This year was the year I finally bought a Nintendo 3DS. Back in April, I went to my local Walmart and bought a blue 3DS XL with three games. Now the year is coming to an end and while at first I didn’t use my 3DS that much, I’m now in love with my 3DS. The games I’ve played has made me hopeful for the handheld’s library. I played exactly 13 games this year, some to completion and some not. So I thought I would talk about them.
Super Mario 3D Land
One of the games I bought with the 3DS and the first game I played on my 3DS. I blame this game for why I didn’t use my 3DS that much when I first got it because I find this game to be incredibly bland. There’s really nothing wrong with it; it’s you basic Mario game that plays more like a 2D game instead of a 3D one, despite the title and aesthetics. However, the worlds, the levels, everything about the game feels like I’ve been here before. The game does get hard in the second world but the worlds don’t feel any less familiar, meaning that the game just gets more frustrating than fun. If you want a Mario game for the 3DS though, this is the one to get, for better or worse.
Fire Emblem Awakening
One of the other games I bought with the 3DS and the only game I own that I haven’t spent that much time with. I didn’t get around to trying Awakening until June and I’ve only logged in about an hour and a half. Of what little I have played, I can say that it’s a traditional strategy RPG in the vein of Shining Force on the Genesis and while I enjoyed it, there’s nothing that wows me about it. I want to jump back into the game but right now the next game is keeping me occupied.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Ocarina of Time was the game that finally made me take notice of the Zelda franchise when I played it on an emulator. Before, I had tried the game out but never got into it. Now it’s my favorite Zelda game (although it might not be anymore…more on that later). So this was a no brainer. I’m currently playing this at the moment though I started back in October but that was dumb because I bought it right before the next game came out. Nonetheless, the game looks great on the 3DS, it controls better than ever and it doesn’t hold your hand the way newer Zelda games do.
This is my first Pokémon game since LeafGreen. I love the various ways you can take care of your Pokémon and the means the developers took to make the game much less of a grind and making it more enjoyable. I’ve often avoided the Pokémon games because they were essentially the same game over and over again. However, while this is just another Pokémon game, it’s the best it can be without a radical change in the formula. I recommend it but I still need to complete it because I got caught up petting my Pokémon.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
This was the first 3DS game I rented from Gamefly. I had tried the game on the Wii but was turned off by the motion controls. On the 3DS, it feels like a better game, despite the lower quality graphics and lower framerate. The extra levels are nice and the challenge is definitely there. Although my hand gets cramped after playing for a long time because the 3DS XL doesn’t play well for long periods, I would call this the definitive version of the game.
New Super Mario Bros 2
My little nephew has this game and let me try it. I tried it for maybe 15 minutes. I stopped because I’ve already played that game when it didn’t have a 2 at the end of the title. I know I said that 3D Land feels like the same game but New Mario 2 REALLY feels like the same thing. Maybe I’ll get it later because, I don’t know why, but I’m in no hurry to get this game.
Project X Zone
This game had bad timing for me. I got the game from Gamefly while I was trying to play another game and just couldn’t give my full attention to it. I returned it after not playing it for very long. That said, I thought what I played was okay. It seems like a weird mix of turn based strategy with a weird combination of characters that shouldn’t work and potentially don’t but it’s definitely worth a look.
Mario Kart 7
The final game I bought with my 3DS and the one I spent the most time with when I bought my 3DS. I’m a sucker for Mario Kart games. Even though they’re all the same, I always find them fun. That said, I could NOT get into Mario Kart Wii. The new courses were just not very good. Mario Kart 7, on the other hand, is good. Admittedly, it’s just another Mario Kart game and there’s nothing special about it (the water and flying stuff doesn’t change much), but they manage to have fun courses and just feeling better overall.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
I don’t get the appeal of Animal Crossing. My little nephew lent me the game because he loves it. I played it for an hour and I still don’t get it. Nothing about the game is fun to me. Moving on.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
The last game my nephew lent me and the first game I played with him via local play. I did not like the original Luigi’s Mansion but I really liked this game. A lot of the control quirks from the first game aren’t here, it’s condensed and more focused, and the graphics looks great. That just really fixed a lot about it that I didn’t like and it’s a good example of a developer listening to the feedback of the fans and incorporating it, albeit 12 years after the last game.
Sonic Lost World
I decided to rent this game because I wasn’t going to be able to play the Wii U version (since I don’t own a Wii U). I’ve heard some bad things about the 3DS version as well as the Wii U version so I wasn’t holding my breath. However, as a hardcore Sonic fan, I have to say that the 3DS game wasn’t bad. It wasn’t amazing but I had a good time with it and enjoyed it. I even completed it all the way through and wrote a review for Gaming Precision on it.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate
Not counting the games I didn’t sit down and play and give a fair shot to (Project X Zone, Fire Emblem Awakening, etc.), this is the worst 3DS game I’ve played. To be fair, it wasn’t an abomination. However, it was drab, dull and so uninspired in its graphical aesthetics, level design, combat mechanics and just about everything else. I also wrote a review for Gaming Precision on this game and even finished it at 100% because I could.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I got this game from Gamefly because I kept hearing about how good it was. I didn’t want to play it because I’ve never completed or even played very much of A Link to the Past. However, after playing it for a few hours, I was hooked and I bought it from Gamefly. The game isn’t very epic, unlike recent Zelda games and some may not like that because of it. However, the focus is completely on the gameplay and on freedom. You can go practically anywhere in Hyrule and it feels bigger than even a game like Ocarina of Time. The dungeons are so well designed and fun, the mechanics are inventive, and there’s little hand holding, allowing you to explore and experiment. My vote for best 3DS game of the year and you can expect a detailed review from me on Gaming Precision soon.
Those are all the 3DS games I’ve played this year. What 3DS game did you play?