Blending the best of both worlds—I’ve been wanting to do a Dragon Quest Builders 2 review for a long time. It takes the iconic JRPG series and mixes in elements from survival titles for a unique, fun-filled gaming experience.
If you were to make a child-friendly mocktail, pouring in an ounce of Dragon Quest, a few dashes of Minecraft—and then a lime filled with some Harvest Moon-like slice of life, Builders 2 would be the delicious outcome!
This Dragon Quest Builders 2 review comes in light of my recent article covering the other, upcoming spin-off Dragon Quest Treasures. It’s one of the best, more lighthearted games I’ve enjoyed recently.
Builders 2 is a spin-off in the Dragon Quest franchise, and builds on everything its predecessor offered. If you’re a Dragon Quest fan, this game takes place in an alternate universe to the mainline’s second entry.
You’ll see plenty of familiar faces in Builders 2—including Hargon. The main big bad from Dragon Quest 2. For those unaware, Hargon is a corrupt, demonic cleric, and in this game—he’s running a cult.
The cult—the Children of Hargon – are against all things fun. They are against building, cooking, and stopping humanity from flourishing. More or less: They just want monsters to rule!
And trying to summon the god of destruction… But that’s not as important. In this game, you take on the role of a legendary Builder, and along with your mysterious pal Malroth – rebuild civilization and take down the cult!
Sounds wacky, right? It’s a very run-of-the-mill demon lord JRPG narrative, or at least that’s what it first looks like… The game’s story is actually well written, engaging, and filled with colorful—personality-packed characters.
Gameplay-wise, Builders 2 delivers on almost every front. The building aspect is one of the best I’ve seen in a survival title, and it balances it well with the JRPG elements.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a (mostly) single-player, sandbox action RPG. You’ll be travelling from island to island, helping the local population. You’ll do this by rebuilding the central town, and attracting more citizens.
The game splits the different towns into chapters. As you progress, you’ll unlock more quests, meet new people, and also get access to more resources! This is awesome because it means more crafting recipes and building blocks.
Developing and growing the towns also mean monsters – Hargon will send hordes at you, and you’ll need to defend the towns and their residents. Ever play 7 Days to Die? Because it’s sort of like that.
But instead of zombies and undead animals coming to destroy your bases, it’s cute slimes and pun-packed monsters. Builders 2 takes a huge chapter out of the Tower Defense-like playbook.
The game is filled with plenty of busy work. From creating farms, harvesting crops, automating tasks, building relationships with the townspeople, and exploring!
If you liked Minecraft’s gameplay, but wanted more goals and direction—this is the perfect title. Builders 2 adds more purpose to the building gameplay, and it’s also satisfying seeing your buildings helping the world around you.
Also—don’t worry if you aren’t the creative type! Not a huge builder and just want to explore, cut down enemies, and charge through quests? Builders 2 accommodates that as well.
This game has a blueprint feature. It lets you choose from preset building plans, which guides you through the whole building process—whether it’s for traps, housing, and so on! It’ll even tell you exactly what blocks and where to place them.
Without a doubt, I honestly think this game is better than Vanilla Minecraft. And honestly, Modded Minecraft, too. It tries to accommodate nearly every type of gamer.
I’m absolutely in love with Builders 2’s visuals, soundtrack and just overall personality. That being said, I could be a bit biased. I’m a huge fan of Akira Toriyama, and even getting a Dragon Ball tattoo later this week.
Toriyama is the legendary manga artist behind the Dragon Ball series. His style is immediately recognizable, everybody and their mom could point it out. He does all the designs for the Dragon Quest series—from the monsters to characters.
Like clockwork, his art for Builders 2 is gleaming. The characters are full of life, and the monster designs—as usual for the franchise, are superb. It’s just all so charming and lovable.
Also, don’t be surprised if you see some characters that look straight from Dragon Ball! I swear so many of Builders 2’s NPCs look like Trunks. The game’s soundtrack is also composed by the series’ usual, Koichi Sugiyama.
His score, again—like clockwork, is phenomenal. The music in every Dragon Quest game—Builders 2 included instantly gives me the chills. It’s beautiful, inspiring, and gives you a genuine sense of a grand adventure unfolding.
Now… to the negatives. There aren’t many, aside from multiplayer. Whilst the game does feature online multiplayer with up to 4 players, the system isn’t implemented all that well.
First of all, the co-op is locked behind a story-gated time wall. It’ll take you a couple of hours (or more) to even unlock the feature. Secondly, it’s also locked to just exploring and building together.
You can’t play through the main story together with a group of friends, or even visit other islands. If you just wanted to create impressive builds together—it’s great, but unfortunately not much else.
This is why I recommend this game if you’re happy with just a single-player experience. If you’re still feeling unsure about grabbing the game, it also has a lengthy, free—“jumbo” demo you can try out!
For people that want a Minecraft “Story Mode” with fleshed-out, engaging NPC interactions—Dragon Quest Builders 2 is perfect. It’s presented in a charming anime style, hailing from the godparent of the JRPG genre.
The game (and demo!) is available on all platforms, PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. To sum up my Dragon Quest Builders 2 review: it is the definition of cozy.
It’s the equivalent of ice cream as comfort food, and the entire experience is a delight. From the adorable monster designs to Zen-like building gameplay. It’s the perfect virtual escape—you can even build your dream home!