How many games out there boast co-op play with three people? Yeah, not very many. Why would you not use a multi tap to its full potential; only utilizing three of your now available four ports? This isn't the only problem I had with Three Dirty Dwarves, a game I wanted oh so much to love.
Taking control of three sports-crazy dwarves on a quest to save some children from the mysterious enemy, Three Dirty Dwarves can be played with one, two, or three players. An interesting aspect of this game is found in its not having a health meter, per se. While playing, if a character is hit by an enemy he becomes unconscious. Hitting the shoulder buttons cycles through your characters, and once you select a conscious player you simply whack the stricken character and you regain the ability to use him. I have found it much easier to play with a maximum of two people, as you always have at least one other person at the ready to smack your unconscious player back to life. This is a unique device, but in the midst of battle it's hard to keep reviving your fallen characters. If all three of your dwarves are unconscious, that's game, and you're forced to sit through another ungodly long load screen. That is a major annoyance.
The game does make use of some neat faux-3D elements. One of the first bosses is fought in an arena, where he stands in the center. Your characters run around him in circles while avoiding the junkyard dogs he constantly throws at you. You have to face the boss and fire your sporting paraphernalia for all your worth when you get the chance. Nothing is rendered in 3D here, it's all hand-drawn 2D, but the sense of depth is conveyed fairly well.
The biggest problem at work here, I'm afraid, is the simple lack of understanding how you are to dispatch certain enemies. There are male goblins and female goblins, and dispatching the female goblins requires you to pick them up and throw them at the male goblins so they "fall in love" and exit, stage right. Your Dwarves matchmaking skills are sub par, however, as you often have a very hard time picking up the female goblins! Little things like this diminish the fun significantly.
While the animation is smooth, and the three very different attacks between the three characters are employed well, the overall package is nothing spectacular. You'll have to look elsewhere to get your three-player fix on. I don't know where, but elsewhere.