Nintendo 3DS Launch Titles Roundup – Volume One

by on April 13, 2011

Nintendo 3DSNintendo’s new 3DS console is a hot topic amongst gamers right now. It seems that everyone agrees that it is most certainly a phenomenal piece of technology, but some people aren’t so keen to jump in just yet, due to the software launch lineup.

Once upon a time, handheld versions of Super Street Fighter IV (in 3D no less, with full online functionality), Pilotwings and Ridge Racer might have been enough, but today’s gamer is more demanding, and people are seemingly reluctant to part with a hefty wad of cash without something more significant.

Volume One of our Nintendo 3DS games roundup sees us take a look at Ubisoft’s Asphalt, SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball 3D and Nintendogs + Cats.

Asphalt (Ubisoft)

Ubisoft have released quite a few Nintendo 3DS titles for launch, and this is their attempt at a 3D racing game. Starting out life on the original DS around 2004, the Asphalt series is better known in more recent times for featuring on iOS and Android mobile devices, but this 3D edition sees it returning to a Nintendo handheld.

First of all, the 3D effects are well done. Not as striking as other 3DS launch titles (Rayman, SSFIV 3D Edition for example), but it is done well and is easily playable with the 3D switch adjusted to “full”. For a racing game, this is essential, because if you can’t concentrate on the game itself, the 3D would have to go.

There is a full career path for you to take, with leveling up progression as you perform well in races, as well as simple time trials and a fully featured online mode. It’s not intended as an unkind thing to say, but everything is as you would expect. There aren’t too many bells and whistles within Asphalt 3D. One thing that is excellent though is the StreetPass integration, which allows you to silently collect time trial ghosts to beat at a later date. This kind of feature is why people are talking about StreetPass, and rightly so.

Ashpalt 3D is a no frills racer, one that will keep you entertained for a short while but will ultimately end up gathering dust in the cupboard. Far worse racing games will end up coming out on the Nintendo 3DS, but many better ones will also be released, not least the far superior Ridge Racer 3D.

Super Monkey Ball 3D (SEGA)

Let us get this out of the way right now, Super Monkey Ball 3D for Nintendo 3DS is fantastic fun! It doesn’t break the mould, and isn’t particularly innovative, but it plays superbly and looks wonderful. The one thing it does bring to the table that is new (aside from the 3D) is motion controls on a handheld device. You can of course choose to play the game with the funky new 3DS directional stick, but you can also control it by using the 3DS itself. Tilting it forward, back, left and right transpose onto the on-screen action, and it is incredibly responsive and enjoyable.

There is however, a major sticking point to the motion control method, and it’s a real deal breaker; you cannot really play it in 3D. Of course, literally speaking, you can play it, but you won’t enjoy it. The way the 3DS is set up means that, as you probably know, you have a certain viewing angle requirement to see the 3D properly. Moving the 3DS around to tilt AiAi (for example) means that the 3D becomes extremely disorientating and at times, downright unplayable!

Thankfully, using the directional stick in 3D is the solution, and the 3D looks absolutely wonderful. Because of this, you really have to make a choice. The motion controlled non-3D version, or the directional stick controlled full 3D version. That choice is a hard one to make, but either way you will get a huge amount of enjoyment out of Super Monkey Ball 3D.

As always, you progress through lots of different stages, collecting bananas (as well as special collectible fruits) and navigating your way safely to the end of the stage. Rounding off the features are VS. mode (which is local play only), Monkey Race (exactly as you imagine it) and Monkey Fight, which is a side scrolling (single screen) beat-em-up, again, collecting bananas and using power-ups to defeat your opponents.

Nintendogs + Cats (Nintendo)

You’ve all seen this before, right? Nintendogs + Cats on the 3DS is just as cute, just as cuddly, but with all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find on better hardware, all the while in gorgeous 3D. It’s a little hard to imagine what to expect from a 3D version of Nintendogs, but it really does absolutely enhance the title thoroughly.

As before, you have to pick a puppy and take it home, teach it tricks, feed it and care for it. You can teach your puppy three tricks a day, and this is all done with a combination of stylus and voice controls. Seeing your puppy jutting out at you in 3D is truly a wonderful experience, and taking it for a walk only for it to find a present for you, run back and thrust it out of the screen into your face, is a moment that truly makes Nintendogs’ excursion to 3D worthwhile.

StreetPass is of course supported, but how much you’ll get out of Nintendogs + Cats in general is down to personal preference. If you liked the original Nintendogs, then you should definitely pick up this 3D outing. If you haven’t played a Nintendogs title before but have just purchased a Nintendo 3DS then you could do a lot worse than trying this one out, but be warned, the cuteness level far exceeds what you might be used to. Oh, and don’t call your puppy something rude either, unless you want people hearing you shout it over and over again.

VERDICT: Of the three titles on offer here, all of them are passable games, worthy of your hard-earned cash. However, if you are only going to pick one, it’d have to be SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball 3D purely for the simple fun it provides. Nintendogs + Cats is a worthy runner up though, let down only by its familarity to the previous title.

There’s not a bad game here, and talk of a lacklustre Nintendo 3DS launch lineup might be a little deceiving on the evidence of these three titles. No, there’s no Mario or Zelda, but any of these games will provide you with plenty of fun.

Stay tuned to GodisaGeek.com for Volume Two of our Nintendo 3DS Launch Titles Roundup, including Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rayman titles!