A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story is a classic hero-must-rise-up-to-meet-his-destiny tale, but the more interesting message that comes from this game is the no-limits, stretch-your-imagination message that comes out of the character creation mode.
Positive Role Models
While the game is a satire and no characters in the story are meant to be role models, the hero is a generally admirable character -- selfless, humble, and eager to help.
Ease of Play
The controls are simple and the general difficulty level is not too high. Figuring out the pattern needed to defeat boss characters can sometimes take a lot of trial and error, though.
Violence & Scariness
The hero uses a boomerang, bow and arrow, mallet, bomb, and comically huge sword to fight enemies. All the cartoony people, animals, and monsters are made up of little colored cubes. Anybody who is "killed" will simply burst apart in a shower of "dots." In one particular scene, a sage asks the hero to stab him in the stomach to release his hidden powers; the sage makes pained noises (in text) while being hit, but asks the hero to continue, and the energy is eventually released.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 3-D Dot Game Heroes is a satire with non-graphic violence (i.e. cartoony, unrealistic fighting) that is meant to be humorous. The hero's sword, for instance, can be big enough to almost fill the screen at times. Parents should also be aware that players can upload custom-created characters to the PlayStation Network and that there's no guarantee those characters will be completely unobjectionable. If you are concerned, make sure you learn how to use the parental controls on your PS3.
Is It Any Good?
Anyone familiar with The Legend of Zelda, especially the older 2-D Zelda titles, will adore all the in-jokes of 3-D Dot Game Heroes. There are gags, for example, about Sir Signe, the knight who traveled the kingdom posting wooden signs in random, hard-to-reach places. The wonderful thing about 3-D Dot Game Heroes, though, is that it works as a fun adventure of its own, even if you have no idea who Zelda is. Everything that made Zelda games so enjoyable -- epic quests, puzzle-filled dungeons, hint-giving villages, a spunky fairy guide -- are in full effect here, too. There's plenty of humor, action, and creativity. And as the characters are made of three-dimensional pixels, the build-a-hero mode allows you complete and total freedom to create the avatar of your dreams. The pre-made heroes you can choose from the start -- like a dog, briefcase-carrying accountant, and Santa -- give you an idea of how creative you can be.
Online interaction: The PlayStation network hosts a character-sharing hub to which players can upload their custom-made heroes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.