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The best Dragon Quest games 2024

We’re covering the best Dragon Quest games in this guide, picking apart the very goo picks from the classic RPG franchise so you know where to start.

Screenshot of the characters from Dragon Quest VI on a boat for list of the best dragon games on Switch and mobile

If you’re looking for the best Dragon Quest games, then we’re here to help. The franchise is getting on in years and entries by now! Square Enix (previously Chunsoft and Enix) launched Dragon Quest in 1986 in collaboration with renowned Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama, and over 35 years later the franchise now has twelve main entries and even more spin-offs. Between mainline entries, Builders, Jokers, Monsters, and even Treasures, it’s tough to know where to spend your hard-earned money!

It’s nearly slime to jump into the rest of this goo-reat guide, but before we do, make sure you check out our huge library of great Switch and mobile content. If you’re looking for recommendations for your next gaming obsessions, be sure to check out our guides to the best Switch RPGs, best Switch adventure games, best Switch survival games, best Switch strategy games, and battle your pals with our guide to the best Switch fighting games.

Let’s ride gallantly into our best Dragon Quest games guide.

Dragon Quest games: a screenshot from Dragon Quest III shows an RPG party exploring a field

Dragon Quest III

Possibly the best place to start for any eager new Dragon Quest Fans. While technically the third entry in the series, Dragon Quest III is the first chronologically and sets up the story of Erdrick for the previous two games. This entry expands upon so much from the previous titles, with a class system allowing you to customize your party as you see fit. It’s also an epic RPG tale that still holds up today!

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Originally released on the NES, then again on the SNES, you can play this title today on the Switch, mobile, or if you’re patient, Square Enix is currently developing a HD-2D remake in the style of Octopath Traveler and Live A Live.

Dragon Quest games: A dragon Quest VIII screenshot shows the party including the hero

Dragon Quest VIII

While the previous PS2 entry Dragon Quest VII is the first 3D title, fans love Dragon Quest VIII for greatly expanding the world of the franchise, with fully 3D environments and a controllable camera. Beloved by many fans still to this day, it features a huge amount of explorable areas, towns you can walk straight into, and stunning battles.

The adventure begins when the King of Trodain and his castle inhabitants are all cursed by a court jester, with the spell turning the King into a troll, the princess into a horse, and everyone else into plants. Weird spell, but stick with it. The silent protagonist is a guard of Trodain and sets out on an epic quest to restore peace to the land. If you want to play this title, there is a (somewhat expensive now) 3DS remake!

Dragon Quest games: A Dragon Quest IX screenshot shows the entire party ready for battle

Dragon Quest IX

After the series’ expansion on PS2, it goes smaller with Dragon Quest IX. Square Enix released this title on the DS, as the console’s sales at the time (2009) were astronomical. This entry features a bonkers story that involves the heavens themselves, a giant magical tree (as always), and a train that can fly through the sky. It’s also the first entry in the series to feature multiplayer, allowing your friends to join your battle party.

While some bemoan the comparative downgrade in graphics, Dragon Quest IX still features a 3d art style and is one of the best-looking games on the DS. Plus, the series feels right at home on a handheld, and the touch screen allows the title to clear some of the messy UI from the upper screen, as well as those handy touch screen controls. It’s a bit harder to find nowadays, but it’s easily one of the series’ highlights.

Dragon Quest games: A Dragon Quest XI screenshot shows the entire party on a boat fighting a giant squid

Dragon Quest XI

While Dragon Quest X is an online-focused title, much like Final Fantasy XIV, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a return to regular turn-based RPG combat and a grand reimaging of the franchise nearly ten years after its predecessor. It’s available on PS4 and Xbox, but Square Enix also created an enhanced and improved Switch version known as Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age.

The improved release replaces the midi soundtrack with a full orchestral one and also includes several quality-of-life improvements. Following the Luminary on a quest to restore power to Ygdrassil, the world tree, Dragon Quest XI has all the charm, beauty, and RPG goodness of the series in a modern package. It also features a lengthy campaign that goes well beyond the credits, with many fans considering the “ending” only the halfway point.

