A new dimension
There was once a time when peace prevailed in the 2D land of Dotnia; when people whiled away their time playing 8-bit role playing adventure games, protected by six mysterious orbs and the sages that guarded them. But then, the Dark King, Onyx, took the orbs and unleashed waves of monsters across the pixellated land, which made everyone fairly grumpy, to say the least.
It took a noble hero with magic sword in hand to rid Dotnia of its curse and restore the sacred orbs.
Years passed and the story faded into myth. The travellers stopped visiting this once prosperous realm and King Tezro came to a shocking realisation. "This is an age of 3D!" he announced to his subjects and, with that, squares became cubes and the people gasped with wonder at the very concepts of depth and height.
Now, there's a big problem: someone has released the Dark King. Once again, Dotnia needs a hero...
Take those classic top-down role-playing games from the 8-bit era and imagine them rebuilt using pixel sized cubes and presented in glorious High Definition - that's 3D Dot Game Heroes.
The music is also a blast from the past, with midi undertones and a few almost recognisable melodies. There's no voice acting and dialogue is presented in text boxes. There's a knowing humour running throughout the game that plays on the quirks of the genre, such as King Tezro constantly asking you to accept his quests when there isn't really a choice at all, and plenty of classic game references.
Even the loading screens add to the nostalgia: famous game covers have been recreated in 3D Dot Game Heroes style. Can you work out what they are? Of course, you don't want to be looking at them too often, so it's advisable to choose the Install option at the main menu - this will save data onto your PS3 system's Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and reduce loading times.
Hero creation kit
The hero of Dotnia is brave, courageous, fearless and other synonyms, and he or she or it or them can be whatever you want, thanks to the Editor. You can build your own character, block by block, whether you want to walk around as a cat wearing a hat or a ping pong bat with antlers.
If you're not feeling very inspired, then you can choose from dozens of existing characters, ranging from warriors to dragons to vampires, sharks, cars, dogs, more dragons and Zinedine Zidane.
Back in time
Anyone who played 8-bit role-playing adventure games in the 1990s will feel instantly at home with 3D Dot Game Heroes' gameplay. You move your character around with the left stick and attack with your sword using the X button. Along the way, you can collect items, such as bombs and a boomerang, which give you new attacking options and open up areas that were previously inaccessible.
You first mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recover the six magic orbs that protect Dotnia and to do this, you have to conquer a series of dungeons before defeating the boss waiting at the centre. The dungeons offer a mixture of puzzle solving and combat, with the later ones requiring all of your ingenuity and mastery of the items in your arsenal.
While exploring, you will encounter villages where you can chat with the locals and occasionally discover mini-games to mix things up and earn items. You can also visit the blacksmith and upgrade your sword, or buy some healing potion as long as you have an empty bottle about your person.