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.
The turn-based series’ debut on 3DS delivered a wonderful feeling of adventure on the handheld. It offers classic, grindy combat in a world of colour that belies the dreariness conjured by the term ‘dungeon-crawler’, and its focus on character classes and team-building means it’s refreshingly light on the tropey narrative arcs you might expect from a game with this subtitle. If you’re after an old-school first person explorer game with a great soundtrack and some modern concessions to convenience and accessibility, Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan fits the bill nicely.
Given the game’s relative age, Fantasy Life isn’t the shiniest toy on the 3DS’ shelf, but it just may be the happiest. Providing quality gameplay in both its life sim and action RPG aspects, served up with more colourful wit and charm than anyone could ask for, it serves as a jewel in the crown of a games studio that helped create some of the most memorable role-playing video games ever. It may now be 1-UP Studios, but Brownie Brown hit its marks with Level 5 in this game. As a farewell for the company in its old guise, this was an excellent game for the occasion.
Resident Evil Revelations is a truly impressive achievement, and the definitive ‘mature’ title on the 3DS. With production values worthy of a home console release (which actually arrived later), a significant volume of content, a blend of the series’ different game styles and a subtly evolved control system, this title feels like a tribute to and progression of the franchise. There are some downsides though, including spikes in difficulty and drops in frame rate that are occasionally jarring in contrast to the rest of the title. All the same, Revelations has something to offer Resi fans old and new – there are few experiences on the 3DS more engrossing or exciting.
With a plethora of Picross games available on the system, you can’t go wrong with any of them (we’re particularly partial to the rewards program exclusive My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) but the one we’ve chosen here really uses the system’s namesake feature. Chiselling away the empty blocks to reveal the sculpture within is as addictive as any of the 2D variants, and added amiibo puzzles are the icing on a particularly delicious cake. You can find this for peanuts on store shelves and we’d recommend bagging it pronto (unless you’re in North America where this was digital-only, so off to the eShop with you).
With fun, strategic battles, a roller-coaster narrative that never lets up, and a fantastic sense of upbeat, apocalyptic style, Devil Survivor 2 is a full-on blast from start to finish. If you missed out on the original release, you're in for a treat, and if you've already played the DS cart to death the Triangulum scenario adds another immediately accessible full-length adventure to the experience - more than enough reason to return. Whether you're a longtime MegaTen fan or just enjoy deep, strategic RPGs, you'll have a great time with Record Breaker, so summon up your courage and sign in to Nicaea; you won't regret it.
Cave Story may come from humble PC beginnings but it feels most in its element in this slick portable package. Nicalis has put together the definitive Cave Story compilation, but without any earth-shattering changes or additions it's ultimately just another way to play an all-time classic on familiar hardware. Granted, that's still a rather excellent thing, as the game is so pleasing to play that we're more than happy to delve into it yet again, and again.
Whether or not you’re a platforming fan, and whether or not you’ve played any of the previous titles in this series, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is an exceptionally well-crafted game that should not be ignored. The art style and sense of humour aren’t going to appeal to everyone, but they work well together and manage to set a very specific tone that WayForward has clearly spent time perfecting. There is little reason for any 3DS owner to avoid adding this gem to their treasure collection.
By the time this sequel arrived, people had come around to Luigi’s Mansion. The GameCube original rubbed those expecting a Mario game at launch the wrong way, but with suitably adjusted expectations most players came to appreciate the beauty and comedy of Luigi’s haunted house exploits. Next Level’s sequel brought to fruition the planned stereoscopic 3D of the original to fantastic effect, making the mansion in Dark Moon really feel like a diorama as the green plumber tip-toes around sucking up ghosts and coins. A port of the original also came to 3DS, and they’re both excellent ways to prepare for the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Switch.
There's no shortage of places to play SteamWorld Dig 2, but Image & Form's sterling support of the good ol' 3DS means you can complete the Dig duo on the same console you played the original on (well, that's where we first played SteamWorld Dig, at least) — then you can pick it up again on Switch in one of the developer's frequent sales! It's a fantastic game on any platform, and owning it two or three times is not only understandable, but recommended.