Having played the previous entries in the "main" Shin Megami Tensei series, I do have to say that while I really like this game a lot, it may be my least favorite in the main series. I can't put my finger on why, either. Everything here is very solid from the interesting story to the weakness exploiting gameplay that we all know and love...and there's even a few new additions to the gameplay that don't really enhance anything, but they're still neat all the same. This is also probably the most accessible game in the series, with enough done where newcomers can come in and not be overwhelmed, while long-time fans still have the challenge there to enjoy. Anyway, SMT IV is a great entry in the series and good enough where I started up a second game immediately after beating it. Even if I prefer others in the series, this is still one of the best RPG experiences that you can experience on a handheld. Get it and find out for yourself.
Release Date: February 21, 2012 (US)
Developer: Kojima Productions
I'm surprised...This is pretty much a direct port of the Playstation 2 version of the game, without a whole lot compromised. Heck, all of the voicework seems to have made it, along with the James Bond-like Snake Eater theme song and trippy intro video, which looks quite neat with the 3D on. The controls are really the only thing holding this game down...The 3DS system doesn't have as many buttons as the PS2 controller, so some of the buttons are forced to be placed in kind of awkward places (though, if the 3DS had a second analog stick, I think it'd be fine). Once you get used to the button placements, it's not too bad...But it also never really feels like the controls are as good as the console version, either. It's worth noting that I really couldn't come up with a better button layout for the game myself, so I feel like they did the best they could with the buttons that the 3DS had available for them. By the time I finished the game, just like when I first beat it on PS2 years ago, all I wanted to do was immediately play the game all over again. As far as my personal preferences go, Snake Eater earned its way to the number one slot on this list, even if the iffy controls had me doubting that possibility at first.
Release Date: November 8, 2012 (JP)
When you take a glance at the 3DS activity log and notice that you've put nearly 90 hours into this game, and you're still not done playing, it's doing something right. New Leaf isn't a long RPG with a great story to push you through those hours...It's just a life simulation where you interact with your neighbors, water flowers, dig up fossils, catch bugs, go fishing, and partake in selling and buying items....That's about it. But it's done very well, with new things seemingly popping up every time you might start to feel like it's all getting a tad old. This is easily the best game in the series to date, and if you've ever wanted to try an Animal Crossing game, this is the one to get.
Yes, it's a re-vamped version of a Nintendo DS game, but a very good Nintendo DS game. It helps that I'm a Megami Tensei fan, but the game itself is just a very solid, enjoyable experience. I beat it and immediately wanted to play through again...I don't get that feeling much these days, so the games that do leave me with that feeling have a special place in my heart.
Release Date: June 16, 2011 (JP)
It's widely considered to be the greatest game ever made. And this handheld version is still a very enjoyable experience...However, there are aspects of the original N64 classic that have not aged well...And unfortunately, most of those aspects are left largely unchanged, leaving me wishing for an update. That being said, this is still a great game...And being able to play it while on the toilet is like a dream come true.
Release Date: April 19, 2012 (JP)
Developer: Agatsuma Entertainment
Genre: Action - Brawler
Code of Princess is one of the better brawlers that I've played in a long time...It plays kind of like Guardian Heroes, with a gameplay style that mixes brawler-style gameplay of battling numerous foes at once with Street Fighter-like button commands and Fatal Fury-like multi-plane fighting. Code of Princess also tosses in an RPG-ish leveling-up system, allowing you to boost the stats of whatever character you're playing as from the roster of 50+ unlockable folks. With plenty of characters to unlock and the ability to play with up to three others both locally and online, Code of Princess provides plenty of replay value for brawler fans.
Release Date: December 1, 2011 (JP)
Developer: Retro Studios
Genre: Racing - Kart-Style
Technically speaking, I think that Ridge Racer 3D is the better racing game, but what I like about Mario Kart 7, and what places it higher on the list than Ridge Racer, is what a difference the items you pick up and use on the track can be. You can race against a beginner and have them still put up a decent fight if they're lucky enough to get the right items. It essentially means that there's always a challenge to be had, even if you master a track, as your opponents are often just one or two item uses away from taking away your lead and/or sending you back a few positions.
Release Date: May 19, 2011 (JP)
Developer: Team Ninja
The last Dead or Alive game that I just could not stop playing was DoA 2. The games in the series since then have been good, but they just didn't hook me like that one did...Until this little gem came out. The story mode alone makes this one of my favorite games on the 3DS. The mode goes back and follows the story of Kasumi, Ayane, Hayabusa, among others from the first Dead or Alive tournament to the latest one. There are aspects of the fighting that I find to be inferior to what's found in Blazblue and Street Fighter IV, but when I look at the overall package, this is the fighting game I currently most prefer on the system.
Release Date: February 26, 2011 (JP)
Genre: Racing - Arcade-Style
I've been a huge fan of the Ridge Racer series since R4: Ridge Racer Type 4...However, I also haven't played a game from the series since that got me as hooked as R4 did. Ridge Racer 3D isn't a game that will de-throne R4 as my favorite from the series, but it's still a good, solid racing game for the 3DS. If you want a racing game, but don't like banana peels on the track that make your car spin out, then Ridge Racer 3D may be the 3DS game for you.
Release Date: June 23, 2011 (JP)
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
While the two games exclusive to this compilation (Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact) both use the motion sensors of the 3DS to create an interesting experience, it's not necessarily a good experience. Luckily, this compilation also includes the original arcade versions of Pac-Man and Galaga as well as Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions. The inclusion of those four great games helps offset the annoying, exclusive games and their motion controls. If you like Pac-Man and/or Galaga, this is a great compilation to pick up.
