Last year was great for the 3DS. We had Zelda: A Link between Worlds, Pokemon X and Y, Luigi’s Mansion, Paper Mario – tons of great games. Hopes were high for 2014 but, as of yet, the system hasn’t produced many great titles. We’re only halfway through, though, so there’s plenty of time for that to be rectified.
In the next year we can still expect to see Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, Super Smash Bros 3DS, Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate, Persona Q, Harvest Moon, and loads more. We had a look at the 3DS’s upcoming games back in our Ones To Watch at the end of last year, so let’s have a look back at what we thought then and how the games have shaped up.
Nintendo has its great franchises, and it has its mediocre ones. Like with anything else, you can have a game in a franchise that blows the rest out of the water, and you can have one that falls flat. Dan and I have something in common, in that the Kirby series doesn’t particularly enthral us. Kirby games are fun and they’re charming, but the gameplay itself isn’t particularly impressive. Kirby:Triple Deluxe is just on par for what you’d expect from a Kirby game.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe comes from HAL laboratory – the same people that make Smash Bros, Kirby’s other claim to fame. Triple Deluxe has the player dips between the back and foreground, using the 3D capabilities of the 3DS, as Kirby swallows his enemies to take their powers for himself. Without considering how dark that is, the game has Kirby float through a series of cute, simple levels, consuming the flesh of his enemies.
Dan said in his review a few months back that if you’re in for some simple, child-friendly fun, it’s a good game that’s worth picking up. If you’re into more challenging platforming games, however, Kirby: Triple Deluxe probably isn’t for you. Nintendo has a lot of great , more challenging platformers, so there’s plenty of other choices to pick from, like Super Mario 3D Land.
Maybe don’t pick this one as your alternative platformer, though. After years without a new title, the Yoshi’s Island series dove back into the scene in March; unluckily, it dove directly into the waves of bigger budget titles.
Sandwiched by the releases of games like Dark Souls II and Infamous: Second Son, it didn’t have much of a chance of coverage here on TSA. It seems it’s not much of a loss for you readers either; it was panned by critics from other sites and got mediocre reviews across the board.
Yoshi’s New Island is a lot like older releases in the series. The player will control Yoshi as he traverses levels with baby Mario on his back and has to protect him while eating bad guys, throwing eggs and collecting flowers along his way. What’s with Nintendo and having their heroes eat enemies to gain new powers?
Whatever the reason, Yoshi will get to continue feasting on his foes on the Wii U, where Yoshi’s Woolly World is due for release. Hopefully the series can pick itself up from this disappointing handheld release without being worse for wear.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Who doesn’t love a new Smash Bros game? Super Smash Bros Brawl came out on the Wii years ago. After all this time, it feels old and tired and here at TSA we can’t wait for the next release. Super Smash Bros for 3DS will be the first handheld release of a Smash Bros game, and will be yet another opportunity for Nintendo to show off their software designing skills.
Nintendo are gradually revealing new information about the game, drop by drop. They had an hour long discussion air back in March, telling us everything we knew about the game up to that point and adding much more, such as the characters, the stages and the new gameplay dynamics.
Blair got a chance to play it at E3 and said in his preview that the 3DS title deserves more merit than it’s getting, but that the Wii U release is, expectedly, where most of the hype is being directed. This new release looks to be more balanced and focused on competitive play than previous games, meaning those of you who play on Final Destination with no items can enjoy any level you want while playing on an even field.
Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright are very different games, both with their own strengths and weaknesses. Professor Layton focusses on puzzles and logic, while Phoenix Wright deigns to be logical while relying on leaps of faith and, sometimes, complete guessing.
The game combines Phoenix Wright’s investigation stage with the puzzles of Professor Layton games and has Phoenix present their findings in court. It was an interesting idea, if not an odd choice for a cross-over. Dan reviewed it in March, saying that the game had to simplify itself to meet the audience of the two franchises, and resulted in a disappointingly easy end product.
We were excited to see where these two series would lead when they combined, but it seems that the gameplay and the story both failed to impress. It’s a good game, and it attained a score of 7/10 from us, but didn’t have the finesse that each of the individual games show in their own field.
I like Mario Party games, despite them lacking any ingenuity or a fresh direction. They’re hardly a game you’d sit down with and try to unlock everything while you’re alone, but they’re good to waste some time on and have a laughs with friends. On a handheld, however, that laugh becomes stifled and the whole experience becomes pretty clinical.
Mario Party is essentially a board-game played on a console. Players travel around the board, earning points in mini-games and challenges, until they reach their goal and the victor is decided. Mario Party: Island Tour offers exactly what we said it would in our ones to watch. There are more mini-games, but very little else is added that’s new or exciting.
Dom reviewed this one back in January, saying it was slow and didn’t translate well to a handheld device. We couldn’t have expected much more, but it would be nice if Nintendo had a few more surprises up their sleeve.
Mario is a man of many colours, and for an overweight plumber, he seems to spend a lot of time playing sports and not doing his job. This time on the 3DS, Mario’s sporting venture was in the form of Mario Golf: World Tour. Dan reviewed the red and blue plumber’s golfing outing at the start of the year, saying that it’s a little rough in places, but he had a ball playing through it.
Mario Golf: World Tour offers a good cast of characters to play with and a lot of unlockables and online features to keep you playing. It wasn’t a hole in one, but Mario’s in the swing of starring in some surprisingly fun sports games.
And, to be honest, we’d rather see him spending his time on the green than in the brown any day.
The Monster Hunter series is going strong. A fantasy, action-RPG where the player hunts down big game for bigger rewards, climbing their way up the ladder of success. It’s one of those games where kitting yourself out is almost as fun as hacking through the monsters you’re trying to skin.
Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate is now due for release on the 3DS in 2015, and will have more of an MMO style than before, allowing friends to work together online for the first time since the series’ outset. Monster Hunter feels like it’s designed to be a multiplayer title, so it’s a welcome edition to the franchise and has the potential to be the best yet.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a look at the 3DS’s bigger brother -the Wii U – how it’s games are faring, and what we’re still keeping an eye out for.