It appears that Square Enix has managed to do it again. This time for Dragon Quest Builders the developer has released another hobbled port on mobile. This is a surprise release, launched to celebrate the 36th anniversary of Dragon Quest, and despite the high asking price of $21.99 (by the way, with the current 20% discount), controller support was removed, and DLC was added. Yep, $21.99 doesn’t even get you the full game. If you want to unlock the new Free Play build mode exclusively for the mobile release, you’ll have to spend more money. Gee, thanks, Square Enix.
While you can’t find the mobile launch trailer in the new Google Play Store listing, the video above is still worth watching as it shows off the game’s touch controls and graphics. If you’re unfamiliar with Dragon Quest Builders, it’s a story-based Minecraft-like building game, with voxels and all. The linear design is stage-based, where you’ll clear the land of specific locations by building settlements, with tons of crafting mixed in. It’s a solid game that’s fun to play, especially if you enjoy titles like Minecraft, although the mobile port leaves a lot to be desired.
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First of all, the asking price of $21.99 is pretty high, even though considering it includes a 20% off. It’s only made worse to see the extra DLC added to the title. Sure, this DLC is at least new to the game, adding a free-build mode among a few cosmetics. You can grab all the DLC for $5.99, while the total cost of the game and its DLC is $26.99. In comparison, the 2016 game is still full price on the Nintendo Switch ($49.99), as well as the PS4 ($59.99). So the mobile release is the cheapest option out there, even at its high price, but since Square is apt to remove controller support, you’ll be forced to use the new touch controls.
Thankfully the touch controls are fine. They aren’t great, but are certainly good enough to make the game a tool. Dragon Quest Builders can be played at a slow pace, and even the combat is relatively simple. Still, removing the features that the game was built for, like controller support, is incredibly short-sided.
As far as performance is concerned, I can hit 60 fps on the ROG 5 with graphics on high, though dropped frames are common. This means that medium or low settings will be more viable for most devices. Apart from these three options, there are no other graphic settings in the game.
So it looks like Square Enix is still comfortable releasing sloppy ports of older games on mobile at higher prices. Add on top of that the company’s terrible track record on mobile, where it often leaves games broken for months on end, and that the asking price of $21.99 is certainly pretty unappealing. The really awesome thing is that Dragon Quest Builders is otherwise a great game and would be perfect to play on tablets and Chromebooks, but without controller support, the only viable way to play is without touch controls extending uncomfortably across the phone screen. . More or less, it’s sad to see such a slapdash approach to mobile releases, which is why Dragon Quest Builders is a treacherous investment.
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Matthew Scholtz (published 1915 article)
Matthew is an avid nitpicker and somewhat (albeit amusingly) cranky. A guy who has an oddly keen interest in Android and the status quo of gaming on the platform. Some might call it a ridiculous act, but it is a task that he is prepared to do from the comfort of his chair.
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