Move over, Minecraft, there’s a new game in town. You’d think that a sandbox game like Minecraft would be the ultimate video game experience. After all, who doesn’t like being able to do whatever they want? Enter Dragon Quest Builders, a building game with a storyline and — gasp! — rules.
Okay, so Minecraft isn’t about to be overthrown, but Dragon Quest Builders certainly has a lot of people talking about and playing a new kind of game. Should you care? Yes! Especially if you have a child with ADHD. Let’s take a quick look at what’s so great about Dragon Quest Builders.
First, and perhaps most important, is the fact that Dragon Quest Builders adds sandbox elements to what is a pretty traditional role-playing game, or RPG. This means that in addition to finding materials and building things, there is a story — with actual quests, battles, and conversations to be had, as well as some basic character stats to manage. As the hero of the game, a player’s goal is to rebuild the world of Alefgard, which has been destroyed by the evil Dragonlord. The game is divided into four chapters, each focused on rebuilding a major city of Alefgard.
Those who find Minecraft’s lack of directions and limits overwhelming or confusing like that Dragon Quest Builders guides and pushes them along with clear boundaries and goals while still allowing them to be creative. The linear nature of Dragon Quest Builders gameplay also provides clearer starting and stopping points that make it easier to sit down to play for short periods of time. If you have a child with ADHD, you probably appreciate a video game that makes it easier to transition from screen time to another activity.
The unique sandbox/RPG combination found in Dragon Quest Builders is also ideal for building key thinking skills like planning, organization, and working memory — things kids with ADHD tend to struggle with. Managing an inventory, preparing for battles and builds, reading conversations, and remembering quest-givers’ directions are all things that can help develop these important executive functions. We highly recommend sitting down to watch or play along while your child adventures through the world of Alefgard. Our Dragon Quest Builders Playbook can guide you in playing and talking about the game with your child.
You might be thinking, Minecraft with a story? Isn’t that what Minecraft: Story Mode is? Frankly, no. You might say the Minecraft: Story Mode developer, Telltale Games, missed a big opportunity to break free from its usual formula, which is heavy on cutscenes with timed dialogue and quicktime events and light on actual gameplay. The game has a fun story, a great voice-acting cast, and still exercises some key executive functions, but for kids who really love Minecraft for the creative building aspect, it misses the mark.
Is there anything not so great about Dragon Quest Builders? Sadly, there is one thing: It just isn’t that widely accessible. Whereas Minecraft and its Story Mode spinoff are available on virtually every device and console, Dragon Quest Builders is a PlayStation exclusive, playable only on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita.
Has your family checked out Dragon Quest Builders? Do you plan to play it with your kids? Let us know what you think in the comments, or come talk to us on Facebook.