We can't stop playing Dragon Quest Builders on PlayStation 4 - it's as simple as that. The delightful little adventure is capable of sucking away hours upon hours of your time thanks to its initial accessibility, and once you're hooked, it's difficult not to just keep digging deeper and deeper, expanding your town and taking part in increasingly dangerous quests. It's effortlessly addictive.
Now before anyone says it, no, Dragon Quest Builders is not Minecraft. It borrows a lot of ideas from that type of game, that's for sure, but it's the title's structure that sets it apart from its competitors. Instead of just tossing you into a randomised world and telling you to fend for yourself, Builders is always giving you direction. You're still free to wander off and do you own thing, but by following the story and completing main quests, there's a definite sense of more traditional progression that's arguably missing from a lot of similar games.
As you work your way further into the narrative, more and more crafting options open up to you, and they're all introduced at a pace that's never overwhelming. The learning curve in general feels perfect, and before long, your once humble little village hub will transform into a bustling hive of activity. Watching your own slice of the world gradually evolve thanks to your efforts is as rewarding as you can imagine.
It never quite feels like you're a lone wolf, either. Sure, it's your job to scour the land for materials and slay all sorts of monsters, but your town is home to a number of characters who are happy to join your cause. They'll go about their business whether you're present or not, cooking food and crafting items that will be of use to you. It's a team effort, and it helps that they're all wonderfully written, as we've come to expect of the series' stellar translation efforts.
We've spent around 35 hours with Dragon Quest Builders now, and we like to think that we've seen most of what the game has to offer in terms of how it's put together. Going into the release, we were slightly worried that it'd be a game full of grinding - a title where we'd be forced to stockpile an obscene amount of resources on a constant basis - but that hasn't been the case at all. In fact, Builders is generous with its materials, almost like it's aware of how farcical games like Minecraft can be when you're having to carefully manage your resources.
In that sense, we suppose that Builders is actually quite easy, but there's so much to see and do that difficulty doesn't really play a huge role. This is also reflected in the combat, which is as accessible as the rest of the release. There's no blocking or dodge rolls here - just one attack button and basic movement. It's perhaps a bit of a shame that there isn't more depth on offer for those who want it, but it's a system that works, and it definitely stays true to the simplicity that's showcased elsewhere.
Whether you just want to spend half an hour collecting materials or you're eager to go on a grand quest, Dragon Quest Builders is always on hand to make sure that you have a fun time in its colourful and downright charming world. While it definitely isn't the most demanding game in the genre, its simplicity gives way to what is one of 2016's most addictive adventures, and it only becomes harder and harder to put down with every new discovery.
We'll have a full review of Dragon Quest Builders before it launches on the 11th October in North America, but until then, let us know if you're excited for this hopelessly addictive adventure in the comments section below.