Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Hands-On

We check out Square Enix's shocking look at the secret life of slimes.

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If you're a fan of role-playing games, odds are you have some feelings about slimes. The happy blobs with the slightly unsettling look in their eyes have long been a staple in Enix and now Square Enix's Dragon Quest series. But, despite their appearance in RPGs, no one has stopped to wonder what makes these gooey critters tick. No one has asked about what their life is like outside the Dragon Quest series…until now. Square Enix's upcoming DS game, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, offers a look at the life, loves, losses, and drama experienced by the common slime. We had the chance to check out the upcoming game, which was released late last year for the DS in Japan, to find out what slimes do in their spare time.

A cuter RPG bad guy there has never been.

Rocket Slime follows the adventures of Rocket, a mischievous but upstanding dude, as slimes go. Young Rocket's carefree life is rocked when his village of Boingburg is attacked by a foul-tempered gang of platypuses called The Plob. Besides the expected vandalism, the nefarious platypuses kidnap all the slimes in town, including a number of Rocket's friends and family. Rocket is spared abduction, because at the time of the mass seizing he was looking very un-slimelike after hiding a rather large flute in his mouth. What's a slime to do when faced with such a tragedy? If you're Rocket that means you set out to rescue your friends and defeat the villainous platypuses who nabbed them. This is, of course, the perfect setup for a light-action RPG that will send you looking for 100 of your friends throughout the kingdom of Slimenia.

Rocket Slime's gameplay breaks down into two basic types, adventuring and tank combat. The adventuring section finds you guiding Rocket through various areas in Slimenia, rescuing your friends, collecting items, and solving puzzles. Boingburg will serve as your base of operations that you can return to when you want to save your game and interact with the residents. At the start of the game, the town is pretty messed up in the wake of The Plob attack, so it's nothing too special. However, once you start rescuing your friends, the town starts to fill up. The returning locals slowly start cleaning up Boingburg, which opens up new functionality in town and the nearby castle. You'll eventually find a shop, ninja dojo, library, battle arena, a place to practice alchemy, minigames, and a tank shop. There's a strong emphasis on collecting, which keeps things interesting. Besides your 100 slime homies that need rescuing, you'll be able to collect items and enemies (who'll be organized in a museum setting).

While all of the above sounds pretty straightforward, the tank shop likely requires some explanation, not only because it seems out of place, but also because many of you are probably wondering how the limbless slimes can make tanks go. The tank sequences make up the second major gameplay type in Rocket Slime that will find you pitting your slime-shaped tank against The Plobs' own war machines. A lone slime against a well-armed army of platypuses hardly seems like a fair fight, but Rocket has a few tricks up his sleeve. Besides the fact that you can customize your tank in town, you'll be able to tap various helpers from the recently rescued masses to lend a hand during the fights. As far as how the slimes use all of their gear without limbs, let it be one of life's big mysteries to ponder in your free time.

Control in the game relies almost exclusively on the D pad, face, and shoulder buttons. Rocket has a modest array of unique moves that will come in handy on his adventure. Your elasto blast lets you stretch out and launch yourself in any direction, which is good for moving quickly or taking out enemies and objects. You'll also be able to carry items and hover, which becomes key to dealing with puzzles and obstacles. A nice touch is the ability to carry a slime knight item you can use to attack. Touch-screen support is cursory. You'll use the screen to navigate menus in the beginning and in a drawing minigame.

Two slimes face off with their terrible, adorable engines of destruction.

The visuals in Rocket Slime are pretty much what you'd expect. The action will play out on the lower screen, though you'll be directed to look at the top screen when accessing your inventory or checking out your map. Rocket and company feature cartoony character designs that fit the game's tone. The gameworld follows the same aesthetic and features environments that are big on vibrant colors with copious amounts of cute. The DS hardware isn't taxed by any means, but the graphics have a low-key charm that's appealing.

The audio is solid by DS standards, mixing a modest array of sound effects and voice samples with catchy tunes. Rocket and the rest of the cast are a fairly silent bunch, though you'll hear a few exclamatory sound effects when needed for drama. The effects are your obligatory collection of explosions and the like used to highlight the action. The music is a bouncy assortment of tunes that serve as a fine complement to the lighthearted game. We haven't heard any standout tunes, but what's here works well.

