Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE
The release of X & Y was, in many ways, one of the best things to happen to the Pokémon series. The entries finally moved into a polygonal world, and streamlined many of the processes that were considered to be tedious in previous games. It’s been roughly ten years since Ruby & Sapphire released, making them (until now) the oldest generation without an updated edition. Like HeartGold & SoulSilver before them, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire update the mechanics while preserving the original’s world and quirks, and these latest releases serve as a reminder of exactly how much X & Y changed the game. READ MORE
Due to the popularity of the recent Persona games, specifically Persona 3 and 4, we’ve seen a good number of spin-off titles released featuring both casts. If you find yourself interested in these two groups of characters interacting and aren’t particularly fond of fighting games, you’re in luck: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is finally here.
Featuring every character you know and love from both titles and gameplay reminiscent of the Etrian Odyssey series, Persona Q seems to appeal only to a very specific audience, but one that will find plenty to keep them busy.
Fantasy Life is a game about filling up bars. A collaboration between Level-5 (Dragon Quest IX, Ni no Kuni) and 1-Up Studio (Mother 3, Professor Layton and the Last Specter‘s London Life mode), it’s filled with fetch quests, grinding up skills and crafting items and equipment. These aren’t ways to pad the game length or diversions from the main attraction — they’re the reason you’re here — and it’s not ashamed of that for a second.
And that’s okay, because Fantasy Life is a really good game about filling up bars. READ MORE
The original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, despite its ridiculous title, was one of the best early offerings on the 3DS. It made several of our year-end top ten lists, was a runner-up to our Best 3DS Game award that year and was a virtual lock to make our 3DS Best to Own Forever list earlier this year. And it would have, were it not for the fact that a sequel, Curtain Call, was about to be released.
Curtain Call takes everything that made Theatrhythm great and adds more of it: more songs, more characters, more titles from which to draw those songs and more of the original’s “Dark Notes,” now turned into the new Quest Medley mode. It even removed some of the minor flaws, like the pointless (if optional) tap-fest Intros and Epilogues and restricting the characters’ skill slots to a specific type. READ MORE
Until this point, the Super Smash Bros. series has been almost entirely defined by its local multiplayer experience. Sure, there have been single-player modes, and sure, Brawl had online play, but the true focus has always been on jumping in and battling it out with a friend or three on the couch. Almost out of necessity, this new 3DS entry of Super Smash Bros. shifts that focus to something more personal, something more customized and about reaching goals on your own.
Ever since the release of Mario’s Picross on the original Game Boy, Nintendo handheld systems have been fertile ground for quick, level-oriented puzzle games. The original Tappingo, released in the 3DS eShop earlier this year, was a short but fun experience, offering an original take on puzzle design that felt right in line with this legacy. Tappingo 2 follows the original template very closely, with the only new feature being a zoom function for the larger puzzles. I had a good time with the game, but in the end, it leaves that unsatisfying feeling that it just doesn’t do enough to improve on its predecessor.
When Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was first announced, the respective fan bases of both franchises were sold almost immediately. The two camps have a significant overlap, and those fans had just been exposed to something they knew they wanted very badly yet had never even imagined could be possible. Even fans of only one half of the mix were intrigued by the possibilities of the two worlds colliding. READ MORE
Influences from the NES era are nothing new. This has been an ongoing trend in indie games, often to draw on the nostalgia factor and also cut the costs of developing in HD. Some might even say the trend is getting a bit overdone, and I might have agreed with them until now. Shovel Knight has proven that combining old art styles and mechanics, and mashing together old genres, can still be done well. READ MORE
Tomodachi Life is a weird game to describe. Think of it as a mix of Tamagotchi, The Sims and Animal Crossing. As the island’s proprietor, you create Miis, move them into an apartment complex and ultimately become their problem-solver. They live their daily lives, meeting fellow residents on the island that you make at your discretion, become friends, fall in love, get married and, if you’re lucky, have kids as well. READ MORE