Nothing’s quite as boring as a long flight or car ride with nothing to do. If you don’t have good company, entertainment, or a scenic view, travel can drag on for hours. It’s times like these that we’re extra thankful for our portable gaming systems. The right game can turn hours stuck in a seat into a guilt free marathon of adventures. After all, it’s not like you have anywhere more productive you could be!
Charge up your 3DS! These five 2014 releases will keep you engaged for your longest journeys.
Fantasy Life lets you take all of the variety and progression of an MMORPG on the road. Make a custom character and master gathering, crafting, and combat across 12 different classes.
The game cleverly tugs you between all of its possibilities by showing off the synergies between its different types of gameplay. You might start out as a carpenter, but switch to being a hunter once you craft a powerful bow. That bow lets you slay a boss blocking the way to a lava pool with a rare (and fire proof) looking fish in it, so you’ll learn to fish, reel it in, and see how you can serve it up as a cook. The regular changes of pace keep the game fresh.
Fantasy Life’s main story is it’s weakest link, so don’t feel bad if you hold the X button to zip through it as quickly as you can. Once you’re done, you’ll enjoy a varied open world that’s good for dozens of hours of play if you want to master every class.
If you want even more content to play, you can nab the Origin Island DLC from the eShop. It boosts the level cap from 50 to 200, and adds a trio of MMORPG style endgame dungeons that, while not insurmountable alone, are best faced with up to 2 other players backing you up in local or online co-op.
Lauded among competent spinoffs of the Final Fantasy series in everything but name, Bravely Default is a jolt of Japanese RPG nostalgia with endearing, voice-acted characters and satisfying combat. Train your party members in Final Fantasy character classes like Fighter and Red Mage, then take on the game’s unique combat system. To win, you’ll need to balance sacrificing turns by defending to take up to four actions at once in an all-out attack later.
While there’s more than enough to entertain a solo player, those who embrace the game’s social features will unlock fun bonuses. If your friends play, they can save a special attack and transfer it to you via streetpass for future use. You can also connect 3DS friends to individual characters in your party, allowing those characters to use advanced attacks unlocked in your friend’s game.
Don’t worry if you don’t have friends who play the game though. You can still get social rewards from streetpass connections with strangers, granting you workers for a town rebuilding minigame that unlocks shops full of powerful equipment and items.
Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
The Professor Layton games feature charming detective stories and tons of mind-bending logic puzzles for you to solve. The Ace Attorney series is one of over-the-top courtroom drama, where you’ll scour crime scenes for clues, and challenge suspects with your conclusions to dispense justice. The two series are made by different developers, but they’ve teamed up for a wacky crossover tale that’s great for deep thinkers.
Though both games aim to exercise your brain, Layton’s puzzles are presented as discrete problems that you solve to advance, while Wright’s gameplay has a longer arc, challenging you to find conflicts between evidence and testimony to build a big picture. They’re two pretty different kinds of puzzle solving, and with them paired up in a single game, you’ll be able to decide if you want to make a bigger investment in either franchise.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
If you’ve been paying attention to Japanese RPGs the past few years, you’re probably familiar with Atlus’ Persona franchise. The games charge you with a team of Japanese teenagers who struggle to live normal high school social lives by day while mastering magic powers to fight occult monsters in the shadows.
Persona 3, and the spectacular Persona 4, are fan favorites in this long running series, and Persona Q brings both titles’ casts together for a team-up adventure.
The gameplay, however, won’t be quite like any of the previous Persona games. The third ingredient in this crossover mix is Etrian Oddysey, a DS and 3DS dungeon crawling franchise known for its labyrinthine dungeons and old school challenge. This means you’ll be mapping mazes with your stylus on the bottom screen, and having to make tough decisions about when to press on and when to turn back.
This one’s a must-have for Persona fans. It’s a great game to fill the gap while you’re looking forward to Persona 5.
Pokémon Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby
Last year, Nintendo’s famed monster battling series made its way to the 3DS with Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. A bunch of great changes to the Pokémon formula made for the best adventures yet! This year, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby grace the handheld as updated remakes of 2003’s Game Boy Advance Pokémon titles.
Alpha and Omega may lack new lands and monsters, but they make up for it with fan favorite features like secret bases, and pet show like Pokémon Contests, where beauty, timing, and presentation are tested as your monsters perform tricks for judges.
Even after you beat the game’s main story, your adventure is just beginning. Though they’re marketed to kids, Pokémon games are full of endgame challenges and intense online competition to test any monster training fan. Just one look at these deep Pokémon websites will show you how complex breeding a competition grade beast can be.
Even if none of your friends play the game, online matchmaking will help you find an exciting fight, no matter your skill level.
Whether you’re passing time in transit to holiday fun, or just looking for a game that offers lots of bang for your buck, any one of these 2014 releases will keep you entertained for the long haul. Load up your game and enjoy the journey, because time flies when you’re having fun.
Will you be catching up on games with your free time this holiday season? Tell our community what you’ll be playing so they can find more of the best games!
Image Credits: Travel bag Via Shutterstock