3D Dot Game Heroes

Developer: Silicon Studio
Publisher:  Atlus

People often call this game a poor Zelda rip-off, but that's not true, it's actually a charming, funny and really great Zelda rip-off, the game knows this and has fun with it.

The game starts you off with an intro that is both a mix of Zelda and Final Fantasy, introducing you to a default character that is eerily similar to that of Dragon Quests'... well that's not entirely true, you CAN create your own main character, I actually played most of this game as an arcade cabinet.

The gameplay is an exact replica of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, in fact, it resembles it to a fault, you'll find the same sort of puzzle solving logic and even the same items like bombs, the boomerang, hookshot and everything else you've grown used to... and that's the problem, there aren't any new or original power-ups, there aren't even any gimmicks such as time travel or anything that would separate it's gameplay from the pack, that's not to say it isn't fun, it's just that it could've used a little extra spice.

However, what you do get is a hilarious self-aware adventure, with tons of side-quests and fun minigames like the Arkanoid rip-off and my personal favorite: A Tower defense game, you'll even get references to some of From Software's games like Demon's Souls or Armored Core.

Graphically the game reminds me of Minecraft, though it adds some beautiful lighting and water effects, so despite it's rough exterior, it can still be a beautiful game if you look close enough, as for the soundtrack, it's very similar to that of 8 and 16 bit consoles making good use of catchy and repetitive tunes and these range from synthesized songs to fully orchestral.

3D Dot game heroes is not a game for everyone, but if you miss the old school 2D Legend of Zelda games you should definitely check this one out.

Trivia: Did you know the game's many loading screens are actually the cover art to other older games? You'll find everything from Final Fantasy, Ultima and Wizardry to Street Fighter, Castlevania and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

- Gameplay is a well made throwback to 2D Legend of Zelda games
- Writing is witty, hilarious and self-referential
- The Soundtrack is catchy and will leave you humming for days
- Lots of secrets, sidequests and fun minigames to explore
- You can play as an arcade cabinet named 'Galaga'
- Gameplay could have used some sort of gimmick to set itself apart from the competition
- While Graphically unique, the style is certainly not for everyone.

Final Grade: B+

I am honestly not a fan of the cover, if you were to look at it and had no prior information on the game, you'd think it was a poorly made budget title trying to cash in on the Lego videogame franchise, luckily, the back of the box does a better job at conveying what the game actually is, telling you to 'return to the golden age of gaming' and placing random items reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda.

Inside, you'll find a disc featuring a better cover art (why wasn't this used for the box art?) and a small but really well made manual, it doesn't present you with any backstory, but it goes into great detail on how to play the game it's very really well adorned with a bright and colorful palette as well as several in game characters, items and references to classic console gaming.

Packaging Grade: B


  1. This seems really cool, I might need to get this one.

  2. "I actually played most of this game as an arcade cabinet."

    My eyes are glittering right now.

    I know my brother and I had some fun times with this game, thanks in part to the characters we created; he created Zero from Mega Man X, and in turn I made X himself. Ah, the fun we had with our massive swords.

    Freudian imagery aside, I have to wonder -- why does everything Atlus touches turn into gold? I mean yeah, they only published the game, but still...I friggin' love that company.

    1. Hah, makes sense, when you're in full health your sword is so huge you might as well call it the 'mega buster'

      And yeah, Atlus makes and publishes great games, a shame most of them become so expensive later on