Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2014: 3DS eShop

The 3DS downloadable titles that will make you the hero of the holidays!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/17/2014 13:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

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It’s that time of year again, when your bank account becomes a veritable punching bag as you sift through seemingly-endless mountains of clothes, electronics, toys, and more, searching for that elusive perfect gift. Nintendojo is here to make your quest just a little easier-well, assuming you’re shopping for a fellow gamer!

We’re starting with the best games on the 3DS eShop. It’s been a busy year for the bustling digital marketplace, as Nintendo and its indie partners, in particular, have been doing their best to make the eShop the best place to download games this side of Apple’s App Store. So sit back, take notes, and get ready for the games that will thrill 3DS owners of all kinds!

Shovel Knight

Price: $14.99
Whether someone is a retro enthusiast or platformer fan in general, Shovel Knight is a must-own. Paying homage to NES titles like Mega Man, DuckTales, and Castlevania, Yacht Club Games’ inaugural outing is a polished and quality title that’s as memorable as the classics from which it draws inspiration. Utilizing a creative risk and reward checkpoint system, Shovel Knight‘s bold 8-bit presentation and challenging gameplay are some of the best in the eShop.

Siesta Fiesta

Price: $5.99
Breakout-inspired games have been a staple of the video game industry for years, but it’s rare when one manages to separate itself from the crowd. Siesta Fiesta manages to do exactly that, however, offering the familiar ball bouncing and brick breaking that fans would expect, but coupled with unique gameplay elements to change up the pace. The ball’s flight distance can be altered with a button press, and the game is constantly throwing new gameplay mechanics across its 64 stages. With a charming visual aesthetic, Siesta Fiesta takes a classic formula and does something new with it.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Price: $29.99
Offering Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Ace Attorney: Justice For All, and Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations in one package, for only 30 bucks, is quite a deal all its own. Factor in a polished translation, the chance to play all three games in Japanese, improved visuals, and a speedier pace, and you have an irresistible collection that both new and old fans should consider downloading. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is the perfect place to start for those interested in the series, and an opportunity for people who played the originals to experience the definitive version of them.

Inazuma Eleven

Price: $19.99
No one ever knew they needed a soccer JRPG in their life until Level-5’s Inazuma Eleven hit the eShop. Mixing “the beautiful game” and roleplaying elements together into a single title sounds strange until experienced firsthand. Inazuma Eleven offers an engaging narrative, innovative game mechanics, and an abundance of content. There aren’t many titles like this on any system, but what else would one expect from one of the most diverse gaming marketplaces in the industry? Sports and RPG fans would do well to give this game a download.

Tappingo 2

Price: $2.99
It’s not every week that a true high quality, original puzzle game is released on any video game console, but that’s exactly what Tappingo 2 is. Using the 3DS touch screen, players must extend rows of squares by an indicated number in order complete pixelated images on the top screen. The catch is that each row will extend all the way to the edge of the screen if there isn’t another row in place to impede its progression. Figuring out which rows to extend and in what direction is a mesmerizing and addicting experience that’s perfect for Picross fans and fans of puzzle games, in general. It’s also a lot of content for a paltry $2.99. The first Tappingo is equally worthy of a download, too, and is also budget friendly at $1.99.

Pokémon Battle Trozei

Price: $7.99
Another puzzle game, Pokémon Battle Trozei is a fun spin on the familiar match-three gameplay that so many other titles utilize. What makes Battle Trozei different is the use of Pokémon types to add a layer of strategy when deciding which three pocket monsters to match up. Gameplay is fast and challenging, making it much more visceral than many similar puzzlers. Joined with an excellent combo system and an abundance of Pokémon, Battle Trozei is stuffed with content and should appeal to series diehards and puzzle enthusiasts alike.

