Dragon Quest Builders

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Dragon Quest Builders Game Poster Image
Imaginative world-building game with mild cartoon violence.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids explore their imaginations, build whatever they want. Players find, manipulate, combine natural materials in world to create building materials, furniture, food, weapons, other objects. Less problem-solving than Minecraft -- recipes, blueprints provided rather than figured out -- but kids are given freedom to build whatever they want.

Positive Messages

Encourages curiosity, creativity. Simplistic cartoon combat secondary to more imaginative activities, so kids spend more time thinking, building than fighting.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player's character -- whose gender, skin color can be customized -- doesn't speak but is shown to have an active imagination, desire to help people, mission to create livable, comfortable areas for humans.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn. 

Violence

Player's character uses swords, mallets to attack cartoonish enemies, who fall to ground, disappear when defeated.

Sex

Male, female player characters reduced to underwear when their armor fails. Light innuendo in a couple lines of dialogue, such as "show some skin."

Language

Mild, infrequent profanity in text form, including "hell," "damn."

Consumerism

Switch version provides characters, elements from original NES version of Dragon Quest that players can unlock.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players can find, build beer barrels, but no characters shown drinking alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragon Quest Builders is an open-world role-playing game (RPG) with a Minecraft-like creative twist. Kids can go wherever they like, whacking rocks and trees to harvest resources, and then use those materials and their imaginations to build whatever they like. They'll also fight cartoonish monsters using swords and mallets, but there's no blood or gore -- enemies simply disappear when defeated, sometimes leaving useful resources behind. Parents should note that text dialogue contains mild profanity, including the words "hell" and "damn," plus a small amount of light innuendo, thanks to occasional phrases such as "show some skin." One of the objects that players can build is labeled a "beer barrel." The Switch version of the game also features an 8-bit NES version of characters and environments from the original Dragon Quest game, which could get players interested in checking out the whole franchise.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 year old Written byCrystal N. April 14, 2018

Solid game and safe for all

I'm a gamer myself, and an artist. When my 5 year old daughter asked me for Minecraft, I had many reasons I didn't want her to start playing it. With... Continue reading
Parent of a 17 year old Written byjennievh July 17, 2017

Intriguing, diverse fun!

My niece (24) asked for this game for her birthday. While I was visiting, she encouraged me to create my own login and play it. Wow, what fun! I really like the... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS puts kids in the role of a Legendary Builder who's been awakened after a long sleep and is destined to restore a diminished humanity's place in the fantastical world of Alefgard, ruled by the nefarious Dragonlord, king of monsters. Your fully customizable character is the only human left with the imagination and inspiration to create and build new objects and buildings. He or she journeys through the game's vast, free-to-roam world -- which consists entirely of blocks -- bashing rocks and trees and other stuff to harvest resources that can be used to build everything from beds and stools to houses and castles. Non-player characters met along the way (often in the ruins of buildings that players are free to reconstruct or leave as found) will provide construction projects and help color in the world's dark history. The further you venture the more new resources you'll find, allowing you to construct fancier and more robust buildings and more powerful weapons and gear, all of which will be necessary as you encounter stronger enemies on your way to a final confrontation with the Dragonlord. The Nintendo Switch version allows you to eventually acquire a creature known as the Great Sabrecub, which you can ride into battle with monsters. Defeating beasts with the Sabrecub will drop special crafting materials known as Pixels, which can be used to build terrain from the original Dragon Quest game from the NES, as well as customize townsfolk and your hero in the classic 8-bit visual style.

Is it any good?

If you enjoy Minecraftchances are you'll like this creative role-playing game. It has a very similar (but noticeably more modern) blocky aesthetic, offers an analogous resource-gathering mechanic, and provides nearly boundless opportunity to create whatever you like. All that, and it has an actual story filled with satisfying exploration and building objectives to boot -- which should prove a boon for anyone who likes the creative potential of a game like Minecraft but craves a little more direction and narrative. While this sort of a game might seem a stretch for the traditional Dragon Quest formula, it actually fits surprisingly well. Franchise fans will recognize monsters, music, and the series' trademark tongue-in-cheek dialogue and will be happy to know they can still grow and upgrade their character with seeds, new armor, and more powerful weapons. The Switch version's inclusion of "Pixels" as a crafting material to customize the look of the game even further toward the classic adventure is a great homage to the original series, while giving a bit of visual flair to the blocky environments.

There are a couple of minor quirks, though. For starters, the action is presented from a third-person perspective, which sometimes makes it a little tricky to target specific blocks for removal or placement (though as you learn more powerful area-damage moves, such as a spin attack, you'll be able to clear and harvest blocks quicker than you ever could in Minecraft). Plus, there's a little less freedom to experiment at the start, since recipes for objects are gradually provided through quests rather than stumbled upon by combining random ingredients. But once you've been playing for five or 10 hours, you'll be able to build everything from bustling towns to towering castles. This one earns an easy recommendation for kids with big imaginations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Like Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders can be deeply habit forming, luring kids to keep playing and building for long stretches. Would you consider using the game's day/night cycle to set a play session time limit? A few days of in-game time should equal around an hour in the real world.

  • Talk about creativity in games. This game feels a lot like Minecraft in its look and creative freedom, but how do the two games differ? Which one allows for more creative possibilities?

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love creativity

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate