Color me surprised. And absolutely and completely wrong. I was convinced that the 3DS was done. That we were seeing the end unfold before us. That development had stopped, and Nintendo was just releasing the last of their projects as they learned to let go. I don’t think it was an unfair assumption – the system is in its seventh year, and there were only a handful of upcoming games in the roster.
Leave it to the power of a surprise Nintendo Direct. Last week, Nintendo announced a bevy of new content for the 3DS. Their announcements help fill in some of the gaps in their plans this year, and also leave the hint that more could be coming. We’re getting a lot of ports and remakes, but things are clear – Nintendo isn’t keen on letting the 3DS go yet. We even have a game confirmed for 2019, which leads me to think there’s a possibility we’ll see releases for the system trickle into 2020, maybe beyond.
I now present to you all what I believe to be a more up to date release schedule for the 3DS. I hope you all find something in here that interests you like I have:
Detective Pikachu (Nintendo/The Pokémon Company) (Coming March 23rd)
Featuring the adventure-style crime solving antics that have become popular on the DS family of systems with Ace Attorney and Hotel Dusk, Detective Pikachu represents the boldest spin-off for the series in years. Starring a gruff-talking Pikachu and his human partner Tim, you solve crimes, talk to other Pokémon, and experience “over 150 fun-filled animated cutscenes” in a story that has somehow spawned a live-action movie before even being localized. I’m personally very excited for this game, and expect it to make me appreciate the Pokémon franchise in a way I haven’t in years. Definitely one to keep an eye on
The Alliance Alive (Atlus/Cattle Call) (Coming March 27th)
The good people over at Atlus bring us this JRPG, detailing a never-ending war between Humans and Daemons. Bringing together the stories of nine different characters as the Humans try once and for all to get rid of their Daemonic oppressors, this game hopes to be a throwback in the vein of Cattle Call’s previous game The Legend of Legacy, and Atlus’ own Radiant Historia. Featuring Yoshitaka Murayama, writer for the early Suikoden games, and Final Fantasy XIII’s composer, Masashi Hamauzu, the game seeks to impress with the talent of its staff. However the true test here, as with all throwback RPGs, is if the game can stand on its own. If it proves to be just a string of references to older games, then the game will have failed at its job. New ideas are needed, no matter how small.
Like its other DS games, Atlus has now given Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey a makeover for the 3DS, featuring the expected additions of voice acting and new story content. This is great for those who liked the first-person RPG back in the day; but for those of us who found the game too obtuse the first time, it represents the golden opportunity to try it again. As proven with news that a new Etrian Odyssey game might be in the works for 3DS, Atlus’ dedication to the console is interesting in a time where no one but Nintendo has this much output. Let’s hope it continues to keep up throughout the year and into the next.
Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers (Nintendo/Vanpool) (May 24th)
Nintendo’s downloadable action/tower defense series returns after a five year hiatus with Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, which is getting a physical release everywhere but in America. This time, Dillon teams up with your Mii character to take on the Grocks, while your friend’s Miis can join in on the fun as support. This series has arguably been a step up for developer Vanpool, whose previous work included parts of Little King’s Story, co-development of Paper Mario: Sticker Star with Intelligent Systems, and sole development of Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland on the DS. It’s nice to see Nintendo paying more attention to the smaller studios it works with, and localizing their titles globally where they haven’t before (as was the case with the Tingle game).
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido (Nintendo/indieszero) (June 8th)
Fans of the Sushi-Go-Round minigame from Pokémon Stadium get ready to rejoice, because Nintendo finally has another game about conveyor belt sushi. Except this time, the objective is to throw sushi at your opponents to defeat them in battle. Shown off at last year’s E3, the big news now is that Sushido is coming both to 3DS and Switch on the same day. Admittedly, I’m having a bit of trouble getting my head around the idea of hurling sushi from conveyor belts at each other to stack up like-color plates. The wackiness of the game does make me interested, however. The game is coming out in stores on 3DS, at least according to the Nintendo website, which excites me more because I want them to get this out there as much as they can, it looks so cool.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo) (July 13th)
Resurrecting yet another game from the Wii U, Nintendo is bringing Captain Toad to both 3DS and Switch this summer. While certainly not as exciting as a new Mario game, this is more than enough, I feel, to keep fans of the series happy following the release of Super Mario Odyssey. It may be another reason not to dig out your Wii U any time soon (unless you like playing that version specifically for some reason), but if it means putting this little gem in front of more eyes for the first time, I’m all for it.
