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Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth Dondoko Island guide: How to earn $500,000 and break the economy

 Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island.
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island.

Money makes the world go round in Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth. With enough cash in your pocket, the game openly lets you break its combat balance with gear that you absolutely should not have that early, buoyed by an endless well of recovery items. While I’m sure there are more efficient options available to grind out money, the Animal Crossing-inspired Dondoko Island minigame presented me with one of the more entertaining ways to break Infinite Wealth’s economy.

If you’re a normal player who just wants to take the game at your own pace, this is probably not for you. Dondoko Island is best experienced slowly, dipped into occasionally as you work your way through the story. But if you’re trying to speed through the plot and want a massive cash boost (around $500,000 at a point where $10,00 is a major amount) plus Ichiban’s most powerful all-target special attack, Dondoko is where you can get it done, fast.

Here’s everything I learned while racing through the game for review: A loose eight step guide on turning Dondoko Island into a five-star island, even if it looks like hell.

1. How to find Dondoko Island

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

You can’t miss it. Shortly after the start of Chapter 6's main story, a series of unusual events involving a giant tortoise and a pair of muppety B-tier Japanese TV mascots will play out, leaving Ichiban deep in minigame territory with a new quest to turn a garbage-filled island into a glorious five-star resort.

You'll have to play through the first couple tutorial days of this to return to the main game, but from there you can come and go as you please via the dolphin found on Dondoko Island's southern beach. Dondoko remains frozen in time when you're back in the main game, but you can pick up crafting recipes and guests for it in Honolulu.

When leaving via the dolphin, you can also cash out your Dondoko Bucks (the currency of the island) for USD usable back in the main game, but you probably shouldn't. You're honestly not going to make much doing so. Definitely a pittance compared to the combined payouts for all the star upgrades you can put those bucks towards intead.

2. Putting the fun in fundamentals

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

Time flows a lot faster on Dondoko Island than in the main game. You've got around 15-20 minutes each in-game day to finish up everything you want to do, and once you have guests on the island, you've got three days per set of visitors to make a good impression. You'll be juggling trash collecting, bug-collecting, fishing, smacking around a gang of litterbug pirates (via a very simple action combat system), crafting new decorations and placing them around the map.

None of it's too demanding and the tutorial covers the basics well. But we're here to move fast, break things and secure Ichiban a very large (yet still finite) source of wealth, and so our goal is just to complete each of the certification board's checklists for each new star. If you optimize and min-max the process, it should be doable in just under an in-game month, or (in my case) one obsessive eight-hour session.

3. People? No. Garbage? Yes!

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

Ichiban is a people person. Of course he'd want to run the most popular, friendly resort island possible, but that's not why we're here. Until you've got a five-star resort, the income you'll make from sending home happy guests is minimal, so instead we're chasing that coveted five-star certification and the big cash bonus that comes with it—a cumulative half million, if you do all five stars in a row. To do that, we need two things: trash and cash.

With trash, you can craft new objects, which raise Ichiban's builder rank, which in turn lets you build bigger things and eventually start replicating buildings straight from Kamurocho and Yokohama. These buildings are the fastest way to increase your island's Satisfaction rating, but can also be sold for fat stacks of money, enabling you to unlock more areas of the island quickly. In short, trash is the cornerstone of your economic machine.

As such, your top priority each day is to rush to the trash recycling center at the side of the general store and pick up anything waiting there for you. There'll be nothing during the first few days, but once you've paid to clear out an area previously held by Washbucklers, any garbage that would have spawned in that location is automatically gathered and stockpiled for easy usage, so you'll want to do that ASAP for each area made accessible.

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

Once you've got your stockpile cleared, head to any of the purple trash pile areas on the map and clear everything that's there, including enemies. The more times you completely clear an area like this, the lower it'll push the price to convert it to a buildable area, and redirect all those trash spawns straight into your recycling pile each day. Also make sure you whack a bunch of trees and rocks, as early structures demand a lot of both of these.

Before the end of the day, head to your DIY workbench and sort the list by things you haven't created yet. Now get to building, starting with the most costly things near the top. The newer and more expensive, the more building XP you'll get for it, and generally the more valuable the items will be once placed on the island.

4. Ichiban the ascetic

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

The island comes with a home for Ichiban. A spartan little hovel, really, that you can upgrade into a respectably big house, but probably don't need to. It's expensive, and the only mechanical advantage you get from making his house bigger is increasing the space for furniture.

Put enough expensive furniture in there (even if you just pile it in like it's a long neglected IKEA backroom) and you'll extend Ichiban's health bar, but the combat on Dondoko Island is so trivial that you can cruise through it with just the default three hearts, restocked at the start of each day.

I'd recommend forgetting about Ichiban's house for the most part. Cram enough in there to get yourself up to maybe 5 hearts, but just remember that all the enemies can easily be stunlocked by your basic three-hit combo. Step aside if you see them charging up a big area attack, and go in for three swings once they're done. Rinse, repeat and every enemy (bosses included) will crumble.

