I am excited to try, which means that Minecraft Legends will have excellent replay value. The number of battle styles is endless. You can fight alongside your Golems, so they last longer or strategically place ranged or tankier mobs. You have buildings like the Carpenter Hut that can heal buildings or problem-solve the best way to tackle a new battle. The possibilities are endless.
The game will be procedurally generated, meaning each time you begin a new campaign, it will be a brand-new experience. This will also be a new narrative-driven experience for Minecraft players, complete with elaborate cutscenes, and it will be fully voice-acted. Minecraft Legends will be available in 31 languages, with voice acting available in 15.
And all of that is just the campaign. Minecraft Legends also features a PVP mode, which looks like it will bring new strategies of its own. These are also procedurally generated, so though the map is smaller than the campaign’s map, it will still be different each time. PVP can be 1v1 all the way to 4v4 in private games or 4v4 with public matchmaking, which pairs similarly skilled players together.
It should be noted—especially for parents—there is no in-game chat in Minecraft Legends. There are some notifications, like when a teammate needs resources, but there is no text or voice chat in the game itself.
“Fun fact, the players themselves don’t cause any damage in Minecraft Legends PvP.”
Minecraft Legends PvP brings exploring, gathering, building and battling, but it’s all condensed. Reis said that most matches sit around the 20-minute mark once you get the hang of it, but more intricate players could take longer as they battle it out. Your goal is to defend your base and destroy theirs. Ideally, you can build yours strong enough to handle itself while you battle elsewhere. Fun fact, the players themselves don’t cause any damage in Minecraft Legends PvP. That is all left up to your mobs.
You can build some very interesting structures to defend your base, both offensive and defensive. A Battle Drum will increase the rate of fire in your towers. A Masonry turns your wood walls into stone. There is even something called a Kaboomery (great name!) which takes all the arrows from your towers and turns them into exploding arrows.
In our preview, the players built a forward base to watch over their mobs as they attacked the other team’s base. Here they built a Redstone Launcher, which sends giant explosive cubes at its target. During the battle, you set up your mobs and do your best to assist them in destroying the other team’s base—my bet is with the Kaboomery!
Here are some tips for Minecraft Legends PvP:
- Gather resources as fast as you can.
- Hunt down chests that may have materials and unique items.
- Build yourself a base with walls and structures.
- Fight Piglins to gain resources to build upgrades for advanced materials, allowing for advanced defences and structures.
- Choose roles within your team: builder, fighter, gatherer.
- Remember, your resources are shared, but your Allays (how you collect them) are not.
- Gain high ground on the other team’s base when possible
If you die in Minecraft Legends PvP, you’ll respawn at your base in about ten seconds, meaning you won’t come back where you died. I can see this mode getting incredibly competitive, and I liken it to Fortnite Save the World, where you are in a rush to build the best base you can before you’re attacked.
Minecraft Legends is shaping up to be an all-around exciting entry to the Minecraft franchise. Its Standard Edition is $39.99, with the Deluxe Edition for $49.99. Minecraft Legends will be available on April 18th, 2023, for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, PC via Windows and Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Make sure to also watch out for it on day one for Xbox Game Pass for console and PC.
Minecraft Legends Global Release times:
- 9 am PDT
- 12 pm EDT
- 1 pm BRT
- 5 pm BST
- 6 pm CEST
- 1 am JST (April 19)
- 3 am AEDT (April 19)