Dragon Quest Treasures might just be 2022's hidden RPG treasure

I’ve always had a soft spot for Dragon Quest spin-offs, so from the moment it was announced I knew I’d probably end up loving Dragon Quest Treasures. It’s no real surprise, then, that the game has already captured the greatest treasure of all; my heart, during my time with the game during Square Enix’s latest in-person preview event.

All jokes aside - Dragon Quest Treasures’ setup involves Erik - from Dragon Quest XI - along with his sister Mia, as they find themselves on a treasure-hunting adventure after freeing the fairy duo of Purrsula and Porcus and receiving two magical daggers. After being transported to the magical land of Draconia, atop the skeletal corpses of two giant golden dragons, they discover that they have the ability to understand monsters, view their memories to help discover the location of various treasures, and use monsters' unique abilities in order to traverse the environment - to jump, to glide, and to run across the world.

There’s a lot of charm to it all, especially complete with the standard Dragon Quest English dub. Combat with your daggers is relatively straightforward with a standard attack chain that has some pretty great feedback, but the real star of the show is being able to direct monsters to attack while you pelt enemies from afar with your trusty “catapult”, which is very clearly a slingshot. Not only can you shoot regular pebbles at enemies, but you can pick up and use a number of different pellets; some of which you can even shoot at your own allies to heal them. Aiming comes with the option of tapping either the L or the R button to immediately snap onto whatever the closest enemy or ally is to the left or the right of the reticle, and you can press Y whenever the Catapult is drawn to swap out what ammo you’re using.

All of this is wrapped up in a game that looks and runs great as a Switch exclusive, with the sole exception of many of the game's textures appearing noticeably low resolution - even for the Switch. Resolution and framerate held up well in the opening sections, even if what was on display wasn’t exactly a technical showcase for the platform, so it’s not exactly a complaint - rather, it’s the one nitpick I have looking back on my time with the game. 

If there was any one title that Square Enix showed off I wish I had more time to play, it would be this one; it felt like the game had barely even started, that I barely had a chance to play with its mechanics, by the time I was told to stop. The tantalizing hints of a hub the player might be able to return to tickles my fancy, as well as thoughts of what other puzzles the game might task you with solving, requiring the tag-team use of both siblings. What about a treasure that tasks you with juggling monster Fortes and those same sibling-swapping puzzles, all to find the exact spot of a vision you’d received?

I can only speak from my own perspective, but it feels like among a packed group of upcoming Square Enix releases, Dragon Quest Treasures has continued to fall to the wayside - which would be a great shame. 2022 has been an absolutely packed year for RPGs on Nintendo Switch, but something tells me that Dragon Quest Treasures just might be a game to look out for.