5. Magpie mindset

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

To reach each new Star goal on Dondoko Island, you primarily need to hit Satisfaction and Popularity targets.

An Infinite Wealth of guides

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth review
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth review

- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth combat tips
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth money farming guide
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth vocational school answers
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Sujimon guide

The former is easy—just build the most expensive new decorations you can, unlock more decorations, build them, and increase your Builder level. Once you've got some buildings, just lay them out into a nice street or two (make sure you've got a road connected to their front entrance) and put your guest housing somewhere nearby, and that's all you'll need to meet most guests' needs without having to pay them undue attention that could be spent on hoarding trash.

Popularity is a bit more complex. While you CAN raise it by impressing guests, that takes a lot of time, given that they need to stay a whole three days to move the needle. A quicker way to get a lot of small boosts is to catch a lot of bugs and fish, and pick up every bit of random loose trash (the type that you don't need to hit with Ichiban's bat) you can find. Everything new discovered adds a bit of popularity. Pick up a certain number of a single item type (with thresholds at 5, 10, 100, etc) and it'll increase the popularity bonus AND make that item worth more when sold.

In short, grab everything that's not nailed down, and feel free to sell most of it. Only a handful of items such as Red/Green Dondoko bugs (which can be brewed into Sake to give as a gift to boost guest happiness) and Dinosaur/Yeti fossils (same deal, and can also be used to DIY up some high-level decorative items) are really useful to keep around. Fish can all be sold, although waiting until you've bumped up their popularity for the cash boost also helps.

6. A little help from my friends

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

Around the mid-point on your way to fame and five-star fortune, you'll unlock the Dondoko Farm area, accessible via a raft from Dondoko's western beach. You should check in on it regularly. You can assign your Sujimon from the main game to gather resources or generate Dondoko Bucks in real-time here. Just set them to work on the largest hauls, match the elemental types to the jobs requested and they'll get it done—it won't cost you any money or much time.

The farm island also contains an eternally respawning pile of golden trash-bags—one of the few areas to find them even after clearing the island entirely. A good spot for gathering some extra trash, plus a bunch of rare mineral pickups scattered around the trash plateau. A good location to work into your daily trash-harvesting patrol routine.

7. Spend money to make money

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

While any spare Dondoko bucks you've got should immediately be invested in unlocking new areas as soon as possible, there are a few other things that are worth spending money on. Getting at least the second tier bat, bug net and fishing spear upgrades (in that order) can greatly speed up resource gathering.

Beyond that, the big investment you'll want to make is in farming structures, sold in the 'exclusive Matayoshiya furnishings' section of the general store. Scroll on over to the 'etc' panel and you'll find structures like Burnable Waste Dumps and Woodworking Areas.

These structures passively generate extra resources in your recycling pile every single day, and I highly recommend buying and placing them ASAP. Just find a corner of your island to designate as your recycling plot and just place them down en-masse, as close to one another as possible. No need to connect them to roads, even. It's ugly, but very profitable.

Another good investment unlocked later in the Dondoko campaign: TV advertisements. Buy one and it'll immediately increase your Popularity and add a few new potential guests to your visitors list. While not cheap, it's an easy way to speed yourself towards those last couple stars if you're having trouble boosting Popularity.

8. Five-star throwdown

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

The final challenge on Dondoko Island comes after you've cleared out every region, hit the final Satisfaction and Popularity goals and talked to Matayoshiya. Your final goal is to take down all of the Washbucklers. All of the bosses, all of the grunts and the big bad himself.

It's easier than it sounds. You ideally want at least 5 hearts of health, maybe 7 at a stretch (which should be easy enough to manage by this point—just cram a bunch of nice furniture into Ichiban's room), and begin the battle. Before the fight, you'll be given a few healing items that can be used to restore yourself to full if you take too many hits, but the enemies still behave the exact same way, and are pretty spread out. Just dodge any glowing area attacks, get in your three-hit combos to stunlock, rinse and repeat. Even the big bad captain himself can't do anything if you're whacking him in the face.

With that battle squared away, you'll be rewarded with your five-star certification, an additional $300,000 in 'real' money (which combined with the other star ratings adds up to a half million), and the new Essence Of Dondoko Beam attack for Ichiban, usable in all of his jobs. For a hefty 100 MP, you can blast every enemy on the map with an orbital laser strike filled with tropical vacation vibes. And yes, it's a shameless reskin of the one you got in Ichiban's previous game.

Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide
Like a Dragon: Dondoko Island guide

Is it worth it? Eh, maybe. But now that you've maxed out your building level and resort rank, you're free to either return to Honolulu with more money than you know what to do with, or chill out on Dondoko Island all you please. Maybe you can start running your island paradise like a resort, instead of some kind of freakish get-rich-quick trash disposal scheme. Sounds like something only a villain would do.