Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2014: 3DS

The 3DS games that will be on everyone’s list this holiday season!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/19/2014 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Beyond 3DS’s digital marketplace, good old brick and mortar stores were also graced with a number of excellent, must-have games for Nintendo’s handheld. With so many boxes to sort through, it can be daunting trying to figure out which titles are worth taking home. Never fear, dead readers, because Nintendojo is here to give you a helping hand!

Super Smash Bros.

Price: $39.99
Nintendo’s beloved brawler is back and appearing for the first time on a handheld. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is as full-featured as any of the home console releases, offering the exciting gameplay and modes that fans have come to expect of the series. With online play, fans can take their fighters to opponents from afar and really put their skills to the test. With the biggest lineup of characters yet seen in the series, Smash Bros. has put its best foot forward and will keep players busy for hours. Look forward to the addition of Amiibo support via an update in the future.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

Price: Standard $49.99 | The Wild Cards Premium Edition $79.99
Mixing characters and elements from Persona with Etrian Odyssey dungeon crawling, developer Atlus has created the ambitious and entertaining Person Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. The combination of the two series has resulted in an experience that fans of both series will immediately be sucked into. The familiar first-person dungeon exploration has been tweaked with the implementation of the 3DS touch screen, while the combat system is robust and deep. Persona Q‘s excellent writing and voice acting bolster its narrative, and joined with beautiful graphics and a killer soundtrack, it should prove irresistible to anyone who enjoys RPGs. Be sure to try and snag a copy of The Wild Cards Premium Edition; the heftier price tag is worth it for the plethora of goodies inside its large box!

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Price: Standard $39.99 | Collector’s Edition $69.99
SquareEnix’s music game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is part rhythm gameplay, part history lesson of the Final Fantasy series. Curtain Call is definitely a step above the original. The title is filled to the brim with music from all the mainline Final Fantasy titles and even its spinoffs. The music selection in Curtain Call is staggeringly deep, touching on titles that most people would not even expect to be involved. Gameplay has been enhanced with better controls and graphics, too. This is the quintessential musical celebration of one of the greatest series in the history of the medium.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Price: $29.99

Talk about a dream collaboration. When Level-5 and Capcom joined forces to bring Hershel Layton and Phoenix Wright into a single game, fans were elated. The two series shared enough similarities that it seemed perfect to unite them, and luckily for fans, their union bore some tasty fruit. With an intriguing setting, fun story, spot-on representation of both franchises, and solid gameplay, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is a gem of a game that puzzle and point and click fans should run out to buy.

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Price: $39.99 each
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of the beloved Game Boy Advance classics Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and what successful remakes they are. Utilizing the revolutionary game engine created for Pokémon X and Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are wonderful upgrades of their source material, bringing new mechanics and content to an already rich duo of titles. Nintendo and Game Freak continue to keep the Pokémon series both relevant and infinitely entertaining, and both newer and older fans of the series owe it to themselves to check out Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Tomodachi Life

Price: $34.99-$39.99
For those who love Animal Crossing, Tomodachi Life is a must-have. And even for those who aren’t fans of Nintendo’s other life-sim game, Tomodachi Life is so unique and charming that it sits in its own unique corner of the gaming world that can’t be ignored. Fill a small island town with Miis of all shapes and sizes, and watch them come to life forming friendships and relationships. Miis will sing, dance, cry, rage, love, and roll around on the floor, all in real-time. The sheer number of hours that will be spent finding a Mii’s favorite food or picking the perfect outfit is almost infinite. Tomodachi Life has to be played to really be understood, but it’s worth every penny.

Mario Golf: World Tour

Price: $29.99
Though people like to lambaste Nintendo for its various Mario spinoff games, ones like Mario Golf: World Tour really should be celebrated more than anything else. Boasting impressive visuals and the usual easy to learn, tough to master gameplay that landed the series on the map, World Tour is a real thrill to play on 3DS. Coupled with a ton of customization options and some wonderful online play, World Tour is a real high point for the series. It’s actually been quite a while since the last Mario Golf game, so be sure to give this one a look. Golf and Mario fans should love World Tour.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Price: $34.99
Kirby Triple Deluxe is a triumphant debut for the character on 3DS. Though primarily a traditional 2D Kirby platformer, Triple Deluxe incorporates some very clever use of the 3DS’s stereoscopic 3D screen to shake things up. Being able to pop into and out of the background provides some very fun and tricky segments of gameplay. With two excellent minigames included in the forms of King Dedede Drum Dash and Kirby Fighters, and an abundance of collectibles, this game offers tons of variety and content. Triple Deluxe is perfect for platformer fans, young or old.

Scribblenauts Unmasked

Price: $19.99
Developer 5th Cell’s Scribblenauts games continue to impress, with the series signature vocabulary-based gameplay evolving and growing with each release. While Scribblenauts Unmasked doesn’t necessarily reinvent itself compared to previous installments, with the addition of DC Comics’ pantheon of superheroes and villains has breathed fresh air into the franchise. The adorable art style of Scribblenauts has been used to re-imagine fan favorites like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and the results are spectacular. Comic book fans and wordsmiths will fall in love with Scribblenauts Unmasked.

Yoshi’s New Island

Price: $39.99
Yoshi is back in a new platforming romp with Yoshi’s New Island. The game has a beautiful hand-drawn art style and the familiar egg tossing mechanic made famous in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The game ramps up the difficulty with each new world, and the character designs are so cute it’ll make teeth ache. Or at least a heart or two; seriously, how adorable is Shy Guy? Except when he’s on a murderous anti-Yoshi rampage, of course. Platformer aficionados take notice of this one!

Bravely Default

Price: Standard $39.99 | Collector’s Edition $54.99
SquareEnix’s Final Fantasy series has been hit or miss with fans for quite awhile now, so it was more than a little surprising that Bravely Default was made to embrace so many of the tenets of JRPGS that the developer seemingly abandoned long ago. Bravely Default has an engaging story and cast, a deep and rewarding battle system, and mounds of content to unlock. Rather than pander to the needs of so-called modern gamers, Bravely Default is distinctly old-school in its execution, preferring to challenge players rather than coddle them. Be sure to give the demo a download, as it contains things not seen in the main game, and data can be transferred over. A wonderful game that anyone should give a shot, but especially RPG diehards.

3DS continues to be one of, if not the, premier consoles on the market. 2014 brought with it a smattering of great games, and believe us when we say this list doesn’t cover all of it. Fantasy Life is an arresting mixture of life-sim and RPG gameplay mechanics. Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is a fun new start for the series. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is an impressive platformer that proves licensed games can rise above expectations. Cooking Mama 5 is a return to form for the franchise, and provides hours of fun content to explore. Pokémon Art Academy is a relaxing way to pass the time, learning to draw everyone’s favorite Pocket Monsters and then sharing that art with other players. Finally, Ultimate NES Remix offers a greatest hits (of sorts) of the first two NES Remix games in a portable package.

Once again, we ask you, readers, what games you’d like to add to our list of titles? Speak up in the comments below!

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