Member Dragon Quest Builders?

Estimated read time 7 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Dragon Quest Builders puts a unique spin on the Dragon Quest series with a story-driven action RPG featuring a building mechanic.
  • Players have the freedom to explore, build, and battle in different regions of Alefgard, progressing through chapters with specific objectives.
  • Despite being a departure from traditional Dragon Quest games, Dragon Quest Builders retains the series’ charm and is highly recommended for fans.

Member the games you used to play? We member. The basement at the Hardcore Gamer office has a section known as the Crust Room, with an old grey couch and a big old CRT TV. All the classic systems are down there collecting dust, so in an effort to improve the cleanliness of our work space, we dust off these old consoles every so often and put an old game through its paces, just to make sure everything stays in working order. We even have a beige computer with a floppy disk drive.

There are some series that go through so many stylistic changes that later games are barely recognizable as having any connection to the earlier entries. Dragon Quest is not one of those series. After making its debut in 1986, the numerous sequels and spin-offs have all maintained the same core feel and style even when it does make advances or experiments with the system. This can partially be attributed to contributions by composer Koichi Sugiyama and artist Akira Toriyama. Sadly neither of these highly-talented individuals are no longer with us, but their consistent involvement with the series brings a level of familiarity to each game, giving each new game a comforting quality even after decades of new releases. Dragon Quest Builders took Dragon Quest in an unexpected direction in 2016, but still maintained the Dragon Quest charm.

A Sequel For The Failed Hero

Dragon Quest had a few spinoffs before Dragon Quest Builders, but Dragon Quest Builders seemed like an unusual direction for one. A common reaction to the initial announcement was that this was a Minecraft knockoff with slimes. One could be forgiven for thinking such things, but that’s not really what the game is. Dragon Quest Builders prominently features a building mechanic that’s similar to Minecraft, but at its core it’s a story-driven action RPG. It just so happens that building is a major component of the story and gameplay.


Noriyoshi Fujimoto on why Dragon Quest Builders is Not Another Minecraft

Dragon Quest, or Dragon Warrior if you lived in America and played it on the NES, was one of the first RPGs where player choice shaped the ending. When the player finally reaches the Dragonlord, the Dragonlord introduces himself and offers the hero a chance to rule the world by his side. The correct answer is no, which leads to a battle with Dragonlord, which the hero should do as the entire point of his quest was to defeat the Dragonlord. Choosing yes is the bad option, which plunges the world into darkness. Depending on which version of the game is being played, this can either result in a game over or the hero waking up in Rimuldar claiming to have had a bad dream. Dragon Quest Builders takes place in an alternate timeline where Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line doesn’t happen because the hero chooses to condemn Alefgard to darkness by taking the Dragonlord up on his offer.


Dividing the world in half was a lie told by the Dragonlord. The hero dies while the Dragonlord unleashes his minions on Alefgard. Many years later, a hero appears. Alefgard is overrun with monsters and all the great castles and cities lie vacant and desolate. But unlike other Dragon Quest protagonists, this hero’s unique attribute is that they’re a builder. This builder has a special ability where they can gather assorted materials throughout Alefgard and rebuild it to its former glory. Why no one else in Alefgard is capable of building anything isn’t ever really explained beyond this puts more creative control in the player’s hands, which is fine as long one doesn’t try to imagine these cities thriving when the player moves to different areas.

Build, Battle, and Build Some More

The player has a lot of freedom to explore how they wish in Dragon Quest Builders. There are set objectives that need to be completed in each chapter in order to progress, but there isn’t a huge rush to do so. The builder is free to explore the area as they see fit, collecting building materials and battling familiar Dragon Quest monsters. Building and exploration do require a lot of stamina, so much like in real life, the heroic builder needs to consume food in order to stay alive.

Unlike almost every other Dragon Quest, the hero does not gain experience points and level up. Instead the builder can become more powerful by improving the equipment through crafting better facilities or using items that improve attributes. The towns gain levels through completion of construction related quests, which can keep the player busy in each area. The player is free to build to their heart’s content, but by addressing specific building quests, the chapter may progress and allow the player to move through the different areas of the game. There’s no multiplayer, but after completing the first chapter a free mode called Terra Incognita is unlocked where the player can build whatever they want and share their creations with other players.


The different regions of Alefgard are divided into chapters. Each one has a distinct appearance with some general problem specific to that area that needs to be overcome. While this is an alternate sequel to the original Dragon Quest, there are many references to various Dragon Quest games. Music, monsters and character models from an assortment of Dragon Quest games make their appearance, making this title also appealing to fans who didn’t get into Dragon Quest until the later games. Each chapter also has a boss fight that somehow relates to the area and requires a specific strategy.

Construction Use of Time for a Dragon Quest Fan

Dragon Quest Builders was a surprising game, both in that it exists and how addictive it was. Dragon Quest is one of those franchises that was always personally held in high regard, so there was a natural inclination to want to play it. The building mechanics took some getting used to based on the type of games that are more typically played by me, but thanks to the intuitive nature of the controls and early game tutorial, it was easy to jump in and start building. The story and characters are shallow compared to the mainline numbered Dragon Quest games, but despite being a departure from the main series, it still felt like a Dragon Quest game. Many familiar monsters and themes are seen throughout Alefgard’s reconstruction.


Dragon Quest Builders was originally released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita but eventually made its way to Nintendo Switch and PC. A sequel, Dragon Quest Builders 2, was released in 2018, and like the original, is inspired by the events of one of the mainline Dragon Quest games and prominently features Malroth as the builder’s NPC companion. While a departure from traditional Dragon Quest games, both titles are excellent and highly recommended for all Dragon Quest fans, including Ichiban Kasuga. When I first played Dragon Quest Builders back in 2016, I had a lot of skepticism due to not really caring for Minecraft, but the Dragon Quest charm won me over.

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