As I survey the vast piglin outpost before me, I hatch a plan. With a series of button presses on my controller, I summon a substantial zombie army. Their high health pools make them perfect for a frontal assault that will distract the piglin forces, giving me time to carry out a flanking attack with a group of friendly creepers. My strategy would have been a masterpiece, but unfortunately, my minions' poor pathfinding abilities led to half of my zombies falling off the staircase and burning in the lava moat. Meanwhile, my creepers failed to climb a wall and instead became surrounded by Piglins and destroyed. Frustrated, I returned to my starting point with only a portion of my army remaining and a significant loss of resources.

Minecraft Legends is a game that combines real-time strategy and open-world adventure, but it falls short of its potential due to its flaws. Although it has some impressive features, the game's shortcomings have left me feeling dissatisfied. It's a missed opportunity for a game that could have been so much better.

Minecraft Legends Hero
Minecraft Legends 

Minecraft Legends Overview

Minecraft Legends is a unique real-time strategy game that allows you to take direct control of a character in the game world. In other RTS games, you would typically select units and give them orders, but in Minecraft Legends, you move your character over to units, rally them under your banner, and lead them to their destination yourself. Your character is called the Hero, and the game's campaign begins with the Hero being visited by three creatures called the Hosts. The Hosts have created their own Minecraft world, but they need the Hero's help because Piglin forces are invading the Overworld through Nether portals.

The game drops you off next to the Well of Fate, which serves as your base of operations throughout the campaign. The open world is yours to explore, and it looks stunning. It retains the blocky aesthetic of Minecraft but with cel-shaded graphics and improved lighting that breathe new life into the game's environments. As you travel through the world, you can place down chests and assign friendly Allays to gather specific resources like wood and stone automatically. This saves you from having to chop down trees yourself, although it took some time for me to adjust to this new mechanic as I figured out what I needed to do next.

The concept of using a character to control armies in Minecraft Legends is an intriguing one, aligned with Mojang and Blackbird Interactive's efforts to simplify the RTS genre and potentially appeal to younger players. The game's simplicity allows for all commands to be easily mapped onto a controller, but my initial admiration for this simplicity gave way to frustration as I found it challenging to control my units with the precision needed for more advanced tactics. Minecraft Legends' control scheme restricts players to rudimentary tactics and strategies, and I feel constrained when playing because of this limitation, wishing there were more options to control things on a larger scale.

Minecraft Legends Gameplay

World Map

In Minecraft Legends, the game world is divided into around 15 distinct biomes that feature both friendly villages and enemy piglin outposts. The game operates on a real-time day-night cycle, with each night seeing the piglin clans expand their territory by constructing new outposts or attacking nearby villages. Throughout the game, the player is constantly urged by the three Hosts to split their time between attacking outposts and defending villages. With this in mind, the player sets their sights on a nearby outpost and begins to summon and manage their units.

Minecraft Legends Map
A view of the campaign map in Minecraft Legends, showing various biomes, villages, and piglin outposts as well as the player's location.

Each time you play Minecraft Legends, the map in both the campaign and PvP matches is randomly generated, giving you the potential for a unique experience. However, there is a disappointment that there aren't more biomes to explore in the game.


If you have played Tooth And Tail before, you'll find the process of controlling units in Minecraft Legends to be familiar. You can summon mobs by placing down spawners and interacting with them. After that, you can rally all nearby mobs under your banner, and they'll follow you, but sometimes they don't behave as you want them to. You can order them to attack a specific direction, but only up to a few meters away or hold position. Banner Mode can be activated to provide you with additional options, such as targeting a particular enemy unit or building.

At first, you'll only be able to spawn two types of mobs: Cobblestone Golems that are strong against buildings, and Plank Golems that are effective against piglins. However, you'll quickly gain access to more spawner types for summoning Creepers, Zombies, and Skeletons, as well as a few new types of Golems that can be used for healing or dealing with ranged units.

Minecraft Legends Flag
The Firsts, giant immortal golem minions, can be found dotted about the map and reactivated to help fight against the piglins.

Throughout my approximately 20-hour campaign playthrough, I found myself constantly relying on the same type of unit to get anything done due to the limited control I had. The most effective strategy was to build up a monotonous army and lead them on hit-and-run attacks to destroy key buildings. The piglins never seemed to come up with a response to this tactic, and their army would just mindlessly chase after me without ever really causing any harm. The only time I encountered trouble was when my minions failed to obey my commands or when poor pathfinding resulted in awkward positions.

While there is technically a way to gain more precise control over your army through Banner Mode, as I mentioned earlier, executing these commands in real-time is finicky, leaving me once again wishing for a tactical overview map that would allow me to order my units in a more intelligent way.


