Nintendo’s Switch is nearly a year old and that year has shown us that not only can great games come to the platform, but older games can get a new lease of life on the system thanks to its portability. One I expected would turn up on the platform eventually was Dragon Quest Builders. With the Switch port, the game still has the same base structure and thus everything I said in my review still stands, but it’s slightly more appealing on the Switch nonetheless.
With many games on the Nintendo Switch, there is a slight downgrade in visual fidelity. The question that lies with this port is whether or not this impacts the gameplay. Generally speaking, the game runs very well no matter which mode you’re using the Switch, maintaining the same level of performance as the PS4 counterpart. There are times where the resolution is lower using a TV, but there’s barely any difference.
However the only thing I found that was majorly different was that no matter how much I turned up the brightness on the Switch to play, as I couldn’t see much when night fell in-game in portable mode. Of course, you are actively encouraged by the game to go to sleep before nightfall or at least have a light source on me, but it was just that little bit too dark to see clearly when swinging at enemies.
It’s a mild complaint at best in all honesty, but it’s the only big performance issue I had. I may have an idea of where enemies are, but as soon as they teleport or attack, I need to ensure that I can see before they hit my character. This is a unique problem and one I hope is fixed in a subsequent patch.
Aside from this though, quite honestly, Dragon Quest Builders is best played on the Switch thanks to the device’s inherent ability to be played on the go. You can certainly spend hours helping the townsfolk or connected to the internet with buddies going around and building your own town. It’s still enjoyable and with younger audiences in mind, it’s still a blast.
It doesn’t take much in the way of advantage of its capabilities beyond its portability however, which is a shame as scrolling through items manually does get somewhat tedious after a while, making this another game that quite bizarrely doesn’t make use of the touch screen. However, the game does include a few extra features. These include a Sabercub that is usable only in the Terra Incognita to gather building materials with more of a retro flair to them. It’s a cute idea and one that speeds up travelling in Free-Playlay mode.
The only way I could foresee improving Dragon Quest Builders would be to incorporate some kind of offline play where multiple players could play using the Joy-Con. Maybe not in the campaign just yet, since full co-op for that is seemingly a feature due in the sequel, but just in Free-Play mode to allow for parents to play with their children and build whatever they want. Alas, this is but a suggestion rather than a knock on the port.
Dragon Quest Builders fits right at home on the Switch and does everything that it needs to do. It’s a bit no frills in its approach, with only mild content additions rather than taking full advantage of the technology that the console has to offer, but for gaming on the go it’s yet another great option.