Generally favorable reviews - based on 65 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 65
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 65
  3. Negative: 0 out of 65
Watch Now
Buy on
  1. Jan 3, 2011
    With Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, Square Enix and Level-5 have delivered what is without doubt one of the most stunning RPG experiences not only on the Nintendo DS, but in existence, full stop.
  2. Oct 21, 2010
    Coupled with its simple story and addicting post-game play, one of the greatest triumphs of Dragon Quest IX is that it manages to be a serious role-playing game without taking itself too seriously.
  3. Dragon Quest IX delivers on its promises. The old school gameplay mechanics, unchanged for the most part, really shine in a multiplayer mode that is surprisingly comfy and accessible. Hardened players will probably grunt at the easier 10 or so hours of the beginning, which doesn't really prompt for any strategic thinking. But the high production values and the richness of content are reason enough to enjoy the dozens of gameplay hours, solo, or otherwise.
  4. 100
    Whatever you decide to do, and however deep you decide to make your journey into Dragon Quest IX you'll be treated to one of the most accessibly complicated and cheerily good hearted role playing experiences to come along in some time and one of the absolute best role playing games of the year.
  5. 100
    DQIX is a subtly sophisticated game, and while it doesn't quite revolutionize RPGs it definitely pushes them forward.
  6. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinel of the Starry Skies is an epic game that will keep most players enthralled for hours on end.
  7. In other words, if you have a passing interest in the Dragon Quest series, you need to play Dragon Quest 9. It's not going to win any awards for originality, but it shows that, in some cases, iteration is preferable to evolution.
  8. Dragon Quest is one of the most popular franchises ever in Japan, yet has not hit anywhere close to the same level here in North America. This iteration could very well change that as it not only makes it more accessible to Western audiences in general, but provides an welcoming experience for new fans while not alienating the long-time fans.
  9. Gameplay-wise there is a hell of a lot to do, with the focus primarily being on the endgame - you can still continue playing after beating the final boss and a lot of side quests even require it.
  10. Dragon Quest IX is a fantastic game, and it is easily the best new traditional RPG to grace the DS.
  11. Only the most jaded of gamers could play this game and not smile.
  12. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky is absolutely packed with content. Despite the lack of an unique plot and defined characters, fans of the genre will be pleased with such a polished gameplay. The visuals are brilliant and cheerful, probably one of Level 5's best efforts on Nintendo DS. Without any doubt the best RPG of this summer and on the system itself.
  13. Nintendo Gamer
    Life-consuming, epic entertainment. [July 2010, p.44]
  14. Fun customisation grounds an RPG so epic you needn't ever buy another. Until X, of course.
  15. 90
    If a gamer gives DQ IX a chance, the odds are stacked that it won't leave the DS cartridge slot for countless hours.
  16. Fans and newcomers alike should get this title as it has everything that an RPG needs to be great. Engaging stories, multiplayer fun, hundreds of quests and of course Seth Green's approval of customizing your heroes' looks anyway you choose.
  17. An epic return for the series that once launched on a Nintendo console, we welcome Dragon Quest back with open arms and embrace it for the being the brilliant title that it is.
  18. Dragon Quest IX doesn't do much to break new ground in the genre, but adheres quite closely to elements that have helped define the series over the years. Thankfully it does this very well, providing an entertaining experience well worth spending some time with.
  19. One of the most complex RPGs of the recent times, and still manages to maintain the simplicity in the narrative and gameplay.
  20. 90
    Overall, if you own a DS and have ever played or are interested in a JRPG, you need to own this game.
  21. Despite its unfortunate lack of character development thanks to its new emphasis multiplayer and continued emphasis on grinding, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies has one of the most complete and polished original RPG's currently available on the Nintendo DS, and it is well worthy of the franchise name.
  22. Dragon Quest IX is epic entertainment. It is possibly one of the finest examples of the genre available on Nintendo DS.
  23. Dragon Quest IX is an incredible masterpiece. The classic battle system meets a brand new co-op option and a well designed structure, perfect for quick play.
  24. Even as a solitary pursuit, Dragon Quest IX is an absorbing and accessible voyage through a world founded on traditional JRPG philosophy, but executed with craft and style that is wholly universal.
  25. An old school japanese RPG that will appeal to fans of the franchise and those who thought that the genre was dying. If you're into this kind of game you really should buy it.
  26. 90
    Dragon Quest is synonymous with classic Japanese RPG, and this ninth entry in the series keeps itself loyal to that spirit. But its multiplayer focus brings new features, which result in obvious improvements but also in some flaws.
  27. Nintendo Power
    Dragon Quest IX is easily the boldest installment of the series's 24-year run. [Aug 2010, p.88]
  28. There's a childlike simplicity in its approach to story and systems that may put off older players who prefer complication and convolution. But Dragon Quest IX cleanses the palate with its straightforwardness, allowing the workmanship to shine, and its clutch of nested fairytales to inspire.
  29. You can't help but marvel at how the developers were somehow able to squeeze a console-sized RPG epic onto the diminutive DS, especially given how mammoth the quest itself is.
  30. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the latest Dragon Quest adventure to capture my heart. From the incredibly deep character building and item alchemy to the sheer depth of the game (compared to previous DS remakes), DQIX is one of the best RPGs on the DS to date.
  31. 90
    Even without any hope of using the multiplayer, Dragon Quest IX is so upbeat, goofy, and, well, pleasant that I can only smile. It's the kind of game you can play as a vacation from other games.
  32. Japan's biggest RPG finally arrives in the west and the wait has most definitely been worth it. Dragon Quest IX is possibly the finest example of the genre available on Nintendo's handheld.
  33. Edge Magazine
