Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 2 Hands-On: Square Enix Party 2005
We try out the second entry in Square Enix's unique adventure game starring the one and only bug-eyed slime.
MAKUHARI MESSE--If you were exploring Square Enix's brightly colored booths on the Nippon Convention Center show floor, you'd likely find yourself drawn to the mass of slimes chilling toward the center of the room. The impressive collection of gumdrop-shaped rolly critters were on display to promote the upcoming sequel to Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest (known in Japan by the longer title, Slime Morimori Dragon Quest: Shougeki No Shippo Dan). We tried our hand at the playable version of the game on display and even downloaded a minigame to our DS to see how the little guys' adventure is turning out.
Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 2 is set in the slime kingdom of Sulan, a peaceful, oozy land that is invaded by the Shippo Dan, aka the Tail Brigade. The mysterious group of evildoers kidnap all the slimes in town, which amounts to roughly 100 of the little guys, making the game's hero the last free slime in the kingdom. Rather than take the obvious course of action and go through town rummaging through everyone's stuff, the conscientious slime opts to trek through the whole of Sulabacca Island to free his brethren and uncover the Shippo Dan's plot.
The playable demo in the slime booth offered us a taste of just what kind of activities a rescue attempt of this nature entails. The core mechanic in the game remains true to the gameplay introduced in the previous title for the GBA and revolves around our gooey hero stretching his teardrop-shaped self, carrying things on his back, and bouncing his way through the adventure. The road to success is a challenging one and is broken up into two phases. The first involves puzzle solving, item carrying, and slime rescuing. The second finds our hero rolling in a gargantuan slime-shaped war machine called the Yuusha and engaging in one-on-one combat with a boss. The catch here is that while slime technology is apparently advanced enough to create massive vehicles such as the Yuusha, the slime engineers apparently forgot to add any type of autoload feature to its offensive weapons. This means that you'll have to roam the interior of your ship collecting shells and racing over to load them into your cannons.
While some of this may sound daunting, don't be too intimidated. The game's simple control scheme makes adventuring as a slime a breeze. You'll simply need to worry about stretching, jumping, and throwing, which isn't exactly brain surgery. The DS's second screen is a useful supplement to the onscreen action when adventuring, since it will display a map to help you get your bearings. During boss fights, the battle between your Yuusha and the boss's war machine of doom is displayed in the top screen, while your misadventures collecting shells to power your weapons are showcased on the bottom.
In addition to the two playable sections in the demo on the show floor, it was also possible to download a coin-collecting minigame to our DS while waiting in line. The simple game puts you in control of a slime riding a boogie board (as they're known to do--hadn't you heard?) and charges you with collecting as many coins as you can before time runs out. Your work is slightly complicated by the fact that you'll have to maneuver around small islands. Thankfully, if you don't feel like steering around the landmasses, you can just hop over them. Once time runs down, your score is tallied, and you'll be able to return to the minigame's title screen.
The game's presentation is simple and colorful. The cartoony 2D graphics do a fine job of meshing with the game's whimsical personality and should bring a smile to most anyone's face. Your slime persona is nicely animated although pretty plain in the looks department--there are limits to what you can do with a perpetually smiling blob of blue goo, after all. The environment and enemies fare a bit better thanks to varied designs. The audio we've heard so far is a pitch-perfect collection of bouncy tunes and sound samples that complement the visuals to a tee.
Based on the sampling of gameplay we got out of our limited time with the game, Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 2 is looking like a winning adventure game for the DS. Granted, the dual screens aren't used to any revolutionary effect, but the game's charm more than makes up for it. Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 2 is currently slated to hit Japan this August. At present there are no plans to bring the game to the US.
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