Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince review: a charming Pokémon alternative

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 The Dark Prince.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince

MSRP $59.99

“Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is nosy capable to springiness disappointment Pokémon fans a coagulated alternative.”


  • Fun turn-based combat
  • Charming monster designs
  • Engaging fusion system
  • Varied environments


  • Performance issues, framework complaint drops
  • A spot of a grind
  • Lack of improvement and innovation

The Dragon Quest series ne'er rather reached nan heights of fame that its Square Enix brethren, Final Fantasy, enjoyed extracurricular of Japan. The aforesaid tin beryllium said astir its spinoff series, Dragon Quest Monsters, which galore players see a competitor to nan ascendant Pokémon franchise. In fact, nan past Dragon Quest Monsters game, 2016’s Joker 3 for nan 3DS, ne'er moreover near Japan. It’s a niche wrong a niche.

Now, 7 years later, Square Enix is yet backmost pinch a caller introduction successful nan series. Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. Like its predecessors, it’s a turn-based monster battler spinoff wherever players seizure nan main franchise’s colorful creatures and usage them to conflict against their own. In an property wherever nan mainline Pokémon RPG bid is gaining disapproval from disappointment fans, it could beryllium nan replacement players are looking for.

While it’s not going to bring much mainstream attraction to nan spinoff series. for illustration 2018’s excellent Dragon Quest XI did for nan mainline franchise, The Dark Prince still delivers capable nosy pinch its engaging monster creation strategy and enjoyable turn-based battles. It conscionable suffers from rocky position and tons of grinding that will apt support it from afloat capitalizing connected Pokémon’s infinitesimal of weakness.

Brighter times for nan Dark Prince

The Dark Prince follows a young quality and monster hybrid named Psaro earlier he became nan Manslayer menace that he was successful Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of nan Chosen. He harbors a hatred for humans owed to group mistreating him for his mixed heritage, but his dying quality mother’s past wish was for him to beryllium a bully person. As a result, he marches onto his father’s beforehand steps and gets demolished.

He past inflicts a curse onto Psaro that renders him incapable to wounded different monsters. It’s a clever measurement for nan communicative to warrant its gameplay; Psaro must now tame monsters to make them conflict for him and get revenge connected his father. The darker revenge-filled reside is juxtaposed pinch nan animation creation style that nan broader Dragon Quest franchise is known for. That gives The Dark Prince a unsocial sound of its own.

 The Dark Prince PsaroImage utilized pinch support by copyright holder

Even though it’s connected to an aged game, it useful good arsenic a standalone communicative arsenic players don’t request to person played Dragon Quest IV to understand what’s going connected successful The Dark Prince. However, longtime Dragon Quest fans and those who person played Dragon Quest IV will bask that there’s a relationship to a mainstream entry.

A world of monsters

The wide gameplay loop for Dark Prince is somewhat akin to that of Pokémon’s. Whereas Pokémon has players defeating beardown Gym Leaders and collecting their badges, Psaro runs astir various unfastened areas passim nan escapade encountering monsters to enlistee aliases fight. It yet culminates successful a tournament-style leader conflict and increases Psaro’s reputation. It mightiness sound basal connected paper, but I recovered nan repetition oddly satisfying arsenic I explored nan world.

It’s ever breathtaking to travel crossed caller monsters that I could adhd to my roster.

It helps that nan unfastened areas person a wide scope of environments. The Circle of Caprice is simply a beautiful, yet contradictory blend of desert, forest, and water, while nan Circle of Indulgence is made up wholly of cake. The changeless alteration of scenery helps support nan exploration caller throughout.

The Nintendo Switch hardware does show its property successful exploration; nan visuals aren’t really each that amended than those successful Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. It has akin capacity issues to its monster-capturing modern too. Load times are long, and location are very noticeable framework complaint drops while exploring. Menus return a 2nd aliases 2 to popular up erstwhile pressing nan correct button. All of these issues really impede nan wide gameplay experience, robbing it of a much-needed level of polish.

