Azure Dreams - Preview

Monster training adds a unique twist to this dungeon crawl

By an RPGamer Writer

One of the many trainable monsters

   Konami's Azure Dreams, at first glance, appears to be a tradtional RPG. But monster raising and town building add two unique twists to what would otherwise be an ordinary game.

   Monsters can be captured, bred, hatched, and raised. The monsters will help you greatly on your quest. One look at the game design, however, makes their importance clear. Each time you enter the tower, you fight your way to the top, gaining levels, items, and monsters. Every time you leave the tower, however, your level returns to zero. Only your items and monsters remain. A powerful monster, then, can make the climb back up that much more palatable. And if you want to climb to the top and unlock all the secrets, you'll need the best monster you can find.

The hero
Our trusty hero

   Town building is also important. You can add new buildings to your town of Monsbaiya. Not just shops and houses, but a theater, a racetrack, a bowling alley, a casino, a library, and more. A man's home is his castle, and with enough money, yours can be. Build additions to your home and furnish it with the best money can buy! TV's, rugs, awashing machines, exercise equipment - it's crazy! And if you're feeling lonely in your home, well, there's seven different potential "love interests" for you to try your hand at.

Battles take place in psuedo-realtime

   Battles are in psuedo-realtime. The action is real-time and on the battlefield itself, a la Secret of Mana. No menus here. But the enemies can only move when you move, attack when you attack. If you stay still, you're safe, but when you start acting, they start acting. Make sense? This lends a bit of strategy to an otherwise action-oriented game. And plan carefully! If you die, you lose all the items you were carrying and start at the first floor of the tower - so be careful!

   With all the different genres Azure Dreams encompasses, perhaps it should be called "Tokimeki Monster Rancher's Sim Mysterious RPG Dungeon." Then again, perhaps not.

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