Nintendo 3DS Upcoming Titles: Hands-On Preview

by on July 22, 2011

Nintendo 3DSWhen the Nintendo 3DS first came out, a lot of people were deeply concerned about the lack of titles accompanying the device. At this year’s E3 however, those complains were addressed directly by the announcement of a veritable bounty of new 3DS games, most of which were met with unbridled joy.

Last week, we at God is a Geek got to have some hands-on time with all of these games, with mostly positive results, so now we’re here to tell you that if you are a Nintendo 3DS owner, the future is looking very very bright indeed.

Being a huge fan of the series, I was immediately drawn straight to the new Mario Kart title, and what a high bar this game set! First of all (and this is a theme that most of these new titles adhere to), with the 3D on full, it was crystal clear and was not too intense, as some of the currently released titles can be. If you’ve played any Mario Kart titles before, you aren’t going to be shocked by insane new mechanics or visuals, because this is very much a new Super Mario Kart title, in 3D. Starting with a nice slot-machine selector, you can choose the vehicle, wheel type, and size, but then you are given the option of which glider you want to use!

None the wiser, I selected a generic glider, thinking it was only for aesthetic purposes. On the starting line, everything felt wonderfully familiar yet somehow new, thanks to the 3D visuals, which are sublime. Racing around the first course, immediate impressions are that the controls feel tight and very reminiscent of the original Super Mario Kart, as does the entire game. That is, until you jump off a ramp, and your glider appears! For a brief moment, you are playing Pilotwings, and moving your Kart around in the air with the glider. If you want to, you can attack other racers in the air, or you can dive bomb down quickly to get back to the ground and continue the race.

The courses played were all fun, colourful and recognisably Mario Kart, meaning that this is a title that all 3DS owners should pre-order now! Dragging myself away from this excellent game, it was time to take a look at the new Super Mario 3D title, which is very intriguing to say the least. The demo on offer encompassed just a few different levels, all of which showcased different ideas from within the final product. The first one I tried was a level that made me feel as if I was playing Mario Galaxy, only on a 3DS! It’s hard to get across in words just how impressive it feels to be playing the equivalent of the incredible Mario Galaxy series, but on a Nintendo 3DS handheld console!

After this, it was time to try out a more traditional Mario-style level, and this particular level seemed to be a modern take on the original Super Mario Bros. World 1-2 level, but with a huge twist. Yes, you are still playing a side-scrolling level, but the 3D graphics allow the action to be depth-based. For example, you may see a pile of Goombas walking towards you, but you can go “into” the screen and go around them. The level I played appeared to have two planes to travel with: think LittleBigPlanet and you are on the right track. From the sections on offer, Super Mario looks as though it’ll be another hit, and a title that 3DS owners will definitely want to keep their eye on.

At Nintendo’s E3 conference, one of the biggest cheers went to the announcement of Luigi’s Mansion 2, so it’s no surprise that sitting down to have a short play on the title was something I was excited about. The demo opens with Luigi talking to Professor E. Gad again, and the mechanics seem largely the same, with the shoulder buttons activating either suck or blow. Luigi is slower than Mario, but he too can dash with the use of a face button. Sadly, the frame rate seemed noticeably worse with the 3D slider on, but improved when slid to the off position. Obviously this is an early build, so teething problems are to be expected.

As it stands, Luigi’s Mansion 2 seems to channel the original quite closely, and you’ll be running around as Luigi, solving puzzles with your vacuum cleaner in spooky environments. Kid Icarus: Uprising however, was the biggest surprise to me. Never a big fan of the franchise, I wasn’t exactly excited about playing this, but goodness, how opinions can change!

Kid Icarus: Uprising is a shooter, but not just a shooter. There are different styles to enjoy. The opening part of the first demo level see you flying through the air, attacking enemies in a style that reminded me very strongly of Rez, which is a good thing! Using the analogue stick to move around, you hold the left trigger to shoot whilst choosing your targets with the stylus. On the ground, the game plays in a similar manner, but you attack with the sword, and can swipe at the screen to move the camera. It’s not as intuitive or fun as the combat in the air, but it’s good nonetheless.

The game is based around a 5 minute time limit for each section, allowing for multiple score-attack runs after learning the layout and enemy attack patterns. As you progress through the levels, they actually get rather tricky, which was another surprise. After playing Kid Icarus: Uprising, it has shot right to the top of the “must own” 3DS games, and I think it will take many by surprise. It seemed to be the most hardcore game on offer by quite some distance. It is all very intuitive and easy to use, with the only concern being whether it will be playable for extended periods of time.

Another title present at the Nintendo Showcase was Kirby Mass Attack, represented by a single solitary DSi XL unit. The version on display was in Japanese, but is definitely worth mentioning. Kirby will follow your stylus around the world, and you can flick him to make him jump. You can also hold the stylus on him, whereby he appears in a bubble, and you can draw a line which he will follow, almost like a fuse! The game is probably best described as an action puzzler, as there is some combat. This title is apparently set for a September release, and reminded me of Yoshi Touch & Go, or Kirby’s Canvass Curse, though with definitely less action that Canvas Curse.

Finally, Resident Evil: Revelations was also on show. Anyone doubting the power inside the 3DS need only be sat in front of Revelations to be changed from a doubter, into a believer. Resident Evil: Revelations is a visual feast, bringing to mind the Gamecube Remakes of Resident Evil 1, or Resident Evil Zero. There’s nothing much to talk about gameplay-wise, as it’s Resident Evil, but I wanted to mention it just to point how incredible the visuals were.

On the whole, the future appears to be very bright for Nintendo 3DS owners. The staples of their platforms that were sorely missing (Zelda aside) are all there now, and coming soon. People who made fun of you for spending all that hard earned cash on a 3DS may well be eating some crow very soon, whilst they order their own 3DS to enjoy the bounty of joys coming our way. It may have taken Nintendo a little while to get there with the 3DS, but they are getting there, and quickly.

Stay tuned to GodisaGeek.com next week to read hands on with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword!