Dragon Quest Builders

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Dragon Quest Builders (ドラゴンクエストビルダーズ アレフガルドを復活せよ) is a sandbox game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita.

The Builder is tasked with rebuilding the world after it was destroyed by the evil Dragonlord. The game features gathering and building elements, similar to Minecraft and Terraria. The game was released in Japan on January 28, 2016, in North America and Europe on October 11, 2016. A port for the Nintendo Switch was released on February 9, 2018, in North America and Europe, and in Japan on March 1, 2018. Another port for mobile devices was released on May 26, 2022 in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia. In summer of 2017, the sequel was announced.

Setting[edit]

The game is set in Alefgard, the world of the original Dragon Quest game, and players gradually rebuild each area of it. This includes Cantlin, Rimuldar, Kol. Galenholm and Tantegel, using materials they find to overcome the specific blights each area is beset by. The game is based on an alternative ending of Dragon Quest: before the final battle, the hero accepted the evil Dragonlord's suggestion - of ruling half of the world. But that's indeed a trap, and the world was engulfed by darkness. The fallen hero was given a fortress called "Half of the world" by the Dragonlord, who also took the capacity of building away from humans. Eventually, Rubiss sent someone with the power to build in order to restore the world to its former glory and prepare it for the time a new hero who can defeat the Dragonlord is born.

Gameplay[edit]

The main mechanic of the game is placing and destroying blocks in a 3d world, similar to other voxel games like Minecraft. Some differences with Minecraft include the progression system, the designed areas (as opposed to the procedurally generated worlds in Minecraft), the forced third person view, the combat techniques, and more. Players can use tools and weapons to have a better control of how they interact with the environments.

Builders is divided into chapters, with the aim in each to restore light to the land by rebuilding a central town, with both the quality and quantity of the buildings and decorations contributing to an overall Base Level. The higher a town's Base Level, the more citizens it will attract, and better quality items will become available. Inhabitants of a town will give the player quests in order to better their surroundings, defend the town if monsters penetrate the defenses, and cook/craft items for the player to use. Each area has a set structure but certain elements like trees, rocks, flowers, and even caves are randomized upon starting the chapter. The game also features a day/night cycle which affects the type of monsters that appear as well as their ferocity. Monsters can attack what the player has built and lower the town's "experience" as a result, though the Base Level can never actually decrease. Furthermore, the player will periodically need to defend the town against an organized horde of monsters, usually led by a boss monster.

The player character has both a health meter and a hunger bar, both of which can be restored through healing items and food items, respectively. The game also features a crafting system by accessing workbenches. New crafting recipes can be discovered as the player progresses through the story, as well as acquiring new resources. The builder, unlike heroes, cannot level up and stat gains are obtained via equipped weapons, armor and accessories. The equipment in this game degrades with usage, to the point of breaking and disappearing from the inventory. Monsters do not drop experience, but they drop materials and other useful items.

The game is divided into four chapters (one for each town), accessible through the main menu once unlocked. At the end of each chapter, a boss is fought (a golem for Cantlin, a hades condor for Rimuldar, etc.). Each chapter is standalone -meaning the builder starts with nothing at the start of each chapter-, and can be replayed indefinitely. There are challenges that unlock recipes for the free mode, which is unlocked after finishing the first chapter.

Some limited player customization can be done at the start of the game, and can be later edited in a sub-menu accessible from the main menu.

List of characters[edit]

Image Name Area Description
DQB Pippa.png
Pippa Cantlin Pippa joins the base immediately after the player places the Banner of Hope. She offers a number of quests, but avoids battle. She is the first person the player meets.
DQB Rollo polygon model.jpg
Rollo Cantlin Rollo is found under a rock some monsters stuck on top of him. A bombastic buffoon, he is a man of endless enthusiasm who encourages the builder with information he gleams from an old tomb called the Cantlin Chronicle.
DQB Larouche.png
Larouche Cantlin Larouche appears at the base once the player acquires the blue teleportal. Larouche doesn’t engage in combat, but does provide quests that improve the base.
DQB Kenelm.png
Kenelm Cantlin Travel through the blue teleportal, defend Kenelm from skeletons, and he gratefully follows the player to the base. He becomes a vigilant defender of the base and teaches the player a special combat technique.
DQB Sheridon.png
Sheridon Cantlin Sheridon arrives at the base after the player places the red teleportal. While he does not participate in battles, he shares the secret of building wrecking balls, which are the key to defeating a powerful enemy.
DQB Magnus.png
Magnus Cantlin A renowned blacksmith, Magnus has been locked up by evil forces. Once set free, he eagerly engages in battle at the player's base and shares his knowledge.
DQB Cherie.png
Cherie Cantlin Cherie pops up at the Banner of Hope after the green teleportal is earned. She isn’t a fighter, but she does pitch in by creating items in the workshop.
DQB Splatrick.jpg
Splatrick Cantlin Splatrick is a slime found behind the Green Teleportal. He is a slime who is hated by the other slimes because he doesn't hate humans. He has the ability to talk to other monsters as seen after the final battle.
DQB Elle polygon model.jpg
Elle Rimuldar A devout nun who attempts to counter poison with piety. She is immensely grateful to the Builder facilitating her aid to the ill, but her fervor for first-aid may come at the cost of her own life...
DQB Gerontius.png
Gerontius Rimuldar The learned Gerontius becomes a valuable asset after he is recruited to the cause. He is a scholar, but has no problem getting dirty while battling monsters. His anguish is tied to the secrets he keeps.
DQB Nosh.png
Nosh Rimuldar Nosh is the first of many diseased people that must be carried back to the base. When he’s healthy again, Nosh becomes the driving force behind learning about how to fish.
DQB Casey.png
Casey Rimuldar Casey must be rescued from the island beyond the blue teleportal. Casey’s illness requires two treatments, but she protects the base as soon she’s out of the sickroom.
DQB Hazel.png
Hazel Rimuldar Hazel’s rescue involves a trip through the red teleportal and vanquishing a group of treefaces. Feed her four meals to restore her health. She isn’t a fighter, but she builds items when the player creates the proper rooms.
DQB Mildred.jpg
Mildred Rimuldar Mildred suffers starving sickness and requires a large amount of food to be cured. Once on the mend, she serves as a guard for the town and will attack monsters on sight. Concerned with creature comforts, she hopes the Builder can lead the village to a life of luxury.
DQB Glutimus.jpg
Glutimus Kol and Galenholm Glutimus is an overemotional and overly-dependent doofus that joins the base the moment the flag is planted. Sorely misses Barbella, and is fixated on restoring the Kol bath's. A coward at heart, he has to be forced to join the builder to rescue his mates.
DQB Burley.png
Burley Kol and Galenholm Burley is a kind-of-but-not-really vegetarian that must rescued from a desert cave on the chapter’s starting island. Burley is a fearless fighter who defends the base and joins expeditions outside the base with equal zeal.
DQB Maxi.jpg
Maxi Kol and Galenholm Maxi must be rescued from the prison north of Kol. He is the most appreciative of the thugs, and has complete faith in the Builder's abilities, being well informed of the player's actions in Cantlin and Rimuldar.
DQB Barbella polygon model.jpg
Barbella Kol and Galenholm The leader of the thugs who has been abducted by monsters. Though as crude as her cohorts, she tries her hardest to fight against the Dragonlord's curse and develop new weapons and defences. Studied under Galeleo a long time ago, and would prefer not to talk about it.
Nopic.png
Galeleo Kol and Galenholm This former inventor turned lingering spirit has a long history with Barbella, and only the Builder can see and speak with him. His greatest goal was to combine fire and ice into a weapon that could slay the elementals impervious to normal blows.
DQB Baird.jpg
Baird Kol and Galenholm A flowery bard from Galenholm, who lost his love Cecille in a blizzard. A milksop amongst muscles, he reassures himself that there is no way his lover would take a shine to sweaty meat-heads over his refined poise...
DQB Cecille.png
Cecille Kol and Galenholm After rescuing Cecille from a trio of killing machines beyond the red teleportal at Baird’s behest, she quietly settles in at the base and insists she and Baird are only good friends. Later, she pops up again, when odd singing disturbs her sleep.
DQB Myrlund.jpg
Myrlund Tantegel A great wiseman who survives the bleak landscape of Tantegel by subsisting on mist. Though disgruntled with the Builder's backtalk and sass, he puts his full faith into them and guides them in the purification of the land.
DQB Princess Gwaelin.jpg
Princess Gwaelin Tantegel When the Dragonlord cast his curse upon the land after the hero's betrayal, the anguished princess chanted a curse of her own to turn to stone. Revived by the builder, she works diligently to assist in the recovery of her fallen kingdom.
DQB Launce.png
Launce Tantegel Guards the Princess with his life. Completely disregards the Builder's heroic deeds with laughter.
DQB Trystian.png
Trystian Tantegel Guards the Princess with his life. More respectful of the Builder than Launce.
DQB Androoo.png
Androoo Tantegel Androoo is a monster taking on the appearance of a human that can potentially be recruited to the base. Androoo has been shunned by other monsters because he doesn’t hate humans. Androo works so hard at passing for human that he’s willing to attack other monsters when they assault the castle.
DQB Dragonlord polygon model.png
Dragonlord Charlock Castle The blight of light and bane to the land, the Dragonlord is the devilish dictator of Alefgard, having kept humans in the dark for well over a century.

Development[edit]

Builders began development under series producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto, who wanted to address the unfamiliarity of sandbox-style games with Japanese players. As the series has a precedent of spin-off titles that eschew the traditional RPG formula of the main line games for more action focus, Fujimoto felt that an experimental title such as Builders would not clash with the fans, and instead introduce them to a new type of genre altogether through crafting.

The setting of Alefgard was chosen due to the relative simplicity of the landscape compared to later entries in the series, which Fujimoto felt would be more intuitive to Builders' theme of exploration and restoration. The Dragonlord's infamous offer of half the world lent itself to a scenario that would easily explain why the game's setting was in dire need of rebuilding in the first place, and not clash with the design sensibilities the series is known for.

The initial planning document specified that the game would be an open-world style adventure in which all areas were connected, rather than featuring sequential chapters that remove the resources accumulated previously. Director Kazuya Niinou proposed a change to this plan, citing that if players completed one area and moved to the next with their materials still accessible, the game would become too easy and not rewarding to play. He suggested a switch to the chapter format, which would have the added benefit of giving more distinction to each area and the people within along with resolving the difficulty curve issues.The chapters would originally reverse the order in which towns are normally reached in the original, which is why the game begins in Cantlin. This was changed later during production to begin near Charlock Castle and radiate outwards before reaching Tantegel in the final chapter, rather than the more predictable reverse-order.

For quality assurance, play-tests were done from the perspective of gamers with no prior experience with the series so as to make the game accessible to newcomers. Rather than finalize a concrete story at the start of the project, the development team instead focused on the types of materials and items the player can make use of, only beginning work on the story once the team was satisfied with the tools they had created.

Nintendo Switch version[edit]

In early 2018, Square Enix released a Switch port of the game. It included the same content seen on the PlayStation versions, but with a few tweaks and changes.

  • Graphically, the game was practically on par with the PS4 version.
  • The challenges were changed. The speedrunning ones were replaced by item collection ones.
  • Some new content was available in Terra Incognita. The Sabercub mount was the main addition, but no the last. Defeating enemies by jumping on them while riding the sabercub would provide the player with pixel blocks that could be used to create items based on the original game's 8-bit sprites.

Smartphone version[edit]

On May 27 of 2022, as part of the 36th anniversary celebrations, Square Enix released a mobile version of Dragon Quest Builders, surprising to most fans. This version can be considered the definitive version of the game as of 2022, due to the numerous changes and improvements present on it.

  • It includes everything available on the Switch version of the game.
  • This version supports every language the game has ever been translated to (Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, English, German, French, Spanish and Italian) in a single version. It also includes two new translations: Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish.
  • There is an "undo" button.
  • There is autosave. It triggers when sleeping or when using a chimaera wing.
  • A buildnoculars-like feature called "Build Mode" is available from the start. Players can build and destroy from afar with this feature by just clicking on the screen.
    • The "Builder Mode" is expanded in Terra Incognita. It's a function even more similar to Builders 2's Buildnoculars, allowing for a great level of accuracy due to it's crosshair.
  • Doors open automatically when the player moves close to them.
  • Equipment degradation is gone.
  • The character can now run.
  • Players can now choose how many items to craft at once.
  • The menus are completely redone.
  • Swipping up opens the bag / colossal coffer.
  • Each slot can now hold up to 9999 items instead of 99.
  • The bag can now hold more items as well. Chests can hold 50% more items, and the colossal coffer is also larger.
    • The colossal coffer can now be organized normally or separated by item type.
  • The color globes now emit a ray of light for extra visibility.
  • The Big Bash technique from Builders 2 is available and unlocked upon obtaining the giant mallet.
  • The recipe list now shows what monsters drop monster-only materials.
  • The Bashmobile does not stop after colliding against blocks or items.
  • Ability to unlock infinite materials for the workbenches in Terra Incognita, similar to the infinite materials from Explorer Shores in Builders 2. They can be unlocked by purchasing the related manual with Pixel blocks.
  • Rare items can be purchased with Pixel blocks as well.
  • New tools, accessories and items for Terra Incognita:
    • Gloves: They function similar to their Builders 2 counterpart, allowing players to hold and rotate items without breaking them.
    • Mega minecart: Ride tracks even faster than before.
    • Liber Destructica: Turns Big Bash into Bigger Bash.
    • Meteorite shoes: A pair of shoes that greatly increase speed movement.
    • Reverse curved rail track: A rail section that turns to the left.
  • A new item type for Terra Incognita: "Figurine". This type of item includes replica models of monsters and npcs, which can be assigned animations from a list.
  • New paid DLC for Terra Incognita:
    • Magic Carpet allows players to fly.
    • Pixel Ring triples the drop rate of pixel blocks dropped by enemies.
    • Astronomy Set unlocks recipes to create the celestial bodies of the Solar System.
    • Boss Monster Model Set allows players to place replicas of the story bosses.

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Although Dragon Quest Builders marks Myrlund's first in-game appearance in any Dragon Quest game, his japanese name (ムツヘタ "Mutsuketa") is mentioned in the manual from the Famicom version of the first game.[1]
  • Dragon Quest Builders is the first Dragon Quest title for PlayStation Vita. A special PlayStation Vita console with a metal slime theme released alongside it.
  • The Nintendo Switch version of the game has the peculiarity of having been released in western territories before releasing in Japan. To this day, it's the only Dragon Quest game released first internationally and later in Japan.
  • Due to timezones, it might appear that the mobile port released first in the west than in the east. However, it released at the same time in all territories: When the clock marked 00:00 of May 27, 2022 in Japan.
  • The mobile version marks the first time a Dragon Quest title has been translated into Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish.

External link[edit]

References[edit]