Dragon Quest Tact may not be as tactical, but it's a charming diversion

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Marie-Ange Demory
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I can play this until they locate Dragon Quest Walk

Dragon Quest of the Stars hit North America at the wrong time earlier in 2022. Coming nearly five years after its initial release in Japan, the free-to-play gacha RPG hit our shores around the same time COVID-19 did it. A month later, my employer issued a memo asking anyone who could work from home to do so, and soon enough I found myself ditching that mobile adventure in favor of Dragon Quest XI S - Definitive Edition on my Switch.

In a few months though, depending on how this winter goes, I'll start going back to the office a few days a week. Because I won't be stuck at home as much, I'll probably find time again for those simple little gacha games that help pass the time. And while Dragon Quest of the Stars still has some life that I wouldn't mind picking it up, it might have to retire for Dragon Quest Tact.

Dragon Quest Tact impressed me from the start with its production values. This game looks beautiful and works great on my Google Pixel 3a. We haven't seen too many Dragon Quest mobile titles hit our shores to compare, but the classic DQ monsters really show up here. The battlefields also have enough detail and charm to show that a lot of work has gone into them. The layout of the actual tactical grid can be incredibly basic, with a flat combat surface that occasionally has cluttered rubble to block your way, but that puts it on par with tactical combat.

Your best source of comparison for Dragon Quest Tact is Fire Emblem Heroes. The battlefields might be a little bigger and there's no weapon triangle to deal with, but the casual nature of the game is the same. This doesn't try to replicate a more comprehensive tactics game you'll find on console and PC. Rather, it's comfortably designed for the mobile experience, getting you in and out of battles as quickly as possible.

Since this is a gacha game, there is a lot of loot to collect. You can add new monsters to your team throughout the campaign or spot them with random gacha draws. You can only have one of each monster in your roster, so if you want a team of slimes, you need to make sure you have at least five different types of slimes. As with other gacha games, all that loot you acquire can be put to good use in upgrading your characters, boosting their moves, increasing their rank, and increasing your profile rank. If this sounds like every other free gacha game, well, you're not wrong.

So if this has all the elements found in other F2P mobile games, what makes it better than, say, Tom Clancy's Elite Squad? Basically, its superiority over this and many other similar titles has to do with the core gameplay. Dragon Quest Tact is simply more engaging and enjoyable to play. He may lack depth, but he's not afraid to challenge even in his early hours. I had an S and A rated character in my first draw, but by the third chapter I really had to start paying attention to my team composition and how best to take down enemies as quickly as possible. . As with most free-to-play games, if you stick with it, you'll eventually face tougher battles that you might be able to conquer by grinding, spitting money, or showing skill. Nothing from this preview period called for the first two tactics, but it's likely to tempt players to drop some dough when those inevitable Final Fantasy crossovers begin.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't watch Dragon Quest Tact with a tinge of disappointment following the smash hit Genshin Impact, but it's probably unfair to hold this title up to the standards of this game. I mean, who knew that miHoYo would pull it off so well? While Genshin may be the future of free-to-play gacha games, or at least the new gold standard, it's a great example of the genre as we know it.

Dragon Quest Tact is available now in Japan and will launch globally in early 2022.

[This preview is based on an Early Access build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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