Pocket Card Jockey
Image: Game Freak

For the month before the 3DS and Wii U eShops close for new purchases on 27th March, each day we're going to highlight a specific eShop game for one of those consoles and give a short pitch as to why we think it deserves your love and attention — before it's too late. The chance to add these to your library will be gone for good soon and, for one reason or another, these eShop-exclusives are close to our hearts.

Today, Gavin highlights Game Freak's best game...

So, what's it called?

Pocket Card Jockey. We've got a review, but due to what can only have been a clerical error, it was awarded a mere 7/10 rather than full marks. Please disregard.

Who made it?

Little-known indie outfit Game Freak. Apparently, they make some monster games too.

What's the premise?

Combining horse racing with 'speed' solitaire, you breed and raise horses that take part in races. On the bottom screen you tidy away hands of cards as fast as possible, plot your way through the pack, and pick up bonuses while your steed does the actual racing on the top screen. When it comes to the final furlong, you time deployment of the various boosts you've accumulated during the previous stages and do your darnedest to get to the finish line first. You know, like in a race.

Winning races increases your horse's stats and chances in future meets, until eventually they are put out to pasture before the next generation takes over.

Why should I play it?

It's brilliantly addictive and it's overflowing with personality. You get to name your horses whatever you like (within the character limit, of course — Obi-Ham Boloney was one of this writer's personal favourites) and despite looking all cutesy, it's an immensely challenging game.

However, in spite of how tough it can be, you'll constantly be coming back for more. Obviously, the developer is famous for Pokémon, but this game is a shining example of what the studio is capable of when permitted to play outside that (pocket) monster franchise.

We've got our fingers crossed that the new Apple Arcade-exclusive version makes its way to Switch one day. Until then, this is an essential purchase.

How much is it?

$6.99USD / £6.29 / €6,99.

We'll be back soon with another 3DS or Wii U eShop recommendation as part of this 'Countdown' series. Let us know below if you've already got this in your collection and share your thoughts. Also, feel free to nominate other games — we just might highlight those in the coming days, too.