2017 has been a complete knock-out for Nintendo thanks to the launch of the Nintendo Switch, as well as the SNES Classic and a handful of big 3DS releases. The Nintendo Switch has been an extremely popular game system thanks to its portable and docked gameplay functions. The games have only extended that popularity with hits like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.
Coming into 2017, I didn't expect many big games to come out for the 3DS (to my disappointment), but I was so wrong! While this year wasn't packed with 3DS games, quite a few titles were released. Here are some seriously great games that released for 3DS this year.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
One of the most popular and beloved Dragon Quest games is updated on the 3DS with new features. A group of heroes journey to stop a villainous magician who turned the king and princess into a troll and horse. This version of the game is packed with new features such as new playable characters Red and Morrie, new dungeons, costumes, items, a Monster Arena, no more random encounters, and Photo Quests! Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is already a gem, but the improvements to the 3DS version make the game a must-buy title!
Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World
One of Yoshi's best games made it's way to the 3DS with some new features on top of its portability. The new Poochy Dash stages allow players to control Poochy in fast-paced side-scrolling levels while Poochy Pups help find secret items and paths. Other new features include more Yoshi designs via amiibo, stop-motion shorts, more collectables and customizable Yoshi designs. Alongside the new Yarn Poochy amiibo, Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World is the definitive way to play Yoshi's Woolly World.
The puzzle platformer series BoxBoy is back with the third (and possibly final) entry in the series. Qbby, the protagonist of the series, has four new ablities to utilize like bomb boxes and rocket boxes. By creating boxes to traverse 18 different worlds, players can collect crowns and rescue Qbabies. The unlockables are as great as ever with costumes, comics, challenges, and even compatibility with the Kirby series amiibo! With over 150 puzzles to solve, Bye-Bye BoxBoy is a great game for returning fans of the series and puzzle games.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
This remake of the Japan exclusive game Fire Emblem Gaiden is easily one of the best 3DS games of the year. The story is engaging, thanks to strong writing, full voice acting and well-developed characters led by Alm and Celica. The gameplay is updated in small yet unique ways. New features include explorable 3D dungeons, and an option to undo a mistake via Mila's Turnwheel. Combat has been tweaked as well from the removal of the weapon triangle to changes to archers and mages. Accompanied by excellent music, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is an absolutely wonderful game to experience.
Ever Oasis is a new IP which blends the action-adventure RPG genre and farming simulation with successful results. The main character is occupied with maintaining their bustling oasis and stopping the dark entity known as Chaos. Fortunately, the water spirit Esna assists to provide a safe haven for travellers within the oasis. When travellers team up with the protagonist, they can solve puzzles and battle enemies in the desert and caves. Balancing the two gameplay styles is a unique aspect of this game as players juggle between stocking shops and battling evil. Ever Oasis is a deep, compelling and satisfying journey filled with hope, survival, and creation.
Monster Hunter Stories
Monster Hunter Stories, the first RPG Monster Hunter game, made it to Western regions with Nintendo's localization following fan requests. Thank goodness because players get to experience a different kind of Monster Hunter game filled with turn-based battles, colorful & lush landscapes, cute character designs and Monstie collecting. Instead of hunting monsters, players hatch and ride them with their customized character to fight other monsters. A rock-paper-scissors style battle system as well as different weapons, skills, and genes add plenty of strategy to the game. With hours of gameplay to delve into, Monster Hunter Stories is a fantastic new way to endure the series.
Metroid: Samus Returns
After a hiatus in the series, Samus has returned, fulfilling the dreams of fans everywhere. While re-imagining Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid: Samus Returns introduces many new features such as the lauded melee counter which allows Samus to counter enemy attacks. The brand-new Aeion abilities give Samus additional ways to traverse the environment. Intense boss fights, useful touchscreen features, atmospheric music, crisp graphics, and fast travel are just some of the other features in this fantastic return of Metroid. As someone who dreamed of a 2D Metroid game on the 3DS for years, I couldn't be more happy.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
The first ever Mario & Luigi game has been remade for the 3DS with some cool new content including a brand-new mode. The main story is kept intact with Princess Peach losing her voice as part of a plot by the villain Cackletta as well as the beloved gameplay. In addition to the main story, a side story called Minion Quest features Bowser's minions planning to rescue him. In a year full of remakes for 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions is one of the best, filled with witty charm and fun combat.
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
The latest title in the Etrian Odyssey series includes ten new classes, four races and a challenging campaign within story mode. Character customization has been expanded upon with colors and voices to further personalize your characters. Battles take place in a labyrinth of first person dungeons with 30 floors of dungeons providing players with hours of content to tackle. Released during the Etrian Odyssey series' 10th anniversary, this title is a solid celebration of the series.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
The latest Pokemon game Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the alternate or third version of Pokemon Sun and Moon. Some of the events from the original game play out differently while the main story leads into a new threat known as Necrozma. Cool new features include travelling through Ultra Wormholes, surfing with Mantine, taking pictures with the Alola Photo Club and plenty of captivating post-game content. Even with many similar features, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon make enough interesting changes to make the game worth experiencing.
I would like to include a few other games as honorable mentions including Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, RPG Maker FES, Kirby's Blowout Blast, Hey! Pikmin, Miitopia, Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters, Culdcept Revolt, and Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire's Conspiracy.
Next year's 3DS line-up includes Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, Kirby: Battle Royale, and The Alliance Alive. If I had to predict any possible games for the 3DS in its late age, I'd predict/hope for a remake of Advance Wars or WarioWare for Game Boy Advance. With the 3DS living into 2018, there should be quite a few titles left to enjoy with many people still waiting for games such as Persona Q2 and Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.
The 3DS has had a great run and it will be nice to see the system ride off into the sunset in most likely the next two to three years. Thanks Nintendo for all the entertainment the 3DS has provided us like the revitalization of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing, the first handheld Super Smash Bros, the return of Kid Icarus, Pilotwings and 2D Metroid, the first polygonal graphics for Pokemon games and so much more.