Feature: The Biggest 3DS Games of 2012

What's in store for the year ahead?

2011 is gone. After announcing our Game of the Year 2011 awards we're ready to move on and sink our teeth into all that awaits in 2012.

There are of course dozens more games on the way to 3DS in the coming year, but we've picked ten of the most exciting due to crest the 3D horizon before 2013 rolls around.

If we've missed your most-anticipated title, let us know in the comments at the bottom.

Resident Evil Revelations

Release: 27th January (Europe), 7th February (North America)

A brand new instalment in the long-running series, Revelations is 3DS-exclusive and boasts some of the best graphics we've seen on 3DS yet. Not only does it feature a brand new story and new characters, its post-completion co-operative RAID mode is playable over the Internet too.

It's also the first game in the West to be compatible with Nintendo's Circle Pad Pro attachment, which adds a second Circle Pad to the 3DS. The accessory will come in a bundle as well as being sold separately.

A new Resident Evil is always cause for celebration, and this is shaping up very nicely, as our most recent Resident Evil: Revelations preview shows.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Release: 23rd March (North America), TBC (Europe)

What should have been a "launch window" title for 3DS is finally due to land nearly one year after the console it helped announce.

Project Sora has used the time to introduce local and online multiplayer and fancy augmented reality features, but we hope it's also fixed some of the control issues we encountered during our Kid Icarus: Uprising preview in July last year.

Either way, it's just good to see Pit back in action.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

Release: Q1 2012

Snake's been characteristically stealthy lately; while Nintendo crowed about the game at last year's big events, Konami's upcoming PS2 port has adopted near radio silence recently, though there's plenty we know.

The game will use first-person and third-person perspectives, with other features making better use of the 3DS console's unique functions: snapping a photo lets you use it as camouflage, with gyro controls used to control Snake at key moments.

In our last run-in with the game we came away very impressed: read our Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D preview for more.

Paper Mario

Release: TBC

Ahh, Paper Mario. We've wanted to hold you ever since we first laid eyes on you. We saw you running in 3D at Amsterdam's 3DS media event a year ago and our desire for you only grew, yet you refuse to take our money by not being available to buy yet.

We don't even know that much about each other. You're a new entry in the flat Mario series that dates back to the Nintendo 64, but what are you all about? We saw you in the E3 2011 trailer, but you didn't return our longing looks.

Please, please – come visit us this year. Maybe in October, when the leaves are falling off the trees. That would be nice.

Heroes of Ruin

Release: Spring

Plenty of 3DS games miss out on online multiplayer despite the system's advanced features, so when a title comes along that embraces online communication so completely it's time to take notice.

Heroes of Ruin is an action-adventure game built on Internet capabilities: up to four can quest together, with developer n-Space promising "seamless" connectivity, 80,000 dynamically generated items and pleasingly in-depth character customisation.

We loved what we saw when we played the game for our Heroes of Ruin preview back in July, and if n-Space can build on that strong start it has a potential hit on its hands.

Luigi's Mansion 2

Release: TBC

Everyone's favourite scaredy-cat sidekick foolishly visits another haunted mansion.

Luigi's Mansion 2 — developed by Next Level Games — is a follow-up to 2001's GameCube original, with some new twists. Environment interaction is a big focus now, with the Poltergust's abilities upgraded to play a part in new puzzle-solving sections too.

Despite some confusion over the game's rumoured two-player mode — sadly debunked, leaving Luigi's Mansion 2 a strictly solo pursuit — it's certainly shaping up to be a treat. We played it back at E3, so check out our Luigi's Mansion 2 preview for the lowdown.

Monster Hunter 3 G

Release: TBA

OK, this is straight-up wishful thinking: Capcom has said nothing about a western release for MH3G, its enhanced version of second-to-none Wii timesink Monster Hunter 3 (~Tri), but that doesn't mean it's not one of our most wanted 3DS games of 2012.

With new monsters, weapons, armours and areas added to 2010's Wii outing, all MH3G is missing is online multiplayer and an English language release, both things we'd love Capcom to rectify in 2012.

Failing that, we'd settle for a pre-Christmas release for Monster Hunter 4 instead.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure

Release: TBC

A rhythm action game that features mini games based on Samba de Amigo and Space Channel 5? In the industry that's known as a "win".

SEGA's quirky rhythm game blends Elite Beat Agents' sense of style with a taste of the British Isles, and could be one of the more unique titles released for 3DS in 2012.

Its title also contains all our favourite words, except maybe "animal".

Animal Crossing

Release: TBC

Animal Crossing is like Tetris: addictive, barely changing and near-perfect.

The 3DS version makes small changes that seem gigantic compared to previous outings — you can take on the role of mayor, customise your furniture and even decorate outside — but it's the enhanced communication features that will hopefully finally create the ultimate AC experience.

If not, at least there'll be K.K. Slider in 3D.

Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle

Release: TBC

Already available in Japan for nearly a whole year, the rest of the world gets to catch up with Layton and Luke's adventures later this year.

While there's no official western title for it yet — Nintendo's simply calling it Professor Layton 5 for now — we know it revolves around a magical mask that grants wishes. A bad chap is using it to turn innocent folk to stone, and the brainy bunch must put an end to it. Naturally that entails lots of puzzles about moving matchsticks and so on, but all in full 3D.

It's not the only dose of mind-bending mentalism from the brain box professor: we should see much more of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright this year, too.

Have Your Say

Think we should have included your favourite game instead of our — non-sequential, it must be said — choices? Sound off in the comments below.

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