Azure Striker Gunvolt

Price: $14.99
Pulling from the challenge and intensity of classic 2D platformers while infusing modern design sensibilities and presentation, Azure Striker Gunvolt is a heck of a run and gun game. Developed by Inti Creates, the same studio behind the Mega Man Zero and ZX series, Gunvolt plays in much the same vein as those beloved handheld titles. Combined with an entertaining cast and some light RPG elements, Gunvolt is a robust adventure that will grip players until the very end. It’s the sort of game that the hardcore crowd has been longing quite a while for, and though it doesn’t feature Mega Man or Zero, Gunvolt is a captivating new hero who proudly carries the torch boldly into the future.

Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder

Price: $9.99
Fans of the original Chibi-Robo! on GameCube take notice; Nintendo developed and released another fun installment in the series for 3DS earlier this year called Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder. While players still maneuver the diminutive electronic cleaner around an over-sized world, the gameplay has been given a significant alteration with the introduction of the 3DS’s cameras. Players are tasked with snapping photos of real-world objects to fit silhouettes in the game. If Chibi comes across a round silhouette, for instance, a picture of a baseball might fit perfectly within it. It’s a different, but entertaining spin on a fan-favorite franchise.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

Price: $19.99
WayForward’s Shantae series has a long history dating all the way back to Game Boy Color. This latest installment, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, is yet another incredible Metroidvania title that hits so many of the right buttons. Whether it’s the tight gameplay, stunning graphics, or quirky and funny story, Pirate’s Curse is a highpoint for Shantae. A great 2D platformer that’s also the perfect primer for the upcoming Shantae: Half-Genie Hero that’s heading to Wii U!


Price: $9.99
For those who have been starved for a proper 2D Metroid game, take notice of developer Renegade Kid’s Xeodrifter. Starring a nomad trapped in an ominous pocket of space called the omega sector, it’s up to players to help the intrepid explorer recover the warp core that his ship needs in order to go back home. Taking cues from Metroid and Super Metroid, this is a short adventure that’s big on action and spectacle, and a stiff challenge, as well. Fans of 2D run and guns and Metroidvania titles will want to give Xeodrifter a shot.

There are other titles worthy of considering, besides these. Moon Chronicles is an enhanced port of the cult-classic DS title Moon, which is being released in episodic chunks and with more on the way. There are also a couple of free-to-play titles available in the form of Steel Diver: Sub Wars and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. Both games have a $0 asking price, so players can give them a try without investing any money. Retro City Rampage: DX is a wonderful, portable version of the 80s-infused, retro sandbox game. 1001 Spikes is a brutal platformer that will test fans with its intensely challenging gameplay. Grinsia offers classic JRPG gameplay for fans of the SNES and Sega Genesis era of that genre. Finally, Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe and Kirby Fighters Deluxe are both sublime minigames from Kirby Triple Deluxe that have been turned into their own standalone experiences.

Are there any eShop titles on 3DS that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!

2 Responses to “Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2014: 3DS eShop”

  • 9 points
    Lobo says...

    I think Dual Destinies (Phoenix Wright) deserves a mention too. I mean, it should be cheaper and it looks better. If people haven’t played that, why send them to the trilogy of older games when there’s a new one up that sometimes drops way cheaper than $40? Dual Destinies is the way to go for Ace Attorney action if you haven’t picked up any of the three 3DS Phoenix Wright… well, I guess it’s not 3. It’s more like 1.5 + 3 in the trilogy, so 4.5. Whatever; you know what I mean ;)

    Also, Circle Entertainment’s “The Legend of Dark Witch” (sic). Always cheap – I think it’s $4 usually – but right now it’s discounted to 2-something. And it’s a fantastic little run-n-gun platformer sort of similar to a faster paced Mega Man with more emphasis on arcadey shooting and less on platforming. Still hard as heck though. But it looks pretty good (early/mid-gen SNES) and sounds great, and is honestly better than the price point that they’re putting on it. A great pick-up, any time of the year, especially on the cheap!

    That’s all I got for the 3DS suggestions though – you guys have a great list here already :D

    • 9 points
      Lobo says...

      1.5 = 1 whole game (Dual Destinies) and one half game (Phoenix Wright vs. Prof. Layton), I mean. Just to clarify my Ace Attorney math there :D

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