Reader Review: Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince (Switch)

Back when I was writing game reviews for The Dallas Morning News, for a long while I was designated the “Pokémon expert.”  One of the perks of this was not only was I able to review all the Pokémon games, but most of the other knock-offs that would come out in the wake of the initial Pokémon craze, I’d get to review those, too.  This included everything from Digimon to Monster Rancher to Dragon Warrior Monsters.  The first Dragon Warrior Monsters title was on the Game Boy Color, and let you train and battle monsters from the popular Dragon Quest RPG franchise.  It was called Dragon Warrior back then in the US because of copyright issues.  Anyway, one of my brothers, Jeff, he was pretty young at the time, yet he LOVED that Dragon Warrior Monsters game I reviewed.  He liked it so much that after I reviewed it, he confiscated the game from me and I never got to play it again!  And he’s never done that before!  Since then he’s enjoyed all the other Dragon Quest Monsters games as well as other spin offs like Dragon Quest Builders and Rocket Slime.  So when Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince recently came out on Switch, I thought it might be fun to have Jeff review it, for old times sake.  So here’s his review!  –Cary Woodham

If Cary hasn’t told you yet, I have quite the history with Dragon Quest Monsters. When he was done reviewing Dragon Warrior Monsters for the Gameboy (as it was referred to then in America), I essentially held it hostage as I was in the grips of Pokémon madness and any game where you collected monsters was mine in my mind. I didn’t know that all the monsters were from Dragon Quest, but the cute and sometimes strange monster designs captivated me and I’ve been playing them ever since.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince follows many of the same gameplay elements of the earlier games, but has a healthy dose of storytelling along the way. In the game, you play as a half-monster, half-human character who must collect and battle monsters due to a curse from your father, the current ruler of the monsters, which prevents him from fighting monsters himself. To get monsters, you must battle other monsters! You can give monsters meat to increase the chances they will join you after the battle, or you can use your own monsters to scout them which has a chance of instantly having them join you. In battle, you can control your monsters’ actions directly, or just give them a strategy (like being aggressive or holding back to heal others) and let them go at it! As your monsters level up, you can then combine them into stronger monsters, leading to a bit of a gameplay loop where you level up monsters to synthesize them, then leveling those synthesized monsters. There is also a season mechanic in the overworld of the game, where every few minutes the season changes (Spring to Summer, Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter, then back to Spring). During each season, there are different monsters that can appear, and aspects of the land can change, like water freezing over in Winter or piles of leaves to topple over in Fall. The culmination of all your efforts of training is battling in the coliseum. Each round of the coliseum gets harder and harder, leading you to train tougher and tougher monsters, all to get the attention of your father.

I wish I had more time to play as of writing this review to see what else the game has in store, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m back in the coliseum with my slimes, drackys, and mischievous moles.  –Jeff Orth


Kid Factor:

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  This is a role-playing game in which players follow a warrior on a quest for revenge. Players explore fantastical landscapes while taming and battling monsters (e.g., slimes, dragons, demons). Characters use swords, axes, and magic (e.g., fireballs) to defeat enemies in turn-based combat. Fighting is highlighted by impact sounds, light effects, and dwindling hit points/health bars. Some cutscenes depict sword battle and characters dissolving into light/particles. The words “damn” and “hell” appear in the game. (from the ESRB web site)

One Response to “Reader Review: Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince (Switch)”

  1. I loved the game. Synthesizing monsters together to make better ones is the key to success, and I haven’t mastered it yet. There are SO many monsters out there. It’s so fun to battle all of them though.

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