Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

3D Dot Game Heroes (2009)

Genre: Action / Adventure  |  Players: One  |  Developer: Silicon Studio

If I say the words: sword, shield, life meter (red), magic meter (green), bomb bag, bottles, boomerang, magic boots, maze-like puzzles, side quests and fairy companion then there's a high probability that you're going to think of The Legend of Zelda, right? I would too, but now you can add 3D Dot to the list. It has a stupid title, I know, and it would be natural to assume before playing it that the blatant theft makes it deserving of derision, but the opposite is true, it deserves much praise. It takes the classic, honed to perfection, 8-bit LoZ 2D aesthetic and translates it into a homage-filled 3D adventure for PlayStation 3 owners.

I don't mean the Ocarina of Time (1998) kind of 3D, either. It keeps the angled/overhead perspective of an older LoZ title and instead of turning pixels into regular polygons it lovingly builds everything from blocks, keeping it old-school even while it utilises modern tech, imbuing everything with an almost tilt-shift photography vibe (for the technically-minded, it uses voxels).

Furthermore, despite there being no need to do so, the screen even slides from designated area to area just like it would on a handheld. It's that kind of game; you can feel the love and nostalgic charm in every constructed part.

Speaking of construction, you can customise your character completely (except weapons), as long as you can visualise him/her/it in square blocks. There are tons of pre-made ones to choose from, but if you're feeling adventurous you can start from scratch and build Link, Samus, Mario, Iron Man, Voltron, Jesus (on or off a cross), anything you want! (For extra jollies, name your character 'Bates'.)

If you get bored being who you are then simply change at the load screen. And it's even possible to share creations with friends because, unlike some other developers, the people at Silicon Studio haven't locked the save files. They made it as easy as pie to pop them onto a USB stick and give them to the world.

Your chosen hero's swords are upgradable. If you have enough cash you can leave the blacksmith's with a weapon that'd give Cloud Strife an inferiority complex.

Note: Beware, a large portion of the side-quests are time-sensitive events, requiring a player to have discovered and completed each one in-between clearing Temples. If you've not triggered an event before polishing off a Temple Boss then that particular quest (and its reward) is gone forever. Likewise, any branching quests that are dependent on the first one being brought to fruition will also be gone forever. It sucks when you remember too late that you forgot to revisit a particular corner of the map and speak to a specific fretting NPC.

4 swords for a jobbing hero out of 5

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