Both the Nintendo DS and 3DS have fairly great game libraries for you to choose from. I had the original Nintendo DS for a long time until I decided to upgrade to the Nintendo DSi XL, and then after a couple of years I traded those in for a nice-looking blue Nintendo 3DS. So as you can imagine, I’ve built up a collection over the years. I’ll give you some of my recommendations to play during the wait for the big 2015 releases.
10. Scribblenauts (DS)
Have creative juices flowing in this classic! In each level, you have to be clever with your words, literally. Solving tasks in order to collect Starites is not easy as the difficulty gets harder as you move on from one area to the next. The artstyle is cartoony but adorable at the same time. Need to help someone get their cat out of the tree? There is more than one right answer. When I first played that level, I think I scared the kitty down with a hungry dog closely chasing behind. I appreciate this unique game for how it challenges gamers to be original and effective in different situations.
9. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels Of The Starry Skies (DS)
Dragon Quest 9 is a exciting Japanese RPG adventure, just like the rest of the series. You get to explore a large world full of story and slimes. Even some of the side-stories make you think twice. The gameplay still holds up as one of the best I’ve played from the battling to the classes to the customization to the alchemy. Hunting for treasure deep within many dungeons that sometimes seem to never end from one level to the next. If you’re a huge fan of role-playing games, consider adding this one to your collection.
8. Bravely Default (3DS)
While this game solved my long-overdue RPG itch, it excelled in some areas and flawed in others. I think the biggest problem was this game was the repetitiveness – the story went on for too long. The narrative suffered from being stretched; when you get to about the middle of the game, that’s when most things start going downhill. You face a lot of the same monsters and bosses over and over again. Its gameplay is what makes playing Bravely Default worthwhile with its mechanic under the same name. It allows for strategy and all-out risk taking if you so wish, so you have to be wise about appropriate timing. The classes are mostly good as well. The characters are alright for the most part. The artstyle was charming, especially when exploring and discovering new places. While this RPG may be “unacceptable” to some players, if you can tolerate its few glaring issues, there is fun to be had.
7. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
Luigi comes back to save the day with the new Poltergust 5000. He certainly has more personality than his more popular brother Mario through his face expressions and whistling (yes, he actually whistles to the music, which is awesome). Professor E. Gadd asks for Luigi’s aid once more when the ghosts turn violent all the sudden with the Dark Moon shattered in pieces. There are some puzzle-like sequences to go through to find your way through each of the mansions and find all the collectables. While the Year Of Luigi is over, you can still celebrate the green hero with this game.
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
New Leaf is yet another cute life simulation game of the Animal Crossing series. It does some things right to separate itself from previous installments, but it can still be improved on. This time, you’re the mayor of your own town who can build from the ground up. There are some notable new features like the public projects you can place almost anywhere (Isabelle can be picky, which is annoying) and Tortimer’s Island where you can play mostly good minigames. It is not for everybody, but for those who are not always about action and adventure, then this may be a good choice for you.
5. Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
Pit returns better than ever! This game is best known for its comedic charm as the characters banter between each other. Its biggest flaw is the painful and uncomfortable controls, but as long as you don’t play for too long per period then you’ll be alright; I was able to tolerate them for about an hour or so at a time. The weapon fusions and gems are a great new feature for the series. The flying segments are the best part of the gameplay because it’s challenging and fun to dodge and shoot in the air. It’s a mostly enjoyable experience through the clouds.
4. Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
These two games are the latest Pokemon games. They are remakes of Ruby and Sapphire back on the Gameboy Advance. I picked up Omega Ruby and so far I enjoy it. It doesn’t really do much to change up the formula, but the gameplay is still solid. The “Mega” evolutions come back from Pokemon X & Y, which are somewhat cool but odd move by Nintendo to freshen up the series – I don’t know what I think of them. Anyways, they also use the same graphics/engine from Pokemon X & Y, which are mostly good I think. If you’re a Pokemon fan or you want to jump into the series for the first time, either way you’ll have fun battling.
3. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
This dark RPG is powerful in how it challenges your morals. Questions and decisions are thrown left and right that ultimately changes what happens in the game. You can’t tell which answers are “good” or “bad”, just like in real life the world is gray. When I first beat it, I got the “good” ending, but it left me with mixed emotions – I didn’t feel like I entirely did the “right” thing. The battle system isn’t revolutionary, just what you would expect from a traditional turn-based role-playing game. The demons you collect make SMT IV unique – normally you don’t side with your enemy. I was surprised to see that many of them were taken out of various myths across different cultures, which I thought was neat. I recommend this game for those who like a great story.
2. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
This remake of sorts of The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past is excellent in its top-down format. It makes great use of the 3D as you travel between dimensions. The hieroglyphic-looking wall ability is fun to use as it is cleverly needed for many sequences and areas. All the tools and weapons you use as well make the gameplay fun and brilliant. While the story is good but not the greatest compared with the rest of the series, I enjoyed all the characters with their charm and hint of mystery to some of them. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of Zelda, or you just find yourself unfamiliar with the lore, I think you’ll enjoy this game for its adventure. It is a great way to get into the series.
1. Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
Wake up, your journey is about to unfold! You (your avatar) are found in the middle of a meadow by the Shepherds, but before that, you foresee a heated battle that ends tragically. You’re a mystery to the group, but your tactical skills are second to none, so you’re then trusted and enlisted into the rag-tag group of elite soldiers. This is one of my favorite games of all time. The story is great and the gameplay is simple yet complex that is easy to get yourself into. Everything is solid, especially the cel-shaded cutscenes (wish there was more of them). If you have a 3DS, this is a must-have. If you don’t have a 3DS, this game is one reason why to get one.
*Honorable Mentions: Mario Kart 7 (3DS), Super Mario 3D Land (3DS), New Super Mario Bros. (DS), Pokemon Platinum (DS), Pokemon Black/White (DS), Nintendogs (DS), and so on…