3D Dot Game Heroes Review
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3D Dot Game Heroes is an enjoyable stroll through the past. While it offers very few new ideas, it is utterly charming and a joy to play.
- The retro-goodness is true to its core gameplay
- The beautiful graphics and quirky visual presentation
- The nostalgic rich atmosphere
- The lack of identity
- The repetitive and mediocre music
- The lacklustre boss battles
(continued from previous page) ...and single X attack theme. The point is, 3D Dot Game Heroes has virtually nothing new to offer, yet it’s a joy to play and welcome relief from the overly dramatic and heavy games made in the past few years. This is good old-fashioned fun.
As an action-adventure game, the core gameplay is combat. The hero is in possession of a giant sword (emphasis on the word giant, as the weapon is so big it fills up the entire screen). You can only get the sword to its full size by having full health, so you’ll be constantly looking around for apples of health, and it’s also upgradable through a blacksmith.
Strolling through the first few temples is a lot of fun, and features the classic “push this block” or “stand on this tile” style of puzzle solving. It’s all so familiar that you won’t really get lost (you’ll even find a temple map, keys, and the necessary boss key). Speaking of bosses, the battles themselves on the whole prove decidedly slow repetitive. Some bosses will require you to hit them in their legs, or swat away buzzing bees to access their inner vulnerability, though overall they are pretty tiresome. Elsewhere, while on the surface the temples are relatively simplistic, there are some occasions where you’ll have to re-enter previous levels to find loot you’ll need to further your progress.
A standout feature of 3D Dot Game Heroes is the graphics and overall visual style. Of course, it has that retro flare, but with modern HD twist. For instance, distant objects are blurred by sunlight and the water shimmers, beautifully reflecting the area near the water. Everything has the Lego block look and feel. We absolutely loved destroying enemies and watching them explode into little blocks. It’s features like this that help propel this game past basic theft of the classics.
As for the audio, it’s full of 8-bit songs that at first are entertaining and completely fitting for the overall retro experience. Inevitably, however, after a while it gets a little old and repetitive. Elsewhere, there is no voice acting as you would expect,. but the sound effects work perfectly, comprised of that wonderful “ding” or “whomp” sound popularized when games came on cartridges and not Blu-ray discs.
Other highlights include a tool that allows you to create your own character, providing a simplistic way to build your own 3D blocky toon and important it into your game. Furthermore, you can swap out your playable character at any time, even switching genders at the press of a few buttons. There are benefits to this, as some NPCs will react differently to a girl than they will a guy. You’ll have tons of different characters to choose from if you choose not to build your own; there’s even a Santa Clause.
It should be noted there are some mini games scattered through the kingdom’s many inns. These mini games are throwbacks to Block Defense and Arkanoid. While at their core they are not required to further the storyline, they are a pretty entertaining break from the rest of the charming main campaign.
The storyline can last about 20 hours, depending on how fast you explore the kingdom and dungeons. If you are obsessed with creating characters, you can spend a lot of time popping pixels as you wish. Once you win the game, you can start the second quest, which allows you to keep your loot from your first run through the game.
3D Dot Game Heroes is well worth the $39.99 USD, even if you are not a retro-enthusiast. If you are anything like us, and miss the 8-bit days, you are going to love this game and want to share it with all of your friends. The graphics are a delight, the gameplay is simplistic and easy enough not to distract from the relatively dull story and the level creator is pretty interesting. The problems we ran into with 3D Dot Game Heroes is that it doesn’t add much to gaming’s history. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. While it lacks its own identity, we found ourselves giggling with amusement at how it brought us back to simpler days of gaming.
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