Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is far more than a simple expansion to the original release. The volume of extra content is truly impressive, but it also shakes up the formula with new modes to give the experience a fresh feel. Terrific music and tight controls are the stars, while competitive players will surely get a kick out of the online mode; whether you're a fan of music rhythm games, Final Fantasy or both, this is a must buy.
As an RPG sequel, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is just about perfect. It lets players revisit a familiar world from a new perspective, keeps what made the original so special, and adds in several small but significant mechanical improvements that make for a smoother, better game throughout. We recommend playing through SMTIV first if possible, both to get the most out of Apocalypse and to experience one of the 3DS' finest JRPGs, but however you arrive at it, this is a game that begs to be played. It's a delightfully dark adventure that's dripping with dystopian charm, and between the personable demons, deeply satisfying combat and killer aesthetic, we couldn't get enough — the end times have never been so good.
A fitting swan song for imageepoch and another gem in the 3DS' legendary RPG lineup, Stella Glow is smart, stylish, and seriously satisfying. Fans of SRPGs will get a kick out of the combat, characters, and strategy, the fun, fast-paced story will keep you entertained to the end, and the musical motif works wonderfully, winding its way through the gameplay and presentation with ease. A few interface wobbles keep it from being a totally perfect show, but they're minor concerns in an otherwise spellbinding performance. Stella Glow is absolutely worth singing about.
Building on the solid foundation of Kirby: Triple Deluxe, this is a game where the pink ball can transform into Mech Kirby. We’d have probably scribbled that in the design doc, given ourselves a pat on the back and gone down the pub for a celebratory pint, but HAL surrounds this central idea with brilliantly designed worlds, trademark rainbow visuals and enough charming moments to make Kirby: Planet Robobot the finest 3DS outing for The Most Powerful Video Game Character Of Them All™ (as confirmed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). We always knew he was more than candyfloss with a face.
Rune Factory 4 might not be for everyone, but if its unique combination of fantasy farming, dating sim, and action-RPG sounds like your cup of tea, you'll have an absolute field day with this gem of a game. It's bursting with bucolic charm, backed up by masterful writing and an irresistibly positive outlook, and plays like the pinnacle of a genre it invented itself. Whether you come for the adventure, the romance, or simply the turnips, Rune Factory 4's inviting world will draw you in and give you plenty of reasons to stick around for many, many seasons to come.
Monster Hunter: World has done the business on other platforms and attracted a far broader audience than ever before to a series that already enthused a sizeable playerbase, especially in the east. The Monster Hunter games have always required a big investment and many fans insist the 'traditional' grind and other franchise foibles are necessary to the 'authentic' Monster Hunter experience. Crafting items from the enormous beasts you’ve taken down can be hugely rewarding, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is possibly the best of the 'classic style' - the best way to find out if you’ve got the bug for the series. Although Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate works on an original model 3DS, we’d recommend playing on a New 3DS for camera control and a better framerate. Lovely.
As a sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer does everything right. It improves on its predecessor in nearly every way, shakes things up enough to still be exciting for players who may have recently poured sixty hours into the first game, and offers a meaningful chance to reconnect with beloved characters. Even better, it's a nearly-perfect JRPG in its own right. Beautiful, well-written, and endlessly engaging in gameplay and story, this is a wonderful example of why people fall in love with the genre. Simply put, Bravely Second is a must-play for JRPG fans, and one of the 3DS' finest games.
Another technical marvel, quite how Monster Games fit Monolith Soft’s 3D epic onto a tiny handheld is still something of a mystery. The second screen meant most of the Wii original’s HUD gubbins could be shifted to the bottom screen, but the scope of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D’s world meant it was restricted to running only on the updated ‘New’ 3DS models. It was never going to beat the Wii version in a beauty pageant but having it on a handheld gave busy gamers a better shot at seeing everything this brilliant 100-hour action RPG has to offer, and that’s as true today as it was in 2015.