The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…


Dragon Quest IV

One of the biggest releases this week was also something of a surprise. We learned last fall that Square Enix was porting the first eight Dragon Quest games to iOS in Japan, and with the western release of Dragon Quest VIII back in May it seemed like the rest of those ports might have a chance to come stateside as well. Then late last month, Square Enix confirmed that a port of Dragon Quest IV would indeed be coming to the US, and we sure didn't have to wait long for it. Dragon Quest IV [$14.99] popped up with the rest of this week's releases, and despite an unfortunate naming mistake of the title (which was quickly rectified with an update), it's every bit as good as the original game was back in 1992, and in fact even better thanks to it being based on the 2008 Nintendo DS remake.

Photo 2014-08-07, 22 49 10 Photo 2014-08-07, 22 49 48

I won't spend all day talking about all the things that make Dragon Quest IV so good, I think we've pretty well covered that in our full review. But I will say that beyond it being a great game to begin with, the iOS port in particular is just fantastic. The fact that it's in portrait orientation will be a bit divisive, as it works wonderfully for one-handed play on the iPhone or iPod touch but is a bit awkward (but still very playable) on the iPad. However, that one small change in orientation, as was the case for me with Dragon Quest VIII on iOS, really does mean I can play this at a moment's notice, whether I have hours to devote to it or simply just a few minutes.

I've always wanted to enjoy RPGs more than I actually have, mostly due to the time comitment they take to sit down, fire up a console, and progress through a massive adventure. If I get busy and can't play an RPG I've started for a few days or so, it's easy to forget just what the heck I was doing, and that already limited time that I dedicate to sitting down and playing through an RPG is partly wasted as I figure out just where it was I left off. Maybe that's just me, but I've started far more RPGs than I've ever finished, even ones that I started out really enjoying.

With Square Enix's Dragon Quest ports, I love that I can play every single day, even if it's only for a few minutes. It's much easier for me to remember everything that's happening and keep up with the story progression. Plus, a lot of these older JRPGs require a lot of battling and grinding, something that's a pleasure to do on a mobile device while doing something else like watching TV. In turn, I've made substantial progress in Dragon Quest VIII since I began really playing it a few weeks ago, and I'm excited to do the same with Dragon Quest IV now that it's finally arrive on iOS. I can almost guarantee I'd never end up finishing either of these games on consoles.

I know my experience with RPGs isn't the same for everyone, and someone like our own Shaun Musgrave has no problem blasting through a massive RPG without blinking an eye. But I'm very happy Square Enix has put some thought into making their classic games so mobile-friendly, especially since they've released some pretty clunky ports in the past. It gives people like me a chance to experience them in a way that caters to my lifestyle. Releasing them as single-pay products with no IAP and no online connection requirements doesn't hurt either, though I do wish there was at least an option for playing in landscape for those who want it. I'd even say that Dragon Quest IV is more well-suited to mobile play than DQVIII, due to it being based on an older 2D game and not one that's fully 3D, which made it sometimes tricky to navigate.

So if you're like me, and either don't have the time and focus to really sink your teeth into a beefy RPG, or were intimidated to do so for whatever reason, give Dragon Quest IV on iOS a shot, especially if you're down to play it on an iPhone. It just might be the key to unlocking a hidden love inside yourself for the RPG genre.

  • cinnamonandnutmeg

    My personal favourite DQ game is without doubt DQIII and I hope and pray they'll remake it someday in the manner of 4-6 & 9 a la the DS remakes as it is simply an outstanding game in terms of story and soundtrack.

    In terms of rank, DQIV would be my third favourite - that is purely a consequence of how much I loved my 2nd choice - DQV, for the record 🙂

    That said, I think this iteration of the series is one of the most easiest for first time Dragon Quest players to get into. The chronicling nature of the story means, like Shaun alluded to, there is a great learning curve in each chapter to absorb the gameplay world, characters, battle styles and strategy etc; All culminating into the final chapter that allows the user to know how best to utilise the characters or strategies based on what will be by then their well paced understanding - or even loyalty to a particular character to produce a truly immersive experience.

