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Dragon Quest Treasures review – Charming but mundane spinoff

Dragon Quest Treasures review – Charming but mundane spinoff

Published: 2022-12-08T17:33:41

Updated: 2022-12-08T17:33:51

Dragon Quest Treasures has all the charm of the Dragon Quest universe, but is bogged down by simple battles and a monotonous gameplay loop.

Despite flying under the radar for the longest time, Dragon Quest has finally made a name for itself in the Western market in recent years.

With the massive success of Dragon Quest 11 ushering in a new wave of fans, there have been a handful of spinoff games that have branched out from the traditional JRPG format, such as the criminally underrated Dragon Quest Builders, and its sequel.

As Dragon Quest Treasures continues this new series of spinoffs, it manages to stick its landing via charm and simple pleasures.

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Dragon Quest Treasures key details

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Price: $59.99
  • Release date: 9 December 2022
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Treasury

Dragon Quest Treasures serves as an origin story for Dragon Quest 11 for the brother and sister combo of Erik and Mia. The blue-haired couple are workers on a Viking ship who manage to escape with dreams of collecting treasure on their own. After they come into possession of magical daggers, they find themselves in the land of Draconia and adventure through each of the country’s unique islands in search of, you guessed it, treasure.

Players are offered the option to play as either Erik or Mia, although the dual-protagonist offering doesn’t change much at all in terms of gameplay, and only exists as a preference for each player.

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Treasures has a fairly long intro sequence that spans several hours, introducing the player to each of the tons of systems they must be familiar with. Although there are many systems in the game related to searching for loot, managing your squad, crafting and managing all the loot in your vault, the game loop is actually very straightforward once you get the hang of it – head out with a batch of monsters at your side, hack and slash your way through enemies, search for treasure and mark the flag of your gang across Draconia.

Characters you come across while adventuring and exploring in Draconia have lengthy dialogue, almost none of them voice actors. While they occasionally drop a funny quip, for the most part it was my default speed to go through dialog boxes.

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Dragon Quest charm

What kept me coming back to Treasures wasn’t any of the pithy deep JRPG systems the game offers, but the variety of monsters that you can recruit and add to your party.

dragon quest treasures dracksSquare Enix

Dracky is a legend from the Dragon Quest series.

While playing through Dragon Quest 11 for the first time a few years back, what made me fall so deeply in love with the game was the unique monster designs spanning the world. What Treasures offers is the opportunity to enjoy these designs, fight alongside and use each of their unique abilities to traverse the world.

Hop on Dracky’s wings and glide through wind tunnels, or bounce high into the sky on the back of a blue Slime, and it’s a damn good time.

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Unfortunately, there isn’t too much to fight alongside them. Combat is dead simple hack-and-slash, and just grinding your way through each battle will mostly do the trick.

Slow and steady

Progress is made in Treasure at a snail’s pace, really rewarding players who enjoy the treasure hunting loop and are willing to sink tons of time into it.

dragon quest treasuresSquare Enix

Erik and Mia, the protagonists of Dragon Quest Treasures.

Story progress in Treasures is done by raising your respawn, meaning you’ll be playing through the same loop of venturing out for treasure, digging it up, and bringing it back to your vault.

While that might be enough for some, I didn’t find it all that tempting to keep going back to Treasures. Although Square Enix did a solid job of making many of the treasures be callbacks to previous DQ titles, a nice nod to veterans of the series.

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As you venture across the islands in search of loot, you’ll come across different locations with different environmental types. I can’t say it’s a visual feast here though, with many of these environments being somewhat dull and blocky. This is the Fisher-Price version of the Dragon Quest 11 world, and playing through it mostly made me want to go back to DQ11 for another playthrough.

The verdict – 3/5

Dragon Quest Treasures is an enjoyable adventure despite its insistence on being a game for a younger audience. Unfortunately, the core gameplay loop isn’t satisfying enough to sink a huge amount of hours into it.

In the plethora of games released this holiday season, picking up this game will largely depend on how much you love the Dragon Quest series.

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