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A collection of 10 arcade games for a reasonably low price sounds like an amazing deal, but only if the games are actually considered classics. Unfortunately, 10-in-1 Arcade Collection for the 3DS eShop doesn't have any classic games, nor any real arcade games at all. The collection is made up a few rip-offs of classic arcade titles, as well as some original games that have an arcade sensibility to them. While some of these games manage to capture that retro charm, issues with the other games might make you decide to save your quarters.
10-in-1 Arcade Collection's interface is fairly basic, as it's just a selection screen of the 10 included games, with an Options menu for setting the volume of the sound and music, which happens to be the game's best trait. Each game has its own original song, and each one of them is excellent. Each tune sounds like they came right from a Commodore 64 or a LoadingReadyRun sketch, and fit the retro feel of each game perfectly.
The games themselves, however, are a mixed bag of quality. As far as I could tell, only four of the games are actually based on specific classic videogames: Black Nightmares (which is essentially Space Invaders), Gem Breaker (Breakout), Tangled Space (Asteroids), and Ghost Cage (Puyo Puyo). Each of these games play pretty much exactly the same as the game they're “paying homage” to. They play well enough and can be fun, but there's a flaw that plagues almost every one of the games in the collection: a lack of feedback when you lose a life. Usually in these classic games, you would get a short death animation that gives you a brief moment to see where and how you died, so you can better prepare yourself on the next life. When you die in most of these games, it just instantly puts you right back in the action on your next life. It's a jarring transition, and one that prevented me from being able to figure out what exactly I did wrong.
The original games in this collection tend to suffer from the same problems. Special Delivery has you play as a delivery man that collects coins, jumps over pits, and attacks small woodland animals that dare to cross his path. Although he automatically walks, you can control his speed, sans the ability to stop. This makes trying to collect every coin in each level near impossible, because they're placed in a way that doesn't allow you to do so thanks to the automatic running and scrolling. It just made me feel like I was trying to control a stretching rubber band; I can't move forward without having to be yanked right back.
Ninja Monkey is similar to Pyoro from WarioWare, a.k.a. Bird & Bean on DsiWare, but without the ability to move your character. Instead, you play as a stationary ninja throwing shurikens at enemies and demons in the sky. Some enemies will drop bombs and other objects on the ground, shocking you if they land, so the idea is to shoot them down before they do. The only problem is that the cursor that aims your shurikens moves so slowly that there are times where you can't help but take damage. There are health containers that refill some of your health, but making the game so that there's no way around taking damage from time to time is an odd decision. Perfect Landing, another game in the collection, also suffers from this, as you control a spaceship trying to land, but your ascension can be way too fast in later levels, making it difficult, if not impossible, to avoid taking damage from enemies moving horizontally if you've run out of ammo. I'm not complaining about the difficulty of the games as much as I'm complaining about there being literally no way out of a potential lost life or game over.
The three remaining games, Box Logic, Devil Maze, and Saucer Room are mind-numbingly simple. Box Logic is a generic box-pushing puzzle game where you have to push boxes into special squares to complete the level, nothing too special. Devil Maze isn't really so much a maze as it is an open area with a goal, trying to avoid being in the line of sight of an enemy. Being able to do so is extremely easy, and is made even easier by a plethora of powerups that prevent you from getting caught. Saucer Room is similar to the old cell phone game Snake, in which you're constantly moving around a room consuming various objects and getting longer in the process. You eventually find a key card to move onto the next stage, but there doesn't really seem to be any indication of when it's supposed to show up. I just end up eating object after object for minutes at a time, with the game becoming more tedious than fun.
Overall, while the games could've used some fine-tuning, the package as a whole was still endearing to me. The homaged games play almost exactly like the originals, and the original games, while highly unfair at times, still had a little bit of charm to them, and couldn't help but try and beat my last high score. There just wasn't enough charm to fully recommend the game if you're expecting a full-on 80's arcade experience. It's best to put your quarter elsewhere if this was the game you were planning calling dibs on next.