The building aspect of the game takes place mainly around friendly villages where you build walls and towers to defend against piglins' nighttime attacks. However, the building feature ended up feeling repetitive after a few sessions due to the lack of creative freedom expected from a game with the Minecraft name. The walls can only be of a fixed height and often block the projectiles from your own towers. Furthermore, you cannot replace sections of the wall with a gate, so you must place your gates first or spend a lot of time deleting one tile at a time. This is frustrating and doesn't make sense.

Minecraft Legends Building Wall
The player character in Minecraft Legends constructs a wall around a friendly village in a grassy plains biome.

Most of the buildings you can create in Minecraft Legends are defence-oriented. There are walls, gates, arrow towers, carpenters to heal your buildings, kaboomeries to make arrows explode, and so on.

It goes on. There are just three basic tower types, and the rest of your buildings are used to upgrade those towers with a faster fire rate, or by converting them from wood into stone, and so on. Every one of my villages ended up looking exactly, utterly identical - just a circle of walls with towers dotted about along the perimeter. I'm sorry, but this just isn't good enough for a Minecraft game with even the smallest focus on building.

We were told that instead of building block by block, you would build "thought by thought". It turns out that, translated, this means that you place down whole premade buildings, with no room for the personal touch and freedom of expression that Minecraft does so well. What a spectacular opportunity, squandered!

Minecraft Legends Exploration


Due to the difficulties encountered while building and fighting in Minecraft Legends, I found myself spending more time exploring the world than I needed to. While exploring, there are three important things that can be found: three new mounts, one new tower type, and four unique special units called Firsts, which respawn whenever they die. However, these items are not tied to specific biomes and are scattered all over the place. In contrast, in regular Minecraft, you travel to a biome to obtain what you need, such as bamboo in a jungle, terracotta in the Badlands, or lilypads in the swamp. In Minecraft Legends, biomes feel like a superficial element in the game, as the only reason to visit a particular biome is to obtain the one basic resource available there, such as iron, coal, redstone, or diamond, which are required to build more units and improve structures. Unfortunately, these resources are scattered in uninteresting ways throughout the biomes, which is not an enticing incentive for exploration.

Minecraft Legends Multiplayer
I strongly suggest that you play PvP with at least one teammate to avoid constantly having to defend your base against piglin attacks.

It is a disappointment that Minecraft Legends did not take full advantage of its connection to Minecraft to become a unique RTS game with a focus on building and exploration. Instead, the focus seems to be elsewhere. Nevertheless, some parts of the game are impressive, such as the animations, the vibrant world, the cinematics, and the voice acting, even if it's not to everyone's liking. It's a shame that the game gets in its way to the point where it's not enjoyable to end a play session thinking, "that was fun."


Regrettably, I did not get a chance to fully test out the PvP mode in Minecraft Legends, which is the aspect Mojang believes will keep players engaged over time. I briefly entered a training match against an AI base to get a sense of how it all works, but I didn't stay there for very long. Although the developers have stated that the PvP mode can be played as a simple 1v1 experience, I anticipate that this will only result in further annoyance, as the piglins will start attacking your base less than a minute into the match, causing you to divide your attention between defending and gathering resources in a more disjointed manner than in the campaign.

It probably won't be a problem if you have friends to play with, but after spending 15-20 hours on the campaign, I personally don't feel motivated to try PvP. The PvP map is very small, so exploring is pointless. The main objective is to build defenses, establish forward bases, and attack the enemy's Well Of Fate. It was already challenging enough to control my units in the PvE campaign, so I can only imagine how difficult it would be against a more skilled opponent who couldn't be fooled into a game of tag around their base.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, Minecraft Legends falls short of its potential. There are certain aspects of the game that lack creativity and this detracted from my overall enjoyment. As a Minecraft real-time strategy game, I expected more possibilities and freedom. For instance, why can't I play as the piglins or dig into the ground to attack the enemy's base? Why are there no towers that throw splash potions or lava, and why can't I summon a spider army that can climb walls? Furthermore, I feel limited in building multi-level bases instead of being confined to a flat plane.

Future updates could address these issues, but I believe the developers have painted themselves into a corner with the core mechanics of Minecraft Legends. Simply adding more features and complexity will not solve the problem of the clunky controls and lack of precision that are essential to making a great RTS game. It is clear that the game is primarily aimed at a younger audience, perhaps as an introduction to the RTS genre, and in that respect, it may succeed. However, if you can tolerate the simplistic tactics and subpar AI that often leads your minions to self-destruct, and don't mind that your buildings will all end up looking the same, then you might enjoy Minecraft Legends to some extent. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that the game will hold players' attention for long since once you've seen one biome, one mountain, one piglin outpost, and one well-defended base, you've seen them all.

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