 The Dark Prince IndulgenceSquare Enix

Even pinch those issues, I was still engaged arsenic I discovered caller monsters passim my travels. It’s ever breathtaking to travel crossed caller ones that I could adhd to my roster, particularly because of to their creation design. The critters are drawn and modeled aft Akira Toriyama’s signature style, and nan designs are rather varied. They scope from tiny to uncanny; there’s everything from a bull caput connected a vertebrate assemblage to a cob of maize pinch 1 oculus to and a mole pinch a shovel. These designs onslaught a cozy mediate crushed betwixt Pokémon’s family-friendly designs and Persona’s sometimes demonic monsters.

Commanding an army

The Dark Prince has a turn-based conflict strategy for illustration mainline Dragon Quest games. Monsters tin either beryllium commanded individually aliases players tin group definite behaviors and fto them conflict connected their ain until nan adjacent turn. When allowing nan AI to power actions for illustration treatment aliases defending, it follows those behaviors rather well. I emotion having nan elasticity of some options successful lawsuit I person a circumstantial strategy against a leader aliases I conscionable want to bulldoze my measurement done a normal encounter.

That strategy comes pinch immoderate awesome value of life features. There’s a fast-forward toggle to virtually velocity up battles, and an auto-battle usability that lets monsters conflict connected their ain until each nan enemies are eliminated. These features thief return immoderate of nan grind retired of battles, thing this repetitive RPG needed.

I felt for illustration I needed to grind a fewer levels to get stronger, which dragged nan escapade down.

In bid to enlistee caller creatures, monsters onslaught pinch a “show of force” that adds to a full percent of really apt players are to seizure them. The stronger nan squad is, nan higher chance players will person to person them to join. This strategy adds immoderate coagulated suspense to battles, arsenic nan percent blinks for illustration a Pokéball, shaking a fewer times earlier it either confirms aliases denies your capture.

Those systems are capped disconnected by immoderate amazingly challenging leader encounters. During my first tourney early successful nan game, I quickly learned that I needed a divers squad pinch circumstantial roles successful bid to win. Unlike normal battles, I couldn’t conscionable powerfulness my measurement done pinch 4 attackers. I needed to incorporated monsters that buffed my teammates and ones that healed them. Still, astatine definite points, I felt for illustration I needed to grind a fewer levels to get stronger, which dragged nan escapade down.

Making much monsters

The Dark Prince’s standout gameplay characteristic is its wildly nosy monster synthesis mechanic, which is akin to Persona’s fusion strategy wherever players breed monsters to create caller ones. Experimenting pinch different creatures is ever exciting, arsenic I’m perpetually discovering caller monsters, immoderate of which tin only beryllium recovered done fusion. The strategy incentivizes maine to support creating caller monsters too, arsenic Talents tin beryllium passed down from nan fusion monster worldly (monsters caught successful nan chaotic only incorporate their earthy Talents). It’s a bully midpoint betwixt nan elemental splicing of Persona and Pokémon’s complex, strategical breeding.

I do wish it wasn’t truthful creatively safe.

When monsters level up, they occasionally gain Talent Points (TP) that tin beryllium spent to summation definite stats aliases study caller moves. When passing down Talents, nan offspring recuperates immoderate Talent Points that were antecedently invested successful it, giving nan caller monster a caput commencement astatine level one.

I emotion playing astir pinch nan fusion strategy and trying to find ways I tin create immoderate genuinely powerful and surgery monsters that could overpower early crippled threats. It’s different characteristic that helped alteration nan magnitude of grinding I did arsenic I realized that simply leveling up my existing statement wasn’t nan champion measurement to get stronger. I had to activity smarter and return a much measured attack erstwhile building retired my team.

 The Dark PrinceImage utilized pinch support by copyright holder

I’m gladsome to spot nan Dragon Quest Monsters spinoff bid travel backmost pinch a caller entry, though I do wish it wasn’t truthful creatively safe. It plays excessively overmuch for illustration erstwhile entries, and nan deficiency of improvement and capacity issues are disappointing. Even if it doesn’t emergence excessively acold supra its predecessors, nan gameplay loop and monster fusion strategy are conscionable arsenic engaging arsenic ever. Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince won’t beryllium knocking Pokémon disconnected its throne anytime soon, but it’s still a nosy replacement for nan trainer who’s already caught ’em all.

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince was tested connected Nintendo Switch.

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