Hands on with the slippery Rocket Slime on DS

Charming and humorous, the appeal of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime kind of creeps up on you

Hands on with the slippery Rocket Slime on DS

Let's face it, you'll need a sense of humour to go into a shop and ask if they have a copy of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (please). But if there's one ingredient missing from far too many games, it's a sense of fun – and Rocket Slime had us smiling from ear to ear at last month's E3.

A quick history lesson. One of the best-selling game series in Japan, Dragon Quest is a role-playing game set in a fantasy world full of weird and wonderful monsters, of which the slimes are the most popular. Hence they've earned a spin-out series.

Rocket (for that is the name of the particular slime hero of this game) is a traditional blue slime, who moves around by stretching himself much like a fat worm. Not very glamorous, but he has a party trick – he can bash into objects, knock them up into the air, and stack up to three of them on top of his head to move them around.

This skill was certainly put to good use in the Schleiman Tank demo, one of two available on the Square Enix stand at E3. The demo saw two machines of war facing each other on the top screen, with Rocket's movement inside his tank viewed and controlled on the bottom screen (although without any touchscreen features).

As Rocket, your job was to race around the tank, trying to find things to fire at your enemy, the strangely-named Ducktor Cid. (The bad guys in the game – the Plob – all speak in Mafia-style Italian. Well, they are a cartel.)

Back to the tank. In our playtest, proper ammunition proved the best thing to load into the two guns, but any old tat worked too. In fact, with one slip of the finger we ended up firing Rocket himself! He was duly projected – in comedy slow-motion – from a gun on the topscreen, failing to do any damage before falling to earth and finally making it back into his own tank.

What was particularly enjoyable wasn't just the fact you could do this by mistake, but the sarcastic reactions of your friends inside the tank. "Don't think you meant to do that, did you?" they sniggered.

Such humorous touches, combined with the all-round charming graphics and bouncy animation of the game, really made it stand out.

The second demo saw you rushing around rescuing slimes that had been captured. Once again the 'bash and catch mechanic' (you hold down the 'A' button to stretch Rocket and move him with the D-pad before releasing the button to bash) was the order of the day; you had to pick up slimes and then deposit them onto a moving train that would take them back to their hometown of Boingburg.

Once rescued, such slimes stay in touch with you throughout your adventures, mailing you advice and even better weaponry as you attempt to save the Slime nation – a cute touch.

All-in-all, with its strange name and protagonist, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime looks like it could be a very different but hopefully very special addition to the DS library when it stretches into stores, sometime before the end of the year.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.