Like I guessed Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors it is similar to the plug and play TV game Kenshin Dragon Quest. The main difference is the graphics are cleaned up and you use the Wii remote instead of a plastic sword. If you’re one of the many people who didn’t pick up Kenshin Dragon Quest there is a tutorial when you start the game to get you up to speed and teach you new moves like the thrust. Once you are on your own you can walk inside the castle, talk to the necessary characters (Dean for the first mission) and then head out to face an army of slimes.
This is the town where you can upgrade your sword and buy herbs. The hero can walk and explore the town by using the D-pad. Since you don’t have analog control moving feels sort of like walking around in Resident Evil 1, you need to stop, turn around then press forward to walk. One of the neat features about walking is sounds play out of the remote’s speaker when you take a step forward. The sounds change depending on the terrain you walk on. Stone, grass, carpet and wood have their own sound effects. The hero walks slowly, but he can run if you hold down the B button. When you want to talk to someone like Dean you stop and point at them with the remote then press A to talk. Unlike the other Dragon Quest games in Japan* (Dragon Quest VIII was remade with voiceovers for the west), Dragon Quest Swords has voiceovers during key scenes. Once you’re ready to leave you talk to the guard at the gate and select where you want to go.
Out on the field you are kind of on rails. The hero doesn’t automatically walk, you have to hold up on the d-pad to make him move. However, you can’t make the hero turn so you only control the speed the hero runs. When enemies like this group of slimes pop out the music changes and the status bars pop up on the bottom of the screen. The key to Dragon Quest Swords is to try and hit as many enemies in the same swipe. In this case a horizontal swipe is the best way to attack all of them at the once. Sometimes slimes will stack themselves up in a tower and line up in vertical pattern. Drakees tend to line themselves up for diagonal swipes.
Slimes just don’t stand there waiting for you to cut them in two, they attack. Orange slimes are they more aggressive and they headbutt the screen to hit you. By pressing the B button you raise your shield and you can block the slime’s caprice. Each shield has its own shape and a different amount of surface area. If you block frequently your shield can take damage. Parts of it start to erode and you lose total blocking area. When bubbly green slimes are about to throw poison at you a dot appears on the screen. You need to move the shield where the dot is to block the attack to prevent yourself from being poisoned.
These two moles are right about to throw clumps of dirt at you. The dirt doesn’t damage you. It covers the screen up and makes it harder to see if a slime is about to crash into you. The trick here is to raise your shield with the B button and quickly swipe it to repel both clumps of dirt.
Each attack powers up the hero’s special attack meter. When it is at 100% you can press the 2 button to bring up the menu. Once you choose a special you need to mimic the motions on screen in a few seconds. If you do them correctly the hero executes a wave of purple energy and hits all the enemies on screen.
See the cursor here? It’s a target in this picture. One of the new features in Dragon Quest Swords is you can lock-on where you want to swing by moving the on screen cursor with the remote and pressing the A button to lock on. Once the point is set vertical slashes align themselves to the lock on point, even if you are swinging at nowhere near the target. Locking on makes Dragon Quest Swords much easier than Kenshin Dragon Quest, you don’t need to physically slide around to hit the Drakees with the Wii remote.
I haven’t touched on magic yet because the hero can’t use it. Only the partner characters can cast spells and you have to select them from a menu. Dean can heal the hero with a 40-50HP boost and cast a small wave of fire.
While Dragon Quest Swords is on rails you can occasionally tell the hero which direction to go to by selecting the left or right. There are a few alternate routes that lead to treasure chests and a few extra enemy encounters.
So far Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors has been lighthearted, arcade style fun. But it might disappoint some fans to know that this Dragon Quest spin off is not an RPG. The focus of Dragon Quest Swords and its key selling point is slashing slimes with the Wii remote.