The Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system got off to a rocky start, but it seems to be finding its stride as time goes on. In my opinion, the reason for this is that there are finally games on the platform worth playing. The system launched with an abysmal lineup that featured gems such as Steel Driver, a rehash of Super Street Fighter IV and a terrible excuse for a Madden game. Times have changed, and Nintendo has taken things into their own hands, pushing some of their biggest first party games to the platform just in time for this past holiday shopping season.
Nintendo platforms tend to be fueled by first party games, and it seems like the 3DS is no exception. That is not a knock against them, while they have a hard time getting many solid third-party games, having a loyal fan following that purchases anything with Mario or Zelda on the box nets Nintendo tons of money. These three games fall under that category, and the fact of the matter is, they are insanely good. They all have a Metacritic rating of over 85, with two having 90 or better. If you own a 3DS, you must play these games.
It took Nintendo longer than expected to bring a proper Mario game to the 3DS, but when they did, they did it in style. Super Mario 3D Land shows exactly what the 3DS can do. You would think that after nearly 30 years the Mario formula would be tired, but you would be wrong. Nintendo consistently finds new ways to tweak and change the gameplay, keeping it fresh and exciting while still maintaining the feel that gamers expect from Mario.
What makes this game so special is the way it uses the 3D. Instead of just being a cheesy visual gimmick like it is for most games, it is actually integral to the gameplay. In making 3D a mechanic of the game, instead of just a visual trick, they have shown other developers what the 3DS can really do. They took what appeared to be a gimmick and made it essential for solving puzzles and navigating the world.
What can I say about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that has not already been said? It is arguably (almost factually) the best video game ever made for any platform, and now it is available on the 3DS for gamers to bring the adventure wherever they go. The remake received universal praise, and has a Metacritic rating of 94 out of 100. Personally, if I was to review it, I would give it a 95, it really is that damn good, even all these years later.
The controls on the 3DS work well, and while it does not do anything groundbreaking with 3D like Mario, it is still an awesome remake of the one of the best video games ever made. It looks beautiful on the 3DS screen and is just as much fun to play as it ever was. If you own a 3DS, you need to play this game. For a new generation of gamers who may not have experienced Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64, this is their chance to have the time of their life.
It is hard to believe that Mario Kart has been around for seven games, but here we are. Essentially, Nintendo releases the same game repeatedly with Mario Kart, and yet, it is still good every time. Mario Kart 7 does not do anything to revolutionize the cart-racing genre, but the thing is, it does not need to. Nintendo has the perfect formula, and changing it too much would just make it worse. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Of course, Nintendo made small tweaks that take this Mario cart to a new level. There are new tracks and items to play with. They also implemented a well-made gyro control system so you can steer your cart by tilting your 3DS. Nintendo added a gliding mechanic that can really shake up a race if used properly. They threw in some new modes to keep things fresh and fun. They did not take anything that made Mario Kart great away from the game; they just added some fun to new layers to make it even better.
If you own a 3DS, you need to play these games. They have made the system actually worth owning. They are Nintendo staple franchises and they are all done right. They remind me of why we all were so excited when the 3DS was first announced at E3 a couple of years ago. Go to your local games shop and get these games; you will not regret it.
What games made it worth owning a 3DS for you? Let us know in the comments!