3D Dot Game Heroes

3D Dot Game Heroes Review for PS3

On: PS3

Taking inspiration from classic role-playing games released on early video game consoles, 3D Dot Game Heroes sees players transported back to the golden age of 8-bit gaming.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot
3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot

There's no denying that 3D Dot Game Heroes panders to the nostalgic needs of the 8-bit gamer with great success, but has From Software added enough to the Zelda formula to make it its own? The short answer is no; if you've played The Legend of Zelda before, you'll know exactly what to expect. In case the use of italics there didn't emphasise things enough, I'll reiterate: 3D Dot Game Heroes is the exact Zelda gameplay from the NES in the late 80s repackaged with shiny new graphics. Of course, this is no bad thing depending on your perspective, but be aware that there is nothing 'next-generation' about the gameplay on offer here.

Before getting stuck into an appropriately generic plot to prevent the revival of the Dark King Onyx, players can choose from an impressive selection of preset character designs. These include ancestors of great heroes, warriors, ninjas, dragons, mages, kings and even an Ex-Soldier (no prizes for guessing the reference here). Not only this, the game features an in depth editor mode, allowing players to create their very own Dot Heroes. Those with enough time and patience can create characters from just about any game they care to conjure up. I created a reasonably impressive Ryu (Breath of Fire style, not Street Fighter), who – if I could ever be bothered – can be shared with other players via USB.

With your hero sorted out, it's off to save the world. An expansive overworld can be explored at your leisure, with plenty of rewards for those that stray from the path of the plot. These include new swords and shields, and life fragments that increase the number of apples (that's hearts to you Zelda fans) on your health bar. Should you tire of aimless exploration, there are six orbs to be rescued, each of which is tucked away in one of six dungeons. Each dungeon has its own theme and boss battle, and - as is the way with Zelda games - introduces a new weapon or item. The first dungeon, the Grass Temple, rewards players with the quintessential boomerang, with bombs, bow and arrows and a grappling hook to look forward to in the dungeons that follow.

Of course it's your sword which you'll be relying on more than anything else, which does offer something slightly different to that of the Zelda norm. As well as being able to swing the blade in a circular motion using the analogue stick, you can find and equip more powerful blades scattered around the overworld. Particularly powerful swords will fill the whole screen with a single jab, but unfortunately, this ability will disappear unless you're sporting a full health bar. For those who think that a screen-filling sword will make the game too easy; thing again. 3D Dot Game Heroes is tough as iron boots in places, but those accustomed to the Zelda formula will relish the challenge.

3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot

Fancy visuals and retro role-playing mechanics alone wouldn't make for much of a game, so From Software has lavished a fantastic script upon the title, tying together all the retro-charm with glorious in-jokes and a comical self-referential tone. A complete disregard for the fourth wall supplies plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and hilarious one-liners that will have the geek inside you smiling from ear to ear. A personal favourite of mine came after selecting 'no' when asked to save the world. My apathy was rewarded with the reply; "I understand how you feel Jamin, but that answer doesn't advance the story, you could have guessed that!" Genius.

For those that have grown up with video games, 3D Dot Game Heroes is a celebration of everything that encapsulates the concept of retro. It wraps you up in a blanket of nostalgia and whisks you off to a world that just isn't seen in video games today. Emulating the success of a franchise as significant as Zelda is risky business, but through humour, attention to detail and buckets of charm, 3D Dot Game Heroes just about manages to pull it off. Those who base their critique of the game around the word 'ripoff' have clearly missed the point here, and should take their superficial analysis elsewhere. 3D Dot Game Heroes is a game for gamers; a game for those who love the industry and embrace the geekery that comes with it. If you fall into that category, don't think twice about picking it up.

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User Comments

Woffls's Avatar


It's on my rental list. If it grabs me I'll send it back and buy a copy (assuming it's a long game) when it's £20 ish. Which shouldn't be too long.
Posted 18:57 on 01 August 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar


This review makes me all the more annoyed that I didn't pick this up when I saw it for £19 yesterday. I may be making a detour on my way home tomorrow...
Posted 15:43 on 01 August 2010
Geraface's Avatar


Man, I previewed this eons ago for some mag, looks like it hasn't changed much
Posted 14:47 on 01 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar


Just ordered this for £22.85 from Shopto.net, it should arrive tomorrow I hope.
Posted 11:30 on 30 July 2010


Well, your review has made me far more interested in the game now. Will have to check it out.
Posted 10:22 on 20 April 2010
Jamin's Avatar


Blimey, that is a contradiction and a half, eh?

As an attempt at an excuse, I wrote my + and - points a while back, and have played the game considerably more since then. I obviously didn't check over those points after I'd written the review itself. Bad form on my behalf -- apologies.

Still, I stand by what I say in my final paragraph. The game is certainly no ripoff.
Posted 16:55 on 19 April 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


This looks awesome.
This is one of the first times I will have to ever say that, Jamin, you definitely did contradict yourself mate.
I totally agree with Mr_Ninjutsu, it was a bit silly to negatively mark it for something you've said doesn't matter.
Either way, I'd love to play a good Zelda clone.
Posted 16:13 on 19 April 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar


First you say this; Those who base their critique of the game around the word 'ripoff' have clearly missed the point here, and should take their superficial analysis elsewhere.

Then you say this; Ultimately a Zelda clone

Talk about contradiction.
Posted 14:57 on 19 April 2010
El-Dev's Avatar


Think I'll wait for this to drop in price, always thought it was gonna be a PSN title instead of a full price release.
Posted 11:14 on 19 April 2010


"Ultimately a Zelda clone" Iv heard this a lot, why cant it be a homage to Zelda, and in a world where games are too easy a hard game is surly a mega plus "like mega man 10"

Oh well, I think this game looks cool, personally I think its too similar to Zelda to be a clone, its either a homage as I said, or a "look zelda 3D lol" etc.
Posted 10:45 on 19 April 2010

Game Stats

3D Dot Game Heroes
Out of 10
3D Dot Game Heroes
  • Veteran gamers will appreciate the script
  • Unique visual design
  • Ultimately a Zelda clone
  • Can be overly difficult
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/05/2010
Platform: PS3
Developer: Silicon Studio
Publisher: SouthPeak
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 957 256
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