3D Dot Game Heroes is a PS3-exclusive single player RPG developed by Silicon Studio and From Software published by Atlus in North America and South Peak Interactive in Europe . It was released in Japan in November of 2009. A message was posted on Sony's Twitter feed announcing their intention of bringing this title to North America on May 11, 2010.
Takehiko Terada, President and CEO of Silicon Studio, indicated in an interview that the game was originally designed to show off their middleware to partners.
The game features a unique 3D pixel art style, a character editor, and over 100 loading screens that pay homage to classic games.
The Kingdom of Dotnia was a traditional 2D land, like any other typical RPG kingdom. One day, the King desired to reshape the land to attract more visitors, and using special technology, attempted to reshape the land into 3D - but something goes wrong.
The game's plot also involves a legendary swordsman who locked away an ancient demon using the power of six magic orbs.
3D Dot Game Heroes plays remarkably like The Legend Of Zelda. The player's character is equipped with a sword and will gradually discover various items over the course of the game, including bombs, a bow and arrow, a boomerang, and various types of magic.
If the player has a full life bar (represented by apples), the sword gains additional characteristics, such as extreme length, width, or the ability to shoot beam projectiles. Multiple swords are available, and players are able to visit a blacksmith to upgrade their swords.
While players will mostly be searching for the main dungeons to find the magic orbs, villagers may provide side quests and other distractions.
From Software has indicated that they "worked hard to make sure the normal difficulty would be adequately challenging for the average gamer." But there are several alternate modes for those looking for more of a challenge.
In Spelunker Mode, players will die with one hit from any enemy. It is intended for gamers who "miss those 8-bit days of gaming when things were difficult beyond all comprehension".
In FROM Mode, enemies are more abundant and difficult. It is intended for gamers "looking for an extreme challenge".
The game also features New Game Plus, which allows players to carry over their gold and weapon upgrades.
The game features at least three mini-games, which offer additional rewards and bonuses to players who master them:
- Blockout, a Breakout clone
- Dash Circuit, a foot-race
- Block Defense, a tower defense game
Characters & Character Editor
The original Japanese release of 3D Dot Game Heroes featured three character templates: Frum, Sonya, and Altus.
The US release features many more templates (including cameos from the Tenchu series), some of which were released in Japan as DLC. Regardless of their looks, each "character" falls into one of the base classes (Hero, Royal, Scholar).
|FRUM||Hero||Descendant of a hero. High HP and swordplay.|
|SONYA||Hero||Descendant of a hero. High HP and magic.|
|ALTUS||Royal||Prince of Dottano. A well-balanced fighter.|
|MERI||Royal||Princess of Dottano. A well-balanced caster.|
|SEGALL||Scholar||A travelling scholar. A swashbuckling mage.|
|REQUIS||Scholar||A travelling scholar. High magical aptitude.|
|Dwarf||Hero||A dwarf who loves his axe too much to actually swing it.|
|Samurai||Hero||A samurai who stays in his armor to be ever ready for battle.|
|Assassin||Royal||A super ninja who has never failed a mission.|
|Dragon||Hero||This dragon is too young to breathe fire or fly.|
|Santa||Royal||In the off-season, Santa travels! No reindeer on this journey, though.|
|SantaFunk||Royal||This Santa has wintery style and funk in his step!|
|GT Car||Scholar||A car that wants to see the world with its own headlights.|
|Shark||Hero||You're going to need a bigger sword! He bites!|
|Hero||Hero||The legendary hero who sealed the Dark King, ages ago.|
|President||Hero||The X7th President of the United States, who has gone missing.|
