Dragon Quest Treasures is a spin-off adventure of Dragon Quest XI, which focuses on the children’s versions of two characters from the well-loved JRPG. In the role of the young, aspiring treasure hunter 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 busy, but it simplifies many of the elements of JRPGs to make it more accessible.
At the beginning, the twins are on board a Viking ship, where they encounter two mysterious magical beings. Hijinks ensue, they free the creatures, discover magical daggers, and find themselves on a strange floating chain of islands called Draconia. This series of islands (naturally shaped like a giant dragon) is brimming with hidden treasures to be discovered, beginning the twins’ quest to become legendary treasure hunters.
The twins encounter other treasure hunter groups to compete with, a variety of monsters and friendly creatures 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 that’s where they stockpile their loot, hire new monsters for the team, add facilities, and gain access to other side activities.
Image via Square Enix
On your journey across the islands of Draconia, two activities are particularly important: treasure hunts and monster recruitment. treasures takes place entirely in real time, even the combat, and the landscapes are riddled with monsters to fight. In a very Pokemon-like movement, but you don’t just fight them yourself. Instead, the team of three monsters you’ve recruited and chosen do most of the heavy lifting in combat.
To recruit a monster, you must first hit it with a “buddy” shot with Gemini’s slingshot, and then defeat it in battle. This special ammunition increases the likelihood that a given monster will become friendly (after it has been defeated) and therefore be recruitable back onto the base. Combat itself is largely automated. The monsters on your team will automatically attack other nearby monsters and are generally much more effective at killing monsters than you are.
The twins play identically and can attack with their dagger or shoot a variety of different ammo from their slingshot. Some are spiked balls, some are elemental attacks. There are also healing shots that you can use to shoot at your teammates when they’re injured. The only orders you can give your team monsters are “go forward” or “circle around yourself”.
Each monster also has a special move or ability that can help reach new areas of the map. For example, slimes can let you jump onto a high ledge, and bats can safely slide you off a high spot. Monsters can also help perform super moves with the Gemini for extra powerful attacks.
Image via Square Enix
The twins can also summon a compass that points them in the direction of nearby treasure. If you get close enough, each monster will provide a magical snapshot clue to the hidden treasure. Each monster’s image shows the treasure area from a different angle, so you’ll have to find the right spot by spotting landmarks like trees or buildings. If you get close enough, the ground will glow so you know exactly where to dig.
However, you can only carry a limited number of treasures at a time, requiring you to periodically return to base to unload them. The more treasures you find, the higher your treasure hunter ranking will be and the more money you will earn. It’s a fun, constant form of side quests to break up regular combat and exploration. While you’re on the move, you can also send other monsters on their own automated hunting and gathering expeditions. This helps them level up outside of direct combat and get needed supplies.
Each island also has several train stations. The main station for each is unlocked early on, but the others on the island are unlocked through quests. These serve as good waypoints, breaking up the islands into lower and higher level monster regions while preventing open backtracking through areas you’ve already explored.
The game’s anime visual style looks great, with cartoonishly detailed monsters and some nice sprawling landmarks to traverse. The soundtrack is very dragon quest and fits well into the world.
Dragon Quest Treasures Review – The Verdict
Image via Square Enix
- Appealing bright cartoon graphics.
- Fun gameplay of monster catching and treasure hunting.
- A variety of large maps to explore.
- The team and monster oriented combat is distinctive.
- Definitely aimed at younger players.
- Combat is simple and can be repetitive.
- No difference between the two main characters.
Dragon Quest Treasures is not a massive 100 hour epic like Dragon Quest XI. The game can still comfortably take at least a few dozen hours. The islands are large and hold many secrets, side quests and monsters to discover. It’s definitely aimed at younger players to engage them with its young protagonists, cute graphics, and monster-collecting gameplay in JRPGs, 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.]