My relationship with Minecraft has been that of a spectator for the most part. But I have learned a lot about this blocky game, fulfilling my editorial duties to grow the Minecraft category on Beebom over the past two years. I have even tried my hand at Minecraft multiple times, only to mercilessly die to creepers or drown while exploring the oceans. Truly, I was a little overwhelmed by the vastness and possibilities in Minecraft. But last year came the Minecraft Legends announcement, which had me excited!
I was quite thrilled about the possibility of one day playing a Minecraft game from scratch; a game that didn’t require me to Google recipes, Minecraft villager jobs, best seeds, and more. Well, that day came this week, thanks to the folks at Microsoft who provided me with a review copy of Minecraft Legends. Now, I have been playing this new action strategy game set in the Minecraft world for three days, and here are my initial impressions of Minecraft Legends.
Minecraft Legends Storyline & Basics
To give you a quick overview of the story, Minecraft Legends depicts an alternate overworld (the same as the original game) that existed in harmony. The villagers and the mobs were all safe, only to have their beautiful world invaded by Piglins from the Nether one day. The Piglin army is now out to corrupt the overworld and destroy anything that stands in its way.
And this is where the well-wishers of this overworld, who are depicted in the form of three figures – Knowledge, Action, and Foresight, step in and recruit you (a regular Minecraft player) to protect the Minecraft Legends world and its residents from the Piglin invasion. They are also the ones that walk you through the basics, help you learn all the new techniques, and guide you during the entire gameplay.
Minecraft Legends: Not As Blocky!
Before moving on to the gameplay, I wanna quickly discuss the visuals. Unlike the main game, booting into Minecraft Legends for the first time is a totally different experience. My first thought, when I started playing, was that the game looked modern and felt inviting. The Minecraft Legends overworld, though it has familiar terrain, mobs, and biomes as Minecraft, it doesn’t feel as blocky as the original game.
I was mesmerized by the beauty of the overworld here; pulling me in to play a little longer. The background music, as my colleague Sampad pointed out, was also calming and helped him relax after a long day of working on the XDefiant first impressions.
Moreover, the resource collection and building (discussed below) still work on a block basis, and you will notice it when your Allays are at work. The upgraded graphics, however, give Minecraft Legends a refreshed feel. Plus, the new elements such as red mushrooms that give you a jump boost, the shiny grass stalks that give you a speed boost, and more only add to the charm.
Minecraft Legends Gameplay
Note: For this review, I played Minecraft Legends on a desktop PC powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and Nvidia RTX 3060, running Windows 11.
Gathering resources and building structures is the true essence of Minecraft. And well, that hasn’t changed in Minecraft Legends. But it is no longer the player who actively does both of these things. You are still the decision maker, of course. However, you now have Allays in Minecraft Legends to do all the heavy lifting.
Allays, for those unaware, is a cute little mob that was added in Minecraft 1.19 to aid the players in gathering materials. You have two types of Allays in Minecraft Legends. Blue Allays (the regular ones) for collecting materials and golden Allays to help you build structures, such as ramps, walls, and arrow towers to defend villages. You get 5 Allays of each kind, to start with but can increase the count as you progress and upgrade your kit.
This mechanic is implemented well, and it only takes a click to send out the Allays. You can deploy five Allays at the same time to speed up resource gathering. Further, as you help protect villages from Piglin attacks, the villagers reward you with materials you might need to set up Golem spawners or reinforce villages against future attacks.
So yeah, you don’t have to worry about resources in the game. But I’m yet to discover a good way to farm iron, gold, and other materials, so I will be exploring Minecraft Legends over the weekend to come up with a definitive way.
To help you focus on strategizing and building your army against the Piglins, Mojang didn’t want you to worry about building. Thus, Allays are the ones that create all your structures once you give the green signal. The building mechanic, though simple, felt a little clunky for me at times. Sometimes, a slight movement of the mouse sent my ramps or walls in disarray, disrupting the flow of the building. I will need to experiment more with the building to see if I warm up to it. For now, it wasn’t as pleasant as I had imagined it to be.
Moving on, let’s talk about the rest of the gameplay elements. You, the protagonist, ride around the Minecraft Legends world using a horse, the default mount you start with. But you can choose to ride a regal tiger, beetle, and big beak (a bird that glides in the air when you jump from an elevated point). We have already covered Minecraft Legends mobs in detail in this guide here.
While you have a friendly riding companion, it does not mean you have to run from one edge of the map to the other whenever villages call for help. Mojang has greatly simplified travel by enabling fast travel from the get-go. Every village acts as a fast-travel point, and you can open your map to quickly teleport to any village from anywhere.
Finally, let’s talk about the most important thing in Minecraft Legends; strategy, fighting the Piglin army, and fending off their invasion in the overworld. The game requires you to build different golem spawners to create your army; allowing you to recruit brawlers, archers, and healers. Their number is pretty limited (20) in the early game, but I didn’t have trouble defeating Piglins and taking down their base as the game also sees you recruit creepers, skeletons, and other mobs to fight alongside you to protect the overworld.
“Recruit not only specially-designed golems but also Minecraft mobs like creepers and skeletons to fight with you”
Now, you must be wondering how you recruit mobs and have the golems follow you into battle. Well, that’s where the “Banner of Courage” comes into play. It allows you to command your army and direct it to wherever you want. Here’s what the process looks like. Build the golem spawner, spawn different types of golems, use the banner to gather them and have them follow you into battle.
Then, you can press “Ctrl” (I played using MnK, not controller) for more granular control to choose which structure or Piglins you want a certain section of your army to charge or target. Now, it sounds easy when you read it, but it’s not as intuitive to use in the heat of the battle. When you are being attacked by different weapon-welding and enraged Piglins while arrow towers rain fire arrows at you, it can get slightly difficult to direct your friendly overworld companion to destroy a certain structure or fight specific Piglins. It was a thorn in my side during fights in the brief time I spent in-game.
“Minecraft Legends Feels Welcoming and Fun; Even for New Players”
Overall though, in the five-odd hours I have spent in-game, Minecraft Legends feels like a great spin on the blocky game that everyone has come to adore in the past decade. Though there’s a learning curve, the building doesn’t feel as satisfying, and the army control, an essential part of the strategy aspect, isn’t up to the mark, Minecraft Legends still feels like a breath of fresh air. It builds on the legacy of an already popular game, taming some of the elements to fit the RTS aspect.
Further, it should be a treat for new players who had a hard time getting into Minecraft’s expansive world. Though it’s way too early for me to judge the game. Three days are in no way enough to explore the overworld of Minecraft Legends and have a complete picture of how the game works, how good it is, and whether it actually has what it takes to redefine the RTS genre.
Furthermore, we need more time to explore co-op and PvP gameplay in Minecraft Legends, which are two main pillars that will drive replayability. Also, we will talk about the performance of Minecraft Legends on different devices in our full review. So, stay tuned to Beebom not only for the review but also for useful Minecraft Legends guides.