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The RPG Files: Dragon Quest Treasures Review - PC Edition

Scott Jeslis Posted:
Reviews The RPG Files 0

Any experienced gamer has probably at least heard of the series of role-playing games called Dragon Quest from Square Enix, Inc. While it isn’t a household name, compared to Super Mario Bros., it is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with. In addition to the main eleven games in the series there’s also a multitude of spin-offs.

In fact, a new Dragon Quest spin-off is coming in September so there seems to be no stopping Square Enix! One spin-off that debuted on the Nintendo Switch back in 2022 is Dragon Quest Treasures. I own that version but never opened it. So I thankfully had the good fortune to play the PC version of this commendable treasure-hunting and creature-collecting RPG game.

When I first heard about Dragon Quest Treasures back in 2022, I had visions of releasing my “inner Indiana Jones” all in a Dragon Quest setting. I must be honest, though, being a Diablo 3 fan, I had visions of experiencing “loot explosions” in this game. While that expectation wasn’t realized, Dragon Quest Treasures is still an adventure, I’m glad I took and will continue to take.

The story revolves around Erik and his sister Mia, yes from the Dragon Quest XI game, who start out in the story by living on a Viking ship. The environment doesn’t seem the best for young adults and the Vikings themselves seem to be accomplished treasure hunters. Once the opening progresses, you’ll be able to play as either protagonist. Switching between them while idle between activities was easy.

Dragon Quest Frontiers

Our young, aspiring treasure hunters.

One night they are visited by a pair of otherworldly creatures, named Porcus and Purrsula, who become their in-game companions. Erik and Mia eventually get taken to a place named (no surprises here) Draconia. Draconia is a collection of five islands full of treasures just waiting to be pillaged.

As far as the story and dialogue go, it’s standard, and family-friendly, Dragon Quest fare. The game will give you that retro-gaming vibe as most of the in-game dialogue is scrolling text, including the retro beeping sound. The cut scenes do have some voice acting which is nice. Otherwise, the only other voice acting you’ll hear during gameplay is the use of the familiar technique of using sound bites, e.g., grunts, hums, short phrases like “Okay,” etc.

Dragon Quest Treasures is somewhat open-world, but it’s more like a guided open-world game that includes a well-rounded dose of RPG mechanics. The subtle guided part steers you toward a goal so game mechanics can be opened to you. But when and how you go about that is somewhat freeform.

You’ll start out with a party of Dragon Quest familiar “monsters” that will form your “field squad”. Each of these monsters provides its own player-usable skill, called Fortes. These can be used for assistance in the field. For example, the Slime-based characters will provide themselves as a springy jump board so you can reach higher places. A Dracky provides a temporary gliding ability, etc.

Your field squad will also perform as battle pets in the field as you encounter new monsters in the wild while searching for treasure. Each of them has its own levels and will level up with XP and can even be fed. Your field squad for the most part is in auto-mode. You can give them two commands though, one to gather around you and one to “attack”.

Your monster squad also has a keen sense for when treasure is around. They will alert you when the treasure is near, and the type of treasure it is, by using expression icons over their heads. It starts off as a mild game of “hot & cold” as they use different icons based on proximity. When you’re “hot” you then use your own forte that gives you a “vision quest moment” and reveals a subtle snapshot of where the loot is. I found the snapshots to be handy but not as super detailed or useful as I think they were meant to be. I typically fell back on just searching the area.

Besides, when you’re near a treasure chest, the area starts to sparkle and smoke making it clear where to dig. Even when your field squad isn’t alerting to the presence of treasure you can use your forte to display a compass giving you a direction some treasure is in, kind of akin to the Archaeology mechanic in World of Warcraft.

When treasure is found don’t expect a massive “loot explosion”, in fact, when you open a box in the field, you’ll see an outline of the item but no real description of what it is. You see you need to take it back to your base and have it evaluated and appraised.  You get appraisal bonuses too for how many treasures you bring back on a single run. The appraisal money is added to your base’s coffer. When the coffer reaches a certain monetary amount your Treasure Hunter “rank” goes up allowing you bonuses and sometimes new game mechanics.

Dragon Quest Treasures

Treasure found moments do feel as good as the picture portrays.