    Huge in scope and strong on detail, IX has ironed out the kinks that have made the series less palatable outside Japan, and with Nintendo's support, IX is sure to have the wider impact that the series has craved. [Aug 2010, p.92]
  34. Dragon Quest IX, above all else, is a fascinating merger of age-old design and modern sensibilities.
  35. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is an old-school RPG with a lot of charm. It has moved toward modernized gameplay, but at heart, it's still the same Dragon Quest that people enjoy.
  36. Whether it's teamplay you want or epic solo adventuring, DQIX handles both with class. [Aug 2010, p.83]
  37. Being as it's a marvelous example of how to rebuilt a JRPG from a traditional fan-base, DQIX's very much everything what we can expect on a Square Enix game, specially under this franchise: a considerable mixture of monsters, 50+ hours of pure fun and an interesting story. Bear in mind that this's multiplayer focused cartridge - you'll only take the 100% of its content playing along with some friends.
  38. All in all you get a cute old school role playing game with a cute story, nice graphical effects and solid gameplay! A really cool game!
  39. Some will say it's a "conservative" game, others that there's nothing new about it, some that it's a good game and nothing more. But all of them will spend hundreds of hours into it, and believe us, they will have fun. A lot of it.
  40. If you're able to put aside any possible reservations, you'll find that Dragon Quest IX is a great RPG to sink your teeth into this summer.
  41. Jan 1, 2011
    This is a really big game for something found on a handheld, an epic yarn that offers up hundreds of hours of gameplay for those willing to invest the time.
  42. Dragon Quest IX is a great retro style RPG filled with things gamers love about the genre - unless you play the games for a great storyline or like innovation, cause those are noticeably lacking.
  43. The core of Dragon Quest IX isn't a drastic departure from past games, but the focus on social play has led to a wealth of new features, expanding the game with countless side quests, customization, and character depth. It's a worthy successor for the franchise.
  44. Charm and classic gameplay abound in this rollicking role-playing adventure.
  45. The game scores with a good multiplayer and lots of content. Unfortunately, the story could be better.
  46. 83
    It's a fun game with a cute story and a difficulty level that will welcome casual players. It also offers enough variability and special features to make JRPG fiends rejoice.
  47. A solid little package that offers a charming, totally-satisfying, side-quest-packed Slime-load of gaming value.
  48. More than anything, the portable handheld format and open-ended structure ultimately encourages you to do whatever you see fit, whenever, which is infinitely more rewarding than the aforementioned, well-trod routine. Nothing here is filler, though.
  49. What it really comes down to is if you're in the mood for some classic Dragon Quest gameplay, because though the game struggles to add a lot of different aspects to the gameplay such as switching classes and side quests, the most important parts of the game, such as combat, still have that distinctive classic flair.
  50. 80
    Although Dragon Quest IX's main story can be completed in forty hours or so, doing so would be a disservice to the supplementary material. These additional layers are what transform the most recent iteration of one of RPG-dom's sacred cows from a repainted throwback into an old-timer who has traded speed for the silvered brows of style.
  51. A well-crafted game. It has plenty of polish, an absolute ton of things to see and do, and plenty of spot-on references to past games in the series (the combat text is still the best in the business).
  52. All told, DQIX is an excellent RPG that will keep you glued to your Nintendo DS. But unless you only come to this genre for the turn-based battles, you won't be completely satisfied with what DQIX has to offer.
  53. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Legendary RPG brings tens of hours of great adventure with slightly a improved battle system. Wi-Fi connection with other DS consoles can get you lots of new fun and more. [Aug 2010]
  54. Old school and proud of it, Dragon Quest IX gives us an epic role-playing adventure with loads of customisability and great writing. The gameplay is smooth and collecting rare weapons and gear soon becomes addictive. Only drawback is the lack of a real online mode.
  55. While clich├ęd, the story is entertaining, the battle system is refined and the visuals are impressive. It's very Dragon Quest. Even so, I can't escape the feeling that the game feels more like a spin-off; a stop gap on the way to a 'proper' sequel.
  56. 80
    If you can look past the lack of character development and the overly simplistic battle system, Dragon Quest IX is really enjoyable and will keep players interested for many hours.
  57. Though certainly not a huge shift for the series, Dragon Quest IX has a near-perfect mix of classic JRPG style and grand (for the DS) visuals to make a great portable adventure.
  58. A slight departure from previous chapters, Dragon Quest IX offers everything that made previous entries so popular and something more... funny side quests, alchemy and pretty multiplayer mode. Too bad for the lack of voice acting and the repetitive music.
  59. The 50-plus hour story and tons of sidequests are good; it's just too bad about that icing on the cake.
  60. 80
    Dragon Quest IX is like a classic car that's been recently restored: There might be some new stuff under the hood and additional bells and whistles, but it's still the same vehicle from years ago. That's not entirely a bad thing. Dragon Quest's appeal lies in its sense of warm, welcoming familiarity.
  61. The simple combat system and the large amount of grinding make this a game for a particular type of gamer, and the lack of an online multiplayer is a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, Dragon Quest IX is a very complete RPG which will offer countless hours of fun. This is probably the prettiest and biggest RPG available on the DS right now.
  62. Masterful shake-up of not just Dragon Quest but the whole of the Japanese role-playing genre.
  63. Ultimately, DQIX is a true Dragon Quest, with no spin-off aftertaste, but a great single player storyline, lengthy and full of events, plus plenty of elements to make it last longer and justify its multiplayer ambitions.
  64. 75
    It's clunky and frustrating and (occasionally) dull, but it's also solid and addictive and (occasionally) beautiful. Like I said: a game of glaring contradictions.
  65. 75
    There's nothing really special to report in terms of the controls.

