Like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior) is one of those series that started for me on my NES… with the very first game. I remember as a kid, owning that little Nintendo Power extra Dragon Warrior pull-out guide. It looked like this:
Dang. That was released 1989. Did I just date myself?
Anyhow, with its help, I made it all the way to the end of the game. That’s probably the only Dragon Warrior game I’ve finished, though I’ve played a few of the other NES games. I haven’t played any of the newer games in the series, however.
I’ve heard about Dragon Quest Builders, and it sounded right up my alley. But seeing it’s only been released for Playstation systems, I couldn’t play it. That is, until now!
Dragon Quest Builders is coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 9th, and I couldn’t be more pleased! However, I wanted to make certain the game was really going to be what I hoped. From my understanding, it’s similar to Minecraft, but with a Dragon Quest bent and a guided city building aspect.
I downloaded the demo and got to dive into it last night for the first time.
Soon after, I stopped playing it.
Because… it’s so much fun, I didn’t want to spoil the actual release!
All That Dragon Quest!
DQ Builders (is that the proper way to shorten the name?) isn’t just a Minecraft game with a Dragon Quest skin over top. It’s got all the old skool vibes I was hoping to see. From the music on the intro screen, the menu screen, the overworld… I was instantly transported back to Dragon Warrior of my youth.
The art style oozes stylistic charm. You’ve got all the standard Dragon Quest monsters you know and love to beat up – especially the Slimes.
What’s It About?
You come to Alefgard, where something dark has blighted the land, to figure out what’s going on… and rebuild it. Apparently, you’re a rare person who has remembered the old ways of Building. With a little guidance from an overly-patient goddess, you are sent out to put things right.
What actually surprised me was how much humor there is. It’s not always laugh out loud humor, but a kind of quirky out-of-the blue thing. It’s often poking fun at your character, and that was totally fine with me.
The game does a lot of hand-holding for someone who is familiar with the mechanics of a Minecraft game. But for someone new, or someone who needs that kind of guidance in their sandboxes, I feel it had a good balance between exploration and questing.
DQ Builders puts a very clear purpose there for you — you want to rebuild your base as a town and attract people to it. The NPCs you attract appear to be a driving force for how the game unfolds.
Like Minecraft, there is a day and night cycle where night becomes more dangerous. The game leads you to building a house and furnishing it with beds that you can sleep in to skip that dangerous time. It has a very exact definition of what makes up certain types of buildings – for example, complete walls of two blocks high, a door and a light source make up a room.
What I thought was especially cool was the blueprint system. The NPCs sometimes give you a blueprint that you can place on the ground and use as a guide to build over. Once you meet all the requirements for that blueprint, it becomes a specialized location!
I don’t have that much more to share, because I stopped playing the game the moment it gave me an exploration quest to do. I didn’t want to spoil what I can foresee as being a game that’s going to suck me in soon enough!