Dragon Quest Builders (Image: Square Enix)

Dragon Quest Builders (Image: Square Enix)

Dragon Quest Builders combines Minecraft‘s open world, Terraria‘s loot and Dragon Quests Zelda-like role-play to create cat-nip for kids.

Minecraft and Terraria come at the open world problem from different directions. Not only are they distinguished by their different axis of reality — Terraria offering only a 2D plane and Minecraft being full 3D — but they are played in very different ways.

Minecraft expects players to largely create their own story and adventures. It excels in offering a sandbox in which children create previously undreamed of adventures.Terraria expects players to pursue more linear achievements. Boss battles, weapon collecting and general progress through its cyclical story direct players in their leisure time.

Dragon Quest Builders is a new game causing a stir in Japan that has both ends of this spectrum covered. To look at it is very similar to Minecraft, even offering similar looking blocks and enemies.

Beyond the aesthetic though there’s a proper role-playing game plucked straight from the Dragon Quest universe complete with the characters, lands and enemies that come with it.

Researching the game one evening online I soon had my kids huddled round the MacBook intrigued by what this strange game was. “Is that the Minecraft update, it looks really different” my youngest inquired.“Wow, it;s like Terraria and Minecraft joined together” was my daughter’s response. Of course, they don’t get the Dragon Quest aspect of the game not having played that series. But the Terraria and Minecraft references are telling.

The popularity of the recent Minecraft Story Mode spin-off has proven popular amongMinecraft players hungry for more narrative meat on the sandbox bones of Microsoft MSFT +1.72%’s big hitting title. Add to this the growing following games like Terraria have online and the stage seems set of Dragon Quest Builders to find a large audience in the US.

Well, it would be set but currently the game only has a Japanese release. Nothing is currently planed to bring it to the west. While importing may be an option — and the impatience of my kids made me consider this — the level of text and dialogue in the game is hard to get around without understanding it.

The game is selling well in Japan. As Ollie Barder recently reported, it’s sitting high in the charts and looking like it will be there for some time. Interestingly it’s the Vita version that got the first release. This has now been followed by both PS4 and PS3 versions. All three continue to sell well.

However, despite the protestations of my children, it seems that for now we simply have to wait and see if it comes to the west.

‘Dragon Quest Builders’ Is Catnip For ‘Minecraft’ Kids