Just recently we published a list of ten titles that we've described as the biggest Wii U games of 2014, a relatively challenging task when considering the extensive upcoming eShop line-up, in particular. That's part of a quarterly tradition here at Nintendo Life, and we brought the 3DS to the party at the start of this year with its own list, which naturally leaves us with the task of pin-pointing ten key titles once again.
After a 2013 that brought some major success stories, the task for this Spring update remains as tricky as the New Year original; some have naturally dropped out from that list based on arrival in stores or changes in circumstances. The confirmed line-up of 3DS games for this year is relatively thin, especially when going beyond nudges, winks and hints and focusing on titles definitely on the way. The ten we've decided upon, as a result of a thinner line-up from which to choose, therefore includes some multi-platform games along with exclusives, while most regional releases miss out. The 3DS is doing well in a tough handheld market, yet we're still left hoping that the best of 2014 is still under wraps for big reveals from Nintendo.
In any case, below are ten of the biggest games confirmed to be on the way to 3DS this year, with some honourable mentions at the end.
It should surprise no-one that this was also on our Wii U list, with meltdown expected when Nintendo announces a formal release date and, perhaps, a new name for the title — it can't just be Super Smash Bros., can it? Pleasingly Masahiro Sakurai's regular screenshot updates this year have included a reasonable number of images from the portable entry. New stages have been confirmed or given the tour treatment — most recently the Prism Tower stage — and the 3DS title seems to be shaping up nicely. Whether there are any promotions to help those wanting both this and the Wii U version is yet to be seen, but this is certainly building hype rather nicely.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe — 2nd May (North America) and 16th May (Europe)
More of this title has been shown since our last 3DS list, none of which has done anything but build anticipation further. This'll add to the batch of 2D platformers on the system, and undoubtedly looks promising with all-new power-ups, collectibles, additional mini-games and even a Smash Bros.-style brawling mode. It'll be the pink one's début on 3DS, too.
Mario Golf: World Tour — 2nd May
This title drifted from targeting summer 2013, to the end of the year, and now an eventual arrival this year. Our preview was certainly positive based on our early time with the game, with this setting itself up to be a major release to keep gamers busy throughout 2014. With Mushroom Kingdom-themed power-ups, a career mode and potentially exciting online tournaments and options, this is certainly one to watch.
We're breaking our own rules by putting this down as a speculative entry. A notable success in Japan, this latest title in the charming Mii-sim series is being localised for the West, so it's a question of when it'll arrive as opposed to if. With the announced line-up currently rather thin and with it having arrived in Japan nearly a year ago, it's not outlandish to suggest that this one may be pushed ahead for a release in the second half of the year.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth — Q3 (North America)
This is currently only confirmed for North America, though we hope the Sega acquisition and partial reorganisation of Atlus will bring more releases to Europe, too. This is the first appearance of this franchise on a Nintendo system, and will blend characters from Persona 3 & 4 with gameplay influenced by the Etrian series, with a visual overhaul also accompanying the IP's arrival on 3DS. We suspect Persona fans already have this near the top of their must-have lists.
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars — 15th April (North America) and Q2 (Europe, eShop-only)
This makes it on the list for its peculiarity, primarily, which is certainly enough to get some portable gaming enthusiasts excited about its arrival. Perhaps typical of cultural differences between Japan and regions in the West, this puts you in a tricky spot as you must have Star Children with seven heroines to help you save the world; when in trouble you can also unify your Star Children to form Giant Battling Death Robots. It's a bit different, then...
Despite some delays we doubt that fans of WayForward's iconic franchise have lost interest in this one. The successful crowdfunding of a flashy HD console title may have caught admiring glances, but this pixel-based third entry in the franchise is holding our focus for now. This time around Shantae will have special abilities when she's a pirate and will team up with former enemy Risky Boots.
Shovel Knight — Q2
This narrowly missed out on our Wii U list due to our focus on exclusives in that article, but with the confirmed line-up on 3DS being a tad slimmer, we feel it merits a place as it did in our equivalent from the start of the year. The 3DS version will include — as well as autostereoscopic 3D — a StreetPass mode in which you battle other players, which sounds fun and slightly bonkers at the same time. The developer has promised that the various delays (it may yet arrive in April) will be worth the wait; it hopefully won't be long before we can see for ourselves.
Siesta Fiesta — Q2
Selected by Nintendo of America to go on show at its booth at IndieCade 2013, this could be typical of what many of us perhaps hope for in download games on the 3DS — a simple idea suited to quick gaming sessions, with seemingly fresh ideas to keep the experience interesting. This Breakout/Arkanoid-style title — with influences from platformers and more — promises 60fps (frames per second) and more than 50 levels, with some attractive visuals to boot. You can learn a bit more in our interview with developer Mojo Bones.
Moon Chronicles — Q2
Renegade Kid was able to generate a fair amount of buzz and excitement earlier this year prior to a formal announcement, and Moon Chronicles will be the first episodic release on the 3DS eShop. The first season will be an enhanced remake of the original Moon on DS, while a second season of all-new content will come in 2015. There'll be four episodes in total through 2014, while this will also be the first FPS on the system — we spoke to Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham about the upcoming release, too.
We have left out some games, naturally, some of which certainly deserve special mentions. Disney Magical World arrives shortly in North America, while LEGO fans may also be looking forward to LEGO The Hobbit in particular; Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney featured last time, but has been left out as it's arrived in Europe and no clue has been given on a North American release as yet. On the eShop front some other notable arrivals due soon are 1001 Spikes (also coming to Wii U), Rusty's Real Deal Baseball in North America and Nintendo Pocket Football Club in Europe. Some may optimistically hope that Dragon Quest VII's updated release in Japan will come West, but we'd certainly suggest caution with that one.
In any case, we feel these ten games — a mix of retail and eShop-only — represent some exciting potential and diversity for the 3DS this year. More will no doubt be revealed in future Nintendo Direct broadcasts and at E3, but in any case let us know which of these you're looking forward to the most in the poll and comments sections below.
What's your most anticipated 3DS game of 2014? (508 votes)
Super Smash Bros.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Mario Golf: World Tour
Tomodachi Collection: New Life
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars
Shantae And The Pirate's Curse
My choice isn't on the list
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