I never understood Minecraft, most probably due to the fact that my kids are too young, while I am too busy to take full advantage of it. Thus I was really looking forward to playing Dragon Quest Builders and see if it can serve as a meaningful alternative and oh boy it does!
Dragon Quest Builders is essentially Minecraft but narrated and offering quite a marvelous adventure. It's episode based scenarios takes you to a land of Alefgard. It's a post-apocalyptic world in a way with an interesting twist. Remaining dwellers of the world have lost their power to create things. They kind of can imagine what they need, like a house, a bed or an oven, but they can't make it. Our character is the only person able to make stuff, so we quickly become really popular with locals and busy building housing, specialist shops, weapons and defensive structures, all while exploring the surroundings and digging for fame. Locals, by the way, can use most of our tools, so they can bake food, craft armor, tools, weapons and other items, provided we created enough rooms and storage for this to happen. With that said, Dragon Quest Builders provide quite a unique mixture of Minecraft, Settlers/Stronghold and classical JRPG experiences. Child-friendly combat, monsters and animation, makes it a perfect family game even though it has no co-op mode. Still I spend quite some time with this game as an advisor, developing additional bits for a backstory, helping to figure out some recipes (classic melt sand to make glass stuff), or by setting challenges in free play mode (Please build me a fortress with guard towers, secret passages and treasure room).