|Ranger||Scholar||The ranger fights for animal rights and the creatures she loves.|
|Shishioh||Hero||A lone leonin warrior. No, that's not a mask.|
|Manager||Scholar||A businessman who will save the world so he can plan his retirement.|
|Cave Man||Hero||This child of the stone age slipped into a time warp.|
|Tank||Hero||This tank has seen its share of war, but now it rides again.|
|Racer||Hero||A kid racer with no driver's license. At least she's got her suit on!|
|Bancho||Hero||Sporting awesome hair, this bancho calls the Dark King a shabazo.|
|Red Dog||Hero||A mysterious red dog. We don't know how he got in here.|
|Okita||Royal||A platoon leader of the Shinsengumi, this samurai fights elegantly!|
|Raikoh||Hero||A mysterious warrior of Otogi who seeks to smite evil-doers.|
|W.Glint||Hero||A mysterious NEXT controlled by an unknown LYNX.|
|Rikimaru||Scholar||The head of the Azuma clan, this ninja would die for honor.|
|Ayame||Scholar||A kunoichi of the Azuma clan, her blade is as sharp and cold as her.|
|Rin||Scholar||A kunoichi who managed to wander into Dotnia, somehow.|
|Tesshu||Royal||Doctor by day, assassin by night. Tesshu is a secret executioner.|
|Poochi||Hero||A dog who has decided to save the world! How heroic!|
|Smithy||Royal||A traveling blacksmith who hopes to forge a legendary sword.|
|Soldier||Hero||An ex-soldier from a distant world, who only feels at home in battle.|
|Skeleton||Scholar||A skeleton with real backbone. Don't call him a bonehead.|
|Magi||Scholar||You're not a mysterious wizard unless you wear a cowl.|
|Mean Hare||Royal||This killer rabbit's sharp teeth are anything but ordinary.|
|Knight||Hero||This armor is searching high and low for a new master.|
|Succubus||Scholar||She's on this adventure to beat the Dark King at his own game.|
|Witch||Scholar||A young witch who hopes to one day become a great enchantress.|
|Heroine||Hero||This fierce lady could save even the most doomed kingdoms.|
|Boxer||Hero||A ringside champ who floats like a fairy and stings like a goblin.|
|Angel||Royal||An angel who came down from heaven for her promotion to archangel.|
|Galleon||Scholar||A ship that sailed the seven seas, so now it's land-bound.|
|Gorilla||Hero||A gorilla came from the high ground, in hopes of finding food.|
|Ninja||Scholar||A ninja who strikes from below ground. He breathes through a snorkel.|
|Iris||Royal||A certain reckless princess who sought to put a stop to Fuelle.|
|King||Royal||A king who hides his identity so he can go on adventures.|
|Robo King||Hero||A robot made to look just like King Tezro with karakuri technology.|
|Vampire||Scholar||Every 100 years, he rises from the grave to feast on blood.|
|Pumpkin||Hero||A pumpkin monster searching for a nice patch to lie down in.|
|Wolf Man||Royal||A man who turns into a wolf on a full moon. Er, scratch that.|
|Frank||Hero||A creature given life by a mad scientist. He's pretty tough.|
|Geisha||Royal||A beauty from the east skilled in the ways of the Geisha.|
|Maid||Royal||A live-in maid who just earned her vacation, but then...|
|Wild Man||Scholar||An anti-social man who communes with animals in the mountains.|
|DarkDwarf||Hero||He was kind and gentle once, but the Dark Orb distorted him.|
|B.Dragon||Hero||A blue dragon who breathes ice. It's a shame he hates the cold.|
|R.Dragon||Hero||A red dragon who breathes fire, but prefers his food chilled. Shh!|
|Dragoon||Hero||This black dragon was peaceful until the Dark Orb awoke his true self.|
|Striker||Royal||This soccer star plays to win, even if he's out of his league!|
|Shippu||Royal||A ninja who follows his own path. His will is unbreakable.|
The character editor can edit an existing template, or players can design their character from scratch. Six "frames" can be designed in a 3D editor, including "Stand", "Walk1", "Walk2", "Hurray", "Attack1", and "Attack2". Saved characters can be exported to a USB stick and shared online.
In September 2010, Altus announced that Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet will be available as a playable character.
