Urban Trial Freestyle 2 Review
Urban Trial Freestyle 2's great mistake is putting the scoring system where the challenge is at its weakest. You can get through a gauntlet of obstacles unscathed, but you won't be rewarded at all. And while a track creation system does allow you to create amusing challenges for yourself, don't expect to find anyone else's. The effort put into the presentation is commendable, but Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is best described as fleeting, faltering fun.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon
Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a deep, engaging and fun game that fans of the series and RPG followers will love at first glance, even though not every player will enjoy it. Hardcore RPG fans will find this entry relatively easy compared to Etrian Odyssey games, while newcomers or casual RPG players will struggle with later dungeons. If you’re curious about what EMD has to offer, you can’t go wrong with this entry; it’s clever, charming and a blast to play.
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is almost everything you could ask for from a portable version of Smash Brothers. It sports a huge, diverse roster of characters, a ton of new, quirky modes, and has enough collectables to keep any Nintendo fan busy for quite some time. If not for the flaws with its multiplayer, I would actually go so far as to say that it is the quintessential Smash Bros. experience on the go. I understand that people may be hesitant to buy Super Smash Bros. for 3DS with the Wii U version coming out soon, or because it's feared to be a subpar entry in the series being that it’s on a weaker handheld system, but I could not disagree more. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series like me, or a curious newcomer, you owe it to yourself to buy this game if you have a 3DS.
Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D
It's a game of cheap hits and endlessly replaying levels because you couldn't dodge or react to a bullet in any way. There's no real story, your character doesn't matter, weapon progression feels pointless, and the concept of an on-rails shooter on a 3DS using the touch screen to aim can be done well, but isn't here. Even worse, it requires you to play through old levels before you can advance, and these are not levels you WANT to replay. In fact, this isn't the kind of game you want to play period. It's the kind of game that's clearly trying to trade off on looking like better ones, but it just reminds you that you don't want to be playing this one.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Dream Team's bright and friendly world is an easy one to fall in love with, but by the time you reach the end, that love will have been tested repeatedly by uneven design and a lack of narrative follow-through. Many of its flaws could be reduced to its strict following of the series' formula without expanding on what makes it endearing. Much like Luigi's dreams, AlphaDream's latest is a little pre-occupied with expectations of Big Bro.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers
More could have been done to clarify the game's myriad battle systems and spruce up the creaky visual engine behind it for less experienced players, most of whom would probably be immediately baffled and turned off by this dated work. Even when armed only with its age and a modern translation, though, Soul Hackers' great storytelling and infectious dark spirit make it a forty-hour-plus proposition that long-time JRPG fans should consider.
The Starship Damrey
This all makes The Starship Damrey the kind of game that just seems a little too old fashioned. Game storytelling, even in adventure games, has come a long way, but this is too straight forward, not focusing on immersion as much as it seems to think it does. While I did like the act of slowly going from each area and unlocking the ship, the story payoff isn’t good enough to justify it. They can put in as many twists as they want, but withholding this information felt more like cheating than actually surprising me, making the multiple epilogues feel unearned. I certainly appreciate the game existing on the eShop, but unfortunately, The Starship Damrey needed to have better storytelling and a better payoff to make the download worth it.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move
Characters aside, Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is a very fun game, with a frantic pace and several deviations on the main puzzle type that serve to give you a pretty full package. Being able to expand the longevity of this game by allowing level downloads is also a plus, and with a good community, it can last for a very long time. And I certainly hope it does last for a while, because this is a game that would be great to come back and revisit with all the levels and creativity a good community usually brings to a title.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
It is a shame that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on 3DS is let down so badly by the lack of online capability. However, if you have friends with the title or have prior experience with the series and can deal with the challenge of fighting alone, then 3 Ultimate is worth picking up. Just make sure you play with the Circle Pad Pro.
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
There were times when I felt like I was enjoying the game nearly in spite of itself, but nevertheless, I enjoyed Etrian Odyssey IV enough to at least see its appeal past its deluge of menus. The approximation of dangerous, fantastical exploration is emulated here with a lot of thoughtful touches that managed to interest me in ways I was skeptical were possible before beginning. If you're new to the series, this is probably the best possible place to start. The presentational upgrades, while still squished under some heavy tedium, make getting in a little friendlier than before. Unless you're a chronic stat-cruncher and menu enthusiast, though, I can't imagine that this incremental and grind-heavy sequel will resonate with you.
The best way I could recommend Kersploosh! would be to have a friend or two with a 3DS agree to buy the game as well. Turn on StreetPass, so every time you see each other after playing, you’re updating your scores and challenging each other indirectly. It’s something you’ll want to do, as well, even if it's a little bit of an unrealistic thing to ask in order to make this game fun. Kersploosh! is a fun, if brief, game.
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
If I haven’t sold you on Virtue’s Last Reward yet, I don’t know what else to say. It’s a near flawless narrative experience wrapped in a bog-standard but necessary adventure game. It has more emotional depth than I’ve ever experienced on a handheld, and had 2012 not been such an outstanding year for emotive storytelling with titles like Spec Ops and The Walking Dead, I might have been inclined to extend this compliment to videogames in general. If you own a 3DS or Vita this is without a doubt, unequivocally a must-play.
With more polish and more work, this game could have been fun. Instead, it’s a grossly frustrating game, too focused on dated mechanics and a misguided stealth element for it to be entertaining. And a timer on every little thing? I get the idea that it might help create tension, but it just winds up being frustrating when it’s ever-present like it is in Johnny Impossible.