The combat of DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince

We take a look at the ins and outs of combat, synthesizing monsters and more in the upcoming monster-wrangling RPG.
By Duncan Heaney

DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince is a grand adventure, but also a dangerous one. The protagonist, Psaro, has been cursed and is unable to directly harm anything with monster blood as a result.

Fortunately, there is a solution: become a monster wrangler. Psaro is able to recruit a vast selection of different monsters and use their talents and skills to overcome foes, beat rivals and rise to the top in his quest to become the Master of Monsterkind.

But how does combat work? In this preview, we’ll take a look at the basics of combat, some of the ways to recruit new monsters, synthesis and much more!

The basics of combat

As a monster wrangler, you’ll build a team of monsters to battle against your enemies as you progress through the adventure.

Your active team can have up to eight members at a time - up to four in your main party and four more in your reserves.

During battle you can issue precise orders to each individual monster, or set general tactics, such as 'Show No Mercy' or 'Focus on Healing' and leave your monsters themselves to decide the specifics.

Despite your best efforts, sometimes the enemy will get on the back foot, and make victory seem like a distant dream.

Should this happen, your monsters may enter a frenzied state out of sheer desperation! Not only will they inflict greater damage, they’ll gain additional opportunities to act, letting you to turn a certain defeat into a famous triumph!

Getting new monsters

There are many ways to grow your roster of monsters. For example, you could leave it to luck and wait for an enemy monster to ask to join you after battle… but there are far more efficient methods than that!

Let’s say you run into a strong-looking enemy that you fancy having in your team. You could hit it with a ‘Show of Force’ and try to persuade it to join you. With clever use of your items, such as meat-based goodies and other treats, you can increase the likelihood of a monster wanting to join you, as well as improve the persuasiveness of your ‘Show of Force’.

Put your items to good use to recruit the monsters you want.

You may also meet other wranglers on your journey who are willing to combine their monsters with yours to create a brand-new creature - one they'll even let you keep!


Those methods are all well and good, but a true monster wrangler’s favorite way to improve their team is through synthesis, which lets you combine two monsters to create a new one.

The synthesis system has been overhauled for DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince, and now features combinations that will make sense even to series newcomers. It’s the most intuitive system that the series has ever seen!

For example, combine the toothy Great Sabrecat with the bird-like Garuda and you’ll get a powerful Missing Lynx!

Monster talents

Each monster comes with at least one talent. This is a set of spells and abilities that you gradually unlock by assigning the talent points a monster earns through levelling up or other means.

There are three broad categories of talent, and each one contains a mix of skills, magic spells, attribute boosters and more. When a child monster is synthesised, it comes with its own innate talent, but can also inherit talents from its parents. Understanding this is the key to creating powerful monsters.

There are numerous talents to be acquired in the game. Some provide life-saving healing spells, while others can turn a monster into a powerhouse or a damage sponge. A selection of talents are even named after some very familiar monsters. For example:

Talent Focus: Cure-All

With potent healing spells, such as Multiheal and Omniheal, as well as Zing to revive your allies and Kabuff to boost their defense, the 'Cure-All' talent is a must-have for your party's healer.

Talent Focus: The Dragonlord

Devastating fiery breath attacks, such as Inferno and Hellitosis, and the debilitating Burning Breath and Wave of Panic, combine with the spells Moreheal and Kasizzle to make 'The Dragonlord' a fearsome talent that's worthy of the name.

Family traits

Each monster type has its own unique set of traits - latent abilities that can boost attributes or disrupt your enemy's plans. New ones are unlocked automatically when your monsters reach a certain level.

A monster's size affects the number of traits at its disposal, with large monsters able to acquire more.

Speaking of monster sizes…

Sizes and ranks

Monsters come in two different sizes in DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince: small or large.

Small monsters take up one slot in your team roster, while large monsters require two slots. This means you could, for example, have a party of four small monsters, two large ones, or two small and one large. Not only do large monsters have higher attributes than their small counterparts, they can also act multiple times per round during battle.

As well as the size, monsters are assigned one of nine ranks: G, F, E, D, C, B, A, S or X, from lowest to highest.

The rank is attached to the monster's type and can't be changed. Among the Rank S monsters you'll find many familiar antagonists from the series, but the most fiendishly powerful monsters exclusively occupy Rank X.

Testing your mettle in the battle arenas of two worlds

As Psaro's adventure takes shape, two battle areas, where you can test your monsters' might, become available: the Endor Colosseum in the human world of Terrestria, and the Maulosseum in the monster realm of Nadiria.

In these arenas, every opponent is an expert monster wrangler in their own right! Can you overcome them all and raise an army capable of toppling the Master of Monsterkind himself?

Meet some of the monsters

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the monsters you’ll encounter in DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince. The game features more than 500 monsters to befriend, including Jasper Unbound and Krystalinda from DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.

Naturally, there will also be a selection of brand-new monsters you've never seen before.

Jasper Unbound

The former general of a famous kingdom who succumbed to his own dark ambitions and transformed into a monster.


An ice witch who was magically sealed inside a forbidden book in ancient times.

Greater Platypunk

A fluffy monster from the beast family that is widely considered a king among platypunks.


A monster from the demon family that appears before dying creatures to witness their final moments.

DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: The Dark Prince launches for Nintendo Switch on December 1, 2023. In addition to the Standard Edition, a Digital Deluxe Edition is also available:

It includes:

  • Full game download
  • The Mole Hole (Includes the 'Gothic Vestment' outfit)
  • Coach Joe's Dungeon Gym (Includes the 'Cake-Maker's Clobber' outfit)
  • Treasure Trunks (Includes the 'Monstrous Mail' outfit)
  • Burgundy Gothic Vestment
  • Warrior's Ring x1
  • Beastie Bites x10

Players who pre-order or pre-purchase the game will also receive the Head Start Set which includes:

  • Stardust Earrings x1
  • Scholar's Specs x1
  • Bonus Ball x5

The game is available to preorder now:

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