Equipment & Upgrades
3D Dot Game Heroes includes 24 different swords. Players will receive the Sword at the start of the game and the Ancient Sword during the first quest of the game; the remaining swords can be found through completing side quests, exploring the map, trading White Blocks to King Block, or by performing well in mini-games.
Most swords can be upgraded by visiting the blacksmith in the village of Raejack. Each sword is has a base rating as well as a maximum in the following seven attributes:
- Length: how far the sword extends. Values can range from Lv 0 to Lv 20.
- Width: how wide the sword strikes. Values can range from Lv 0 to Lv 20.
- Strength: amount of damage the sword does per strike. Values can range from Lv 1 to Lv 20.
- Spin: whether or not the player can spin with the sword extended. Values can range from Lv 0 (no spin) to Lv 1 (can spin).
- Beam: swords with Beam attributes can shoot a projectile when swung with full health. Values can range from Lv 0 (does not fire) to Lv 3.
- Pierce: whether or not the sword will pass through obstacles. Values can range from Lv 0 (no pierce) to Lv 1 (does pierce).
- Special: some swords carry additional special abilities. Values can range from Lv 0 to Lv 5.
In addition to the per-attribute maximum ratings, each sword has a Potential value. Potential is the maximum amount of money that players are allowed to spend upgrading it, preventing a player from maxing out all the statistics for any given sword. For example, should a player upgrade the Ancient Sword to the maximum strength, they will not have enough potential left over to add Pierce. (In the event of upgrade regret, swords can be reset back to their base statistics at the blacksmith if necessary.)
Patch 1.01 Controversy
On September 23, 2010, Atlus U.S.A. released a patch for the North American version of the game, adding 50 player- and staff-created characters (most notably, a Sackboy character from Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet franchise), bug fixes while also slightly adapting finish times requirements for the Dash Circuit races and adding the ability to carry over certain swords into a New Game+ playthrough.
Because Atlus U.S.A. does not publish its retail games outside the US, the game's European publisher, Southpeak Interactive, would have had to issue the patch for EU gamers. However, due to unknown reasons, SouthPeak never released the patch for the EU version, causing strong discontent among the fanbase since the changes made to improve the game were rather significant for players attempting playthroughs on harder difficulties or trying to get all Trophies.
A statement on the SouthPeak's official European messageboard for the game simply says:
"Unfortunately there are currently no plans to release the patch at this time. I apologize for any inconvenience that this might cost to you and everyone in the EU. "
To go with the updated-retro atmosphere of 3D Dot Game Heroes, the soundtrack, composed by Shoichiro Sakamoto, also has a similar feel, employing chiptunes with some more modern effects.
01 - Opening
02 - The Legendary Hero's Theme
03 - Main Theme
04 - Temple of the Plains
05 - Combat
06 - Dotnia Castle
07 - Lejac Village
08 - Escaping the Forest
09 - The Lost Forest
10 - Temple of the Forest
11 - Neungtra Desert
12 - Gathello, the Desert Village
13 - Block Destruction
14 - Temple of the Desert
15 - Advancing Across the Coastline
16 - Corneria, the Waterside Village
17 - The Temple of Water
18 - Boss Fight 2 (Unused Track)
19 - King Medal's Theme
20 - Travel Preparations
21 - Dash Race
22 - Cavern
23 - Biscrow Volcano
24 - Temple of the Volcano
25 - The Goddess's Spring
26 - Crossing the Waste
27 - Temple of the Wind
28 - The Hall of Aube
29 - The Dark Priest Fuel
30 - Game Over
31 - The Hero's Tomb
32 - Risk Your Life
33 - Demon Valley
34 - Tower of Darkness
35 - Overlord Onyx
36 - The Hero's Return
37 - Staff Roll
38 - Title
39 - Ending Theme
- Official 3D Dot Game Heroes Website (Japanese)
- Atlus USA official website for 3D Dot Game Heroes
- Hall of Heroes, official Atlus site for character sharing