Dragon Quest Tact is a slime of a good time [Android Game of the Week]

Dragon Quest Tact Hero
Dragon Quest Tact Hero (Image credit: Square Enix)

If you're anything like me, you love a good turn-based strategy game. I remember putting hours upon hours into Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and countless other similar titles on the Gameboy Advance and loving every second. Android already has some of the best strategy games, and Dragon Quest Tact is a truly excellent new addition to the already strong library — and it's totally free-to-play. You won't even need a good Android controller for this game either, although it doesn't hurt to have one lying around for other titles.

Dragon Quest Tact takes the battle tactics of Fire Emblem, mixes that with the monster-collecting aspect of Pokemon, and adds a sprinkling of gacha on the side. Unlike many other turn-based strategy games of the same vein, Dragon Quest Tact players will use the monsters they've collected as units to play during battles — a sort of highly-modified game of chess, if you've never played anything similar. Each battle takes place on a playing field that can include different height levels and obstacles in the way, forcing players to change up strategy each time.

Combat is fun, and the randomized unit turns add a certain Poker-esque level of luck.

Each unit has its own set of moves and special abilities, as well as method of traversal and number of squares they can move per turn. There are seemingly hundreds of monsters to collect in the game, each of which can be leveled up in several different ways. If you're someone who lives and breathes statistics, you're going to feel right at home here, but it's also friendly enough to where you won't need to delve that deeply if you don't want to.

What I particularly like about Dragon Quest Tact is that unit turns are randomized at the beginning of every battle, so it's not just one entire side of the field that's playing at once. Sometimes you'll move two or three times before the enemy moves, while other times you might find enemies get to move first. It adds a certain Poker-esque level of luck to adapt your skill set to.

Dragon Quest Tact Quests Screen

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Dragon Quest Tact isn't a brand new game, per se, as it's been in beta for several months now. The final public version was made available this past week and players who join in over the first few weeks can enjoy special launch festivities that include plenty of loot-crate-style gifts. Those gifts are part of the gacha element in the game, or effectively a random set of gifts and loot that players can either earn or pay for to unlock things in the game. It's not too unlike many free-to-play games with premium items but feels considerably more fair than a "typical" gacha game.

Here's one pro tip for you: make sure you check out the "Present box" section right on the main menu of the game regularly. Completing battle, challenges, and other quests nets you presents like items and gems, but you have to manually claim these each and every time — they don't just automatically get added to your purse or inventory. You'll also want to make sure to sign in as often as possible, as every day you log in grants bonus items and perks.

Aside from the main storyline, Dragon Quest Tact features an absolute boatload of quests and special events to take part in. Some of them are just excuses to give away a bunch of loot — like one of the launch quests which has you fighting a single slime to earn a ton of gems. It's these types of things that make the game feel fair instead of just another free-to-play game that turns out to be a rather expensive pay-to-win Ponzi scheme.

Dragon Quest Tact feels much more balanced than a "typical" gacha game.

If you pick it up, be sure to try out the Dragon Quest I special quests, as they completely transform the overworld and music as an homage to the classic titles. It even includes special monsters that you can only find within those quests and enemies that you might recognize if you're a fan of the series.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu