The 3DS had a good year, and is the current generation’s most popular handheld device. While it appears that it will soon be replaced by the New 3DS, it is still very relevant, and the transition will probably be over a couple years. The New 3DS is after all more or less a half generational step rather than the Next Gen on handhelds and it isn’t even released in most of the world.
For the 3DS, 2014 was marked perhaps most by Japanese RPGs. While the PS Vita is perhaps the leader in that genre, the 3DS’s superior popularity, and getting some good games in the genre this year revitalized it on handhelds. The Raptor 3DS Pick caused that game's publisher to look in surprise and reconsider business. Looking at the rest of the list, others may want to consider similar thinking as well. -- Don Parsons
So without further ado here are TechRaptor’s 3DS Picks of 2014!
Mixing elements of Megaman, Ducktales, and various other 8 bit platformers, Shovel Knight brought one of the best retro experiences in 2014 as a game that could stand up against the best AAA titles this year. It's one of the games that still shows the potential of kickstarted projects succeeding, as almost every element of the game stands up to close scrutiny. From the wonderful music, beautiful animation and art style, to the tight controls that complemented the great level design, Shovel Knight was a game that put Yacht Club Games on the map.
Clever design added several different elements to gameplay, such as the ability to destroy checkpoints for extra money or being able to recover dropped money by recovering the money bags you dropped on death (only to possibly drop them again). It's a game that was worth multiple playthroughs and was a contender for several awards because of how good it was. All this for a game that cost 15 bucks. -- Shaun Joy
Currently Available on: The Nintendo E-Shop only for 3DS (Digital, no physical release).
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
After the success of Pokemon X and Y the year before, Game Freak followed up with a remake of one of the more beloved games in the franchise with Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby. It's what a lot of fans wanted: updated graphics and gameplay to the Hoenn region, with old fans and new fans alike battling the likes of Team Magma and Team Aqua. While some people indicated that there was a little too much water in the game, the addition of new mega evolutions to classic pokemon such as Pidgeot and Beedrill brought new combos and tactics for players to battle each other for the upcoming year. It was a blast from the past and a good one at that. -- Shaun Joy
Currently Available on: Amazon for Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire as well as Nintendo E-Shop.
Super Smash Brothers for 3DS
A collection of fighters throughout the Nintendo universe finally made its transition to the portable console for the first time and surprisingly pulled it off, despite the change in screen size and controls. The great base of the chaotic fighter was now available anywhere, and with the ability to play with your friends on the go anytime and anywhere meant even more of the loved franchise. Great additions to the roster such as Megaman and Pac-Man, as well as balancing of other characters, led to a more balanced roster (at least for now), and the Smash Run was a surprisingly fun new mode. -- Shaun Joy
Currently Available on: Amazon, and Nintendo E-Shop.
Top Runner Up: Persona Q
Persona makes its way to the 3DS for the first time with a style similar to Etrian Odyssey, but keeping the themes, and characters from the Persona series. The game does a good job of being open to new fans, while being loyal to old fans, as old fans will appreciate the cast from Persona 3 and 4 interacting with each other. It's a dungeon crawler that doesn't hold your hand as you try to get through the many labyrinths it holds, as the game will punish you if you aren't prepared for its enemies with the right kind of personas equipped. It added some twists in terms of the leader's abilities, and the game's soundtrack alone will stand out as stellar, even for this series's standards. -- Shaun Joy
Currently Available on: Amazon, and Nintendo E-Shop.
Top Pick of 2014: Bravely Default
Probably closer to the roots of the Final Fantasy series than the actual Final Fantasy series is, Bravely Default mixes the old and the new by executing great turn based combat with the classic job system and abilities for that job system to actually make grinding a little bit, dare I say it, fun. The ability to stack multiple actions while going into a defensive stance also really changed up gameplay a bit, which was a great mix to the genre. Mix that with some wonderful music, and a cast of characters that were interesting to follow along with, and you have a game that felt right at home with the famous Square Enix RPGs of old. -- Shaun Joy
Currently Available on: Amazon, and Nintendo Shop.
And that's how we saw the 3DS this year - a handheld with some familiar names, a new IP, and a couple of franchises making their first appearance on handhelds. A good year on the whole for the handheld as it begins an important transition period to the 'New 3DS'.
What did you think of this year for the 3ds? Do you agree with the Staff's choice for favorite game? Share your thoughts below.