“A game that successfully fuses together two genres, the classic RPG elements and plot of a Dragon Quest game with the creative block-building freedom of Minecraft.”


Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, & Steam

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Category: Obsession

27.5 hours logged on Xbox One. At least 45 hours of playtime on Nintendo Switch. Over 333 total hours spent in-game on the PlayStation 4 on two separate profiles (there’s just something so satisfying about hearing trophies pop). If I do the math correctly, that means I have spent just over 400 hours total playing this game. While I knew I had spent a lot of time playing Builders 2, I would not have guessed it was almost as much time as I have spent in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

[Image Credit: Square Enix]

Having thoroughly enjoyed playing through the first title in the series, Dragon Quest Builders, for a total of three times it should come as no surprise that the sequel was destined to be something that I would absolutely enjoy. What is shocking is how much more there is to do in Builders 2 compared to the original game. Compared to the first title, the developers packed in more content, customization options, a longer story, and a bigger world to explore. In every possible way, Builders 2 feels like an improvement over the original.

But exactly what keeps me coming back to this title over and over again, across different systems? Shouldn’t I have gotten bored with the title by now? What gives? Read on to find out the reasons why my crazy self continues to play through Builders 2 and most likely will for a long time to come.

Reason #1: Slow & Steady Progression

While some bemoan the developer’s design choice of locking upgrades behind story progression, I feel quite the opposite. I believe the developers should be commended on incorporating a steady drip-feed model of progression throughout the game instead of having everything unlockable early on in the game. In sandbox games I tend to feel overwhelmed by having too many things to learn too early on before I have gotten a handle on basic gameplay. If my short experience with Minecraft has taught me anything, it’s that having options and tons to do is great, but I lose patience and my brain capacity wanes when I am bombarded right away with too many new things to learn.

And while it’s true that you will not be able to unlock some tools and recipes until much later in the game, this did not damper my enjoyment of the title at all. In fact, I believe that is what kept me coming back to my save files and continuing on with my adventure. The fact that I have played over 400 hours across multiple saves and platforms and still have not unlocked everything is a testament to just how much there is to do in this game. As long as there are more things to see and do ahead of me, I will continue to keep playing the game safe in the knowledge that my additional playtime will yield more unlockable content.

Reason #2: So. Much. To. Do.

[Image Credit: Square Enix]

Played the original Dragon Quest Builders? Were you left thinking that it was a great game, but felt like it could have been so much more? Well do I have great news for you. The sequel builds (pun intended) on the original in every way possible. Here are some of the new things to see and do in Builders 2:

  • Animal Breeding

While you cannot breed new variations of every type of animal you bring back to your home island, you can breed different colorations among your dogs and cats. While the breeding system does take a lot of in-game time to progress, the good news is you get access to dogs after completing the first major island’s (Furrowfield’s) story. Cats are unlocked after the second major island’s story is finished (Khrumbul-Dun).

  • Monster Taming

While the first Builders game allowed you to collect monster residents on Terra Incognita, monsters showed up at random and there was a three-day time period between each new resident’s arrival. The second entry in the series allows the player to select which monsters to tame. And this time around, the monsters you tame have helpful abilities you can use outside of battle. My favorite tamable monsters are the chimaera and the golem; the former because you can fly around and explore more easily and the latter because when you need a lot of resources nothing beats the incredible destructive power of this monster.

  • Earning Mini-Medals

Each major story island has 10 logic puzzles to solve. The correct solution to each puzzle yields one mini medal. The hairy hermit on the Isle of Awakening is happy to take the mini medals you’ve managed to collect in exchange for a variety of items. Additionally, mini medals are also earned as you complete building challenges on your home island. I found this to be a great way to ensure I was taking advantage of everything the game had to offer.

  • Explorer Shores

Remember in the first game how you end up exploiting the other islands for their resources in Free Play? And that there was a setting to “reset” each of these islands so you could then exploit them for resources once again? Well, the second game expands upon this idea in a much better way. Enter Explorer Shore Islands. Each Explorer Shore Island is randomly generated, ensuring no two visits will be completely the same. You are then free to destroy and pillage as much as you want on each island. Additionally, this time around every Explorer Shore Island has two different checklists of items to locate. Once you complete a checklist, you earn an unlimited supply of one resource which helps a lot both on your home island and on the adventure islands!

  • Farming, Fishing, & Cooking

The game forces farming onto the player on the first story island, and it is a good thing it does because growing food is extremely useful in this game. The food you grow can be eaten to restore health. And this mechanic doesn’t get old because, throughout the course of the game, you unlock more islands which in turn provide new crops to grow on the Isle of Awakening.

OK, I’ll admit that usually the inclusion of fishing in video games is not something I care about. But in this game, in my quest to unlock additional items and complete more challenges, I found myself sailing to islands just to find a certain kind of fish I needed to complete a recipe.

Which leads me to cooking. I became obsessed with collecting and growing ingredients from each island and cooking them together to unlock new culinary dishes. There are just so many dishes to cook in this game compared to the first, some with delightful names. Each dish you cook grants a specific type of boon to the player when eaten, from increasing attack damage to giving your character immunity from status ailments.

  • The Sheer Number of Items to Collect

~More than 100 different recipes to cook

~More than 1300 items total in the game to complete the Builderpedia

~11 different Explorer’s Shore Islands to explore

~More than 150 monsters to fight

~40 different kinds of fish to catch

Reason #3: You Don’t Have to Be Good At building & Designing

No doubt many potential Minecraft players are put off by the elaborate creations of other players. I mean, as cool as recreating Los Angeles or Hogwarts is in Minecraft, if you are like me and don’t have the spatial intelligence and patience for these endeavors, you might wonder how you could ever enjoy a game that shares many similarities with Minecraft. To better understand Builders 2, you have to look past the Minecraft-inspired visuals and see what sets it apart from its inspiration.

First of all, the major difference between the two games is the inclusion of a story in Builders 2. Whereas Minecraft is more free-form and open world by design, this spinoff of the Dragon Quest series allows players the freedom to build creatively while including familiar RPG mechanics like leveling up and completing quests. Fans of the Dragon Quest series in particular, and RPGs in general, will find a lot to like here. The genius of Builders 2‘s design is that by playing through the story and completing quests you are being taught the basics of building and designing. You can then take what you’ve learned in your quests and expand upon your creativity on your home island. And when your creativity starts to wane, you can always continue to advance the story by completing objectives, learning more about building in the process.

I am by no means a great designer or builder in this game. Most of the buildings I make are nothing elaborate; they exist to get the job done. But every once in a while, when I need some inspiration, I use the in-game ability to visit other player’s islands. Not only do I enjoy exploring other’s creations in this game, I also enjoy “borrowing” them as well. You see, one of the tools you eventually unlock called the Drawing Pen allows you to make your own blueprints. You can use this tool to “borrow” the creations of others, or even copy one of the structures on a story island, and place them on your home island. Of course, this tool has limits; you cannot simply copy an entire island or a structure that is too expansive in size. But even if you can only copy a part of someone else’s creation, I find that I can usually figure out how to build the rest myself. And the best part about this system? Once you lay out the blueprint where you want it built, your villagers will build it for you, as long as you provide them with the necessary materials.

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