Minecraft Legends on PC
The Minecraft IP is so ubiquitous at this point that it almost feels like it’s too big to fail. Originally billed as a sandbox-style game with surprisingly in-depth mining and building mechanics, Minecraft has since expanded its scope to encompass various other genres, deepening its hold on its audience and the gaming world at large. Minecraft Legends is the IP’s latest foray into yet another new genre, an experiment to see how it fares in the RTS space.
While real-time strategy games have never exactly been in my wheelhouse, Minecraft Legends presented itself as a welcoming, accessible entry point into the genre. Framed as a bedtime story about myths and folklore, Minecraft Legends is set in a time before the original game, where the Overworld is much more peaceful than you might remember it. Villagers lived largely in peace, until these adorable little piglet enemies –aptly named Piglins– started showing up and causing all sorts of trouble.
Minecraft Legends features a story campaign that you can enjoy solo or in co-op, as well as a PvP mode where you can engage in 4v4 battles as you try to reinforce your defenses while taking down the enemy base. Most of my time was spent in the campaign during the review period, which did a great job of getting me acquainted with all the core mechanics I needed to learn to succeed.
Your hero can swing a sword to manually attack enemies, but most of your time will be spent spawning various types of golems –wood, stone, moss, just to name a few–and directing them to do most of the heavy-lifting for you . Wood golems are great for engaging in direct combat with enemies, stone golems excel at destroying structures, while the moss golems support your army by providing healing to keep everyone alive. You’ll unlock more golem types as the game progresses and you gain access to even more resources, but for the most part, you’ll always be summoning golems and attempting to direct them to take down enemies efficiently.
Things get a little more complex once you start fortifying your own base defenses as well. Whenever the Piglins attack, you’ll need to reinforce villages by building structures like archery towers, walls, ramps, and other fortifications to keep the enemies out.
I should note that Minecraft Legends is not exactly a game that lends itself well to solo play; during my time with the campaign, I largely played through it alone and quickly found myself getting overwhelmed by just how much there was to micromanage. You only have a limited time to prepare before the Piglins arrive, and I always found myself struggling to get all the walls up, set up towers, get my spawners ready to summon my golem army, and get into position so that I could start picking off the Piglins.
Not only that, but things start to get pretty chaotic once the fighting actually begins. You’re constantly juggling what your golems are doing and keeping an eye on your defenses to make sure the Piglins don’t get through. Things get extra chaotic when the game throws in an extra objective or two for you to accomplish on top of trying to keep your hero and golems alive. It also doesn’t help that the controls aren’t all that smooth even on PC; I’d found it to be a bit of a challenge having to micromanage my golems and slowly send them into different directions to cover more ground, while also ensuring that I had the appropriate golem types for the various goals I wanted to accomplish.
All of this is to say, Minecraft Legends is infinitely better with a friend or two. I’d managed to hop into a handful of multiplayer sessions, and this is where the game truly shines. Being able to split up the workload between a team of four players makes everything feel so much more efficient, and you never feel like you’re overwhelmed with too many things to take care of. The base fortification process also becomes much more intense, as you have more time to properly plan and set your traps, creating even more interesting challenges for your opponents to overcome.
Minecraft Legends also shakes things up with a day/night cycle, where Piglins become even deadlier once the sun goes down. They start appearing in droves, and stronger Piglin types also start spawning, forcing you to rethink your strategy if you’re planning on exploring the Overworld at night. I was initially apprehensive about the Piglins being the only enemies you’d fight in the game, but they’re so varied in type, and the variety in objectives and different structures you have to take down while attacking a base make it so that you ‘re always encountering fresh challenges.
I suppose I was hoping that the campaign would be better suited to a solitary experience, as I’ve generally gravitated towards strategy games where I was solely responsible for how well or how poorly I did, based on the decisions I was making instead of how well I navigated the game controls.
Overall, Minecraft Legends is a simple, yet effective introduction to the RTS genre for newcomers like myself. While I don’t necessarily see myself sinking a ton of time into the game going forward –primarily because RTS games still aren’t my thing– I do appreciate Mojang’s effort in expanding the Minecraft universe and experimenting with different genres to see how creative they can get with the IP. Slightly janky controls aside, Minecraft Legends is a solid adventure to experience with friends, and it’ll keep you occupied for hours on end. Just don’t go in expecting a ton of single-player content you can enjoy on your own time.
Reviewer: Zhiqing Wan | Copy provided by Publisher.
- Fun, accessible entry point into the RTS genre.
- Multiplayer is really fun.
- The Piglins make for great foes, and the missions always feel sufficiently fresh.
- Controls can be a little wonky, especially if you’re playing solo.
- Speaking of “solo”, the game only truly shines if you have three other friends to play it with.
April 18, 2023
Mojang Studios, Blackbird Interactive
Xbox Game Studios
PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC