It is not uncommon for those who would be considered ex-Minecraft players feel the siren song of the game wafting into the back of their minds from time to time, launching that nostalgic urge to start over in a new world. Whether it’s going back to survival mode to aimlessly bash trees, or finally committing to re-creating Hobbiton using creative mode and an extensive set of mods, there’s no denying that Minecraft has enduring appeal and a malleable mix of freedom and structure that will make people come back. to her indefinitely.
I’m no stranger to the allure of Minecraft, but I’ve recently been drawn back to its quirky, spiky-haired cousin: Dragon Quest 2 Builders, which might be the best thing Minecraft has ever inspired. It is a game that serves as proof that there is still a lot of untapped potential in mixing the best qualities of Minecraft with other genres and aesthetics.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a prime example of where such ambition can take us: an undeniably charming game that shows both reverence for the franchise it’s based on and the art of creativity within gaming. Throughout the single-player game’s long history and beyond, Builders 2 frequently acknowledges the type of player it appeals to, encouraging you to ignore the limits of its intricate community-building simulator in favor of building whatever takes your fancy. on your own terms. .
In this way, Builders 2 offers a similar mix of structure and freedom to Minecraft, teaching you how to create living, breathing communities as part of the main quest, while also insisting that you apply those same lessons to create whatever your heart desires in your own mini island paradise. All of this, of course, is wrapped in the familiar and welcoming designs of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Quest world.
The systems are lovingly stacked on top of each other in Dragon Quest Builders 2, which at its peak, resembles a brilliant cocktail of Minecraft survival base expansion midgame, Rune Factory farming, and just a sprinkling of The Sims for good measure. Amid all the farming, crafting, gathering, building, and indeed mining, you’re also expected to take on the mantle of a Dragon Quest hero. Accepting that role throughout the game’s story is where it really shines, helping it jump from Builders 2 across the border from “a game that looks a bit like Minecraft” into “a game that expands on the premise” territory. of Minecraft”.
While it’s great fun to expand your own island into the game’s limitless creative zones, those who follow the story of Dragon Quest Builders 2 will be rewarded with a compelling experience that maintains a strong commitment to variety. It handles this by having you regularly start over from the bottom, inviting you to use your gathering and building prowess to lovingly restore and protect cities devastated by a (conceptually very silly) ban on all construction. Whereas the instinct, in Minecraft, is to hold your base as long as possible.
Each ‘act’ of Dragon Quest Builders introduces a new community to rebuild with a new cast of characters, embedding you, the player, within these communities for as long as you need to help them recover; learning about their hopes and dreams while trying to manifest these wishes in the blocks and furniture around them. Before long, you’ll be saying your sad goodbyes and setting sail for the next island that needs your help and doing it all over again, and it’s thanks to this structure coupled with slow but tempting unlocking of skills and materials that Builders 2 is constantly being updated.
The way Dragon Quest Builders 2 uses Minecraft’s time-tested formula as the building blocks in an elaborate 60-hour Dragon Quest game to synthesize something at the exact midpoint between the two is nothing short of a grand achievement, and certainly It makes me wonder why other franchises haven’t done this. We’ve seen our fair share of Smash Bros. clones and Musou games with popular names attached, so I seriously beg the question: will we ever see another Minecraft clone like Dragon Quest Builders? It’s clear that Dragon Quest Builders 2 is much more than just a Minecraft clone, but clearly Minecraft-inspired games are so rare that we currently have no other terminology to describe them.
There are many possibilities present in how the core premise of digging, building, and surviving amidst a variety of different cubes could be combined with some other genre or aesthetic to forge gold. In many ways, the Minecraft modding scene has already illuminated how certain concept mashups can be handled in its world. But what I’m looking for isn’t just a Minecraft extension, but something that uses Minecraft as a starting point, similar to Dragon Quest Builders 2. Considering how crowded Square Enix’s slate is lately, I don’t see a hypothetical Dragon Quest 3 Builders being the answer in the short term, so another team must step forward. Hell, maybe even Harvestella will do in the meantime.
To give another franchise or world the Builders treatment would be to democratize the aspects of Minecraft that have continued to captivate players for so long and give them a new lease on life in a different context. Minecraft and collecting monsters? sign me up for Digimon Builders. Slow-paced Minecraft and Survival Horror? sign me up for Silent Hill-ders. Anything is possible here, and the possibilities for the Minecraft clone remain largely untapped: perhaps out of fear of how the game will be immediately perceived, or perhaps out of a quiet resignation that nothing can really ‘compete’ with Minecraft. in a traditional sense due to its ubiquitous character.
Despite the lack of ongoing support for the game beyond its release, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is still a fun place to build if you’re looking for a quirky Minecraft-JRPG hybrid that offers an engaging backdrop for your block-building efforts beyond its release. of what you could have. Already experienced in Minecraft. It’s a game that I wish had similarly inspired more titles, but four years later, I’m still left wanting another game to elicit the same sentiments: hopefully someone is getting ready to build it.