Dragon Quest Treasures Review: A Youthful Adventure
Dragon Quest Treasures is an offshoot adventure of Dragon Quest XI, focusing on the child versions of two characters from the much-beloved JRPG. Taking the roles of young aspiring treasure hunting twins, Erik and Mia, Treasures definitely feels aimed at younger players in the same vein as Monster Hunter Stories. It’s bright and colorful and has plenty to do, but it simplifies many of the elements of JRPGs to make it more accessible.
At the start, the twins are aboard a Viking ship where they stumble upon two mysterious magical creatures. Hijinks ensue, they free the creatures, discover magical daggers, and find themselves in a strange floating island chain called Draconia. This series of islands (shaped, of course, like a giant dragon) is chock full of hidden treasures to discover, thus beginning the twin’s quest to become legendary treasure hunters.
The twins encounter other treasure hunting groups to compete with, an array of monsters, and friendly beings who just want to give them quests or sell them stuff. Their hub and base is a central train station island that can reach the other islands, and it's where they horde their loot, hire new monsters to the team, add facilities, and gain access to other side activities.
As you journey across the islands of Draconia, two activities in particular come to the forefront: treasure hunting and monster recruiting. Treasures plays out entirely in real-time, even the combat, and the landscapes brim with monsters to battle. In a very Pokemon-like move, however, you don't just battle them yourself. Instead, the team of three monsters you’ve recruited and chosen does most of the heavy lifting in combat.
To recruit a monster, you must first use the twin’s sling to hit it with a “buddy” shot, then defeat it in combat. This particular ammo increases the likelihood that particular monster will become friendly (after defeating it) and therefore recruitable back on the base. Combat itself is largely automated. The monsters on your team automatically attack other nearby monsters and are generally much more effective at monster killing than you are.
The twins play identically and can attack with their dagger or shoot a variety of different ammunition from their sling. Some are spiky balls, others elemental-based attacks. There are healing shots as well, to shoot at your teammates when they’re hurt. The only commands you can issue to your team monsters are "go forward" or "circle around you".
Each monster also has a special move or ability that can help reach new areas of the map. Slimes, for instance, can bounce you up to a high ledge, and bats can let you glide safely from a high point. Monsters can also help perform super moves with the twins for extra powerful attacks.
The twins can summon a compass to point them in the direction of nearby treasure, too. When you get close enough, each monster provides a magical snapshot clue to the hidden treasure. Each monster’s picture shows the area with the treasure from a different angle, so you’ll have to seek out the right spot by recognizing landmarks like trees or buildings. When you get close enough, the ground glows, so you know exactly where to dig.
You can only carry a limited number of treasures at a time though, ensuring regular trips back to base to unload them. The more treasure you find, the higher your treasure hunter ranking and more money earned. It’s a fun constant form of side-questing to break up the regular combat and exploration. While you’re out adventuring, you can also send other monsters out on their own automated hunting and gathering expeditions. This helps them increase in level outside of direct combat and keep needed supplies incoming.
Each island has several train stations, as well. The main station for each gets unlocked early on, but the others on the island are unlocked through quests. These serve as good waypoints dividing the islands up between lower and higher level monster regions, while preventing overt backtracking through areas you’ve already explored.
The anime visual style of the game looks great, with cartoonishly detailed monsters and some lovely expansive sights to traverse. The soundtrack is very Dragon Quest and fits the world well.
Dragon Quest Treasures Review – The Bottom Line
- Appealingly bright cartoonish graphics.
- Fun monster catching and treasure hunting gameplay.
- A variety of large maps to explore.
- Team, monster-focused combat is distinctive.
- Definitely aimed at younger players.
- Combat is simplistic and can get repetitive.
- No difference between the two main characters.
Dragon Quest Treasures isn’t a massive 100-hour epic like Dragon Quest XI. The game can still comfortably occupy a couple dozen hours at least. The islands are large and hold plenty of secrets, side quests, and monsters to discover. It’s definitely aimed at younger gamers to get them into JRPGs with its young protagonists, cute graphics, and monster collecting gameplay, but it's fun for all ages.
[Note: Square Enix provided the copy of Dragon Quest Treasures used for this review. Featured image via Square Enix.]