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A towering challenge

Tom tackles Minecraft Dungeons’ tallest feature!

Lasers or bees? I’m confronted by this near-impossible decision halfway through my latest Tower climb in Minecraft Dungeons. There are 30 levels of mobs, bosses, and merchants to discover, but the hardest part of the mode happens between floors. That’s when you get to choose just one item from a bundle of five to carry forwards into the rest of the run. I haven’t felt this indecisive since my last all-you-can-eat buffet, but the delicacies here are marvelous axes, magical swords, and awesome suits of armor.

Most floors offer an interesting lasers vs bees type conundrum. On the one hand, I can pick up some Mystery Armour which gives me a 30% chance of summoning a bee when hit (and I get hit a lot, because I’m bad at dodge-rolling). But instead, I could pick up the magnificent Corrupted Beacon. This purple cube artifact fires a colossal Iron Man-style beam that melts ordinary enemies. Spin round and round while firing to create a disco ball of death that can clear the screen in seconds. Snazzy and deadly.

I chose the laser beam for that run, but I soon realized I could be strategizing more effectively. The Tower is great when you pick the shiniest item in each round of rewards, but to get really powerful I need to think more about how all of the gear perks and artifact powers work together. I need to find the tastiest combos: the champagne and caviar, or maybe the beans on toast, of the Minecraft Dungeons Tower loot pool.

Next, I try to combine bees with more bees. After a few runs, I manage to luckily find another set of bee-summoning armor and a Buzzy Nest artifact that I can plop down to summon another three bees. I also find more summoning artifacts – my favorite kind. The Golem Kit summons a huge, gangly monster to fight by my side. He’s not a bee, but he is twelve feet tall and he simply refuses to die.

My cowardly strategy of hiding behind a horde of friendly pets serves me well, but I need to keep changing equipment as I move toward the upper Tower levels. It can be tough to part with a trusted weapon to get a bit of extra power, but it pays to be ruthless! I’ll happily throw an old bow into the bin to pick up a stronger, rapid-fire crossbow instead.  

The Tower is a great way to quickly try out loads of gear, and if you at least make it past the first boss you win an item that you can take into the rest of the game. The Tower unlocks after the Squid Coast mission, which means you can jump in and start picking up some decent loot very early on – in fact, my best early-game gear dropped at the end of a few tower runs. Also, thanks to the Fauna Faire seasonal update, you can thrash mobs in multiplayer with up to three friends. 

For every player taking part in the Tower run, the mobs get a little tougher. Luckily you can pick up loads of items designed to aid your questing companions. Root Rot armor (and several other items) heals companions when you use a health potion. High-fiving a teammate who gives you a free heal isn’t mandatory, but it is encouraged if you’re playing on the same couch. Fist-bumps are also permitted.

At higher difficulty levels teamwork is essential. If your friend barges ahead and manages to anger every mob in the level at the same time… well, good luck! Consider setting roles for each player. It’s fun to be a barbarian with a huge double-handed sword swatting the hordes aside, but it’s useful to have a ranged specialist to pick off distant magic casters and summoners like Geomancers and Necromancers. The great thing about The Tower is that your roles can evolve depending on the gear options you encounter between each floor.

I confess that I’m now obsessed with getting better at completing The Tower. I’ve started studying videos of streamers breezing through every mob at the toughest difficulty levels. In fact, the last run I watched powered up a Corrupted Beacon so much that the final boss simply dissolved. It might be time to go back to lasers!

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Tom Senior
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