We've mentioned it many times before, but if you're the kind of person who always finds yourself getting worked up over games for "casuals" and badly want a "real game," look no further than Dragon Quest VIII [$19.99]. Our resident RPG fanatic Shaun Musgrave reviewed it when it was released, and gets in to some serious depth about how this is a game you could play for hundreds of hours if it sucks you in.

While other RPG series had reduced their scope and backed away from world-spanning adventures across open environments due to the rise in costs of realizing such an ambition, Dragon Quest 8 represented the full, glorious 3D realization of the JRPG in its purest form. It has big towns and cities filled with NPCs who give you vague advice and don't care if you steal stuff out of their dresser and a huge, treasure-packed overworld map that's in scale with your character's dimensions. It has cool forms of transportation, dungeons with branching paths that lead to treasures for some reason. There are animated 3D battles with a menagerie of interesting creatures, epic boss fights, and a twisty story with lots of memorable vignettes. You can gamble in casinos, create a monster team to battle in a coliseum, hunt unique monsters, and craft a veritable arsenal of weapons and armor. You'll travel the seas, fly through the air, fight evil wizards and dragons, and save the world through the power of friendship and love. It's a wonderful, charming game that any fan of JRPGs will find something to love about.

Photo-2014-05-29-13-18-29-300x532 Photo-2014-05-29-13-18-24-300x532

As you'll likely notice from the screenshots above, the one thing that's sort of weird about DQ8 is that the game is entirely played in portrait mode. It's designed to be played on your phone with one hand, and with that goal in mind, it works awesome. Things get a little weird when you play it on your iPad, as the portrait mode setup just feels strange.

Even at its original price of $19.99, DQ8's cost per hour of gameplay was better than most other things on the App Store. Knock five bucks off that, and it gets even better. If you've had your eye on this game, better grab it while it's discounted.

  • Maglor

    So... I know this will going on sale, but 15 dollars... Hmmmmmm........ This is the same price as Bioshock and DQ IV. Well......

    • Echoen

      Summon instabuy cat!

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      Any of those will last a long time and is money well spent. Buy them all and it's still less than a new game on disc! I love playing DQ8 one-handed.

  • nini

    If you're the kind of person who always finds yourself getting worked up over games for "casuals" and badly want a "real game you probably could stand to stop acting so entitled and pull your head out of your real gamer ass for a while.

    • Luciano1084

      Someone needs to get laid

    • Goggles789

      Is that so? I figured it was just because I knew what I liked. Thanks for sounding like a total jerk.

  • androsynth

    I really should replay and actually beat DQ8 (got it on PS2). Thanks for the reminder. That shall be my new project this fall (after I'm done with my replays of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Morrowind)

  • mkdms14

    Too much I won't pay more then $10 for this.

    • Brown Cow

      Thinking about investing that five dollar difference in high yield bonds or something?

      • MrSpud

        Hey! Don't make fun of other users, that's the Toucharcade staffs job!

      • Goggles789

        The article even opens up with a troll-like statement, so they had it covered to begin with.

      • pouffie

        The guy has a point though. if there's a possibility for a better deal, why shouldn't he wait? It's the devs fault for letting down the customers that paid the big bucks. Why should I be the pigeon that pays for the full price when the next guy will get ithe same product at half-price?

        I will not buy DQ8 the time being as I know there will be an even better deal for Christmas. I have already been had several times with Squeenix, so I don't take the bait anymore.
        I had the same issue with Capcom. I got phantom detective and ace attorney trilogy at full price both. Sometime this year, they sold the same apps at ridiculous prices (2 bucks instead of 15). I can't prevent from feeling I have been cheated. I have learned my lesson and will wait for a price drop for ace attorney 5.
        To be honest, devs should be consistent and sell their products to everybody for the same price. They only hurt their own business with practices of sudden price drops at -75%.

    • Goggles789

      It's a 40-60 hour long game your first run through. That's not worth 15 bucks??? It was 59.99 when it first came out on consoles! 15 is a steal! In fact, buying a physical copy of the game used is usually around 20 bucks! The app is cheaper than a physical copy! You're missing out on a great experience, man!

      • sbnewsom

        Games that last long rarely have a high completion rate on a mobile phone. Not worth the money.

      • curtneedsaride

        I see both sides of that argument. I haven't finished too many of the RPGs I buy... YET! But I keep backing up my saves and putting time in on many of them. I've had Final Fantasy III since my first iPhone in 2011, I think. I'm still playing on that save file and almost ready to finish it. So, just depends on if you spend time enjoying them or not.

