At first glance, 50 Classic Games 3D looks reminiscent of Nintendo's 42 All-Time Classics (Clubhouse Games in North America) for DS. But those hoping for a spiritual successor to the original hit are in for a bit of a disappointment. This is because 50 Classic Games 3D is woefully lacking in quality, depth and — most of all — fun when compared to its older counterpart.
As the title implies, there are 50 "classic" games to play, which are divided up into four categories: Board Games, Card Games, Puzzles and Action. From traditional games such as Chess and Tic Tac Toe to more modern experiences such as Bubble Fire (which is essentially Bust-A-Move) and Match 3, there's something for most tastes.
Unfortunately, the quality of each of these games varies quite drastically. Truly classic games such as Chess can easily be played over and over again, even if the game does limit you to only competing against an AI opponent. When it comes to activities like Memo (Snap), however, there's very little to gauge your interest beyond your first play.
There are two reasons for this. First of all, very few of the games feature more than one mode or difficulty level. Using Memo as an example, you would assume that upon completing the initial challenge, it would then present you with a slightly tougher next stage. For example, there would be more cards on the table or the images start to look more similar to one another. But no, the game remains the same each time, except for the fact that the cards swap positions. This isn't true for all of the games (Spot The Difference is quite a lengthy affair by comparison), but this doesn't hide the fact that some games become redundant the instance you've finished playing them.
Secondly, there isn't a high-score system. In each game that you play, there's a timer and sometimes also a counter which shows how many moves you've taken to complete a puzzle. But once the game ends, that information is lost forever, unless you've written it down on a piece of paper. It just seems bizarre that such a simple inclusion, which would have likely motivated the player to keep playing, has been omitted.
On the plus side, the dual-screen layout works well for the most part. In many of the games, the top screen shows a 3D overview of the game that is updated in real-time. This proves to be very useful in games such as Air Hockey and Tennis, because the bottom screen is restricted to only showing your half of the playing field.
It's fair to say that the graphics aren't the most crucial element when it comes to a title such as 50 Classic Games 3D. Saying that though, you can't help but think that a bit more effort could have gone into the overall presentation. After all, board games and puzzles are meant to be fun, and this certainly doesn't come across in this game's sterile visuals. It's really noticeable when playing something like the Match 3 game, which is a genre that has already been done to death by plenty of other developers. Again, it's by no means mandatory, but the lack of visual interest cheapens the whole experience.
Sadly, the music and sound effects aren't much better. A combination of elevator music and a poor attempt at Blues guitar do very little to heighten the experience. Not only that, but there's a distinct lack of music; in fact, there are only three background tracks, all of which become incredibly monotonous very quickly. Truth be told, this is a game best played with the sound turned down.
The lack of a multiplayer mode hurts the overall experience. Many of the games featured are two-player by nature, and something as simple as download play would have really extended the replay value of this title; it also doesn't help that the AI on offer isn't particularly challenging. We like to win as much as the next player, but when the AI continuously sinks the puck into its own goal in Air Hockey, a victory starts to feel rather mundane very quickly.
Overall, 50 Classic Games 3D is a half-baked product. Everything from its presentation to the depth of the games on offer is just so utterly basic. Many of the games won't hold your interest for long, either because they're simply not that much fun in the first place or because they're extremely limited in terms of game mode and difficulty. The fact that there's no multiplayer mode or even a simple high-score system also weakens the whole experience. It should also be taken into account that 42 All-Time Classics — a title from over six years ago — offers far more entertainment value than this; do yourself a favour and opt for Nintendo's superior DS classic, if you haven't already.