Awards & Rankings

#4 Most Discussed DS Game of 2010
#1 Most Shared DS Game of 2010
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 261 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 261
  1. Sep 9, 2010
    Super addictive game that doesn't get weighed down by inane characters or story. Bright, fun graphics and the ability to personalize yourSuper addictive game that doesn't get weighed down by inane characters or story. Bright, fun graphics and the ability to personalize your characters appearance and skills = instant win. Best game I have played this year! Full Review »
  2. Jun 21, 2014
    Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies just doesn't live up to its predecessor. This is mediocrity at its best.

    The story and most
    Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies just doesn't live up to its predecessor. This is mediocrity at its best.

    The story and most of the characters are dull for the most part.
    The big draw to this game was supposed to be the four player co-op but I doubt a lot of people actually got to play it that way and as a result you end up with a group of silent protagonists which obviously doesn't help the plot.
    This game really seems to be aimed at a younger audience, nothing wrong with that of course, but it offers close to zero value for a more mature gamer.
    This was one of the few games that might've convinced me to buy a DS but instead it ended up making me take a pass.

    The art style is great but nothing new here since it's just like previous games.
    The only real positive thing about this game is the wide variety of customization options.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2010
    Easily my favourite DS game, Dragon Quest IX is top RPG goodness, with some of the best graphics on DS. While the battle system is old hat,Easily my favourite DS game, Dragon Quest IX is top RPG goodness, with some of the best graphics on DS. While the battle system is old hat, the levels of customisation and excellent storyline make fr a life consuming RPG, and probably the best game on DS. If you get one DS game, make it this one. Full Review »