When it comes to spin-offs, Square Enix likes to explore the world of Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest. In recent years Dragon Quest received a couple of Dynasty Warrior games, some building titles, and now Dragon Quest Treasures. By it taking some inspiration from my childhood favorite, Dragon Warrior Monsters, and modernizing it to fit the current gaming landscape, it has a lot of potential. This, coupled with the divisive feelings about Pokemon, sets Dragon Quest Treasures up to succeed. However, are there enough positive elements to win players over, or is it the latest underwhelming title to release on Nintendo Switch?
The setup for Dragon Quest Treasures is pretty simple. Erik and Mia dream of finding treasure around the world. One day they decide to take their first step towards accomplishing this dream, where they find a mysterious pair of animals and later two seemingly important daggers. Upon collecting the daggers, they’re whisked to another world where they can finally live out their dreams.
Even if the initial premise doesn’t hook you, it shouldn’t take long for something to pique your interest. This could be character design, which is still done by Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama, to the wide array of quirky creatures that will help you on your adventure. Dragon Quest Treasures manages to hit that sweet spot where you can tell the demographic is younger players, but still offers a lot for adults.
As you progress, the adventure is largely centered around building your base, gaining the ability to explore the world, and finding clues to obtain the legendary treasure. You’re not the only force looking for these infamous stones, resulting in intense battles, near misses, plus plenty of struggles to come out ahead. But, before you can challenge the major forces of this world, you need to come to understand it.
Dragon Quest Treasures has two distinct, and different gameplay loops. The main ones will be accepting quests, running around an open world, fighting monsters, along with building up your crew. This is accomplished largely by following waypoints or engaging the various creatures scattered around the world. As long as you’re within the enemy range, you shouldn’t have too many issues staying alive. Erik/Mia primarily uses their dagger, though there is a Super Saiyan-Esque burst most, in addition to special attacks. Along with your character, players can have multiple monsters with them to aid in combat. They will attack their own, which can be a good or bad thing, with the only control you’re given being the aforementioned special attacks. Certain areas push players to consider certain tactic elements in their group, making it extremely important to recruit multiple allies.
Recruitment is in a strange place where it’s straightforward, yet also obtuse. Generally speaking, the first defeated monster will be recruitable by returning to your base. Where this starts to become obtuse are the conditions to recruit. Some require cash, others specific resources, with the requirements not being clear until you attempt to recruit them. Sometimes you’ll have the required resource, whereas other times you’ll need to refer to the item to get an idea of its location.
Plenty of Monsters to Recruit
When you’re not fighting for your life, players will need to literally find hidden treasure. It’s a pretty big mechanic, one that I think will be divisive for many. Finding treasure starts by wandering around the world until you reach a location someone told you about, or a monster reacts to something. Exploring it can find a location where you can use your treasure skill to see where the treasure is. However, you’re not actually shown on a map, just a picture of what the general area looks like. Monsters will continue to tell you when you’re within range of it, making the general landscape more important than the literal placement.
How this goes depends entirely on your skills. Some chests are in relatively easy-to-find locations. Looking for a general item is enough to crack the code. Other chests will involve a fair amount of wondering. Once you find the right general location, there will be an alert telling you it’s nearby. It really isn’t a bad system, especially if you have monsters with skills that make exploration easier, though it’s incredibly easy to get stuck for 10 or more minutes. It will likely happen less often as you progress, though it can make the initial treasure feel like a drag.
Thankfully, unlike a lot of recent Nintendo Switch titles we’ve checked out, Dragon Quest Treasures performs quite well. Not only did it look, all things considered, pretty good, but performance issues also were not common. The only thing you might notice is some elongated loading screens, something that is understandable given the power of the system.
Dragon Quest Treasures Review Verdict
Dragon Quest Treasures takes some time to get going, but once you do it can be a lot of fun. Recruiting these iconic monsters is always fun, as is exploring a world for literal buried treasure. Some players might be turned off by the actual hunt, or limited combat, but for those who like what they hear, this will probably be a worthwhile purchase.
[Editor’s Note: Dragon Quest Treasures was reviewed for Nintendo Switch, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]