The Backlog: Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

I did some air travel a few weeks ago, and had a chance to play and finish Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. It’s a fairly easy action RPG with some interesting features, and a very good localization, which makes the charming humor in the game seem, well, charming, as opposed to bizarre. Gameplay is split between an overhead exploration/combat mode, and a “tank battle” mode, in which you shovel ammunition into your tank’s guns (much like stoking a coal-fueled locomotive), while battling other enemy crew members. The tank battles are enjoyable, for the most part, but the final one unexpectedly closes off certain tactical options (ones upon which I had relied heavily), which seems both unfair as well as misleading from a game design standpoint.

Interestingly, the economy of the game is mostly centered around retrieving items found in the exploration game – there’s a concept of money, but after the first couple of hours the focus shifts almost entirely to item retrieval. (There’s an alchemy system by which retrieved items can be transmuted into more useful items. All of the items are intended for use either as alchemical components, or as ammunition for your tank.) Capturing monsters also plays a role, as capturing certain amounts of monsters unlocks additional crew members for your tank. I have to say that collecting items can get tedious, as the quantity of items needed to do any “serious” alchemy is quite high. Fortunately, there’s a relatively low bar to clear for capturing monsters, and it’s not required to finish the game.

While it may sound like I had a lot of complaints, it’s an enjoyable 10 hour game that doesn’t overstay its welcome by too much. There are some additional quests and battles for completists, but which are not necessary by any means to finish the game. You could certainly do a lot worse than to play Rocket Slime…

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