Dragon Quest Builders (Sniper)
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix

The "Dragon Quest" universe's slimes, skeletons, and dragons are reproduced in an almost CGI-like fashion, although the primitive geometry and low-resolution textured scenery lets these designs down somewhat. In general, the game's visual design is highly reminiscent of the Xbox 360 game "Blue Dragon". "Minecraft"-like user interface elements, such as an item bar along the bottom of the screen and slot-based inventory management round out the package.

Koichi Sugiyama has been composing the music for this series dating back to its origins in the late 1980s, and one can almost imagine Mozart sitting at his harpsichord plinking away at the sheet music. The modern-day renditions in this release are Red Book-quality, but just synthy enough to stay pleasant. The problem is that the original compositions weren't intended to stretch over a forty hour-plus game, and they start to get old pretty quickly. The game's sound effects are minimalistic to the point of almost not existing!

Dragon Quest Builders involves progressing through four chapters one at a time, while re-building a town and fighting a boss battle after each. Sound familiar? Indeed, this is a new "ActRaiser" in everything but name only. Except unlike the aforementioned Super Nintendo classic, which used "Sim City"-lite mechanics as its foundation, this time around "Minecraft"-lite is used as the medium. The swordplay has much the same feel as that in "Brave Fencer Musashi". Creating traps and the like invokes "The Horde". Unfortunately-- and much like "Terraria"-- the perspective change makes block placement somewhat cumbersome. Navigating indoor areas in this game is frustrating as well due to the nature of the camera's operation.

Imagine an entire game of tutorials-- from the minute you start playing, to the end credits-- and you can see the primary problem with Dragon Quest Builders: it's unbelievably boring. In fact, it's quite possibly the most sleep-inducing game this reviewer has ever touched! On top of that, where the towns in "ActRaiser" each took something like twenty minutes to complete-- which felt about right-- the chapters in this release take hours upon hours! And since it even lacks the excitement of the "ActRaiser" action stages, it's forced to lean on its bare-bones combat maneuvers and clumsy-feeling block building. A shame too, since from a high level the concept is a good one.

Sniper's verdict: