Basically Dragon Quest meets Minecraft which means you build and explore with a purpose. The world has been destroyed by darkness and you as the hero/heroine is the only one that can remember how to build things. Silly plot eh?
Each land represents a level and your objective is to build up the town and then eventually defeat the boss before moving on. You have to start over with each new land but you get to keep the old objects you've discovered and the scenarios are different so it gives some variation.
Building rooms is pretty intuitive. Basically a surrounded area with a wall two blocks high and a door is considered a room. By decorating these rooms you earn points and the settlement levels up. What's more, it's great to see the NPCs you meet using them such as cooking food for you.
Building rooms is relatively easy since you can hold the build button to quickly set down bricks but, it's quite annoying when you want to move objects since the only way to recover them is to "break" them.
What the game doesn't tell you is that there's a limited area that's considered the settlement and anything outside it doesn't earn any points. It's kind of counter-productive since you're encouraged to build and it's also the only way to progress but at the same time you don't have much space to do it in. You can't even build upwards just to add extra floors to put decorative items.
The game starts off quite slow but eventually, mining materials isn't constant button mashing either as you can charge up and use area effect skills similar to Harvest Moon and you don't have to manage your inventory once you've unlocked the giant storage chest. When your invent is full everything just magically teleports to the chest which is great. Not only that, DQB also makes it easy to upgrade to any better materials you eventually mine, allowing you to "paint" over the old material which takes out the laborious part of removing the old and putting in the new.
Other than building and decorating rooms, the villagers you meet also give you quests from building new rooms with certain requirements to hunting down monsters. It basically gives you a purpose but having said that, every new level requires to start from scratch which can make it feel repetitive.
Battles are simple - your usual hit and dodge tactic like most ARPGs but without the levelling up and experience points. Demons end up destroying your village but the great things is the items can be picked up again so you don't have to spend time re-building.
Graphics are a mix of Minecraft's blocky environments but with smoother character and object models.
It's hard to describe Dragon Quest Builders... It's not so much fun that it'll make you say, "Wow, that was fun!" but it's interesting enough to keep you playing. Maybe it's just fulfilling those goals that quests keep asking of you.
It takes out a lot of the laborious elements of building up a village. The structures you can build aren't terribly exciting and battles are the same but I guess the slight change of flow in JRPGs makes it a little interesting to play. On the other hand DQ fans should enjoy building up their own village.
- Little time needed to manage inventory.
- Access inventory any where.
- Easy to upgrade old materials.
- Special moves to make mining materials quicker.
- Building new rooms is relatively quick.
- Buildings you make are actually utilised by the NPCs you meet.
- Have to "destroy" objects to move them.
- Limited space to build up village and earn progress points.