It's Dragon Quest Builders 2 release day, which may be the most hyped up release of the year over at USG HQ. We're all suckers for a good Minecraft-inspired building game with a more charming aesthetic. And judging from Nadia's review, Dragon Quest Builders 2 vastly improves on its predecessor.
It got us thinking about other spinoffs we love too. So tell us, dear readers, what's your favorite video game spinoff?
In the process of writing this down, my head spun with new ideas at every turn. So many of my favorite childhood games could be considered spin-offs. The late '90s and early '00s were a prime time for popular franchises to get their own kart racing or card battling spin-off, and so many were so good.
I think, pressed for an answer, my gut would say Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode 2. It's a card game few people talk about, yet I still think about it all the time in how it designed its energy system around risk vs. reward. Special shoutouts to Final Fantasy spinoff Chocobo Racing, an underrated kart racing gem in a golden age for them, and Pokemon Pinball, which turned Pokemon into pinball very, very well. Oh, and Dragon Quest Builders, which turned me into a Dragon Quest fan. Spinoffs are good!
My immediate answer is Nier: Automata, a sequel to Nier that is technically a spinoff of the Drakengard series. Thus, it sorta counts. I also had a lot of fun with the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy games on 3DS. They weren't the best rhythm games, but they were good enough and had an adorable art style.
If I'm being real though, the freshest spinoff on my mind is this year's Judgment, from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. It's set in the same Kamurocho district as the Yakuza series, and even involves the Tojo Clan again—though it's another family in it. While we don't see any familiar faces over the course of the game, the spirit of Yakuza is alive and well. While some tedious new mechanics hold it back from pure greatness, it's easily my favorite of the recent Dragon Engine-developed games in the series and one of my favorite games of the year so far. If you haven't picked up Judgment yet, you're missing out.