Based on what we played, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is shaping up to be a fun, breezy little game that skews pretty young. The gameplay is solid and accessible, but simple. Veteran players may not be blown away by the challenge, though they'll likely appreciate the various puns based on classic Square games. The game is looking entertaining, and should especially appeal to younger players. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is slated to ship next month for the DS. Look for our full review then.

Discussion

33 comments
Gamepro2421
Gamepro2421

meh, i was hoping for a more conventional Drangon Quest game to come out on the DS...even a stripped down port of DWVIII would have been nice, oh well, at least the cartoony style looks cool.

madskillz1020
madskillz1020

just thinking, i dont think ive ever seen a platapus and a slime fight before, especially in tanks... should be a good match

sonofashrub
sonofashrub

oh man i can't wait, this game looks amazing.

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

I wish I could be stranded on a deserted island with my DS and my current games for it. I would be occupied for quite a long time, assuming there was food/water and some sort of solar charging device. I think I have about 15 DS games, all totally awsome, and I never get a chance to play them! This looks like it will be another one to add to my collection.

LoveStaindRed
LoveStaindRed

I cant wait for this game!!!! It is gonna be amazing. This is the best Q4 for the DS. FF3, contact, Phantom Hourglass...

diablobasher
diablobasher

A-Tex: Everyone has to take a break from "real" (a more appropriatte word would be serious, as there is nothing fake, nor ethereal about this game) games and make something fun. I for one am looking forward to this with glee, it looks really fun, silly, and just looks like it will be a laugh. I love slimes, they are awesome. And no, im not 8 years old, add a 10 to that and you would be closer.

sumdim
sumdim

"though they'll likely appreciate the various puns based on classic Square games." Classic Enix games you mean. Oh no, I just caught myself in the act of being a nerd!

tuddy_666
tuddy_666

cool, I can't wait til this comes out in the UK, then I'll have an excuse to order a bulk lot of slime plushies.

arfy2
arfy2

Well I can't wiat for this game. Its going to be fun and make me laugh. Great entertainment! :D

Jeansama
Jeansama

LOL A-Tex this is not the first in the Slime game series, it's only the first that's come here so obviously the series is popular enough if it's kept on going.

abnoy7
abnoy7

i'll buy any square-enix game

Prince0fAngels
Prince0fAngels

Whatever A-TEX this game looks awesome! Besides have you heard of any other game like it?

supersruzz
supersruzz

Man, they should actually make a good RPG, reminisent of the console Dragon Quests. Just make a Dragon Quest game with a real story and human characters fightting slimes. A DS Dragon Quest that's just like the gameplay and classic storytelling of Dragon Quest 8 would be a great game. I guess that's what Square-Enix is leaving Final Fantasy 3 DS to do. Although that won't be so much a classic storytelling thing.

A-TEX
A-TEX

What is the world coming to? Why would Enix make a slime game rather than a real Dragon Quest game? Are there that many 8 year olds that buy this type of games? Come on, people! You shouldn't get excited about this, you should be sending letters to Enix demanding a REAL game.

marcoxnoto
marcoxnoto

If you're excited about Rocket Slime, join SLIME KNIGHTS, the OFFICIAL SQEX fan site... slimeknights.com

EvilDarkGon
EvilDarkGon

This looks nothing short of great. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I especially appreciate the cameo shot of the king from Journey of the Cursed King.

Flan_Man
Flan_Man

I am glad to finally see the slime's side of things. I have been working on ideas from that angle for a while now, but my ideas suck in comparison. Just wish they would up the challenge so it doesn't get boring.

calvinx6
calvinx6

I can't wait till Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime comes out i'm going to get it.

emocheese
emocheese

I really want this game and a release date :(

palomaydarla
palomaydarla

umm.. too bad it's for DS... i would love to buy it... it seems so cute!! too bad it isn't for PSP. i'm still wating for a cute game for the PSP... (T-T)

methinkso2
methinkso2

I think I'd have to hear a lot more before I decide to purchase this. But I'll be checking up on it.

f1l200
f1l200

this game looks pretty unique i cant wait to see how it turns out

Prince0fAngels
Prince0fAngels

I love Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey or the Cursed King and reading about this preview truly makes me want this game! I absolutely can't wait!

Mana-Knight-15
Mana-Knight-15

Hmmm, I love Square-Enix games but I think Im gonna have to pass on this one.

Blace_07
Blace_07

I still dont know whether I should get this game or not, its not an RPG so it isnt appealing to me very much...

sootybuttercup2
sootybuttercup2

I love Dragon Quest games. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Slimes FTW