Snackbar Games Holiday Gift Guide 2012: 3DS/DS

November 15, 2012

Looking for a good game for yourself or someone else this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. The 3DS keeps gaining steam, and there are even a few DS titles this year worth considering.

Theatrhythm Final FantasySomeone looking at Theatrhythm and expecting something more than a rhythm game will be disappointed, but for someone who loves Final Fantasy and its music, this is a must have title for the 3DS. It will leave you wanting to replay the entire series from beginning to end. (Full review)

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward: The second title in what has been retroactively re-branded as the Zero Escape series is Virtue’s Last Reward, and like any true sequel, it features a lot of the best aspects of 999 and even a returning character or two. In fact, playing VLR without first experiencing 999 will spoil elements of the previous game’s surprise-packed narrative, so be warned. (Full review)

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance: While the series has had a few ups and downs, it remains a clear example of how a collaborative effort can lead to great success, and this remains true in this first entry on the 3DS. Dream Drop Distance is a great game, and probably one of the best titles on 3DS right now. I’m really looking forward to Kingdom Hearts III, but I hope we’re done with spinoff games for a while. (Full review)

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: The puzzles in Miracle Mask are still mind-twistingly tricky and give a great sense of accomplishment when solved, so if you have liked any title in the series thus far, you’re sure to like the new game, as well. Level-5 has yet to stagnate on its creativity, however. Save for a few broad recurring archetypes, all the puzzles are original and fresh, which is quite the feat, considering the number of them across all the games, not to mention the bonus downloadable puzzles. (Full review)

Bomb Monkey (eShop): With an easy-to-learn gameplay mechanic and a ton of replay value, it is hard to find weaknesses in Bomb Monkey. For $5, you’re getting what amounts to a full commercial release with a ton of originality and game play modes. The simplicity of the box types keeps the learning curve short, which appeals to a number of gamers (myself included), although hardcore puzzle aficionados may look for a little bit more there. When you stack everything together, Bomb Monkey is a memorable gem worth seeking out. (Full review)

Art of Balance TOUCH! (eShop): In the game, you stack various-shaped objects in an attempt to keep the structure sound long enough to pass a level. This version has special glass blocks that break if too much is stacked on top, which seems to be boring until you realize that breaking isn’t necessarily the route to failure. In fact, some stacking puzzles rely on creating a structure designed to break and not fall to win. (Full review)


Pokemon Conquest: Pokemon Conquest is the game I was hoping it would be. There are certainly elements that could be fixed or built on in a sequel, and I hope Nintendo lets Tecmo Koei make one. Even as it stands now, though, it’s a breath of fresh air in both the tactical RPG genre and the Pokemon series, and there were a lot of oxygen-deprived fans of both out there. (Full review)

Pokemon Black Version 2 and White Version 2: Nearly two decades of fine-tuning have polished this series to a glossy shine, and Black 2 and White 2 are the end result. Between this and Pokémon Conquest, it has been a great year for fans of the pocket monsters. While many of us still hold out hope for something truly innovative from Game Freak (although Conquest did sate that desire for a bit), as long as the actual product it turns out maintains this level of excellence, we can’t really complain too loudly. (Full review)