Once again, if you take anything about 3D Dot Game Heroes
seriously, you're doing it wrong. The game is soaked in callbacks and pop culture references. One cave will lead you to a character advising you its contents are "...a secret to everyone" while in another, you'll stumble across a group of game developers toiling away at a game they claim, "... isn't as hard as everyone says" (a reference to publisher From Software's previous PS3 outing, Demon's Souls
). The problem is it doesn't retain this same sense of self-awareness throughout. Honestly, this is something that won't matter to a majority of people who pick the game up, but I figure if you're going to go for self-reference the way 3D Dot Game Heroes
does, go all out.
You're given a sizeable world to explore filled with secrets. A large part of the game is built around exploration. Rather than guide you between dungeons in a linear fashion, you're given a general direction and blip on the map. Finding your way is up to you. It's a sense of freedom rarely seen in games, even in so-called "open world" ones. It's refreshing in an old school sort of way and also offers plenty to do. There's a lot to uncover in the kingdom. Villages hide side-quests that lead to new swords, life segments and shields... no journey ever goes unrewarded.
Although 3D Dot Game Heroes offers a lot to do, it's best played in short bursts rather than long marathon sessions. It's possible to fill out a couple of hours of play, but gameplay tends to drag the longer you go. It's not that dungeons are particularly bland, but there's a reason this level of complex simplicity isn't seen more. It's hard to sustain the same amount of motivational push required to get you through the adventure. The rewards are nice, but more than likely you'll end up sticking with the best shield you own and one or two swords rather than constantly switching, which I suspect is the idea behind the sizable collection of blades scattered throughout Dotnia.