Between known commodities from Nintendo and a few Nindies, the 3DS has some fight left.
While the Nintendo Switch has captured our full attention, the 3DS is still kicking as it narrows in on the start of its seventh year. We don’t know of many releases, but there are enough to consider the 3DS a system that is worth keeping an eye on in 2017. Heck, its first two months are more robust than basically every two-month span of the Wii U’s in 2016.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (January 20)
Nintendo’s first 2017 release (unless you count the Switch event as a release, which maybe we should?) is Dragon Quest VIII, the 3DS re-release of the 2005 PlayStation 2 classic. It’s heralded as one of the best RPGs on that system, and the 3DS version adds new characters and story content as well as some neat quality-of-life enhancements and new quests.
As someone who missed out on this game on the PS2, I’m excited to try it out. The modern touches seem to be more prevalent than they were in the Dragon Quest VII remake, which makes this seem less daunting. Also, it’s about time I learned about those characters I’ve been playing as in Fortune Street all these years. Cor’ blimey!
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World (February 3)
Before all of the Wii U games get ported to the Switch, they need to be ported to 3DS first. Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World takes the 2015 Wii U game you just played and brings it to 3DS with an added focus on Poochy (and a corresponding eye-meltingly cute Amiibo). We named the Poochy Amiibo as our third-most anticipated game of 2017, so that’s exciting. Yarn Poochy can be used to unlock the pup as support for Yoshi during the game as well as unlocking timed challenges. Outside of the Amiibo, the 3DS version also adds a Craft Yoshi mode that lets you make your own Yarn Yoshi design on the touch screen (and then share it with StreetPass). But maybe the neatest thing about Poochy and Yoshi’s new re-release is the 30 stop-motion shorts packed in.
Seriously look at this. It’s adorable. I was disappointed in Yoshi’s Woolly World (tl;dr I hate hidden clouds...a lot) and even I’m excited for this.
Tank Troopers (Winter)
Announced during the September Nintendo Direct and then quietly shuffled away in the background, Tank Troopers looked neat even if it was kind of a mystery what it was. It came out in a Japan, though, so here’s Daan Koopman with the skinny: “Tank Troopers is a battle action game where you control a tank and shoot at anything that moves. There are 30 missions with various objectives, customization options include 36 tanks and local multiplayer modes.” Thanks, Daan!
This will probably show up randomly on the eShop like the morning of the Switch event or something dumb. It apparently lacks online play, which is kind of bizarre.
Runbow Pocket (Q1 2017)
Runbow was a bafflingly awesome nine-player Wii U eShop game when it launched in the summer of 2015 (and released on a disc last fall). The bossanova style carried through to the goofy platforming and frantic multiplayer. The 3DS version, announced back at E3 2016, got delayed a bit - it was supposed to be out late that year - but it’s still set to come out on the 3DS eShop and in a physical Deluxe Edition. This New 3DS exclusive will features online multiplayer (but no local multiplayer or StreetPass) as well as all the single-player content from the Wii U version. All of the DLC released from the Wii U version will be compatible, too.
Lifespeed (Early 2017)
Yo you want a new F-Zero? Is Nintendo not making it? Well, Wee Man Studios is making a game for your New 3DS that looks and feels a helluva lot like F-Zero. After two years of baller hallway E3 showings to NWR staffers, Lifespeed is very close to coming out, and it looks very good.
Chicken Wiggle (Early 2017)
Jools Watsham, who you might know better for the Renegade Kid games Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter, is nearing completion of his next 3DS game, Chicken Wiggle. This time, however, it’s from his new studio Atooi. That seems to be largely bureaucratic, as Chicken Wiggle looks like a new 2D platformer in the same vein as Mudds and Xeodrifter. The big part of this game is that it also has a robust level creator not unlike Mario Maker. You can actually share these levels online, though, so score one for the underdog.
Ever Oasis (2017)
We thought E3 2016 was going to be all Zelda all the time, and for the most part, it was. However, Nintendo dropped a sizable new game announcement during the show in Ever Oasis, a 3DS adventure from Grezzo, the team behind the Zelda 3DS remakes. The director is Koichi Ishii, who has a deep history with Square as the director of Secret of Mana in addition to working on a variety of Mana and Final Fantasy games. We’ve seen very little since E3, but my interest is piqued. After sharpening its teeth remaking Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Grezzo is now working on a project that seems to combine puzzle elements of Zelda with Mana-inspired combat and some sort of town building mechanic. Naturally, the whole thing might not come together, but if everything gels, Ever Oasis could be a Drill Dozerian (Editor’s Note: *double facepalm*) late-gen sleeper.
Also, Grezzo made Flower Town - that StreetPass game you probably bitched about but played a lot of. That’s neat.
Mario Sports Superstars (Spring 2017)
Yo f*** all y’all. This looks hot as all hell.
You got baseball.
You got soccer.
You got golf.
You got tennis.
You got horse racing.
And it’s all by Camelot and Bandai Namco. And the soccer’s 11-on-11. And maybe there’s online multiplayer? Y’all can be all negative about this. Maybe Mario Sports Superstars is too good for this world. Maybe horse racing will just be some messed up version of Mario Kart with horses (but probably not solitaire). Maybe golf will just include everything from Mario Golf World Tour. The world is your oyster.
