Dragon Quest VIII’s One Handed Control Scheme Looks Pretty Well Done

By Spencer . December 6, 2013 . 3:23am

The biggest surprise about the Dragon Quest smartphone ports isn’t that they exist, those were inevitable. It’s that Square Enix eschewed the typical landscape orientation most RPGs use in favor of portrait mode. The benefit is obvious, you can play Dragon Quest VIII with one hand, which is a big plus if you’re riding the subway and one hand is grasping a handrail.


You can choose the placement of the digital analog pad, which you use to move the hero. Sliding the bottom of the screen left and right turns the camera. Tapping on people starts conversations and tapping on a gate opens it. Dragon Quest VIII also has an auto run option, so all you need to do is control the camera to turn. In battle, you select attacks using a touch screen menu and tap on targets.


Japan gets Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King on December 12 and more Dragon Quest games will follow afterwards.

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  • Kari


  • GDI

    Eroge makers, take note!

    I foresee a next generation of portrait mode visual novels with portrait mode CGs that’s made specifically for one-handed operation…

    …yes, even on a subway.

    But otherwise, this is really brilliant from a mobile control scheme standpoint.

  • Raze

    Oh damn…

    It looks good…

  • DanielGearSolid

    Very nice

  • icecoffemix

    Ouch that framerate o_o

    And that’s already on 5s? wow…

    • Pockystix

      That frame rate isn’t impressive though. . . It really hurts, knowing it was the best looking DQ game for a long time.

  • Lilith

    Want. My Nexus 7/iPad Mini needs this.

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    Dragon Quest 8 is my favorite rpg ever, and I’ve played a lot of them. I don’t think anything on the current generation of consoles topped it.

    • Hououin91

      Lost Odyssey, and that’s it.

      • sakusakusakura_nyo

        I’ll pick that game up if it ever gets released on a system I own. I think Nintendo should try to put all their Wii rpgs up on the Wii U eshop.

    • Wake

      Well, the 8th console generation is fairly new. But I assume you were referring to the PS3/360/Wii generation. Besides Lost Odyssey, Xenoblade was pretty awesome too. There were also a ton of great WRPG’s, but I’m guessing they aren’t your cup of tea.

      • ElAbuelo69

        As an avid jRPGeer, I can confirm this was the generation wRPGs finally got me.

        I loved Skyrim way too much lol

        Still love my jRPGs of course tho!

        • sakusakusakura_nyo

          I have Oblivion but I’m thinking about just giving up on it and buying Skyrim instead. I made a dark elf but she sucks and I have to turn the difficulty all the way down when I fight enemies. I was doing better in Fallout 3 but I got stuck shortly after making it to the boat city.

      • sakusakusakura_nyo

        Well I’m down with western rpgs too but I’m not great about finishing them. I love how you can make your own character in most of them, that’s always fun. I never had a Wii (edit: or Xbox) so I missed out on Lost Odyssey and Xenoblade.

        • Wake

          A lot of WRPG’s tend to give you a lot of freedom, resulting to a lot of distractions. So I have a couple of unfinished WRPG’s because of that XD

          The Wii and 360 are pretty cheap now. If you ever decide to pick one up you might want to also check out The Last Story for the Wii and Blue Dragon for the 360.

        • Zero_Destiny

          Just a little side note Lost Odyssey was Mist Walker and Microsoft’s 360 RPG while Last Story was Mist Walker and Nintendo’s Wii RPG. >__<

          Very similar names, I know, and they all have that sort of Final Fantasy like -ness to their titles. lol

          If I had to throw in a recommendation I would say SolatoRobo on the DS. It's very different from Dragon Quest–pretty much in every way imaginable, and I know anthropomorphic animals may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it was such a charming little game, like a lot of Dragon Quests are.


          • sakusakusakura_nyo

            Thanks, yeah I was thinking of Last Story.

        • Kamakuma

          I might pick up xenoblade next time its on sale… ill be damned if I pay 60+ for it. *flips table*

    • I liked Ni no Kuni a ton but I can’t decide whether I’d say it’s better than Dragon Quest VIII

      • sakusakusakura_nyo

        Ni No Kuni was awesome. I liked DQ 8 a little more for reasons like the Toriyama character & monster designs, fun casino games, old school battle system, and it’s unforgettable ending. I’d rather play it on a tv than a phone though!

