Dragon Quest Treasures review – Charming but mundane spinoff

dragon quest treasuresSquare Enix

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

Despite having flown under the radar for the longest time, Dragon Quest is finally making a name for itself in the Western market over the last few 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 of the traditional JRPG format, like the criminally underrated Dragon Quest Builders, and its sequel.

While Dragon Quest Treasures continues this new lineage of spinoffs, it manages to somewhat stick the landing via charm and simple pleasures.

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Dragon Quest Treasures key details

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

Treasure trove

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 pair are workers on a Viking ship who manage to slip away with dreams of amassing treasure on their own. After they come into possession of magical daggers, they find themselves in the land of Draconia and adventure throughout each of the land’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 merely exists as a preference for each player.

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Treasures have a fairly lengthy intro sequence that spans multiple hours, introducing the player to each of the tons of systems they’ll have to be familiar with. While there are many systems within the game that relate to searching for loot, managing your squad, crafting & managing all the loot in your vault, the gameplay loop is actually very straightforward once you get the hang of it – venture out with a party 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’ll come across while adventuring and questing in Draconia have long-winded dialog, almost none of which is voice-acted. While they do occasionally let out a hilarious quip, for the most part, speeding through dialog boxes was my standard speed.

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Dragon Quest charm

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

dragon quest treasures drackySquare Enix
Dracky is a legend of the Dragon Quest franchise.

While playing through Dragon Quest 11 for the first time a few years back, what made me fall in love with the game so deeply were the unique monster designs that spanned the world. What Treasures offers is the opportunity to relish in these designs, fighting alongside the and using 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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Sadly, fighting along with them isn’t too much of a blast. Combat is dead simple hack-and-slash, and simply mashing your way through every fight will, for the most part, do the trick.

Slow and steady

Progress is made in Treasure at a snail’s pace, and truly rewards players who enjoy its 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 made through upping your gang rank, 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 may be enough for some, I didn’t find it all that enticing to continually return back to Treasures. Although, Square Enix did a solid job of having many of the treasures be callbacks to previous DQ titles, a nice head nod to veterans of the series.

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While venturing out across the islands in search of loot, you’ll come across diverse locations with varying environment types. However, I can’t say that there is a visual feast here, with many of these environments being somewhat dull and blocky. This is the Fisher-Price version of the Dragon Quest 11 world, and while playing through it, mostly made me just want to go back to DQ11 for another playthrough.

The Verdict – 3/5

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

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