Pikmin for 3DS (2017)
As we kick off 2017, Pikmin for 3DS is now officially “that game that seemingly no one wants and some people will actively petition to have it taken out back and shot.” In other words, it’s the Federation Force slot. It’s a dubious distinction that is starting to happen all too often these days. Anyway, we know Pikmin is a side-scrolling adventure where you use the touch screen to control Pikmin in a way somewhat reminiscent of the Drill Dozerian (Editor’s Note: Oh FFS) late-gen DS game Kirby Mass Attack. Word spread after its reveal that the Yoshi’s New Island developer, Arzest, is working on this game, but nothing out of Nintendo has corroborated this yet. It’s likely, but nothing more than speculation until we hear more. Pikmin 3DS was just mentioned as a 2017 release, and it’s possible it could fall into a similar place as Yoshi’s New Island, which came out a year before Yoshi’s Woolly World. That is, if Miyamoto wasn’t just trolling the world with his comments back in 2015 about a new Pikmin game being nearly done.
forma.8 (February 2017)
forma.8 holds the distinction of being the last of the Nindies@Home game demos from E3 2015 to release. Well, second-to-last if you count Rive’s woeful cancellation. I remember being really stoked to play the full game after the demo of this Metroid-esque adventure from the team behind Futuridium (also on the 3DS). The developers are in the home stretch now and it looks like it should be coming to New 3DS (and Wii U) in February.
When trying to find out release details for forma.8, I found this old Twitter account that says the game is due out in 2015. Time makes fools of us all.
Antipole DX (2017)
Antipole was a really good DSiWare game, and the expansive remake of that great platformer has been in the works for 3DS (and Wii U) for a long time. Barring the heat death of the universe, Antipole DX should come out in 2017. If you missed out on it the first time, I heartily recommend it. It’s got a lot of rad gravity switching, kind of like VVVVVV and...okay for real I played this game like six years ago. I don’t remember many specifics other than “that was rad.” When this remake hits, I’ll replay it and it’ll probably feel a brand new game. I’m stoked.
Blaster Master Zero (Spring 2017)
The up and down feeling I felt when Blaster Master Overdrive came out on WiiWare was weird. I went from being ridiculously excited to really disappointed once the joy of a new Blaster Master existing washed away to reveal a mediocre-at-best game with a terrible control scheme. Blaster Master Zero brings new promise with Inti Creates behind the wheel. While Mighty No. 9 might have laid an egg, Inti Creates still has chops as the Azure Striker Gunvolt series is well crafted. A new Blaster Master doesn’t guarantee excellence, but it certainly earns an excited glance and some hope.
Elliot Quest (2017)
I knew very little of Elliot Quest when it came out on Wii U, but it blew me the heck away. It was essentially a non-busted Zelda II (well, maybe a little busted as some folks had issues with bugs) and a release of this game on 3DS would be a delightful excuse to revisit one of the better surprises on the Wii U eShop. As of now, we have no idea when this is coming out.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (Q1 2017)
I feel like I need to go back and check out the first Story of Seasons. People raved about it, and our devout staff Harvest Moon fans seem positively pumped for this sequel. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns gives you three (surprise) different locales to bounce around in, complete with new crops, new romantic options, and new animals.
Lady Layton (Early 2017 in Japan; 2017 for West)
It seemed like the Professor Layton series was going to be buried at the end of the sixth entry, but luckily for all the budding puzzle sleuths of the world, the series is back in action with Lady Layton. Due out in the first half of 2017 in Japan and sometime later in America and Europe, this new adventure stars Kat Layton, the good professor’s daughter, who takes up the puzzling mantle to try to find her missing dad. Kat has a talking dog, too, so this stuff is still weird. Hopefully no sob-inducing time travel subplots will pop up.
Worth noting is that the puzzles are being designed by a new guy - Kuniaki Iwanami - because Akira Tago, the legendary puzzle master behind the older games, passed away in 2016. R.I.P.
Goodbye! BoxBoy! (February 2 in Japan; Unannounced for West)
The BoxBoy games are very good. This is the third BoxBoy game. This BoxBoy comes with an Amiibo of the titular BoxBoy in Japan. Have you played BoxBoy? You should play BoxBoy. This BoxBoy is only announced for Japan and will be out over there in February. Like the other BoxBoys, it will likely come to America and Europe a few months later. Happy BoxBoy! Go BoxBoy, go!
Etrian Odyssey V (Out in Japan; Unannounced for West)
Alright, Atlus. We got shit we need to work out. Etrian Odyssey V came out in Japan back in August 2016 and we have heard nothing regarding the localization of this hotly anticipated fifth entry in an Atlus RPG series. I know you all might be busy with that Persona stuff, but like c’mon. Gimme dat hot Yuzo Koshiro music. Let me relish in the cartography-focused dungeon crawling that has transformed the Etrian Odyssey series from a weird thing I looked at from afar on the DS to quite possibly my favorite modern RPG series on the 3DS. Give us something, screenshots, a release date, even just confirmation that you’re working on this, please!
The Alliance Alive (March 30 in Japan; Unannounced for West)
The Alliance Alive, a new RPG from the team behind The Legend of Legacy (remember that?), has a more arduous journey to the west than Etrian Odyssey V. Hell, The Legend of Legacy was a long shot in and of itself. While I wound up having mixed feelings about that FuRyu 3DS RPG, so much of it was endearing that I can’t wait to see if they pull it off with more aplomb this time around.