I’ve never played any of the Dragon Quest games, but I happened to come across this while I was taking a break from playing Phoenix Wright – Justice for All (i.e., waiting till I could access the net to find out what ridiculous leap of logic I was supposed to take to figure out the next piece of evidence to present). It’s produced by Square-Enix and has the charming visuals and clean game design that one would expect.
You play the part of a little blue blob who must venture out to various locations (a forest, a desert, a floating techno-citadel, etc.) to find and rescue the blobby citizens of your town left rather haphazardly in golden chests around the places you explore. These turn up in your village as you free them, occasionally opening up new options for you. It’s a top-down, wander-about game, kind of like like old Zelda games, I guess. You avoid or bash enemies and solve little press-the-switch-to-open-the-door-you-passed-earlier type puzzles. The first nice twist to it is the collecting of baddies and items – each level has a number of locations where you can load things on to carts to be brought back to town. Later on in the game you can use the items to create new bigger and better weapons for your tank. Which brings me to the second nice twist – your tank. Some of your blobby friends must be fought for. In a horrendous escalation of power, bashing the enemy (which is what you do for the rest of the game) doesn’t cut it. Instead you and your opponent take to skyscraper sized anthropomorphic tanks. For the duration of the battle, gameplay consists of running around within your tank, picking up ammo and loading it as quickly as you can.
The game is light and diverting. The ease of it and the level of punning (which is truly awful, usually involving inserting ‘slime’ or ‘goo’ into words where they have no business being) makes it more appropriate for kids, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. It took about 12 hours.