Another year of wonderful releases has come and gone for the 3DS eShop. Easily one of the most diverse and unique marketplaces for video games, the eShop continued to flourish during the handheld’s fourth year of life, and before we march forward into its fifth, the time has come to look back and note the best titles launched on the platform in 2015!
BEST 3DS ESHOP GAME
HAL Laboratory’s quirky puzzle/platformer title Box Boy! surprised many players when it dropped back in April. The game’s main character, Qbby, traverses through each stage in a way that’s reminiscent of traditional sidescrolling platformers, jumping over bottomless pits and hazards. What sets it apart, however, is Qbby’s ability to snake and alter his square-shaped body to get through the environment, forming bridges, hooks, and more to get around each stage in ways that someone like Mario could never dream of. Along with its unique gameplay, Boy Boy! is also coupled with a stark black and white, minimalist visual style that’s utterly arresting upon first sight. Where some games shoot for pure spectacle to leave an impression, Box Boy! instead went the tried and true route of solid, fun gameplay, utilizing its brilliantly simplistic visuals to deliver a game unlike anything else to his the 3DS eShop in 2015. It’s with great pleasure that we give HAL and its little game that could Box Boy! the crown for being number one.
BEST 3DS ESHOP GAME RUNNERS-UP
Developer Image & Form was on this very list two years ago with its exceptional SteamWorld Dig, and this year the studio is back with another fantastic game in the form of SteamWorld Heist. A hybrid 2D-platformer/shooter/strategy game, it’s without exaggeration that we say SteamWorld Heist is one heck of a unique experience. A marked departure from the Metroidvania action of SteamWorld Dig, Heist stars a band of steam-powered space scavengers who are trying to help clean up their corner of the universe of a particularly hostile band of enemy robots. With gorgeous imagery, a compelling narrative, and some addicting gameplay in tow, this is a title that’s nearly impossible to put down after it’s been turned on. A real gem.
- Read the Nintendojo Review
Gunman Clive 2
Gunman Clive 2 is just plain special. Everything good about the first Gunman Clive, including its unique, illustrated-looking graphics, shooter gameplay that perfectly captured the spirit of the Mega Man series, and clever Western/steampunk setting, all returned for the sequel and were expanded upon. Gunman Clive 2 has flourishes of color that make its scratchy, sketched visuals pop more than ever, and the gameplay has been refined to perfection this time around– and even bring along a couple new twists. All from the mind of a single developer, Bertil Hörberg (and composer Arne Hörberg– did we forget to mention just how great the soundtrack is? Shame on us!), Gunman Clive 2 is a must-have for anyone who loves 2D, retro-infused gaming!
- Read the Nintendojo Review
Nintendo Badge Arcade
We gotta hand it to Nintendo; if any video game developer could figure out a way to successfully make its fans buy digital pins at five plays for $1, it would be the House of Mario. Honestly, though, Nintendo Badge Arcade is a fun diversion that takes the basic thrill of winning trinkets from a carnival or pizza parlor crane game and adds a Super Mario, Kirby, Legend of Zelda (and more!) veneer to the whole affair. It’s certainly been polarizing amongst the Nintendo-faithful, but taken as a quaint, fun way of sprucing up a player’s 3DS home screen (and the fact that Nintendo offers plenty of shots for free plays here and there), Badge Arcade is worth taking the plunge for.
- Read Nintendojo’s Impressions
Toki Tori 3D
Developer Two Tribes returned to the well again with this latest re-release of Toki Tori, but this just happens to be the definitive version of the game, as far as Nintendojo is concerned! The fun, quirky series remains as compelling as its ever been, with Toki Tori 3D introducing a handful of new conveniences that make the game even more user-friendly. It’s a slower paced experience, but Toki Tori 3D is brimming with clever, puzzle-platformer gameplay that everyone should take the time to download it!
- Read Nintendojo’s Review
Pokémon Shuffle is one of multiple free-to-play Pokémon games released for the eShop this year, but in our books it’s the best of the lot. Offering familiar “match three” gameplay along the lines of Bejeweled Blitz, Pokémon Shuffle mixes things up with familiar traits of the Pokémon series, like capturing the titular monsters and arranging them into teams to take into puzzle-based battles. The gameplay is frenzied and enjoyable, and with a monetization system along the lines of Candy Crush Saga, players aren’t forced to pay up to keep playing, though just about anyone will wish that the free spurts of gameplay lasted a bit longer. For what it is, though, Pokémon Shuffle is a strong release.
Do you agree with our choices? Vote for which game you think should be number one, or choose “Other” and tell us in the comments below!