Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 Game Poster Image
Battling monsters is strategic rather than violent.

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

Positive Messages

In this game, players are constantly battling enemies and competitors. However, much of it is in the context of trying to become the best "Monster Scout" in the world; battling other monsters is treated as a competitive sport and not as a means of gratuitous violence. In addition, part of the story involves players being stranded on an island and working selflessly to rescue everyone else before returning to safety.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The central character in this game is a selfless, good-natured guy who is willing to rescue a group of missing passengers after his airship goes down in a deserted island. He also embodies the character traits of devotion and dedication as he works tirelessly to become the greatest Monster Scout in all the land.

Ease of Play

Anyone who has experience with role-playing games will have no difficulty understanding the menu-based battle system in this game. Even novice players will easily be able to pick up on the gameplay control. Players simply select what attack or defensive move they want to use in battle by selecting it in a menu screen. It's all about strategy and knowing when to use which moves, making the experience somewhat like a sophisticated version of rock, paper, scissors. In addition, this game includes a lot of exploration and puzzle-solving that will require players to flex their cognitive thinking skills. The largely rudimentary puzzles will prove to be easily solvable to most players, however.

Violence & Scariness

Battling other monsters is one of the main gameplay mechanics in this game. However, the depiction is very minimal. When players inflict damage on another monster, a number appears on the screen to signify how many "hit points" were depleted from the monster. When its hit points reach zero, the monster is defeated. Aside from small colorful bursts, there is almost no depiction of the actual violent contact. Enemies are never shown bruised or beaten, and when the battle is over the screen simply fades out and returns to the normal gameplay.


One of the attacks that can be used in battle is called "Hellish Lightning".


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is a role-playing game set in a world where the most popular sport is not football or soccer, but monster battles, a la Pokemon. Players collect a team of monsters and send them out to battle other monsters in the hopes of becoming the greatest competitor in the world. Although battling is a focal point of the game, it is presented as somewhat of a formal sporting event, and even in the instances where it is not, the violent depictions are minimal. Damage is presented with a flash of color and a number on the screen. In addition, fights are always depicted between two creatures, or "monsters," never humans.

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What's it about?

In DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: JOKER 2, players take the role of a young boy who strives to be the ultimate Monster Scout. Players collect monsters and use them in battles against other budding Monster Scouts. In this game's story, there's an unexpected detour when players find themselves stranded on an island and must rescue everyone to find a way off. Along the way, players will fight monsters both in competitive monster battle settings, and in random encounters with enemies. In the end, the goal is to rise to fame as the greatest battle competitor in the world.

Is it any good?

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 is the latest entry in the successful Dragon Quest series. The franchise is popular for its accessible and intuitive battle systems, and the addicting nature of collecting the best monsters and coming up with the best fighting strategy. This game is no exception. Even though battles are depicted with very little visual stimuli, the strategy of the battle itself is what's important, and players will easily find themselves continuously tweaking their lineup of monsters and attacks. The underlying storyline sometimes falls by the wayside, but is intriguing enough to keep players motivated until the end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this game. How is the violence in this game different than something like a fighting game?

  • Who are the heroes in this game?

  • What would you do if you were stranded on an island?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $34.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: September 19, 2011
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes
  • ESRB rating: E for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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