There’s something inherently addictive about capturing monsters for the purpose of fighting. Pokémon is the most well known occurrence of this, but Dragon Questhas also been known to take advantage of the popularity of monster collecting with multiple Dragon Quest Monsters games and the Dragon Quest Tact mobile game. It’s been a few years since we’ve last had a proper slime collecting game, but that will change in a few months with the release of Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. A demo for this is currently available from Nintendo’s eShop for fans who think three months is too long of a slime to wait to check this title out.
Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince allows players to step into the shoes of Dragon Quest IV villain, Psaro. Psaro is the son of the Master of Monsterkind but has an unusual curse where he cannot harm anyone who possesses monster blood. After monsters attack his home of Rosehill, Psaro ventures out into the world to learn more of the ways of monster wrangling. After acquiring an army of monsters of his own he travels to the colosseum in Endor to take part in a monster battling tournament. Here is where he meets an elf by the name of Rose who is subjected to the cruelty of humans, forcing her to cry ruby tears. After aiding in her escape from her human captors he takes her back to Rosehill, safely keeping her safe in a tall tower with his slime companion serving as her protector in his absence.
Dragon Warrior IV (as it was called in the States in 1992) is one of the best NES games, and those who are familiar with either that game or the DS remake should have their interest fully piqued by now about Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. The inclusion of specific plot points and locations in Dragon Quest IV suggest not only will be there plenty of fan service for long-time fans, but this title may give an alternate perspective of some of the events depicted. Psaro appears to be younger than how he’s normally depicted, which does take away some optimism that my hope of being able to recruit Esturk as a monster will be possible.
It doesn’t take long before Psaro gets his hands on Travelite which allows him to travel to Nadiria. Nadiria is divided into different Circles with three layers to them — the demo allows the player to visit two of these circles. In Nadiria there are stronger monsters and this is a place where Psaro’s reputation matters. Recruiting the monsters here is much more difficult than it was in the world of the humans, but after Psaro is able to defeat the big hitter in a monster battle, recruitment becomes a much easier process. Sometimes powerful monsters can be seen roaming about that can theoretically make for powerful allies, provided the player is able to beat them in battle. Some friendly advice, if your current team of monsters has an average level in the single digits, don’t try to fight the Cyclops or Green Dragon.
The gameplay of Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is similar to the previous entries in the series. Psaro explores the world while using his team of monsters to recruit new monsters in battle. These monsters do all of Psaro’s fighting for him, whether it’s trying to prove himself as the champion monster wrangler in tournaments or by completing quests to help out friendly monsters of Nadiria. In addition to recruiting stronger monsters, Psaro is able to synthesize two monsters together into a new stronger monster, and is allowed to pick which three skill threes from the two source monsters to transfer to the new monster. The synthesis system has been revamped where the player can choose from multiple different outcomes of combining the new monsters. A gold barrier around a new monster signifies it’s particularly strong.
The demo for Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is substantial with a couple hours worth of playtime. Monsters collected during the demo will be available should the player choose to purchase the full game. The gameplay was just as fun and addictive as it was in previous Dragon Quest Monsters titles, and while a more subjective area of praise, fans of Dragon Quest IV will likely appreciate the references. In this series of spin offs the stories have never been as strong as they were in the mainline games, but there’s personal interest in seeing how Psaro’s story plays out. The main reason to play these games is for the fun of collecting and powering up monsters. Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is scheduled for release on Switch on December 1.