Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride review for iOS, Android

Platform: iOS
Also on: Android
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is hands down my favorite Dragon Quest game ever. I had never played it until the Nintendo DS release in 2009, but I was easily blown away by how rich the world was, how fun the monster collecting became, and how remarkably epic, truly epic, the story was. It?s also one of the best RPG?s at conveying a true passing of time, literally spanning generations.

I reviewed the original DS release of Dragon Quest V, which you can find here courtesy of the Wayback Machine, as much of our early site content has been lost to the digital sands of time. I?m just as big on it now as I was then, and the quality of this iOS port being reviewed here doesn?t change that a bit. In fact, this feels nearly identical to the DS version of the game in every way, barring the obvious differences in the control scheme.

dragon quest v ios 1I played on both an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 6, and had no issues with the game on the most current firmware for both devices (8.1.3). Dragon Quest V looks virtually identical to the DS version of the game on iOS, with the same 2D pixel designs for the characters, and it contains the same vivid, colorful environments found on Nintendo?s handheld. I will note that there?s a slight fuzziness to some characters, as if there?s some sort of blurring effecting going on around the edges that I don?t remember from the DS release. But outside of that, I can?t knock the look of Dragon Quest V on iOS platforms.

I?ve found no content cut or changed across the dozens of hours I?ve committed to the game so far. The soundtrack sounds just as great as I remember it, even if it isn?t culled from the superior music found in the PS2 port of the game. Loading is kept to a minimum, and you can suspend games quickly enough, with more permanent saves still being done through town churches. There?s also a cloud save functionality present, making it easy to switch between multiple devices and pick-up where you left off.

dragon quest v ios 4The controls are handled via a virtual 8-way control stick that can be repositioned to a few different areas on the screen. The stick also doubles as a single button, used for talking to NPC?s or interacting with the environment. It?s been some time since I?ve played a console title ported to a mobile platform, and I?m happy to see that the concept of a virtual pad or stick has improved considerably in the interim. Moving around was easy and responsive, and interacting with characters or objects was equally simple and precise. Granted, this is the perfect game for virtual controls, not really requiring much in the way of speedy or accurate responses, but that doesn?t take away from the fact that the controls work really well.

If you have yet to play Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, I?d urge you to check out the iOS version of the game. It?s not quite worth the jump if you already own it on DS, but it?s a cheaper alternative here than picking up a used physical copy of the game second-hand nowadays. It?s also a remarkably lengthy adventure, but one that never manages to wear out its welcome. I was more than happy to have a new excuse to play it again, and hope that we?ll see another DQ port down the road (or two!).

Grade: A