Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

Just like its predecessor, Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice saw a dual release on both the 3DS and Wii U eShops. If you'd like a more thorough discussion of why we loved this classic-style JRPG, you can read more about it through here. For the purposes of this review we'll focus on what separates the 3DS version from the Wii U iteration and answer the ultimate question: how does it compare? Ultimately, it is roughly the same game, something that some may find a little disappointing given the potential for unique features.

Fundamentally, Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice on 3DS is exactly the same game as the Wii U version. The storyline, graphics, gameplay and so on are all present and accounted for, virtually indistinguishable from the home console port. Optional touch screen controls are still included, and the bottom screen is mainly used to display the map and HUD. Make no mistake about it, you likely won't get a sense of playing a watered down port.

Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

That being said, the 3D effect isn't used as effectively as it was in its predecessor. This is largely due to the retooled combat system, which is where the 3D shone brightest in the last game. Here, the greater overworld map still has a 3D effect, and it looks lovely, but combat segments no longer feature the effect due to how they take place right there in the surrounding environment. Granted, the 3D effect is admittedly a marginal feature and it has no real bearing on the gameplay, but it would've made things much more exciting to look at.

This 3DS port doesn't appear to contain as many bugs or glitches as the Wii U port, but it trades these in for some minor performance issues. It's not particularly noticeable if you move at walking speed, but running around will occasionally cause the framerate to chug a little bit and everyone will slow down slightly. Once again, it's nothing that interferes with one's enjoyment of the game, but it is something that sticks out on occasion.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sort of cross-save feature. Seeing as how this wasn't present in the last game either (or any cross-platform Nintendo game, for that matter) this isn't very surprising, but it does mean you are more or less being locked into one platform over the other. Of course, you're free to play the game on the other platform, too, but just be prepared to start all the way from square one.


When it really comes down to it, Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice is a great JRPG regardless of which platform you choose to play it on. While it does feel like there were some missed opportunities in terms of better tailoring the game to the 3DS, this ultimately doesn't have much bearing on one's enjoyment of the game as a whole. Whether you choose to play it on the go or from the comfort of your home, you'll still be getting the same retro-style experience.