  • SolRevr

    Man, I hope they invest in some thematic UI art. That current version feels like an overlay of a phone interface. Very blocky in the way that some indie phone games look. SE should be able to afford some artist time for something like Dragon Quest.

  • Wow what happened to the music

    • Grape Monet

      That’s the original soundtrack. The North American and PAL version used orchestral recordings, the Japanese one didn’t.

  • Rokkun

    Controls look tight. Sweet. The game isn’t as bad as i thought it was. Do want.

  • Brandonmkii

    Looks pretty good imo.

  • Nyanmar

    I last played this game on an emulator years ago and seeing this again now, my only thought is “GOOD GOD this looks horrifically slow!” Look at how long one single battle is! Maybe I’m spoiled, but really, who has the time for this? Turbo is a divine blessing to emulation + RPG’s.

  • tubers

    The one hand controls seem intuitive. If only the framerate performed better.

    Maybe it’s going to run much better on the 5S. The vid seems to use only an iPhone 5 (no chrome ring on the Home Button).

    • Link

      Its the 5S sadly.

  • Charmchar

    is it just me or does the frame rate look bad?

    • PreyMantis

      Not just you. The frame-rate are indeed bad.

  • LaserVision

    As much as I hate generic complaining about cell phone games, I think it’s a terrible fit to put a game where it’s main selling point was having a big beatiful open world into a cell phone.

  • DigitalFowl

    Alright, I take it my earlier comment was too heavily opinionated and upset sounding, so I’ll just take the hint that opinions aren’t welcome here.

    Seriously, I get that I was ranting and everything, but surely you’re not all sitting here and ACTUALLY thinking this iOS version of DQVIII is actually a GOOD thing compared to say, the existence of a PSV/3DS port or remake.

    The existence of this port is pathetic and likely just a quick cash grab that really disgust me and anyone else who doesn’t see this as someone within SE trying to exploit the DQ fans as hard as they can is a fool.

    As a fan of the series, I think we deserve better, something that looks like effort was put into it versus just a de-optimized version of the game on a cramped little screen. Forget the PSV’s gorgeous OLED or the potential of utilizing the 3DS’s 3D capabilities, let’s put in on the smart phone, kill the framerate and Field of View and slap a half hearted UI on it instead. That makes much more sense than putting some actual work into a port of the game.

    • Marcus

      This is a great release for Dragon Quest fans who want to be able to play on the go without lugging around a gaming device, which isn’t always convenient or socially acceptable. For example, I’ll enjoy the hell out of this during my lunch break at work, whereas I wouldn’t be able to play a Vita version in that situation. It’s also more convenient for standing in a crowded train, since it only takes one hand. And do you know who loves Dragon Quest, plays lots of games, and often rides standing in packed trains? Japanese folks.

      Take this from someone who actually lives in Japan- a smartphone version of this is god-tier stuff. I’d love to have a release for my Vita as well, but SE isn’t “exploiting” me and I’m not a “fool.” I haven’t read all the comments, but if you’re getting slammed over your opinion, it’s probably because you are expressing your point of view as if it is the Gospel Truth and the Only Thing that Matters. There’s a good way to express an opinion that has a chance to convince another person of its worth, and there’s a wrong way that makes people write you off as a jackass.

      Consider the fact that this release might not be good for you, but it IS great for a lot of people- including tons of young adult and middle-aged salarymen who will be able to play on their phones when they couldn’t whip out a gaming system.

    • I’ll admit it does look bad, but honestly I’m just happy SE is doing something with the franchise and making a big deal about it instead of pretending the series doesn’t exist.

  • Marcus

    I’ve been playing the DQ1 port, which uses the same setup, and it’s very awesome. An IRL boss draws near? Hit the home button and pretend you were doing something respectable… like texting or emailing your wife while on the clock.

    (not that -I- would do that but -you- could)

    It actually controls surprisingly well.

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