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3DS Launch Game Previews

The Games from Smaller Third Parties

by Andy Goergen, Pedro Hernandez, Josh Max, and Jared Rosenberg - March 15, 2011, 9:10 pm EDT

Here is a look at what third parties not named Ubisoft and EA are delivering on launch day.

Ridge Racer 3D

Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai

What’s The Deal?

Namco's Ridge Racer series has been a player in the racing genre for years now, especially during the launch of new systems. While not as popular as Sony’s Gran Turismo series or EA’s Need for Speed franchise, Ridge Racer provides a solid, fun experience that mixes sim racing with arcade gameplay. From the look of things, Ridge Racer 3D looks to follow that tradition proudly.

Ridge Racer 3D has been developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, taking advantage of the system's 3D effect in order to create the illusion of depth and enhance the sense of speed. It has also been developed with the American audience in mind, featuring many American car models. Information sharing through StreetPass and four player multiplayer are notable additions in this version.

Is It Worthy of a Launch Purchase?

If you are a racing fan that prefers your racing games on the realistic side, then you can't go wrong with Ridge Racer 3D. The series has always been solid, and this 3D edition looks to be just as enjoyable as previous titles. If you want something a little less serious, you are better off waiting for Mario Kart 3D.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: Traveller's Tales

What’s The Deal?

LEGO Star Wars III, based on the Clone Wars cartoon, is coming to the 3DS at launch. It features more or less the same content as all of the other versions of LEGO Star Wars III. Although the game will utilize StreetPass to unlock characters and trade coins, the game will be very familiar to those who have played a LEGO action title before. The title will also include mini-games such as Droid volleyball and snowball fights.

Is It Worthy of a Launch Purchase?

LEGO Star Wars III belongs to a fairly extensive line of similar games, so you will largely know what you are getting into if you decide to purchase the game. If you're a fan of the series, or are looking for a fairly brainless action game to satiate your 3DS cravings at launch, this game should do the trick.

Samurai Warrior Chronicles

Publisher: Temco Koei Games
Developer: Omega Force

What’s The Deal?

This hack and slash game is a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS. It will give you control over a warrior on an ancient Japan divided by territorial conflict. The titular warriors have individual super powers that put them a cut above the rest of the troops. The game makes great use of the Circle Pad and seems to make good use of 3D during cut scenes.

Is It Worthy of a Launch Purchase?

If you are a fan of hack and slash games, this will be something that will interest you. However, if slashing through armies of enemies in ancient Japan does not sound appealing, you might want to stay away from this one.

Super Monkey Ball 3D

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Dimps

What’s The Deal?

Monkey Ball is back and for the very first time featuring 3D visuals. Players will have 80 new stages to roll through in the main puzzle mode. Stages are littered with bananas and players are challenged to get to the goal before the time runs out using either motion controls or the analog Circle Pad.

The game also features Monkey Race, a mode that does its best at mimicking Mario Kart, and Monkey Fight, where players must punch one another in an effort to collect the most bananas with gameplay reminiscent of Super Smash Bros.

Is It Worthy of a Launch Purchase?

The GameCube Monkey Ball titles did an amazing job at combining wonderfully fun multiplayer mini-games with a single player mode filled with extremely inventive puzzle stages with sometimes brutal difficulty. The 3DS game, like the recent Wii and iPhone Monkey Ball titles,  purposely offers a much easier puzzle adventure. If you are addicted to the classic puzzle gameplay, and don’t mind a relatively easy adventure, then this game may be worth purchasing. Don’t expect a robust multiplayer experience; this entry lacks series favorites like "Monkey Target," however it may be fun to do the occasional "Monkey Race."

Bust-A-Move Universe

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Taito

What’s The Deal?

Taito’s Bust-A-Move series has always offered simple, but addictive puzzle gameplay. In the 3DS edition, players will once again use a cannon at the bottom of the screen to shoot colorful bubbles at other bubbles. If combinations of three or more like-colored bubbles are formed from your shot, they will explode and fade away into nothingness. The ultimate objective is to clear the entire arena of bubbles. This new game will feature boss battles along with a challenge mode.

Is It Worthy of a Launch Purchase?

Bust-A-Move Universe does not appear to be offering anything all that different from earlier entries in the series. While the visuals will be feature 3D support, the main gameplay will still be played in 2D. Fans of the series may find enough to like in this entry, especially if they have friends who are up for endless multiplayer matches. However, this will not be great showcase for 3D visuals and there are already multiple Bust-A-Move DS games that will work just fine on 3DS.


SupaKirbMarch 09, 2011

I really don't want any of these games, I think I'm just gonna buy some classic RPG's on the DS to hold be over till something good comes out. Heck, I've never played Crono Trigger, I should pick that up with my 3DS.

