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The Nintendo 3DS

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I have now owned a 3DS for about 3 months now and have had the chance to formulate an opinion on it, I didn’t buy one earlier as there is always the suspicion with Nintendo that there will be an updated version of the hardware at some point and there was barely any games available initially. The first point proved true as Nintendo released an XL version of the machine which is physically larger and has larger screens, this is the version I got. And in terms of the software, there have now been a number of titles released and there is a significant number on the horizon too. I have one or two minor grumbles about the machine, the first being that for me the 3D is an irritation, but that’s really a meaningless complaint as it’s entirely optional and it operates via a slider meaning that you can find a setting that works best for you and I suspect my issues with the 3D are predominantly down to the way I sit when I’m playing.

My other complaint is the selection of titles on the Virtual Console, the majority of games available so far are Game Gear and Gameboy games, there seems to be a segregation where 3DS gets handheld titles and the Wii U gets home console games, again though this is a minor complaint, mostly born from the fact that an English language translation of Earthbound has been announced for the Wii U’s virtual console. I will say that the cost of digital versions of the game are about the same as you would pay in a high street shop and only marginally more than most online retailers, which is actually something of a first when you consider that this has always been a problem with digital releases. Memory wise my machine came with a 4gb SD card which the system uses to save any downloaded games and DLC, this is fine as a starting point as DLC and DSiware games don’t take up too much space however a digital version of a full game can take near to 2gb up, with that said the cost of an SD card is pretty negligible so shouldn’t represent a problem in the grand scheme of things.

imageThe system also has a feature called Spotpass which from what I have experienced allows you to share your Mii with people who you are close to if you have the feature activated and the system in standby mode. This also seems to allow certain functionality within games too though I haven’t witnessed this much, and another one feature where walking while carrying the machine in standby mode will generate play coins which can be used in certain games for different things. In Animal Crossing, for instance, you can purchase fortune cookies which produce fortunes that can be exchanged for rare items.

Battery wise I seem to get around 4 to 5 hours out of the machine, which isn’t the worst I’ve ever experienced especially, but the machine doesn’t come with a power adaptor bundled with it for some strange reason. This means that you have to purchase, or if you have a DS lite or any models afterwards you can use the same power adaptor. With all that said it’s the games that really make a machine so with that in mind I’m going to write a bit about the games I’m looking forward to and the ones I currently own.

Games I’m looking forward to:

Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – While it’s not the HD remake of Majora’s Mask that I desperately want, it is the sequel to Link to the Past which is my second favourite Zelda game. I’ve only seen one screenshot so far but I will be looking out for this one to see if it can offer the same kind of epicness as it’s predecessor.

Yoshi’s Island – For some reason I’ve always preferred the Yoshi platforming games to the equivalent Mario ones as I find them to be more fun and better looking, so I’m looking forward to this one to see if will be as good as the ones before it.

Fantasy Life – This has been billed as a cross between Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing which are both series that I adore, and it’s made by Level 5 who make the Professor Layton, Inazuma and Ni No Kuni games so it should look absolutely stunning and have some interesting gameplay features.

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team – Assuming it’s like the previous entries in the series then it will be a combination of RPG and platformer and will be great fun to play. I’ve really enjoyed other entries in the series so this one is definitely on my radar.

Hometown Story – From the creator of Harvest Moon and set in the same game universe, this is definitely one that I’m curious about as I don’t really know much about it at all. I will be keeping an eye on it though to see if it’s a game that will generate the same level of interest as the Harvest Moon games always have for me.

Mario Party – This one will be interesting to see if there is a good and varied selection of mini games, and if so then hopefully friends who also own a 3DS will in turn purchase so that multiplayer can be enjoyed.

Pokemon X and Y – When the new Pokemon was announced that was the point where I decided to get a 3DS, I’me really looking forward to it and seeing what tweaks they’ve made to the system and also seeing what new Pokemon there are.

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Games I’ve played:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf The Animal Crossing series has always been pretty chilled out and just allowed you to fish, upgrade your house and collect furniture at your own pace and while this one also allows you to do that it also changes things up a little by making you mayor of the town. This allows you to customise the town to suit you, be it building things requested to you by residents or changing the opening times of shops. It works really well and is one of those games thats good for a quick go here and there or a prolonged fishing or bug catching session, and the multiplayer works quite well too.

Fire Emblem: Awakening A phenomenal tactical RPG, this requires a lot of thought and strategy in order to progress and while it can be a little difficult at times it also feels really rewarding when you make it past a particularly tricky battle. It also has different difficulties depending on the challenge you want with the easier mode meaning that units stay dead on the harder mode or are resurrected upon successful completion of a battle on the easier mode. There is also a wealth of depth to the game by allowing units to build up support with each other and in some instances certain units can have kids together which offers up even more tactical options.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 – This is a really fun game that should actually be a bit more frustrating than it is as there’s a lot of backtracking in the locations that each level is set in, however it makes it work by offering up collectibles and different ghosts as well as clever use of upgrades that makes sure that the backtracking feels worthwhile.

Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns – As a Harvest Moon fan I had gotten a bit bored with previous entries as there was never a lot different, this one makes one very key change in that you have to pick a town to live in and in doing so this directly impacts your farm as one town specialises on livestock and the other in crops. You can move as the game goes on though so you can get the full experience but overall it’s a fun little game that requires planning to get the most from each in game day.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – An odd hydrid of RPG and rhythm action game that uses songs from each of the first thirteen core entries in the Final Fantasy series, gameplay is relatively straight forward though pretty tough on harder difficulties, but as a fan of the series for the most part it’s fun and provides an awesome amount of nostalgia as well as having a huge amount of unlockable content and the levelling up system is fun too. There is also a large amount of songs to download, each costing 90p, my only complaint would be that from a personal standpoint some amazing songs aren’t in the game.