Whatsmore, the title also has a 3DS entry, and the enhanced Switch version allows you to swap gorgeous polygons and snazzy visuals for a pixelated look at checkpoints. The entire game is playable like this, echoing the original style of the first three entries. The title is so beloved that the titular Dragon Quest hero even makes an appearance in Super Smash Bros Ultimate!

Dragon Quest games: a Dragon Quest Builders 2 screenshot shows the hero building a house

Dragon Quest Builders 2

The Dragon Quest series isn’t afraid to branch out, with a huge amount of spin-offs available. One of the very best, however, takes inspiration from an unlikely place: Minecraft! The Dragon Quest Builders series is a block-building RPG that balances creation, customization, and resource management with the RPG stylings you know and love.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 expands upon the original in several key ways and hones what is already a great idea into a truly fantastic entry both for the Dragon Quest franchise and also the ‘building’ genre. Restore an entire island to glory, explore the world, and make friends to come and join your growing community. It’s also available on Switch, with a free (and very lengthy) demo available that carries over your save data when you purchase. Give it a try today!

Dragon Quest games: A Dragon Quest Treasures screenshot shows Erik running alongside several creatures

Dragon Quest Treasures

Another twist on the regular formula, Dragon Quest Treasures is a prequel to Dragon Quest XI, showing the childhood of party member Erik as a thief. Erik and his sister Mia live with a cohort of Vikings on a longship, taking part in a life of crime. Erik and Mia eventually set off on their own, determined to collect treasure and meet monsters.

This title is still an RPG but balances elements from the Dragon Quest Monsters series (a Pokémon-like RPG) with a collactathon. Erik and Mia take it in turns to explore a vast open world and use the earnings from their treasure collecting to restore a town to glory. It’s a touching entry and it’s lovely to spend more time with characters from DQXI. Maybe don’t play this first, though!

Do I need to play Dragon Quest games in order?

No, you do not need to play the Dragon Quest series in order. The franchise is mostly an anthology like Final Fantasy, though the original Dragon Quest 1, Dragon Quest 2, and Dragon Quest 3 are related. Technically Dragon Quest 3 is technically a prequel, but it’s story compliments the others without spoiling anything. Essentially, don’t worry and pick up any title you want, though we recommend starting with Dragon Quest XI or Dragon Quest VIII.

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How many different Dragon Quest series are there?

Dragon Quest has a long and winding story, as it was originally called Dragon Warrior in the West up until Dragon Quest VIII on PS2. It also has multiple different entries that diverge from the main RPG elements, with each having its own dedicated fans! The main spin-offs you need to know about are:

Dragon Quest Builders

A mashup of Dragon Quest and Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders 1 and 2 are delightful entries that marry customization and building with rich RPG mechanics. The sequel is the better of the two, but both entries are worth your time.

Dragon Quest games: A Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince screenshot shows the protagonist running through a green field

Dragon Quest Monsters

A Pokémon styled spin-off, the Dragon Quest Monsters entries feature creature collecting just like the GB classics. First-timers may want to jump in with Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker on the DS as it expands vastly on the original. However, Square Enix is yet to release Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 (say that five times) outside of Japan. Luckily, a brand new entry Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is heading to Switch in the near future.

Dragon Quest Wars

If you want some tactics action, this might be the entry for you. Dragon Quest Wars is a simple DSi title that copies much of the Advance Wars and Fire Emblem tactical formula. It’s not quite as in-depth, but there’s a lot of that Dragon Quest charm to keep you playing.

Dragon Quest games: A Dragon Quest Heroes screenshot shows a sword wielding protagonist facing off against multiple slimes

Dragon Quest Heroes

One of the most-action packed takes on the franchise, Dragon Quest Heroes takes cues from hack-and-slash franchises like Dynasty Warriors. The screen if skilled with enemies, and you pull off combos to decimate your foes.

Dragon Quest Treasures

The newest addition to Dragon Quest’s spin-off oeuvre, Treasures is an RPG all about finding treasure, earning money, and befriending monsters along the way. It’s a bit of an odd duck because, with some tweaks, it could easily be a Monsters entry, but the collection elements do set it apart somewhat.

Phew, well! That is all we have on the best Dragon Quest games, and we hope any eager RPG fans learn something new today. If you somehow need even more games, be sure to check out our guides to the best games like Animal Crossing on Switch and mobile and the best games like Minecraft on Switch and mobile.