KnowsNothingMarch 09, 2011

The only launch game I'm getting is Pilotwings and even though it looks to shame the great name of Piltowings I'm sure it will still be fun.  I've also ordered Radiant Historia which according to Amazon will get here around when the 3DS launches (supply issues) so I'll have some good games to hold me over until E3.  Plus I still have a backlog of DS games...I can't play anything that requires the L or R buttons at the moment...

The Steel Diver box art is terrible.

Quote from: insanolord

The Steel Diver box art is terrible.

Have you seen the Japanese boxart? It is beautiful. I really do not understand why they changed it for the states.


TenserMarch 09, 2011

If either Ridge Racer or Asphalt provide some excellent arcade-style racing I'll pick up one of those. If not I'll just play Radiant Historia on my shiney new 3DS.

Quote from: TalesOfFan

Quote from: insanolord

The Steel Diver box art is terrible.

Have you seen the Japanese boxart? It is beautiful. I really do not understand why they changed it for the states.

My main issue is that of the title font, which is the same in both. It looks like someone took 15 seconds with the Word Art feature in Microsoft Office.

TansunnMarch 10, 2011

"The game offers several ways of exploring the island: by plane, by hang glider, and by rocket belt."

That's just the default, right?  Pilotwings 64 has 7 options, but you have to unlock four of them.  That'll be a little disappointing if those three are all we get in Resort.

GoldenPhoenixMarch 10, 2011

From what I've been reading you unlock more vehicles as you progress. Really from what I've been reading the game has quite a bit of diversity and is packed with content and seems like a solid successor to the previous games.

KITT 10KMarch 10, 2011

I'm interested in Steel Driver because of the uniqueness of combining the use of the 3DS camera with the game play, (I know it isn't first to utilize it for game play like in the downloaded game for the DSi called Sytem Flaw). But it still appeals to my interest. As does Madden coming out for it too, (probably because I'm a die hard football fan). BUT, my 2 BIGGEST wants for up and coming games are Resident Evil Mercenaries and Mario Kart. I'd also love to see a Mortal Kombat and Soul Caliber game for it as well. Who knows, they may make them, (the 3DS hasn't been released in the US yet but has SOOOOO much potential). I just can't wait till march 27th to get mine!

ShyGuyMarch 10, 2011

I like to think that Steel Diver and Pilot Wings resort take place in the same universe. U-Boats are attacking Wuhu Island!

You could drop depth charges into the water from your hang glider.

KITT 10KMarch 10, 2011

(In regards to the last 2 comments), that'd be cool as heck!

I don't think it's appropriate to suggest that Nazis could be in a Nintendo game.

Wu-Boats then.

The next page is live!  We're looking at some of the higher profile 3rd party titles next.

Has it been confirmed that there will be a version of Madden 12 for 3DS as mentioned in the article? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, as EA still milks its sports franchises to death despite moving away from that in its other titles, but I haven't seen the company mention it yet. That could just be because they're smart enough not to talk about it until after they've suckered people into buying this one, but I'd like confirmation.

They haven't confirmed it, but c'mon, there's going to be a Madden 12 on the 3DS. Tiburon runs a tight ship of "work on game, finish it, make next year's edition." They've been doing for more than a decade.

I'm interested in both sports games, but they'll both be obsolete within a few months. If Madden 12 comes out at the same time on 3DS as on other systems, it'll be barely 4 months after the 3DS launch. Pro Evo looks good, but EA's working on FIFA for the platform and I prefer that series to PES.

motangMarch 11, 2011

I am very much looking forward to Super Street Fighter IV 3D, but was a bit heart broken to find out that the backgrounds on the states were static. Guess something had to give to pack in all that content on a tiny 3DS card.

KDR_11kMarch 11, 2011

Aren't 3DS carts supposed to be bigger than DVDs?

Not initially.

rlse9March 11, 2011

Typical 3rd party launch titles, established series bringing over watered down versions which have decent gameplay but no depth or features to them.  Yawn...

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMarch 16, 2011

Not trying to be snarky, but since when are Namco Bandai, Tecmo Koei, Square Enix, Sega, and LucasArts small publishers?!?!

While I can see some merit with LucasArts, but most of these companies aren't small companies when compared to companies such as  Xseed, Atlus, or NISA.

I just think that this section has been poorly labeled.

Well, they're not as big as Nintendo or EA. It's all on how you look at it. Is Sega tiny? No, but compared to Nintendo, EA, and Ubisoft they are.

When are you going to finish this? Unless I'm missing something, all that's left are the Ubisoft games; does this have anything to do with their embargo? I'm really interested in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars given my love of tactical RPGs, but I don't know that I have enough info on it to buy it day one.

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