Virtue’s Last Reward – I bought this after reading good things and from playing it the game feels like an interactive novel of sorts, the puzzles feel a bit like a point and click adventure in that they don’t always feel very obvious but then that encourages you to think, there is definitely an intrigue to the game that makes it more engaging to play.

Crush 3D – A combination of platform game and puzzle game, the concept of the game is collect all the items in a level and each the exit but this is only possible by moving the camera into one of 5 positions and engaging the crush feature which turns the angle chosen into a 2 dimensional viewpoint. It’s a surprisingly clever game and really makes you think creatively to progress through each level.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – This plays pretty much the same as previous entries in the series which isn’t a bad thing at all, the puzzles are interesting and the mini games are fun and provide a nice contrast. The main difference for me is that the plot feels a bit more personal as it links to the eponymous Professor’s past and this makes for a very interesting game.

Cooking Mama 4 – This game is more or less the same as previous entries, the main difference as far as I can see is that there are a number of unlockable items and mini games as a result of achieving certain goals during the main game. I’ve always found it fun and a game that is good when you just want to have a quick 5 or 10 minute go on something.

Shinobi – I picked this up for a fiver and as such went in with pretty low expectations and while it’s not the best game I’ve played, and it’s certainly nowhere near as good as Shinobi 3 on the Mega Drive it’s a decent game though a bit unforgiving at times.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D – I picked this up for free as part of a promotion where I bought 3 games (Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem and Luigi’s Mansion) and while the game mechanics need some getting used to, it’s a fun and properly old school platformer and it looks good too, there’s a lot of detail on the screen.

Tetris – This is pretty much the same as every Tetris game ever produced, which isn’t a bad thing as traditional Tetris is a classic, there’s other modes to play too though they’re not a patch on the original mode but as with all versions the difficulty increases as you progress while playing.

Pokemon Dream Radar – This is essentially a mini game that allows you to catch certain pokemon and items and then download them to a copy of Pokemon Black or White 2, the main draw is that it allows the user to catch the three legendaries Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus and import them into your save game but once these have been caught you gain the ability to put one of the DS Pokemon games into your 3DS and use the game to catch that games respective legendary.

Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move – A puzzle game where you have four different modes, each with numerous levels, where you have to fill in the missing pieces for a maze in order to guide the minis on that level to the exit while collecting the three tokens present. It starts of easy enough but does make you think as often the solution requires a degree of trial and error to find.

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Super Mario Sunshine: Retro

Super Mario Sunshine: Retro game of the day

imageSuper Mario Sunshine, developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It was released in October 2002 across Europe. It is the second 3D Mario platformer, following Super Mario 64. The game takes place on the tropical Isle Delfino, where Mario, Princess Peach and five Toads are taking a vacation. A villain resembling Mario, known as Shadow Mario, vandalises the entire island with graffiti and Mario gets blamed for the mess. Later on, Mario is ordered to clean up Isle Delfino, while saving Princess Peach from Shadow Mario. Mario cleans up the island with a device called Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device or FLUDD for short.

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When Mario first acquires FLUDD he can spray and hover using its nozzles, it can be upgraded later in the game to extend functionality. The rocket nozzle, which blasts Mario up high into the air and the turbo nozzle, which lets Mario sprint at high speed on land and water and break down specific doors. Mario can also ride Yoshi later in the game, who can eat fruit and squirt the juice of that fruit. This juice can be used to dissolve orange generators acting as obstacles, and briefly transform enemies into platforms for Mario to step on. The color of Yoshi and color of its juice depends on the type of fruit last eaten.

There are 240 blue coins and 120 Shine Sprites. Each level consists of eight tasks, which may be played again at will once they are completed. Once the player has collected enough Shine Sprites, a new level is available at Delfino Plaza, either by the acquisition of a new ability or a plot-related event. Of the 120 Shine Sprites, 24 are gained by collecting and trading Blue Coins at a rate of 10 coins per sprite. Gameplay proceeds in this fashion until all of the Shadow Mario-related missions are completed, which unlocks the level containing the final boss. Check out this crazy tv spot!

Super Mario Bros. 3: Retro

Retro game of the day

imageWell what can I say, this possibly the first game that I actually completed and I mean actually completed not the usual ‘Oh yea I completed that game’ just to show off in the playground. Super Mario Bros. 3 was developed and published by Nintendo for the NES and is the third game in the series, the clue is in the name. Released in 1991, in Europe, the game focuses on Mario and Luigi who embark to a quest to save Princess Peach for a change.

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Mario and Luigi battle through eight worlds in an attempt to restore order to the Mushroom World. This version of Mario introduced brand new power-ups which could augment their abilities, establishing several conventions that have also been featured in later titles of the franchise. Completing stages allows the player to progress through the overworld map and to succeeding worlds. Each world features a final stage with a boss to defeat. The first seven worlds feature an airship controlled by one of the Koopalings, while the player battles Bowser in his castle at the end of the eighth world.

Super Mario Bros. 3 also included a multiplayer option which allowed two players to co-operatively. Through this mode players can also access several minigames, including a remake of the original Mario Bros. arcade game.

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