Some Mini-Reviews of 3DS games

I’ve finally put down my 3DS to do some writing. And I thought I’d quick jot down my thoughts on the batch of 3DS games I’ve gotten over Christmas. I had wanted to write a single post on each of three games I’m about to mention, but I found I just don’t have that much to say on them individually.

The game I’ve recently being playing the most is Super Mario 3D Land. Of the three it uses the 3D effect the most. I’ve found it improves my accuracy when jumping and there some clever optical illusion type levels that uses the 3D. I also found the game pretty easy if not too easy. I completed most of the levels on the first try and grabbing all three coins along the way. Compared to the other Mario platformers I’ve played, this felt the easiest . That wouldn’t be bad if there was tons of levels to get through but despite being eight worlds, there is only five or so actual levels per world. That’s nothing compared to New Super Mario Bros, Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Wii.

I did complete it last weekend and discovered there is another set of eight worlds, “secret worlds”, unlocked which include a few new enemies, the ability to play Luigi instead of Mario and at least one new suit; a variation of the Racoon suit. There are brand new levels but sadly most of the other levels that I’ve tried are recycled from the original set but with different configurations of enemies or time limits. The castles levels don’t even include any boss battles.

Ultimately, despite the nice graphics, the use of 3D and the obvious polish in the game, I was just a tad disappointed. It feels like it isn’t really complete, that it was rushed despite the Nintendo magic. Makes me wonder if Nintendo rushed this game out so that people will buy the 3DS (the strategy has  worked in Japan).

And then there is MarioKart 7. I played MarioKart DS to death on my old DSi and I still play against my daughter for fun. So what I wanted from MarioKart 7 is MarioKart DS improved for the 3DS. And that’s what I got. It doesn’t really need 3D that much, I don’t think it has much bearing on playing the game. The flying modes are fun but I found that they were a bit limited and not enough of them. I wanted to have more time in the air and the chance to use some strategy but they aren’t even used in the balloon battles. The vehicle customisation isn’t too complex and actually better than MarioKart DS or MarioKart Wii. New levels are fun. Retro levels are fun. But the problem is, what I wanted is not what I needed. What I mean is that MarioKart Wii was fun and it was fresh because it was different from previous iterations of MarioKart. But MarioKart 7 doesn’t stand out from MarioKart DS. It’s better and it’s got new stuff but it’s not… different enough. (Which lends to the theory that Nintendo are rushing the games to get them out and get people to buy 3DSs…)

Sadly I couldn’t get the multiplayer to work so maybe that’s the “different factor” for MarioKart 7. (I tried every solution I’ve read online, from using static IPs, sticking the 3DS in the DMZ, configuring the router to allow as many connections as necessary, etc. but none worked).

That all said, I’ve stopped playing MarioKart DS on my 3DS. MarioKart 7 has replaced it as the game I use for a quick game.

And finally but also the first game I bought for the 3DS and also not made by Nintendo, Super Street Fighter 4. I have a lot of nostalgia for the Super Street Fighter series: from playing Super Street Fighter 2 in the arcade and then on the Super Nintendo console way back when. I have to admit the idea of playing a new version of Super Street Fighter on a Nintendo handheld was a personal draw for the 3DS.

It’s fun to play, appeals a lot to my need to master a skill and enjoying challenging myself with it. I’m going to be playing it for while I think. And the online multiplayer isn’t bad at all, I like the attempt to create the arcade experience (people can challenge you while you’re playing the single player game much like in the arcade). The 3D is a nice visual flair but doesn’t enhance the experience at all. There is also a ton of characters I’ve never seen, so there is a lot to learn. If you like this sort of fighter games generally you’ll probably like this game too.

My only moan though about it is the characters themselves. There is a lot of humour among the character designs, from “profound sadness” emo death chants to “cooking time” saucepan wielding Mexican wrestlers. Ryu, Guile, Chun Li, Cammy and so on are so iconic. But sometimes the costumes (particularly the alternative ones) are bit too ridiculous. The women’s costumes are nearly all very sexy – there is even one female character who is a “nightclub dancer” (walks like a stripper IMHO). You kinda have take the borderline sexism and racism as part of the humour of the game and ignore it. If you’re a 10 year old boy you might find it funny.

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