Play.tm's 3DS eShop buyer's guide
With its 3rd birthday (for Europe) soon approaching, the Nintendo 3DS has certainly turned its fortunes around. Initially criticised for offering too few games for early adopters, it's near overwhelming the amount of choice out there now.
Even better, a large number of these are fantastic games worthy of picking up. How easily do you find yourself overlooking the e-shop though? It's surprising just how many gems are out there for varying prices and easily downloaded from the comfort of your sofa. We take a look at the pick of the bunch.
SteamWorld Dig - £7.99
First released last Summer, SteamWorld Dig is a very engrossing and atmospheric tale. Focusing on the exploits of Rusty, as he explores a small mining town called Tumbleton, the main objective is to investigate the mines underneath the town's foundations. Players are given a pickaxe to start with, followed by a gradual trickle of new upgrades and items to help them along. A mixture of platforming and puzzle solving keeps things consistently fresh. It might not be the longest of titles by any means, but it's a fun ride while it lasts.
Mighty Switch Force!/Mighty Switch Force! 2 - £3.99
Offering similar thrills alongside that ridiculously enthusiastic title, Mighty Switch Force! is a puzzle platformer set in the future. Players control a cyborg police officer as she rounds up a group of escaped convicts. Players have to return them to the exit point of each level as quickly as possible with plenty of obstacles in the way. Patricia, the cyborg, can jump and shoot, as well as push blocks around in which to use as platforms but she's also pretty vulnerable when under attack. It's a simple premise and familiar to mobile gamers, but a fun one.
Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move - £7.99
The e-shop isn't just the home for indie darlings, there's also room for the heavyweights. The latest in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, Minis on the Move is an extremely entertaining puzzle game. Players have to negotiate a grid based level by placing relevant blocks and pipes to form a path for the Mini (a robotic Mario, usually). Along the way are three coins to collect, which in turn allow the player to unlock new game modes. With numerous different modes, levels, and even a level creation tool, there's a ton to do here in a small yet powerful package. Plus, there's the classic Mario charm.
Crimson Shroud - £7.19
Part of a complilation of titles produced by Level-5 (the makers of Professor Layton amongst many others), Crimson Shroud is a great RPG. It's reminiscent of table-top gaming with plenty of dice rolling, manipulating of pieces, and a sinister Dungeon Master controlling everything that goes on. It's complex stuff at first with everything handled through menus, but it's an ultimately quite rewarding experience. Like the best table-top games, patience is needed at first but it'll eventually grip on and refuse to let go bringing the satisfaction of traditional RPGing to the small screen.
Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies - £19.99
Another heavyweight, Dual Destinies isn't the best Ace Attorney game but it is great fun and the first to make it to the 3DS. As is customary for the series, players must crack various cases through the use of evidence and finding contradictions in witness statements to prove their clients' innocence. The addition of the Mood Matrix, enabling players to gauge the emotions of a witness enhance the experience, alongside the return of favourites such as Psyche-Locke, adding a more interactive touch to this text heavy title. Given the wealth of content, it's keenly priced too with five cases to tackle.
Pushmo - £5.40
It's another puzzle game focused on the manipulation of blocks in order to create a safe path (this time for children), but Pushmo deserves attention. One of the earlier titles for the system, it's still a delight. Charming and often challenging, free time will vanish in a blur thanks to its simple yet addictive nature. Restrictions are placed on the player via the fact they can only push or pull blocks a maximum of three steps meaning the rewind function bundled in is soon vital. Besides the 250+ levels, there's the option to create and share one's own creations too.
Mutant Mudds - £8.10
Available on many formats, Mutant Mudds is a delightful platformer. Hovering and shooting also play a part here with plenty of enemies to shoot or avoid. Being able to jump between the foreground and background add a creative flourish to this simple yet fun title. A time limit adds to the thrills, and there's an upgrade system allowing for higher jumps, a better jetpack, and even a bazooka to break through barriers. It's been said that its development was heavily influenced by classics such as Wario Land and it's pretty clear to see how. Sometimes it's the simplest, nostalgic things that are most fun.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! - £7.19
Another title from Level-5, Attack of the Friday Monsters! is a lovely mixture of adventure game, interactive novel, and life sim. Players control a small boy whose small town is overrun by mysterious monsters (on a Friday). The combat and gameplay doesn't go any further than a card game of sorts but it's the storyline that will grip its players. Learning more about the boy, Sohto, some interesting twists and turns open up, proving that despite the outlandish name, this is a character study game more than anything. Exploring town and fighting it out via the card game is still fun but expect the storyline to stick in your head for a while to come.