Meet Susan The Builder. She’s not a hero, even though she’s wearing armor and has a sword and shield. She seems a lot like a hero but the voice from the sky (or the voice in your head, whichever you prefer) informed her that she is not a hero. She’s a builder. In Dragon Quest Builders, you take on the role of builder of towns and, let’s be honest, the hero (I mean you fight dragons…) You make your way around the world collecting the materials you need to fulfill the objectives of your townspeople-given quests, as well as the materials you need to upgrade your gear and town. You also fight things along the way.
Dragon Quest Builders is the first game in the Dragon Quest series I’ve ever played (if I’m being honest, it’s the first Dragon Quest game I’ve even heard of) so I’m not familiar with the lore or backstory, or even if anything happening in this game at all ties in with previous games, BUT that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. You really don’t need to know much of anything to play this game and I appreciate that. You’re just a girl (or boy) rebuilding a town.
You’ll get your quests that progress the game from the various residents of your budding town and the population grows as you progress as well. There are four areas, three of which you access through different colored portals, that you can explore and each area has new enemies and new resources. Once you complete the first (of four) chapters in the game, you unlock Terra Incognita, a free building mode, which personally underwhelmed me (I’m lazy and had just spent 5 hours mining resources and killing monsters to get what I needed. I wanted to be given everything I needed to build in free mode, without having to work for it).
Alright, on to the deaf accessibility of the game:
As you can see from the previous images, all dialogue is captioned and the speaker is labeled. There’s not actually any spoken dialogue in the game, just various sound effects. For the most part, it’s easy to read, and all essential speech is very clear and prominent. There are some occasions though, where your townspeople have random thoughts displayed in little speech bubbles and those could be better.
There’s an option to turn controller vibration on or off, although the vibration isn’t what you’d expect. In fact I can’t actually recall feeling the controller vibrate when there were loud happenings in the game. I mean you’d think a giant Golem wailing on you in the desert would both be loud and elicit some kind of vibration, but it didn’t, which for me kind of takes away from the immersion.
The game looks great and the visual cues/object identification is very clear, as you can see in the above images. The one issue I have with the game that makes it somewhat inaccessible is that a visual or vibration cue was not paired with the sound that plays when you’ve been spotted by an enemy. Not that the enemies are terribly difficult and you don’t die instantly if you get caught off guard, it’s just irritating that something in the game was given a solely auditory indicator.
I think this is a great game though. It’s lighthearted and fun, which was a nice way to start the year and the few oversights in terms of deaf accessibility don’t make the game unplayable. If you like crafting games or enjoy an easy, and often pretty funny game, Dragon Quest Builders is well worth checking out.
Dragon Quest Builders
Text-only dialogue, so it's super easy to read
Lighthearted and fun to play
Don't need to hear anything in the game to accomplish objectives
No visual or vibration cue paired with sound indicating an enemy has spotted you