Dragon Quest IX, Sentinels of the Starry Skies, is the ninth installment in the Dragon Quest series (not counting all the spin off games and series like the Dragon Quest Monster series and Dragon Quest Swords). The game is for the Nintendo DS and features a massive amount of character customization, an ungodly amount of beautiful, groan-inducing puns, and a whole lot of oddly used Judeo-Christo Angelic imagery.

The player character is a Celestrian, a race of winged, haloed, invisible beings who live up in the sky in the Observatory and care for the mortals of the world, helping them and collecting positive-energy substance-stuff called benevolessence that happy, thankful mortals produce. The Celestrians collect this to give to the Yggdrasil tree that grows atop the Observatory. They do this because legend says that when they give the tree enough benevolessence, the flowers will bloom and a portal will appear that will allow them to ascend to the realm where their god lives. Unfortunately, when Yggdrasil does finally get enough benevolessence to bear fruit, the plot explodes, sending the fruit, the player character, and a whole host of not-angels falling to earth, specifically into a little tourist town called Angel Falls.

When your MC wakes up, you find that your wings have been burned off and you are essentially human. Now you've got to go around finding the Fyygs (which are causing all sorts of havoc among the mortals. People turning into monsters, inanimate objects coming to life, more and more terrible puns, etc.), helping humans, and trying to figure out just what exactly happened with Ygdrassil. Also a chunk of the celestrian host has gone missing in the excitement, the Gittish Empire has been causing a ruckus and invading places for a big bad guy who seems to know too much about Celestrians, and a ghost of a young woman keeps coincidentally appearing in places you're visiting, looking for someone. Assisting you on this journey are up to four customizable, non-plot-relevant follower characters you can get at an inn, and a faerie named Stella who drives a magic golden train called the Starflight Express (though actually her boss is the real driver, but he got lost in the blast, too, and Stella is out looking for him).

This game is brilliant. There are a bajillion sidequests to go along with the main plot, plus after the game proper is finished, there is expanded gameplay with more follow up quests and storylines, DLC, and the "grotto system" where you randomly find maps to caves that didn't exist before and have all kinds of weird, powerful monsters that you'll never see in the game proper. By this point, you can also link games with anyone else who has the game, so you can go fight monsters and whatnot together.

One interesting aspect of the game is the vocation system. Your character naturally starts out as a minstrel, because everyone in Angel Falls figures that with your funny clothes and ability to survive falls from high places (they think you fell off the waterfall), you must be some kind of performing circus freak. There are several different vocations, some of them only unlockable through quests, things like thief, gladiator, luminary, mage, preist, etc. However not only can you change vocations (after getting to Alltrades Abbey on Newid Isle), but you can level each vocation up to level one hundred. When you first change your vocation, you start off at level one, but if you were to change back, you'd keep the level of that vocation. Like, You were a level 48 minstrel, changed to a thief, got up to level 20, and then changed back to minstrel, you'd become a level 48 minstrel again. Shut up, it's cooler than it sounds, okay?

I don't want to give too much away on the pun front because sometimes the best ones are the ones that are unexpected, but I will tell you to read item descriptions. Some of them are absolute gold.

Well, okay. Among other things, you run into a ghoulish knight called the Wight Knight. You meet a little girl named Jona who has to deal with a giant whale monster called Leviathan. There's a desert city named Gleeba with a queen who is, of course, the Queen of Gleeba. Said queen's pet is a lizard who everyone calls His Dryness. You come across a plague in a town called Coffinwell and have to assist a Doctor Phlegming. The mayor the Coffinwell being named Laria. There's a town called Upover where everyone has stereotypically Australian accents. What is the opposite of Upover?

Guys, I'm not even scratching the surface. There are so. Many. Puns. And they're beautiful. Almost all of the boss monsters (and quite a few of the regular monsters) have punny names. This game is nothing but pun. It is literally all pun and games. And alliteration.

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