      • prince_david

        She's rather spend that money on candy crush lol

  • curtneedsaride

    Everything in that quote from Shaun gets me so excited to play it. I'm thoroughly satisfied, having received it for $19.99, and having put almost 45 hours into so far. This game is a HUGE game to play on the go, but Square-Enix have made sure it works well with commands, menus, and controls. This game has personally become one of my favorites of all time because of this mobile experience. I just purchased the PS2 version to play through as well, and I don't love it quite as much. BUT, I recommend if you are thinking about picking it up, please go watch videos on YouTube and see if it will meet your expectations and satisfy your RPG love. I'm tired of hearing people in the forums complain because it doesn't play the way they expected it would. Research it before you hit "Buy"!

  • pouffie

    No way, Jose! It will be 9,99 during the Christmas sale. I will wait a few months, I am not in a hurry anyway.

  • Luciano1084

    I've been holding off, I bought the latest DQ game which I love.. So yeah, take my
    15 bucks 😉

  • Fletchi18

    Are you able to jump in and out if the game? Sometimes I have a minute or 2 here and there to play. Will it persist between those sessions?

    • curtneedsaride

      On my iPhone 5S I can have it running all day as long as I don't use too many other apps. I usually Quick Save before I turn off my screen. But it pops back up when I wake my phone up. Probably a little easier to quick play than DQ4 in my opinion.

      • Fletchi18

        Thank you!!

  • Ryskim

    Will buy this when i can play in landscape mode. Portrait mode no thanks.

  • Inaba-kun

    Not touching this until they fix the screen ratio. TVs are widescreen for a reason. Portrait mode makes sense for a single use only - reading a column of text. For everything else, it's illogical and nonsensical.

    • C. Stubb

      That's your opinion, yes, but consider this: in Japan, most players prefer to use a single hand/portrait style of play. The developer can't please everyone, but I think if you gave it a shot before bashing the screen orientation, the one-handed controls might start making sense.

      • Inaba-kun

        The game was originally formatted for 4:3 TVs. Everything was framed for that ratio. Square could have opened up the matte to 16:9, kept those camera settings aside, THEN bastardised the game for the niche needs of Japanese commuters. The final game would have supported both play styles. To break the game for the entire world is absurd.

        As for trying portrait play, I have with DQ4, where for all accounts it's less obnoxious due to the old school too down view. Even then, it looks terrible and plays very badly.

      • prince_david

        I have been playing dragon quest I've one handed and love if. The game encourages me to go for long walks on lunch break while I one hand play the game. I gladly just bought dq8 because square did such a good job on touch control and thus is the first time in a very long time I said something good about squareenix

      • Bool Zero

        In Japan... But everywhere else people like choices of how to play their games, hence the reason most games support screen flipping at the very least. Also outside of Japan people like to use their tablets for more than just productivity. It's fine if folks like the orientation, but let's not act like the dissenting opinions about it shouldn't be allowed, tolerated or worse are whining. I can't see justifying defending what is clearly a lack of foresight and consideration for the markets they planned to release the game to outside of their home region, period. If any other developer were making such changes and releasing to the rest of the world outside of Asia they would endure an avalanche of criticism so I don't see why Square/Enix gets a pass purely because of company name and pedigree.

        I know personally for me and quite a few other iPad gamers that this is the major factor holding us back from buying this otherwise great game. Unwieldy controls and interface are a major deterrent for purchases, and many iPad gamers have made this known with other games as well (such as universal games with GUI's that were clearly only considered for iPhone's and IPod's or with controls that are not movable/adjustable).

  • shoi

    I like how, here in Japan, it's $28 and of course, no sale...

    • Bool Zero

      Probably because they know it will sell in Japan with less complaints regardless because it has a huge fan base there, whereas here in the West we have different tastes and different standards on quality. That's not a knock mind you. I've lived in Japan for seven years, I love the country, but coming from a westerners perspective I have also seen the standards of games and design they have over there which seems like a very grass is greener perspective from the West looking East than what it actually is. Quite frankly we have a sense that Japan is some "Mecca" of gaming when the truth is that there are a number of high profile games we don't get over here, but a massive amount of horrible, poorly designed and implemented games that are released en mass at budget prices over there that we never hear or know about which have a huge market over there. I loved Japan, but the gaming culture over there is definitely in a different place than what we here in the States dream it to be...

  • Poordevil

    Anyone considering this gem of a title don't be dissuaded by the $15 price. I don't generally play JRPGs but DQ8 is among the best games I have ever played -- any genre or platform. I don't care what other games can be had at that price, dropping $15 for DQ8 is a smart gaming investment. The only smarter move may be picking it up for the PS2. But you are not going to find a more entertaining RPG for a handheld.