The Dragon Quest is one of the longest role playing game series still running today, alongside Final Fantasy and very few others. The first entry series created by Yuji Horii, released many years ago on Nintendo NES, is the game that made Japanese Role Playing games popular, thanks to a gameplay experience that was way smoother than the few role playing games released before it.
The original Dragon Quest has been remade several times during the course of the years, with graphics getting enhanced and gameplay mechanics slightly tweaked. The game still retained its old school role playing game feel in each remake, though, as the archaic mechanics haven’t been really updated in any way.
This is pretty much the same for the iOS port of the game. Players will take the role of a young hero descended from the legendary Erdrick, who has saved the world from evil in ages past. Unfortunately this ancient evil is coming back and our hero will have to put an end to it as his ancestor did. There’s very little story in Dragon Quest, and what little there is of it is incredibly simple, in true old school fashion.
The gameplay experience is just as simple as the plot. Players will be controlling their young hero in a top down view, go from town to dungeon to defeat enemies and finally save the world. The game’s battle system is the most basic version of the Dragon Quest turn based system, with players only having to fight a single monster in each battle. The original game’s difficulty level has been toned down considerably, with more EXP points and gold awarded after each battle. There’s still some grinding to be done here and there but it’s not as bad as in other versions of the game.
The iOS release of Dragon Quest, just like Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest VIII, can only be played in portrait mode. Unfortunately things aren’t as smooth as in the other two games, with problems emerging especially when controlling the character in tight spaces. Graphically the game looks ok, with colorful 2D graphics that enhance the old school feel of the game.
Dragon Quest iOS has also received a touched up translation, which is somewhat hit and miss, as I have noticed some inconsistencies in monsters naming and more. It’s not a huge problem, considering the limited amount of text, especially when compared to later entries, but it still makes the game feel like an unpolished release, if you care about consistency.
Everything considered, Dragon Quest is a really basic role playing game that only nostalgic gamers will fully enjoy. Still, there’s a certain charm to be found in the game so even those who have never played the original release could enjoy the game, especially if they don’t expect anything more than a basic role playing game experience.