    This immersive experience is really what makes the whole DQ series so loved. For regular RPG fans, the game wins by virtue of great balance in marrying conventional tropes with humour, loveable characters and a story that though not unique in a synoptical sense (evil being overthrown by band of merry civilians) delivers a well executed and extremely satisfying experience with surprisingly emotional turns that are not too cheesy.

    I think that many of the earlier entries in the series are not going to be groundbreaking by today's standards in terms of gameplay or mechanics etc and may in fact seem outdated in some areas. This however shouldn't detract from the fact that they are just downright enjoyable.

    You could pick at the individual parts of something but the sum of those parts may belie the overall experience. I think this generally applies to all the DQ games in the series.

    I'm not trying to stir up controversy or debate and respect that ultimately we all have differing opinions on things. But for me, DQ in a clinical review of it's components, may churn out less 'criteria marks' thus it's cumulative scores in comparison to say, Final Fantasy, but I have always found the DQ series as a whole infinitely more enjoyable as a game. You even love the 'flaws' and adds to sense of achievement. It seems so much more naturally emotive and in turn cherished by fans.

    I of course do enjoy FF games so don't get me wrong. It's would be a mistake to say this or that but my purpose of this comment is not to read too much into things criteria points such as graphics, battle system etc.

    The controls and UI are intuitive and the game plays seamlessly on a mobile.

    This is a game you must have if you're an RPG fan and if you're not, it's a game that may well make you one!

    • WrenDavey

      DQIII is my favorite too. Akira Toriyama designs for it are amazing.

  • Maglor

      \\ Λ_Λ
       \( 'ㅅ' ) THAT Game of the Week!!
    Square Enix FTW!!
        > ⌒ヽ
       /   へ\
       /  / \\
       レ ノ   ヽ_つ
      / /
      / /|
     ( (ヽ
     | |、\
     | 丿 \ ⌒)
     | |  ) /
    ノ )  Lノ

  • Lemmonz

    You guys are stupid! Shoulda picked Godus! Who doesn't like lies and timers!

  • worldcitizen1919

    Great review and GOTW.

  • Apalachicola

    I missed this one the first few times it was released, but picked it up today. It looks promising, and I'm glad camera micromanagement isn't necessary. Not crazy about the controls, but I can live with them if the rest of the game is above average.

  • Inaba-kun

    Portrait mode is a deal breaker for me. Especially on the incredibly narrow iPhone screen, it makes games feel horribly cramped and constrained.

  • Ryskim

    Not buying because of the forced portrait mode. Make it landscape and will be an instabuy. Just like dq8

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  • curtisrshideler

    Portrait mode is the best thing to happen to these ports in my opinion. I love RPGs, and Dragon Warrior was my first RPG back in 1990. And I've been waiting for some classic RPGs in portrait mode. Only wish I could play the classic Final Fantasy series that way too!

    But I agree with the review. 5 star game that was ported perfectly with mobiles in mind. Can't wait to dive back in whenever I find a few minutes today!

  • BGrifter

    I've got nothing but good things to say about the portrait mode control scheme. I was skeptical at first but these are some of the best ports on iOS.

    For years we've complained about ports with poor touch controls, finally Square-Enix seems to have cracked that nut. I'd happily buy ports of the entire DQ and FF franchises with this control scheme.

  • Taeles

    God such great memories 🙂 I remember mowing lawns back in 1988(?) to buy a nes and dragon warrior 1. Good memories 🙂

  • anabolicMike

    It should be junk jack x. Did you see the new update? I can't believe what a spectacular game it is! It deserved to win the oscar! DQ ain't nothing but a gold digger! Actually though it looks jaw shatteringly awesome! I may have to bite the bullet and get it.......

  • CooleTeeps

    I've had Dragon Quest IX on DS for many years now (still stuck on one boss, Ragin' Contagion I think), and I loved It so much I've been wanting to try the previous games since I played IX. I went for this one because it is the newest mobile port and the oldest installment on the App Store. Also it took up little space and less money than VIII. Good thing I bought it even for $15! This game is amazing! I thought portrait mode would bug me but you get used to it and it's fine. Only thing is: when I try to get out of a well I always go back into it by accident...