For those that need a little help deciding what games are worth picking up with your 3DS on launch day, and which ones just aren’t, we’ve assembled this guide, really a collection of our own mini reviews of all of the games that will launch with the Nintendo 3DS
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
Easily the longest title among the 3DS launch games, and easily the best game not made by Nintendo. Super Street Fighter IV 3D has all of the features of the console version including the full story mode with all included cutscenes, and full online and local multi-player to battle against your friends or strangers from the other side of the planet, and it’s packed with 3DS exclusive features like trophy collecting & Street Pass Trophy Battles, a 3D enhanced mode where the camera is placed for a more dramatic looking 3D experience, a more casual control mode you can optionally switch on which allows you to have moves assigned to buttons on the touch screen so you don’t have to be a hardcore Street Fighter player right from the start.
Capcom has also confirmed that they can do DLC on the 3DS, so if they ever want to add the Arcade Edition characters to the home games they can do it on the 3DS as well.
Overall if you’ve ever enjoyed the fighting game genre this is a must have launch title for your 3DS, and if you’ve been pushed away from fighters that have become to mechanically complicated this is a great way to dip your toes back in with the optional touch screen controls.
The most experimental of the early 3DS games Steel Diver has you controlling submarines in a fish tank like side-scrolling view at times, and in a first person ship sinking periscope view other times. This atmospheric underwater game controls like a sim title, with all the levers and gears of the sub appearing on the touch screen, with leaks also appearing there for you to fix when you take damage. Hugely engaging bringing you to the depths in your sub, Steel Diver is an must have for anyone who turns to games for new experiences.
This is not a new series of games from Nintendo, but many may see it as that considering that this is the first new Pilotwings title since the Nintendo 64, and for those of you who didn’t play it back then let me tell you it was a masterpiece. Does this latest entry live up to the N64 classic? Without a doubt. This game features the same super high quality flight adventure mechanics that made the previous game such a blast, and now it has the beefed up visuals to live up to the pitch perfect feeling of flight.
Soaring over mountains in you propeller plane, above the ocean in your jetpack, between trees while getting rings, and catching air vents in your glider are all an invigorating zen blast, and now when you crash into the side of the mountain it will be your Mii letting screams of terror as he falls to his death.
Nintendogs + Cats
You should know what this is, the sequel to one of the most revolutionary titles for the DS, the game that spawned a thousand low quality knockoffs. If you want to raise, and care for virtual dogs an cats, now with far more realistic fur, this is the game you’re looking for.
Now don’t let the name fool you, this is not a long awaited new entry in the Rayman series, this is yet another Rayman 2 remake, but shockingly enough coming from Ubisoft, it’s actually a good remake. If you’re longing for a big adventure in the form of a platformer this will neatly fill that slot. The game is a semi-classic, and if you’ve never played or haven’t played it since the Dreamcast days this is a very good pickup.
Lego Star Wars III The Clone Wars
The only other viable action adventure game at release beside Rayman, Lego Star Wars is a Lego game, and like every other Lego game this one is very simple and skews very young, but they’re high quality games for little kids, that older players can enjoy if they like the Star Wars universe enough.
Ridge Racer 3D
Releasing a Ridge Racer game at a systems launch is a tradition at this point, actually it’s a strategy, cause Konami is hoping that in your desire to pick up as many games as possible for launch you will overlook the lack of polish always present in the titles. Don’t get me wrong if you desperately need a 3D racer right now this is probably the one to get, but ho in knowing this game doesn’t look as good as it should, and the physics when your car crashes just looks plain dumb. Enjoy it for what it is, but know there are far better games you could pick up with your system this time around.
Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
Another title from the laziest video game publisher on the face of the earth Ubisoft, Ghost Recon Shadow Wars is a title that was originally planned for the DS then later moved to the 3DS, and it shows, at least graphically. Shadow Wars is a strategy RPG much like Advance Wars or Fire Emblem, and as such it doesn’t need to be a graphics powerhouse, what matters is the strategy gameplay, and luckily enough for Ubisoft and for new 3DS owners this game is made by a master of strategy gaming X-Com creator [NAME NAME], so the gameplay is as you would expect is absolutely top notch. Hopefully it sells well enough to the strategy fans, despite the DS+ level graphics, to force Ubisoft to allow [NAME NAME] to create a title designed for the 3DS from the start.
Super Monkey Ball 3D
This is a series that has worn out it’s welcome at least with me, and this iteration isn’t going to change that opinion. The graphics are barely acceptable, and while Sega continue to pack these games full of modes the content is just not worthwhile unfortunately. These Monkey Ball games would be better served just focusing on the core game mode ditching the ancillary stuff like kart racing and fighting, and releasing as a lower cost downloadable title.
Samurai Warriors: Chronicles
If you’ve ever in your life encountered a Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors title you have a fairly good idea of what’s in store for you here. The graphics are mediocre at best, the mechanics aren’t smooth, but these games still manage to be a decently fun hack ‘n slash experience. I wouldn’t recommend this over the many high quality leading launch titles, but if you enjoy the Samurai/Dynasty Warriors style games this is as good as any one of them ever have been.
The long running puzzle series is finally getting what it’s always needed a transition to 3D! Seriously it’s Bust-A-Move match different color balls by shooting them in to the puzzle field, it’s the game you know with some minor added 3D effects. Not worth a full price purchase in my opinion, but maybe you really love Bust-A-Move.
And the rest…
Not as good as Ridge Racer 3D.
Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
Actually looks pretty neat visually, but it’s pure junk shovelware from Ubisoft, and would only be worth a purchase at a heavily discounted price for someone who loves dinosaurs more than they love fun.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D
Based mostly on one of the best Splinter Cell games Chaos Theory, but it’s a horrible quality port from Ubisoft, more launch cash-in shovelware from them.
Madden NFL Football
For those who enjoy Madden the core gameplay is good, but it’s heavily lacking in modes and features. Not really worth purchasing, but should mean the next Madden on 3DS will be good now that the basics are done, and they can take time making it feature complete when they aren’t rushing to make it in time for launch.
The Sims 3
EA has started to get a little closer to making The Sims games better for the non-PC versions, but this still doesn’t run great, and is no match for the PC version of this long in the tooth series of games.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
A high quality version of the popular soccer series made for the 3DS. Strictly for the soccer fan.
If somehow none of these many launch games grab your attention the 3DS has many included games, and features if you want to hold out for one of the big 3DS games coming out later like Metal Gear Solid 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, Legend Of Zelda 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Super Paper Mario 3D, etc. For instance the Augmented Reality games, including:
Target Shoot, that’s the one where you fight the dragon that pops out of the table.
Face Raiders, a game where yours and your friends’ faces attack you in waves and you have to move around the room to shoot them.
The Mii RPG, where your Mii is captured and you have to collect coins by walking with the 3DS or collect other Mii’s in Street Pass mode to fight in dungeons to level up and win new hats for your Mii.
Real world Fishing, and real world Billiards Mini Golf.
And of course there’s the 3D photo taking, Mii creator, and soon 3D videos & downloadable classic titles like Super Mario Land, and Link’s Awakening. And it should go without saying that there are hundreds of amazing DS games out there that you may have missed that will play in your new 3DS as well.