Release Date: February 26, 2011 (JP)
Genre: Simulation - Virtual Pet
I hold the first Nintendogs games close to my heart. I was away in college when it came out, and my dog was not allowed to live with me in the school-sponsored apartment complex I lived in. So, while on the weekends I got to see my pup, I wasn't so lucky on the weekdays, which is where the original Nintendogs games came in. This sequel is just as good in my opinion, but aside from the addition of cats, there isn't much else new. That still didn't stop me from logging several hours into this game, though. As far as pet sims go (and a TON of them have popped up since the original Nintendogs) this series remains at the top of the heap.
I really enjoyed Street Fighter IV (as well as the two re-vamped versions that followed). With Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, I can take much of the fun from that game on the go. If I was more of an online-kinda person when it came to my games, I bet this game would be ranked higher, as it seems to be quite good for battling folks via WiFi. But if you're not a huge fan of that stuff, you'll run out of stuff to do after beating the game with everyone and seeing their endings. The game is great, but my personal preference is what holds it back from being higher up on the list.
Release Date: March 31, 2011 (JP)
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
While BlazBlue offers much, much more in the means of gameplay modes and the like, the fighting isn't as smooth or as even between the characters as Street Fighter IV is. That being said, I'm still a big fan of this game, but I just have more fun beating the snot out of the computer in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition...But, when I want more in a basic story mode, and when I want more difficulty, BlazBlue is where it's at. Since I plan on moving things around on here all the time, this may end up above Street Fighter before it's all said and done.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is a decent handheld soccer game. When it comes to "shooting stuff into a goal" video game sports, I prefer hockey because the pace of the game is a lot quicker than the pace of soccer...That and I enjoy plowing people into plexiglass walls. However, every now and then a slower-paced sports game can be enjoyable. But anyway, if you're a soccer fan, you'll probably enjoy this game. It's not perfect, but it's definitely passable, and well worth a purchase for any sports nut who'd like to play some soccer on the go.
Release Date: February 26, 2011 (JP)
Developer: Omega Force
Genre: Action - Brawler
If you miss the glory days of brawlers, you'll probably find at least a little bit of enjoyment here. Samurai Warriors Chronicles, is a brawler set in Japan in the 1500's with a focus on how wars used to be fought -- a bunch of folks from each army running in and fighting in hand-to-hand combat. It's a decent enough of a game, and when I'm in the mood for it, it's quite fun, but it can also get very repetitive very quickly. If you're a big fan of the console Samurai Warriors games, this handheld version would be perfect for you, though.
Bust-A-Move Universe isn't as bad as some of the reviews I've seen would have you believe. I saw one reviewer actually dock the game's score because it had a "poor story." Really? It's a puzzle game, pal. How about basing your score off of the gameplay, which is what the matching puzzle genre is all about. In that end, Bust-A-Move Universe is passable, but not quite up to the standards set by the previous games in the series. The new additions, while somewhat neat, feel tacked on and not needed. Gotta give them credit for trying something new, though...I'd rather then try to innovate and fail than continually recycle the same game over and over again on different platforms. But anyway, this is a passable puzzle game that you'll likely enjoy if you can find it for cheap in a bargain bin...Otherwise you might be better off investing in one of the many, better puzzle games in the DS and 3DS libraries.
Release Date: February 14, 2012 (US)
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Tekken 3D isn't necessarily a bad game as much as it is a disappointing one. It doesn't deliver what a Tekken fan would expect outside of the "fight folks online" aspect...And that aspect is pretty much the whole game of Tekken 3D. If you're a diehard fighting fan that loves to compete against others, you'll probably be in Tekken heaven here...Everyone else will get bored very fast, as the single player game modes don't last long, and when they're done, there's no replay value here unless you plan on fighting folks online for a while. Again, the gameplay itself isn't bad...It's just the lack of content to keep you coming back for more that's the negative.
I really enjoyed my time with the console version of the game...The handheld version, not so much. The game is somewhat glitchy and I'm not a huge fan of how you're supposed to get a Skylander figure into the in-game world. That being said, it's still a passable experience...Albeit a short one. If the concept of Skylanders interests you, I highly recommend playing a console version rather than this one, though.
*UPDATE* While my feelings on the game still stand, it's worth noting that some reviews have come out since I typed this and it looks like generally reviewers actually prefer the 3DS game over the console versions, so I may be the minority there. So, while I doubt anyone would read this and base a purchase based on my opinion alone, in case someone actually would, I wanted to let it be known that I seem to be in the minority with my thoughts on this game's quality.
Release Date: June 2, 2011 (US)
Publisher: Crave Games
Developer: Papaya Studios
I like some of the ideas in Punch Time Explosion, but I'm not a fan of the execution. This Smash Bros. clone just felt kind of clunky to me...Add in the fact that it freezes up on me (which freezes the entire system) every now and then; it just got on my nerves. If you're looking for a fighter, there are much better ones on the system than this. It's far from being the worst game that I've ever played, but thus far it's still one of the worst games that I've played on the 3DS.
Release Date: November 8, 2011 (US)
Genre: Simulation - Virtual Pet
Puppies 3D is a shining example of how you can have two very similar titles, but the way the games are developed can prove to be the difference from a game being good or bad. From what I've seen and played, anything Puppies 3D does, Nintendogs does it much, much better...From gameplay, to graphics and the game soundtrack, to even the animations of the dogs...Nintendogs is so much better than this game. For example, the dogs in Nintendogs are loaded with personality...The dogs in Puppies 3D are more like robots. I've played worse simulations before, but that still doesn't make this game worth anybody's time.
I'll be doing lists like this for all systems eventually. As I play games for the system, I'll add them to the list. They're ranked by my own personal preference, so keep that in mind if you can't figure out why game A is ranked above game B.
For release date info, I took the first release date and included the region the date comes from. Here's the key for that: NA - North America, JP - Japan, EU - Europe, AU - Australia