It's Slime Time!
The Dragon Quest franchise is foreign soil to a lot of Western gamers who are probably more familiar with Final Fantasy. Before Final Fantasy was Dragon Quest, then Dragon Warrior in the West, an RPG series that the Japanese are simply enamored with. Instead of playing one of the lengthy numbered installments of the series, I've decided to get my feet wet with Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, an action-adventure game with characters and themes that any DQ fan will instantly pick up. Is Rocket Slime worth your time, or is this game anything but s(ub)lime?
Welcome to Boingburg, capital to the kingdom of Slimeria. It is here where slimes of all shapes and sizes live in harmony. That until a group of monsters known as the Plob ransack the town of all its citizens save for a soon-to-be hero slime named Rocket. With a few cool tricks in his repertoire and a mysterious flute that can call upon a gigantic slime tank, it's up Rocket to track down the Plob, rescue his kidnapped villagers, and save the day. The story is decidedly for the younger set, but there's plenty of humor for older folks.
There are seven main areas on the world map for Rocket to explore. They range from mountaintops to sprawling wooded areas. Each one is divided up into several rooms or areas. The goal is to shuffle around the levels, defeating enemies, gathering gold, and rescuing fellow slimes from their treasure chest imprisonments. Most levels have upwards of ten slimes to save in all. Rescuing all of them in a level earns Rocket a reward. The lower screen displays the action while the top screen shows off how many slimes are left as well as a map of the entire area of map. Once a slime has been freed from captivity, it has to be transported back to town in order to be fully rescued. This is where carts come in. Tossing a slime, enemy, or item onto a cart will send it back to Boingburg without Rocket having to go back to town himself.
Rocket is a flexible little fellow. He can attack foes with his patented elasto blast, and while they are in the air, he can catch them and send them flying at another foe or send them on a cart back to Boingburg. The elasto blast has a myriad of other uses such as using it to slam through crystallized walls, using it to bounce back and forth on a row of bungee cords, and it can be used to smash treasure chests for gold, health-increasing items, and rescuing slimes. Rocket can also jump and hover in air for a limited amount of time.
That action is just one half of Rocket Slime. The other comes in the form of tank battles. Items carried by Rocket and sent back to Boingburg are available as ammunition for Rocket's gigantic tank. How tank battles work is that Rocket and crew gather and toss ammo into one of two cannons-- one shoots straight ahead while the other shoots in an upwards arc. Meanwhile, the other cannon's occupants will be tossing ammo into their two cannons as well. The goal is to whittle down the opponent's hit points by using the ammo to damage their cannon. When a tank's HP is down to zero, Rocket will be able to enter his opponent's engine room and destroy the heart of the tank, winning the battle.
Of course, I make it sound easier than it actually is. If two items shot from opposite tanks hit one another, they'll negate each other. It takes a fair amount of strategy and a little patience to damage a tank. This can make some battles go on for a ridiculous amount of time. Sometimes I dreaded having to go into yet another tank battle. By the end of the game I was just entering my opponent's tank and stopping them from throwing ammo in their cannons.
While in Boingburg, Rocket can venture around town. As more slimes are rescued, more sections of town are available for Rocket to explore. Rocket can visit the library, purchase ammunition at the shop, use the Krak Pot to create new ammo from received recipes, and upgrade the HP of his tank. As you begin the game, Boingburg will start out as a dilapidated mess from the Plob's attack, but as the game progresses, the town will be renovated and look as good as new.
Rocket Slime isn't a lengthy or difficult adventure at all. It can be completed in less than ten hours, and that's with collecting all one-hundred captured slimes. While the journey is a brief one, it's certainly satisfying. Up to four players with heir own DSes and a copy of the game each can participate in multi-player tank battles where each opponent selects a tank, chooses a side, and sets forth to blow each other away. Unfortunately, there's no Wi-Fi to speak of which means tracking down three other people to play, let alone just one other, is a lofty ambition. The single-player story does have a tank masters mode where you face CPU-controlled tanks in battle. Point being is that if you're looking for longevity, you're not going to find it here.
Presentation-wise, Rocket Slime features cute 2D graphics. This is nothing that couldn't be done on the GBA, but it's still a delight to look at. Characters move in a believable if not endearing manner. The soundtrack is nice and bouncy with numerous tunes that will have your head nodding and your toes tapping. Overall, the presentation package doesn't push the DS to anywhere near its limits, but it's a pleasant package regardless.
Overall, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is a cute little adventure for younger gamers and those young at heart. Those looking for a particularly long or challenging adventure may want to look elsewhere, but fans of the Dragon Quest franchise will find a lot to love with this game. The tank battles might go on too long, and the difficulty level may not be challenging, but Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is a worthy addition to anyone's DS collection. You might even have the slime of your life.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]