The “monster collecting” mechanic of the game is outlined by doing real-time field battles against monsters you encounter. The first time you and your squad beat a “newly encountered” monster, they are available to be “drafted” to your team back at your base. Your field squad performs battles on auto mode while the character you’re controlling can use melee techniques, magic daggers or ranged support or DPS by using your zoomed-in third-person slingshot and equipped pellets.

Pellets come in different varieties, including minor damage, water damage, and even those that heal your squad members. You heal your squad by equipping these pellets and launching them at a targeted squad member. The act of using the slingshot initially feels a bit cumbersome. When you switch pellets, the battle action pauses, you then use arrow keys to select a pellet type. When I did these during downtime moments more times than not, I fired a pellet by mistake and early on, pellets are precious until your base can forge them on their own.

Speaking of your base, it also is a living object. As you rank up, you’ll be able to add crafting, cooking and dispatch monsters on independent missions. The monsters you draft to your team will also be dancing around the base grounds. You’ll also open up some other surprising activities, including a tower run.

Dragon Quest Treasures has a multitude of quest activities to do once you unlock them, including “daily quests.” Eventually, you’ll even unlock an optional online activity where other players and you can hide facsimiles of the treasures you collected for the community to find. You can put treasures on display in your treasure museum, which once polished, will add gold to your coffer.

Dragon Quest Treasures

Having your loot appraised.

Manual game saves were implemented via campfires found throughout the islands. Saves were implemented on a day/night cycle. So, you can save until evening or the next morning. The night cycle has some benefits as mobs in the field will typically be asleep and you can sneak up on them, via a mini-game, to unleash a high DPS sneak attack.

A big part of the game mechanic is to level up your Hunter Rank. You do this mostly by dispersing to an island, of your choice, and searching for chests with your monster squad. When you check the island dispatch board it’ll tell you your probability of finding treasure based on the current squad equipped, obviously the higher the better. Before you disperse to an island you can change members in your squad to see if you can get a higher “golden ratio” for a targeted island. It becomes an incentive to go out and draft more monster types.

Visiting these islands, I found some areas to be sprinkled with a higher-level mob and found my auto-mode squad pull them if I got too close. When you collect treasure it’s “given” to a monster in your squad. If you, or that monster holding the treasure, die in the field, you lose the treasure you collected. So, these expeditions become a game of risk versus reward. How many treasures, up to six in one trip, should you hold before turning them in? Personally, I tend to be cautious, so it turns into a lot of quick trips from field expeditions. It sets up a cycle of being somewhat repetitious. Even so, it’s still satisfying to dig up a treasure chest, see the image above and hear that “level up” like music played and that’s what the game is all about.

Dragon Quest Treasures

The act of loading a different pellet.

Regarding playability and stability of this console port, the game played well on my aging gaming PC hardware. The only compatibility complaint is lack of support for a mouse pointer. On a lot of the screens, you must use arrow keys to highlight what you need to set up your evolving squad, etc. The game is Steam Deck verified and played very well on mine making it a nice travel game. This version was also being touted as having “improved visuals and framerate” and I can’t complain about it graphically as characters seem to have crisp lines while retaining that anime charm.

Bottom line, the game might be a bit easy for die-hard action RPGers but that makes it an exceptional choice for younger gamers. Dragon Quest enthusiasts will find a spin-off here that is a nice nod to the Dragon Quest series as the references to other Dragon Quest games are abundant! There are also many features that should keep you busy for a while. Highly recommended, especially to any Dragon Quest fan!

Full Disclosure: A copy of this game was provided by PR for the purposes of this review. Reviewed on PC.

8.5 Great
  • Stays true to the Dragon Quest series
  • Plenty of in-game activities including an online component
  • Opening treasures is fun
  • Family Friendly
  • Plays well on Steam Deck
  • Mouse support would have been appreciated
  • The act of treasure hunting can start to feel repetitive


Scott Jeslis

Scott is a comic book, music, and gaming nerd since the late 70s. Gaming all began on the Colecovision and Atari 2600. He buys and reads new comics every Wednesday from his LCBS and helps run an online Heavy Metal radio station. He also loves all things Star Wars.