Let’s be honest here: the past few years have been a bit rough for Nintendo 3DS owners. It has been some time since an incredible, must-play exclusive hit Nintendo’s handheld system, with the best-reviewed 3DS game of last year being a remake of Majora’s Mask. Do Nintendo fans have any more to look forward to in 2016? Or is the system really on its way out? Well, there are some pretty decent exclusives headed to the 3DS this year, with the most notable being the new Pokemon installment which will surely have gamers everywhere dusting off their console and jumping back on board. Other than that, we’ve got some new sequels in the Metroid Prime, Mario Party and Sonic series, although reactions among fans to the early footage has been mixed at best. Here’s a bit of what Nintendo 3DS owners can look forward to for the remainder of 2016.
‘LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
The return of the Lego Star Wars franchise is looking to be one all Force Awakens fans will want to pay attention to. That’s because in addition to levels based on scenes from the movie, the game also features 7 stages that actually fill in some backstory that did not take place on screen and that is considered canon. It’s nothing major, of course, but one level involves Han and Chewie hunting Rathtars, while another allows players to take control of the mysterious Lor San Tekka prior to the events of Episode VII. The game features several new additions to the series, such as wide-open, not-on-rails space battles, as well as blaster fights during which the player can duck behind cover like a traditional third-person shooter. About 200 characters are included, with some from the prequels and animated shows made available to those who purchase the DLC. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits just about every console and handheld system on June 28.
‘Zero Time Dilemma’
The third and final installment in the Zero Escape series, Zero Time Dilemma thrusts players into an underground facility where nine characters are locked up and forced to play a game in order to survive; it doesn’t make things any easier that they are all injected with a drug every 90 minutes that makes them lose their memory. Yeah, it’s basically a Saw game but with a much more complex story. These subjects are split up into three teams, and the player goes back and forth between all the characters in an attempt to survive and figure out what the hell is going on here. Reviews have been quite favorable so far, and it sounds like the game is a worthy successor to the first two that answers many lingering mysteries and leaves the series on a satisfying note. Zero Time Dilemma will be released on June 28.
‘Pokemon: Sun and Moon’
The fact that Sun and Moon are the latest installments in the Pokemon series is probably all that most fans need to hear before placing their preorder. Hitting stores just in time for the franchise’s 20th anniversary, this iteration of the game takes place on Alola, the Pokemon equivalent of Hawaii. The player can either take the role of a boy or girl protagonist, with customizable hair and skin color for the first time in the series. The starter Pokemon are Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio, which you can read more about below. In terms of new gameplay mechanics, one interesting change is that in Sun and Moon, when you fight a Pokemon you have fought in the game already, you are actually reminded what moves worked and which moves didn’t. Pokemon fanatics can get their hands on Sun and Moon this November.
Runbow was beloved by gamers when it launched on the Wii U last year, and now a handheld version is coming to Nintendo 3DS. This hit platformer game uses colors to create some super interesting levels; the background color is constantly changing, and this affects what the player is able to interact with as they progress. For example, if the backdrop suddenly turns red, that means that all red platforms drop out of existence. The multiplayer is a major part of why the game is so fun, as several friends can join together on one screen to race through to the finish line. Pocket seems to essentially be the exact same game as the 2015 version, but if you missed that one or don’t own a Wii U, now may be the time to jump on board. It will be released this fall.
‘Mario Party: Star Rush’
The Mario Party series has really been going downhill in recent years, with every installment throwing in baffling new gameplay mechanics like having all players travel the board together. The new game for 3DS, Star Rush, seems to be following in that same line. Although the idea of traveling all in one car is now gone, in Star Rush, all four players move at the same time. It’s always your turn, and so this one completely removes the turn-based gameplay style. In other words, it’s now even less like an actual board game. Star Rush also introduces the idea of allies; landing on an ally space means a new character will join up with you and help you in the minigame sections. Basically, it really looks nothing like classic Mario Party, but hopefully it can still be fun in its own way. Star Rush hits the Nintendo 3DS on November 4th.