I get pretty obsessive about DQ, so it was out of the norm this year when I found myself not at all hyped for Quest Treasures. I didn’t really have a clear picture of what the game would be like and the fact that it was born from the ashes of an abandoned DQ Monsters game (something I really wanted) probably helped contribute to my disinterest.
But of course, it’s Dragon Quest. So I picked it up on day one and I am ever so glad that I did.
My first weekend with the game I found myself struggling to actually get some time to play it, as Aust Jr. hogged it for the first three days. I’d seen the opportunity to introduce a new DQ release to my son that first day and he took to it almost instantly. It became a challenge to separate him from the game long enough for me to have a turn. I’d created a monster.
We settled on dividing our time into ten minute blocks, but that was not enough time to satiate him nor was it enough time for me to get a stable footing in this world. I resorted to giving him his own save file and waiting until after his bedtime to play on my own, which is not exactly how I wanted the two of us to enjoy this game, but in the absense of proper co-op it’s what we’re left with.
It’s easy to see why my son likes it so much. Baby’s First Open-World Game is what came to mind after spending just a few hours in-game. There are quite a few sights to see and the search for treasure helps fuel the desire to keep adventuring. Whenever I get ready to put the game down there often seems to be at least one little thing that makes me want to keep playing.
Aust Jr. has always enjoyed exploring in video games; when we play DQ9 together, it can be a chore to funnel him to the next objective. Not wanting to be the arbiter of his fun I more often than not just let him find his own adventure. He does like the story and doing quests, but there are plenty of times when the structure of the game wears on his patience.
But for Treasures he often instructs me to read the dialogue to him. When the cutscenes end, he zips off to whatever fancy has caught his eye, totally unconcerned with the quest log his four year old brain can’t quite grasp the value of, but he’s still interested in what’s going on in the game’s world. For him, it’s just fun to glide across the world in the clutches of a Dracky or see if his slime friends can bounce him high enough to climb a wall.
On my side of the fun, I’ve been pulled into the gameplay loop of searching for and appraising treasure. As someone who has played the entire mainline DQ series (many of them multiple times), finding artifacts, statues, or references to things from the past games is such a treat. Returning to base to see what treasure I’ve found is akin to cracking open a gacha-style lootbox without submitting to any of the predatory mechanics or wallet-reaming.
I don’t intend for this to be a review. I’ve only gotten thirteen hours of playtime into the game and have only just acquired the first of the seven key items that main story asks you to collect. I don’t know for how long this gameplay loop will keep me engaged, but currently I find myself picking up my Switch every free moment I get.
And I don’t know how long Aust Jr. will remain enthralled by this “whole wide world” as he frequently calls it. But I have never seen him this captivated by a game that doesn’t feature a red-capped plumber. I think there’s a lot here for both adults and kids to find engaging, even if it is light on story content.