Mojang's blockbuster building game drops players into huge, randomly-generated worlds and then leaves them to it. There are no tutorials to guide you, no narrative to provide context and no clearly defined goals – there's the whole Ender Dragon thing, but it's not exactly signposted.
But figuring out the rules of the land and making discoveries is part of Minecraft's appeal, and that level of freedom is part of what makes it so popular.
Dragon Quest Builders, on the other hand, feels much more like a traditional video game. Sure, you're able to dig up the land, build homes and craft items, but there's also a proper story, lots of missions and even the odd screen-filling boss battle.
It may never topple the behemoth that Minecraft, but here's 5 ways Dragon Quest Builders beats Mojang's blockbuster.
1. Dragon Quest Builders Teaches you the Basics
The first thing you'll notice about Dragon Quest Builders is that it actually explains what it is you have to do, how to dig up the land, build homes, attract villagers, fight enemies and generally be creative.
The tutorials actually feel a little restrictive at first, as players wade through scrolls of text just to dig up some blocks and find out how to escape the chamber you awaken in.
But as the game goes on and the missions start to rack up, the tutorials start to feel less intrusive and a more natural – not to mention incredibly useful – part of the game. They're well implemented and ensure you don't miss anything the game has to offer.
2. Dragon Quest Builders Has a Proper Story
Dragon Quest Builders is set in the land of Alefgard, which as fans will tell you, is where the original Dragon Quest takes place. A shell of its former self and populated by monsters, the hero awakens with the power to rebuild the world and defeat evil.
While that doesn't sound particularly inspired, it's actually all based on the parallel ending of Dragon Quest, where the hero accepts the Dragonlord's suggestion that each character rules half of the world. Of course, it was all a ruse, and the world has gone to pot by the time you start things off.
It's a fantastic way of tying together old and new, making great use of the Dragon Quest mythology to entice fans.
3. Dragon Quest Builders Has More Structure
As much as we love Minecraft, it's definitely lacking a little structure. The same can't be said for Dragon Quest Builders, which is fit to burst with fighting, side-quests and missions to keep players busy.
It starts off with simple requests to build homes, retrieve items and attract new villagers, but pretty soon you're fending off waves of enemies and even fighting bosses.
But just because it's a more structured experience, you still have the freedom to carry out tasks as you see fit, and build your village in your image.
4. Dragon Quest Builders Has Better Combat
Minecraft's enemies certainly have their charms – the Creepers are just that – but Dragon Quest Builders takes combat to another level.
There are giant birds, stone Golems and of course, huge Dragons. Combat is a big part of Dragon Quest Builders, and why it feels like more of a traditional gaming experience.
Oh yeah, and there's Slimes to contend with, too, so that's a plus!
5. Dragon Quest Builders Has Better Visuals
Minecraft's visuals are simple and effective, but Dragon Quest Builders' graphics are even more colourful and stylish, hearkening back to the 8-bit era, which makes sense given the connection to the original game.
The only downside is the camera, which because of the third-person perspective, doesn't do you many favours when you're stuck indoors.