Minecraft Dungeons is a fun game, with an accessible approach to the ARPG format. The game is available on virtually every platform, including Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. We've mostly been playing the game on Xbox and PC as we pick through all of the game's details for our coverage, and thought we'd try out the Nintendo Switch version on the side.
How does it stack up? Let's take a look.
Minecraft Dungeons on Switch: The good
Minecraft Dungeons on Nintendo Switch is still very much Minecraft Dungeons. The controls, gameplay, and features all line-up with the Xbox and PC versions, although the typical "A" button controls are swapped on the Nintendo Switch when compared to the Xbox controller, which threw me a bit to start with. You can sign in with your Microsoft Account to get your friends lists up, using a website link in-game, to help you set up multiplayer sessions.
Gameplay-wise, Minecraft Dungeons is a fun and accessible take on the ARPG style set by Diablo. Many of Minecraft's signature mobs return, such as the iconic creeper and the game's various undead creatures. Alongside them, there are some new mobs like the Necromancer, that can spawn tons of undead mobs, and Wraiths, which can spew fire across the map. If a spider web lands on you in the fire, it can get you killed pretty quickly.
Therein lies the best thing about Minecraft Dungeons. While it's accessible and easy to grasp, it can be quite challenging if you ramp up the difficulty. Naturally, you'll get better gear for doing so as well, becoming a satisfying loop of risk and reward.
It's nice to have Minecraft Dungeons in the palm of your hand, though. This is the perfect game to grab a quick dungeon in here and there, as you grind your way up the gear ladder, and unlock the game's various hidden levels. However, there are some notable downsides about the Switch version when compared to Xbox and PC that are worth being aware of.
Minecraft Dungeons on Switch: The bad
The first gripe is that Minecraft Dungeons doesn't support the Nintendo Switch's video capture feature, which is annoying. Almost every other game supports it, but for some reason, Dungeons doesn't. There are bigger problems, though.
The biggest gripe on the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft Dungeons is the performance.
The biggest gripe on the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft Dungeons is the performance. It already takes a hit compared to the Xbox and PC versions, dropping to 30 frames per second vs. 60 frames per second at its baseline. What's worse is that the performance can dip below 30 frames pretty harshly, picking up stuttering and freezing when there are lots of mobs on-screen. This is playing with just one player too, with four players, I imagine the performance takes an even bigger hit, as more mobs swarm around on-screen. This game definitely needs a performance bump update, somewhere down the line.
Finally, it sucks that there's no cross-play or cross-save functionality for the Nintendo Switch version. Considering Minecraft has pioneered cross-play and cross-save with its Realms platform, bringing players together from iOS, Android, VR, consoles, and PC. The fact Minecraft Dungeons doesn't have this from launch is odd and frustrating, although it is confirmed to be coming "later."
Minecraft Dungeons on Switch: Should you buy it?
For any Xbox, PC, or PS4 player, the Minecraft Dungeons Nintendo Switch port should be a great companion version for portable play... at least once it gets cross-play, cross-save, and a performance boost. Right now, it's not particularly great as a side-option, given the limitations, and the performance degradation.
If you only have a Nintendo Switch, though, Minecraft Dungeons is still a fun game, even with the performance issues. You may want to wait for the game to start getting updates, though, before diving in. Either way, it's only $20 on the Nintendo Store, so it's not exactly a wallet-buster.
For what it lacks in high-fidelity games it makes up for with fun factor
While you won't be playing the latest Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed on the Nintendo Switch any time soon, the versatility that comes with portability and its exclusive games makes the Switch more than worth it.
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