RLCraft turns Minecraft into a brutal survival game, and I can't stop playing it

RLCraft (Image credit: Windows Central)

Minecraft's Java Edition is home to a plethora of different mods that add tons of new mechanics and content to the game, as well as mods that tweak existing ones. Over the years, many Minecraft community members have created suites of these mods, called modpacks, that aim to deliver a specific type of experience to the player. One such modpack is RLCraft, a project by YouTuber Shivaxi that transforms the 1.12.2 version of Minecraft into a brutally difficult survival experience that, despite its many challenges, offers players a deep and exciting new way to play the game. Here's a look at what you can expect from an adventure in the world of RLCraft.

What does the RLCraft modpack do?

The RLCraft modpack contains over 100 different mods that add a slew of new mechanics, items, crafting recipes, mobs, structures, and more to the world of Minecraft. New mechanics include locational hit damage, a thirst bar, the removal of healing through eating, a temperature and season system, an RPG-like skill tree tab, and more. Additionally, players can expect to come across everything from sprawling dungeons to kingdom-sized villages as they roam. The world is also filled with new and interesting creatures, both passive and aggressive, that dramatically alter the flow of Minecraft's traditional progression. And yes, there are dragons.

An adventure in the crazy and varied world of RLCraft is an exciting prospect, but be prepared; this world is cruel more often than not. Most hostile mobs can kill you in the blink of an eye if you're not adequately geared, and things like brutal winter weather and scorching summer days will kill players who don't pay attention. You have to work harder for everything in RLCraft, and even when you do start to succeed, it can all be taken from you in an instant.

However, while the modpack is pretty hardcore, it also includes ways for you to get a leg-up on its dangers. There are new tiers of armor and weapons that give even better protection than diamond. As players loot RLCraft's many dungeons and battle arenas, they have a chance to find special rings and necklaces that provide beneficial effects like regenerating health or damage resistance. Additionally, you can also craft heart containers that allow you to raise your maximum health. That weird raptor creature giving you trouble? Combine some chicken and bones together to create a special treat that you can use to tame it and make it fight for you. If you're able to bring down one of RLCraft's deadly dragons, you might get lucky enough to find an egg on its corpse; hatch it in fire (or water, if it was from an ice dragon) and voila — your very own scaly sky-beast!

What makes it so fun?

While the challenging nature of RLCraft won't be for everyone, the increased difficulty and reworked mechanics will appeal to experienced players that have already mastered vanilla Minecraft and are hungry for more. The fact that RLCraft is brutally tough only makes it even more rewarding and satisfying to overcome its obstacles. Once you start to develop strategies that you can use to counter the modpack's antics, you can finally begin to conquer this beautiful, terrifying world as a skilled master. It's the most rewarding and addicting version of Minecraft I've ever played, and even after several weeks of playing, the fun hasn't stopped.

Many players will also appreciate that the gameplay experience of RLCraft, while different in many ways, is still similar to normal Minecraft at its core. This means that you can apply many of your previous Minecraft skills in the situations you find yourself in while playing this modpack. Just be prepared for many curveballs to be thrown your way!

Your thoughts

Do you like the sound of RLCraft? Will you be giving it a chance, or are you intimidated by how difficult it sounds? Let us know.

The RLCraft modpack can be downloaded here. This page also contains an easy-to-follow installation guide that will make figuring out how to get RLCraft working a piece of cake, so make sure to read it. I also recommend watching Shivaxi's beginner's guide video for the modpack, as it will provide you with some helpful tips.

To play RLCraft, you'll need Minecraft: Java Edition, which you can buy for $27 on the Minecraft website. You'll also need to load the game in version 1.12.2, as it's the version the modpack was designed for.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.