Top 10 Nintendo 3DS eShop Games (So Far)
When the 3DS' online eShop launched, it faced many of the same challenges as its native hardware; a late start and a paltry library. However, since its debut nearly a year ago, Nintendo has packed the downloadable service with many great titles, and they've made it one of the best reasons to own a 3DS. Though the eShop still has plenty of room for improvement (most notably in its catalog of old Virtual Console games), here are ten great titles that justify its continued existence. Note that DSiWare titles and the Ambassador games awarded to early Adopters are not included, the former because it's available on earlier DS systems, and the latter because relatively few users could play them.
10. Super Mario Bros.
The only reason this game isn't at the top of my list is because you've probably already played it. The inaugural NES game has been made and remade in multiple forms. The reason why Nintendo has kept Super Mario Bros. in circulation so long, however, is because it's the most influential game of all time. This game was a massive leap beyond any game before, and even after 27 years, it still holds up as simple, sublime, colorful fun. Also, the 3DS version is one of the better versions, since it's downloadable and features restore points. This feature definitely comes in handy during the later levels, especially the brutally difficult Minus world.
9. Colors! 3D
One of the greatest Nintendo eShop games isn't actually the work of Nintendo, not is it a true game. But Colors! 3D is easily the best art application on the system, even beyond Nintendo's DSi Art Academy titles. Collecting Smiles' painting program allows anyone to create artwork with a 3D effect, offering players five dimensional planes on which they can paint. The interface is user-friendly, and the variety of tools available is tremendous (even allowing you to paint over photos taken by the 3DS camera). If you have a 3DS and any interest in illustration, Colors! 3D is a no-brainer.
8. Punch-Out With Mr. Dream
If there ever were a game that needed restore points to balance its brutal difficulty, it would be Punch-Out. A perfect port of the NES version (at least the revised version, replacing Mike Tyson with the non-ear-biting, non-tattoo-faced, and non-pigeon-raising generic boss Mr. Dream), Punch-Out has all the lovable animations and brutal challenges you remember. But the addition of restore points means you can save and load your files at any moment of gameplay. If you're having trouble fighting a boss (and you will have trouble, believe me), going back to study their moves is a godsend.
7. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Like the first Super Mario Land, 6 Golden Coins is a Game Boy title that offers a bizarre expansion of Mario's world. But while Super Mario Land was structured with the restrictions of the original Super Mario Bros. (re: purely horizontal and linear levels), Super Mario Land 2 offered the expansive worlds and secret paths of the even better Super Mario Bros. 3. The result is an excellent Mario side-scroller that many may have missed due to its lack of re-release, but is well worth playing. Not only did this game introduce Mario's bizarro lookalike Wario, it also offered a series of unique levels, including a "micro" level with monster ants and bees, the interior of a giant robot Mario, and even outer space (and 15 years before Super Mario Galaxy, too!)
6. Kid Icarus 3D Classics
If you're wondering why people were still waiting for a new Kid Icarus game after 25 years, look no further. This remastered classic captures Pit's debut in all its brutally difficult glory. Back in the NES era, Kid Icarus was one of the most expansive action games available, with a wide variety of enemies, weapons, and items. It still holds up as a great (if short) experience, and the 3D Classics version makes Kid Icarus far more playable. Thanks to the game saves and improved controls, Pit's original quest goes from crushingly difficult to just painfully difficult. At least if you can avoid being turned into an eggplant.
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Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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