3D Dot Game Heroes Review
Old school gaming with a modern twist.
Not too long ago, games didn't focus on guns, grenades and tactical support. Times were more civilized, your character would use his wits to solve puzzles and giant swords spanning fifty feet to dispose of his or her enemies. Wait, how big is that sword? That can't be fair.
3D Dot Heroes is a bit of a throw back to games more attuned to the NES, not to say that it isn't a great game in modern times. More to the point it is a homage or tribute to old school games, Zelda being the one you'll most likely be reminded of. In 3D Dot Heroes you take on the roll of the grandchild of great hero who saved the charming land of Dotnia from a dark and evil king. As luck would have it, some evil character has decided to let loose these evils and has brought darkness back to the land of Dotnia once again. Being of heroic blood you have been tasked with finding the six sages spread across the land in order to claim their powers and battle the dark bishop Fuelle, mastermind behind all that is evil.
So, why haven't I mentioned the hero's name so far? Well that's because in 3D Dot Heroes, there is no one character you play as. Rather, you can choose from a large variety (from dragons, to sharks to Santa Claus) and even have the option to create and name your own character.
To describe other aspects of the game I could go into great details or I could just say, it's a lot like Zelda. This isn't necessarily meant to be a negative comment, more so that the game feels very familiar. Secret caves are hidden behind rocks that can be blown up with bombs. Poles that seemingly are out of reach can be grappled onto with a hook, and enemies can be stunned with a trusty boomerang. But 3D Dot Heroes also sets itself apart from the likes of Zelda with its own brand of innovations. Your main weapon, a mythical sword recovered from your grandfather can span the entire screen. The wide, length and damage done by your sword can be upgraded with money found in game. To balance this great power, your sword only extends to this gigantic size when your life is full, and the monster do their best to make sure this doesn't happen. You're also provided with and acquire different weapons as well as magically powers. By the end of the game you'll have six different spells to cast, each unique and helpful in its own way. These powers are supposedly to help you battle your foes (like freezing an entire room filled with enemies), but when it comes down to it there are only two or three that you really need to use.
3D Dot Heroes isn't all about finding all the sages and defeating Fuelle though, there's a lot to do in between. You can traverse the world in search of secret caves, chests and hidden blocks (that can be exchanged for new and even more powerful swords). You can explore the many villages of Dotnia and speak to the random npc's who will give you tips, side quests and even invite you to take part in some minigames. These little minigames are a fun little distraction that include a take on brick break, a racing games where you dash (a move that lets you run extra quick) around the map, and finally a decent version of tower defence. Its these little extras that add to the enjoyment of the game. Along side these minigames there's also a fair bit of humour thrown into the game for your enjoyment. One fairly memorable bit of banter between you and one of the final bosses can have the game end rather abruptly if you so choose.
Getting to this final boss means discovering several temples throughout the land of Dotnia and defeating each foe that stands between you and the orbs of power (which are needed to battle and defeat the dark bishop Fuelle). These temples are very reminiscent of those seen in the aforementioned Zelda. There are multiple levels, hordes of monsters and even some puzzles for you to complete in order to progress. Some of these temples are easier than others and some will even frustrate you with the numerous floors and amount of backtracking you will need to engage in to finally get the boss key. When you finally do make it to these bosses, some will be rather easy to defeat, and some will be exceedingly difficult and frustrating. A word of wisdom would be to always carry around a potion that will restore full health when you're about to take on one of these monsters.
In terms of the story in 3D Dot Heroes, it isn't that deep and involving and really in this type of game it's not to be expected. You're told that you need to save the world of Dotnia and you set off on your journey. You'll get helpful hints once and a while but otherwise the story is what you make of the game, travelling from one area to the next and defeating the enemies that stand in the way of victory.
Along your journeys you'll travel to a variety of different locations within the world of Dotnia. Each section of the land has a different theme, be it sandy desert or waterside paradise (just watch out for those evil monsters). 3D Dot Heroes' art style does a lot to help make each of these areas rather unique in the way the game is presented. Part of the story is that Dotnia was once 2D, which was bad for business, so they transformed the world into wonderful 3D. This 3D environment is a pixelated, almost Lego like world. Destroying objects or enemies has them exploding into little blocks, and every environment looks as though its been built up with blocks. Along side this unique look is a vibrant palette of colours making Dotnia a rather colourful world to explore. Along side this unique look, 3D Dot Heroes has a great soundtrack, with all the music done in an 8bit sound style which makes for great old school gaming music.
3D Dot Heroes isn't the most original game; it borrows a lot from other, older games seen on previous consoles. You can increase the amount of life you have by discovering lifeshards, many of the weapons and tools seem familiar, and the gameplay is rather reminiscent of other titles. All that being said 3D Dot Heroes does enough new and makes old ideas interesting enough that on its own it is an enjoyable title. At a lower price and a great deal of entertaining content, 3D Dot Heroes is worth your time, especially if you're a fan of old school games with a modern twist.