WarioWare Gold (Nintendo) (Coming August 3rd)
Finally, another WarioWare game. The Wii U may have gotten Game & Wario back in 2013, but there hasn’t been a proper WarioWare game since WarioWare: D.I.Y. in 2010. This entry features a collection of past microgames in the series, with plenty of new ones included as well. While there has been some disappointment this will only be a 3DS game, I’m glad we’re all finally getting another game in the series at all. Besides, it’s likely the Switch will get another one eventually. I’m sure Nintendo just realized the mistake they made in never making a WarioWare game on 3DS before, and just needed to correct that before continuing on. It’s not like they thought this series had no fans, right?
Before last week’s Direct, we only had dates for 3DS games up until May; this looks more like a release calendar now, doesn’t it? Granted it’s made up primarily of Nintendo and Atlus games, but it’s a lot better than it was before. Gamers who have a limited budget for their spending can plan a lot farther in advance now! However, this is not the end – the release schedule now only goes until August, and I’ll bet there will be some surprises along the way – just like the one that caused me to update this list so quickly.
We still have a few games that are simply listed as “2018” and while they could be coming to us in August or later, there’s nothing saying they can’t come sooner, is there? For now, those three games are:
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Square Enix)
This title is a big question mark. Square Enix hasn’t officially confirmed the 3DS version of Dragon Quest XI is coming, but they have announced a translation of the game is underway. Considering there’s also a PS4 version and a port to Switch on the way, I can totally see the 3DS version getting the axe. That said, Dragon Quest games have made their home on DS systems for years, and it would be a shame not to complete the collection, so to speak. It’s such a seminal series, it would be a shame it didn’t come out on every platform available. I guess it remains to be seen, whenever Square Enix decides to give us an update.
Jake Hunter Detective Story: Ghost of the Dusk (Aksys Games/Arc System Works)
Once again, Aksys tries to bring the Tantei Jinguji Saburo/Jake Hunter series overseas. Aksys has grown as a publisher in the last ten years, so hopefully they can avoid the translation issues that plagued their previous release (originally called Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles, it got retranslated a year later with content restored), but with NISA’s handling of Ys VIII, anything can happen. The Jake Hunter series has been around in Japan since the Famicom days, so it would be nice to see the title gain some success here, especially in the wake of Ace Attorney and Professor Layton. With Detective Pikachu on the way, Aksys may want to wait a few months to avoid significant market competition; but, since the translation was announced last summer, I see this title coming out during fall at the latest.
Luigi’s Mansion (Nintendo)
It’s surprising a port of Luigi’s Mansion never happened sooner. With reports of the game supporting stereoscopic 3D long before Nintendo went that route, the game seemed destined for the 3DS. The fact that Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon ended up there several years ago made it seem even more obvious. But Nintendo had plans, and thus – could only get around to it now. No matter – the game is still fun today, and the chance to experience the game as it was originally developed will surely be interesting. Since there’s no release date yet, I’m hoping Nintendo will make it an October release. It also makes me curious what else Nintendo might have planned for the 3DS this holiday season – another big title? Some more ports? Maybe a long-awaited localization?
With recent sales reports showing the 3DS still sells as well as it did years ago, it’s possible Nintendo will let the system live on until those sales figures drop. Or until it’s so consumed by the success of the Switch, developing on the older hardware seems pointless (just look at how quickly the Game Boy Advance was abandoned once the first DS showed up). Either way, this is what we have to look forward to on the 3DS as of now. A lot of it may be revisiting old classics, but it’s still a hell of a year. Much better than I had previously predicted.
Want to contact the author of this piece and tell him how wrong he was before? Let him know here. You can also email him at dcichocki(at)tiltingwindmillstudios.com.
You can read an earlier version of this article posted here.