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These Dragon Quest games are, ultimately, "cozy" games. It's true that these are basically takes on Wizardry and Ultima, but between Toriyama's cute visuals, Sugiyama's charming compositions, and Horii's simple (or "pure", as he's called it) design, we end up with perfect "bedtime" games to play on a handheld. Some may find it boring, but this is as chill and satisfying as adventure roleplaying gets. It's no wonder these games spawned a videogame dynasty.
There's certainly a lot of charm to Esper Dream--largely due to the legendary Kinuyo Yamashita's bopping tunes--but aside from some quirk and charm, there's not much else to enjoy. A solid concept, but it falters in its technical and design choices. It's interesting to see the team at Konami play around with early JRPG concepts less than one year after the first Dragon Quest, but it doesn't really culminate into anything very fun or exciting. At least, it paved the way to a much better sequel.
This game is 90% vibes, 6% scanning things, and 4% gameplay. The gameplay is basically fine, and while not in itself captivating, it's really there to facilitate the navigating of the incredible--and atmospheric--world that Retro Studios has crafted. One of the highest rated games of all time for good reason. But for those who REALLY want the nail-biting action of a fast-paced shooter, and don't care much about aesthetics... sure, maybe this one is not for you.
For what it's worth though, as beautifully as this was adapted to the Switch, playing this on high quality CRT monitor in the original 480i or 480p does really add to its atmosphere and aesthetic.