Mini-adventures with a big payoff

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 💰

DRAGON QUEST TREASURES is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

Explore draconic islands and hoard treasure in the latest spin-off of an iconic RPG series with the delightful DRAGON QUEST TREASURES.

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Sounds like a plan, Erik

After having a ton of fun with the Dragon Quest Builders series, I was excited to try out DRAGON QUEST TREASURES, the latest spin-off with a totally different premise. It stars a familiar character from Dragon Quest X, Erik, and his twin sister Mia and takes place prior to the events of the main title during their swashbuckling treasure-finding days. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

The gameplay loop of DRAGON QUEST TREASURES involves choosing 1 of 5 distinct islands to explore, looking for treasure, completing quests, and then returning back to base to get your treasure assessed. The main goal is to increase the value of your treasure vault and thereby gain a level and be treated to more rewards such as increasing the amount of monsters you can recruit or the number of medals (stat boosts) that you can equip. You'll also work your way down a dungeon called The Snarl as it expands during game progression as well as snatch up a special piece of treasure unique to each island when you've levelled yourself up enough to face the enemies in the area where it's hidden.

Come with me, Goonther; we have treasures to find!

Given there's a constant list of quests to complete, there's always something to aim for on each outing although unfortunately, I found the gameplay loop to get a little tiring too quickly. The quests aren't particularly memorable or interesting which makes reaching and exploring a new area the primary source of fun. Each island is large and will take many trips to explore every nook and cranny. Doing so is a lot of fun, especially when you discover a whole new area that had been previously inaccessible due to the limitations of your monster party. However, the fun only lasts so long and once you've familiarized yourself with the majority of each map like I did about 10 hours in, you might find that you're getting bored with it all.

In order to fight the monsters on each island, you'll need to recruit some and doing so can be tricky if you're intent on hiring a particularly rare or strong monster. That's because each monster requires certain items to be recruited; some of which can only be created by finding the right recipe and ingredients. There's a long list of items to gather from the landscape as you explore so it usually pays off to collect everything because you never know when you'll need it to recruit the next monster or to make new ammo for your catapult.

I hope I dig up something nice this time

Battles in DRAGON QUEST TREASURES tend to go by fairly quickly if you've got a nice variety of monsters in your party. You can equip up to 3 additional members although you'll likely want to stick to having at least one member with stealth, glide, and launch abilities so that you can reach every area of the landscape on your travels. As a result, this system feels fairly limiting, unfortunately; that is, unless you don't mind passing up on exploring a new area that would require one of the more useful abilities. The variety of monsters to recruit also doesn't seem to be a complete list of all DRAGON QUEST enemies and quite a few are just slight variations of others. It would have been nice to see a larger roster, especially some of the sillier ones like Cruelcumber and Sacksquatch.

Speaking of which, each variety of monster has their own method of attacking in true DRAGON QUEST style yet the main character that you play as (Erik or Mia) switches between weak melee attacks and a handheld catapult. Oh, and the catapult is nifty because takes an impressive variety of ammo including magical, healing, support, and ailment-focused pellets.

Now, that's one busy screen

Figuring out which ammo will cause the most damage for a given enemy requires a bit of experimenting but I found that most of the time, my monsters did 90% of the work so it didn't really matter what I did with the catapult. Of course, the bigger enemies and bosses definitely need a bit more thought and strategy, however.

In between fighting and recruiting monsters, you'll search for treasure and you'll know that you're close to some when your monsters start showing thought bubbles above their heads. This is when you should activate your treasure-finding ability that displays a compass which points you to the nearest treasure. As you get closer, the monsters will show more prominent emotes above their heads at which point, you'll use your ability again and see a picture of where the treasure is hidden through the eyes of your monsters. Finally, you'll use these clues to find the treasure's location and dig it up only to hand it to one of your monsters for safekeeping. 😊

Dame Judy Drench is a lot wetter than I thought she'd be

However, that doesn't mark the end of the challenge as you'll now have to bring the treasure all the way back to base while ensuring a monster doesn't drop it and that the main character doesn't pass out which can be more challenging than it sounds. The more treasure you bring home at once, the more of a bonus you'll get so it pays off to find as much as possible before you return.

Back at the base, you'll have the chance to swap out your recruits, send some off on their own adventures, defend and polish your treasure trove, sign up for more quests, and connect to multiplayer. The multiplayer component is quite lackluster, unfortunately, as it merely involves you hiding and finding other players' treasure or choosing one of your monsters to visit another player's world with a piece of treasure thus allowing them to get a replica of it.

It's good to have friends in high places

DRAGON QUEST TREASURES is fun for a while and any series fan will be happy to see the return of many familiar monsters. However, the gameplay loop gets repetitive quite early and it failed to keep my attention as well as the other DRAGON QUEST spin-offs do.

  • + Exploring the nooks and crannies of every island is enjoyable stuff
  • + Familiar attractive aesthetic
  • + Returning treasure can be a fun challenge
  • - Hunting for treasure and completing quests aren't as fun as exploring
  • - Gameplay loop gets boring too quickly
  • - Lackluster multiplayer
7.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for DRAGON QUEST TREASURES thumbnail
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