Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime - Staff Retroview  

So Many Slime Puns...
by Sam "Nyx" Marchello

Very Easy
Less than 20 Hours
+ Adorable. Adorable. Adorable.
+ Addictive gameplay.
- Too easy.
- Too short.
Click here for scoring definitions 

   Dragon Quest is a series that has never been able to hold my attention. There's something about the pacing that always kept me from wanting to progress in the games. Mind you, I fully admit that my experience with the series has also been extremely limited. Thanks to all the recommendations by the RPGamer staff and readers, I decided to take the plunge and try out Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, and while it's not a part of the main canon of the Dragon Quest series, it is a game that can bring a smile to the face of even the grumpiest gamer.

   Players take on the role of Rocket, a happy-go-lucky slime from the town of Boingburg, and the story begins with Rocket and his friends playing outside of a castle. Rocket, our hero, ends up finding and accidentally swallowing a magical flute. On his way back to Boingburg, the town is attacked by the Plob and all the residents have been scattered across the world. It is up to Rocket to rescue all one hundred residents of Boingburg and restore the kingdom to its former glory. How is Rocket going to do this? By facing off against the grueling Plob generals and Elasto Blasting everything in his way!

   One of the highlights is Rocket Slime's pun-filled localization. The game is chalk full of silly puns and humorous dialog. Square Enix really outdid themselves by taking a very straightforward story and embellishing it to make Rocket's epic situation one that players would want to participate in. The story is not deep or meaningful, but it's sweet enough that gamers will laugh along with it, although by the end some of the puns get really old.

   Combat in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is incredibly light, and everything is controlled via the D-Pad and shoulder buttons. Rocket can hover in the air and bounce all around the screen, but his prized move is the Elasto Blast, which flings Rocket in whatever direction the player points him. If there is a trolley nearby, Rocket can also use the Elasto Blast to pick up objects, including the townspeople he rescues, and send them back to Boingburg. One thing that is great about the gameplay is that it's easy to pick up and play, while spending countless hours attempting to rescue as many slimes as possible. There are so many objects to collect as well as enemies to add to the monster museum back in Boingburg. The gameplay never feels cheap, and this is one of those games that completionists will love because its easy to get every single object within the game.

So much ammo to carry. So much ammo to carry.

   While the controls in Rocket Slime are fairly simplistic, the Elasto Blast has one minor flaw: sometimes when using the D-pad it is difficult to aim Rocket in the desired direction. Since there is also a lot of objects moving on the screen, it is also easy to pick up more items than one needs, or run into unexpected enemies that can damage him. Since Rocket can only have three items at a time on his back, players will want to hope that they are near a trolley so that they can send items back into town. Thankfully there are enough trolleys and rafts throughout the game that this task isn't impossible.

   The game also features a second mode of combat: the infamous tank battles that will place Rocket against the Plob generals as well as his mysterious slime rival, Slival. The tank battles are the best and most addictive part of the game. Players will find themselves rushing around their tank, gathering ammo and trying to destroy the enemy. It is important to note that players need to gather as many items as they can in each of the stages to supply their tanks with as much ammunition as possible. Rocket can also receive ammunition and recipes from his fellow slimes as he rescues them. Gathering items is integral to how combat will play out in the tank battles, and while most of the battles are simple, players may be in danger if they don't constantly replenish their ammo. Most of the tanks battles are not difficult, but there are a few that will have players winning by the skin of their teeth. The tank battles are the most addictive part of Rocket Slime, as they enhance the wackiness of the game further.

   What makes the tank battles so addictive is the sense of urgency they create. Rocket and his crew constantly have to rush around the Schleiman Tank, gather ammunition and duke it out with an enemy tank. Rocket can launch a wide variety of items out of a cannon that include rocks, pillars, bombs, boomerangs, and even shields and swords. Also with Hooly, Rocket's best friend, equipped as a deckhand, he can launch himself and infiltrate the enemy tank. Since there is so much going on during the tank battles, players will be rushing from one end to the other collecting and launching as much ammo as they can until the enemy tank's hit points reach zero. Once the tanks hit points have reached zero, Rocket must then rush into the enemy tank and destroy its heart core. Once the core is destroyed, victory is at hand. The best part about the tank battles is that even after they are completed, they can be replayed for further enjoyment.

   Despite having a variety in combat, the game is too easy and there's no challenge in it whatsoever. The tank battles do provide enough of a challenge that sometimes players will win but only by a close margin, while in other battles the game allows players to win with ease. During the regular stages it is nearly impossible to die as the game provides enough healing items and hearts to keep Rocket alive and well. It is also easy to collect one of every single object and get all the slimes without any trouble. That's not to say that "too easy" is a bad thing, it's just a shame that Rocket Slime doesn't have any depth in its challenge.

Highway safety orange is just not your colour. Highway safety orange is just not your colour.

   Outside of combat, Rocket Slime is a light game lacking in variety. When not participating in a tank battle, Rocket can repair his tank, talk to the residents in town, or go back into older stages to collect all the missing items. The game is so straightforward that there's no room for additional content or sidequests. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but considering how fun the gameplay is, it does make the game feel a tad short, clocking only at about ten to twelve hours to complete.

   The visuals are also fairly average. Although the game is colourful, it looks as though it could have been put on the Game Boy Advance considering its 2D style barely pushes the limits of the DS. While the visuals are not offensive, they could have felt more polished. Thankfully, the levels, slimes and tanks have some variety in their designs, and the tanks in particular have some level of detail to make them distinctively different. The music is pleasant to listen to, and it fits the setting of the game to a tee, though no particular tracks stand out. The music is charming, simple, and does help add to the overall presentation of the game, though not by much.

   Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime is one of those games that can make players feel all warm and gooey on the inside. It's not perfect by any means, but it is a sweet enough experience that will keep players hooked from start to finish. It's a shame that there aren't more Rocket Slime games in North America, because this is one of those games that even if you don't like Dragon Quest, you can easily enjoy it because it is a fairly unique experience. Even though the game is fairly short and perhaps a bit too easy, Rocket Slime is one of those must haves for those who love a charming game experience, and will keep players smiling from start to finish.

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