Oh s#!t, here we go again
For all the good that Nintendo brings into the world with its wonderful creations, it’s clear there are still some areas where the company could be doing better. One crucial area where the company has failed for as long as it’s been a household name is continuing access to legacy games. Since the NES was dropped in favor of the SNES, Nintendo fans have had to hold onto old hardware if they wanted to keep playing their favorite games from the previous generation. It hasn’t always tripped up with this as anyone who kept playing their OG copy of Tetris on the Game Boy Advance SP can attest to. But with the advent of digital marketplaces, the company has found new and exciting ways to keep people from buying and playing games from old consoles.
Nintendo giveth and Nintendo taketh away. It’s a cycle as dependable as the golden sun. We did this a few years ago with the closure of WiiWare and the original Virtual Console. That was pretty devastating for me, and it’s going to be just as hard on March 27 when Nintendo shuts down the 3DS and Wii U branches of the eShop. While the store will stick around to let people download games they’ve already bought, anyone with a 3DS and Wii U still kicking won’t be able to purchase games for their system after Monday.
With that in mind, I asked the writers at Destructoid for their recommendations for last minutes eShop purchases. And I’m going to start this list off with a title that’s near and dear to my heart.
Siesta Fiesta (3DS)
In a world where Pocket Card Jockey wasn’t ported to Apple Arcade, that would obviously be my pick for this list. With that game safe and sound—for now—I can turn my attention to another title that was criminally overlooked on the 3DS. Siesta Fiesta is a joyful brick-breaker side-scrolling action game featuring the type of protagonist we could all strive to be more like—somebody who sleeps all day. Siesta is one tired fella, sleeping through all the action of his own adventure. Players have to guide him to the end of every level, controlling his bed like it’s a paddle from Arkanoid. With outstanding art direction and an adorable soundtrack, it’s a shock and a shame this hasn’t been ported to other hardware. Thankfully, 3DS owners still have a little bit of time to pick it up. – CJ Andriessen
Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U)
One of the most disastrous directions Nintendo took during the Wii U’s lifespan was pushing the idea that games should take advantage of the unique abilities of the giant, tea-tray gamepad. The most substantial effect that this had was scaring off third-party publishers, who had interpreted the message as meaning that, if they wanted to port their games from other consoles, they’d need to shoehorn in some touchscreen malarky. I think what Nintendo was hoping for was more games like Affordable Space Adventures.
Developed by a partnership of KnapNok Games and Nifflas’ games, Affordable Space Adventures is a cooperative-focused exploration game designed with the Wii U Gamepad in mind. One player drives the ship around hazards and obstacles while another juggles the ship’s systems on the gamepad touchscreen, and a third can operate the scanner. These two distinct roles are equally fun, but I will fight anyone who tries to pry the systems role out of my hands.
Affordable Space Adventures is the perfect example of why the loss of the eShop on Wii U is so tragic. The developers have stated that they have no intentions of ever porting the game to other platforms, so once the plug is pulled, we may never see anything like it again. – Zoey Handley
Crimson Shroud (3DS)
Part of the Guild01 collection, Crimson Shroud is a wild combination. It’s a fantasy RPG that mixes classic command battles with heavy tabletop influence, down to the fact that you roll die, see your characters move like figurines, and have a dungeon master. And it’s developed by Level-5, with Yasumi Matsuno at the helm. It’s an incredible idea on paper for those who love seeing all the disparate threads of RPG history woven together.
What’s amazing is it genuinely works well, too. Playing Crimson Shroud feels like you’re playing your very own tabletop game, some sort of Ivalice-inspired homebrew campaign. The blend of Final Fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons breaks down the walls in a way that feels like an RPG design lesson.
And somehow, this clocks in at a pretty short runtime for an RPG, for less than it costs to see a movie these days. There’s a lot I love about the era of dual-screen Nintendo handhelds, and Crimson Shroud captures all of it in a singular package that any RPG fan needs to get before it’s gone. – Eric Van Allen
Daikon Set (Wii U)
The Wii U is Nintendo’s biggest underdog home console, and while its eShop has plenty of top-notch traditional titles, it’s the outliers that feel most at home on the system. If the Wii was Mario, a baby-faced crowd pleaser, then the Wii U is its Luigi; the awkward, fumbling brother who lives in his more popular sibling’s shadow. Being #2 means he has to kick harder to compensate, and those wild struggles have made him an icon for hard-working videogame weirdos everywhere.
Likewise, the Wii U games I love the most work harder to win us over, swinging for the fences and often whiffing in the process. Daikon Set is one of those misses. That said, it hopefully didn’t do too poorly, as it eventually got a sequel in the form of The Queen-TV Game 2, a two-cent 3DS eShop title that I also heartily recommend. Despite being the less expensive of the two, Daikon Set is comparatively robust, as it’s actually three games in one: Chroma Star (a simple shmup), Pink Mite (a vertical scrolling, Flappy Bird-esque dodging game), and The Queen (a vaguely Pong-like reflex test where you want to avoid the ball instead of hit it).
It’s like a collection of Bit.Trip proof of concepts that never got fleshed out into full-priced games. And best of all, it’s 100% free, with no microtransactions or other methods to actually make the developers any money. Chances are low that Nintendo eShops in the future will offer up such bargains, so get this one before it’s extinct forever. – Jonathan Holmes
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale (3DS)
Set in Setagaya, Tokyo, Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale tells the story of a 10-year-old boy named Sohta. Set during the 1970s, this game has you exploring the quaint little town, chatting with all of the neighborhood kids, and playing an entertaining card game. The twist is that every Friday, kaiju appear and superheroes attack the monsters to defend Tokyo. You can see it all play out in the distance, but it’s just a regular day in Setagaya.
The cute script is charmingly written, and the music is whimsical. As Jonathan Holmes cleverly puts it in his Destructoid review, this game’s “Pacific Ghibli Rim.” It blends kaiju with a Studio Ghibli-like narrative. If you need a quick break from fighting the undead in the Resident Evil 4 remake, this chill 3DS gem is a good way to calm your nerves. – Chris Penwell
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a weird game that’s not for everyone. Ringing endorsement, I know! The moment you start running around the game world and hear that hip-hop acoustic guitar track, you’ll feel it. You’ll really feel it.
I felt quite a few emotions when playing through this oddball open-world adventure, and not all of them were positive: in the end, it won me over. The fact that it’s so open-ended, so unpredictable, and so densely packed is why I was constantly drawn back to it like a siren’s song. It’s a strange relic of the Wii U era, and there aren’t a lot of games quite like it today.
The main reason why I decided to sing its praises here — in the twilight hours of the legacy eShop closure — is that it deserves to be preserved. I’m not sure what the future holds for Monolith Soft beyond more mainline Xenoblade games, but we probably won’t be getting a remaster or remake of Chronicles X anytime soon. If you’re on the fence about the game before the Wii U eShop goes kaput, you can read our full review here! Note that you do have time to change your mind, as it does have a physical release floating out there in the secondhand market. – Chris Carter
And so many more…
This list is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great eShop games that are about to be lost to the ages. Beyond what you’ve read here, consider picking up other 3DS and Wii U gems, such as Rhythm Heaven Megamix, Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder, Sakura Samurai, Dr. Luigi, Kersploosh!, and entire franchises like Pushmo or The Denpa Men. And that’s to say nothing of the DSiWare greats we’re about to lose access to as well, including Aura-Aura Climber and X-Scape.
Just remember, if you want to be able to buy any games from these storefronts, you’ll need to have connected your Wii U and/or 3DS to your Nintendo wallet. If you add funds directly to that wallet, you can make purchases on these eShops right up until the end.