The Wii to 3DS trend began in earnest when Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D proved that titles from the motion-controlled system could gracefully transition to a portable, utilizing the handheld to become so much more than a mere port. And now that Nintendo has announced the "New 3DS" system and its accompanying port of Xenoblade Chronicles (only coming to Japan at the moment), the trend looks to be on the upswing. Clearly there are Wii games that can swap platforms with negligible graphical fidelity, all while adding in new modes and portability to boot.
So, what other Wii classics are ripe for a rebirth on the 3DS? It isn't as simple as rattling off a list of all the best Wii games. No, the 3DS needs titles that could make the most of the transition, whether through motion-free control schemes, the magic of three-dimensional graphics, or the fact that the 3DS's audience seems ready for the port. As long as the studios in charge of these properties put a little bit of effort into it--spit-polishing the visuals with parallax properties and ensuring that the controls feel right--the results could be spectacular. Imagine playing these Wii favorites in a whole new way…
Wario Land: Shake It!
Almost by happenstance, Wario has grown from a one-off caricature of Nintendo's mascot into the star of his own subseries of games.Wario Land is his oldest solo franchise, and the flatulent one's most animated adventures is in Wario Land: Shake It. The colorful, dynamic world has a great look on the Wii, so it's a shame many missed out on its odd sense of humor while favoring the more mainstream New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
But perhaps Shake It is underrated because the Wii game was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Wario Land series had only been on portables up to that release, so the franchise might have been hurt by the transition, meaning it could reclaim its place as a handheld gem via some port work. The New 3DS should have no trouble making the intricate line art pop, meaning all the long hard hours of the animators won't have been wasted on a small percentage of the Wii's audience.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Star Battle
After some early ports of Street Fighter and Tekken, the 3DS's fighting landscape has become a barren wasteland. However, the release of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS reminds fans that the handheld can still be home to addictively fun melees, particularly if it takes advantage of a fan-service heavy crossover. That sets the stage for an anime-heavy tussle that needs to hop over from the Wii, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
The crossover was originally planned as a Japan-only release--given that most of Tatsunoko's characters are virtual unknowns in the west--but Capcom localized the game following vocal demands from fans. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom wasn't a massive seller on Wii, but maybe it was just aimed at the wrong audience. That hardcore fighting fans on 3DS are energized post Smash, and the New 3DS should be able to handle the fast-paced action. This fighter deserves to be played by more than the small cross section of hardcore fighting fans that are also Wii owners.
A Boy and His Blob
WayForward is a developer that often toils away in obscurity, making 2D throwbacks that are neck deep in affection for the 8- and 16-bit era of gaming. The team has gained some notoriety working on Capcom's DuckTales remake along with some other licensed games that are far better than they deserve to be, but those can't hold a candle to WayForward's sterling work on the Wii. Nintendo's waggle-heavy console is home to the team's remake of NES classic A Boy And His Blob, which deserves to be reborn once again on the 3DS.
In an age of polygons and purposefully retro pixels, A Boy And His Blob sidestepped both, instead going with hand-drawn visuals that support the overall warmth of the minimalist adventure. The platforming action demands logic and quick reflexes, tasking players with finding different combinations of the blob's abilities to get them to the end of the stage. It's an adorable game that would make a smart addition to the 3DS eShop, giving handheld players a chance to make a squishy new friend.
At this moment, I'm imagining you're thinking, "Ok, GamesRadar, this is all in good fun, but you've gone too far with this one. Who in the hell wants a fishing game for 3DS?" Would you warm to the idea if I told you Fishing Resort comes from the mind of Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka and his development team called Prope? Yes, at one time any type of game seemed like the next Wii Sports, even a breeze lifestyle sim based around catching trout. It didn't catch on then, but the 3DS might have been the right home for it all along.
Fishing Resort clearly takes inspiration from Animal Crossing, except it focuses on the fishing gameplay. The huge number of unlockables and wide variety of fish to catch scratches the same collectors itch as Animal Crossing, and with a similar relaxed vibe. Thanks to the huge global sales of Animal Crossing: New Leaf (and to a lesser extent, Tomodachi Life), there might finally be an audience primed for Naka's vision of digital angling. Plus, Prope already has experience with the 3DS after making Monster Manor, the addicting Mii Plaza game.
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Thanks in no small part to the lack of western developed games for the 3DS, the handheld has become a treasure trove for Japanese games that would've been seen as too niche in the past. Titles like Bravely Default and Fire Emblem: Awakening are pulling in bigger sales than their genre counterparts on consoles, signaling that just about any obscure titles has a chance on Nintendo's handheld. And if the New 3DS opens the door to more Wii ports, why not give one of Japan's most obscure franchises another shot at western success by porting Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love?
Sakura Wars earned a following in Japan by mixing hardcore strategy elements with dating sim mechanics and a steampunk ethos, becoming one of the best-selling franchises on the Sega Saturn. After a dozen Sakura games went unlocalized, non-Japanese players finally got their first taste of the series on Wii, but the peculiar mix of robot battles and dating Broadway actresses was lost on system owners (crazy, right?). Now that the New 3DS has Wii level power, and a niche audience that's grown accustomed to weird things from Japan, maybe Sakura Wars will get a second chance to make a first impression.
Platinum Games' blood-soaked brawler didn't have nearly enough fanfare on the Wii. Its pulpy, black-and-white visuals were a stark departure from the rest of the Wii library, and the hyperviolent executions Jack doled out to his foes were more than worthy of an M rating. As captivating as the Sin City-style aesthetic was, there were times when the backdrop would blend into a monochromatic blur. You know what would change all that? Depth perception.
The gory insanity of the DeathWatch gameshow would leap off the screen in 3D, making Jefferson Island's gritty streets as visually mesmerizing as the over-the-top character designs. Plus, watching Jack plunge his chainsaw into a baddie's midsection as viscera splatters against the screen would kick the already-absurd levels of bloodshed up a notch. As long as you could ignore the horrified expressions of onlookers on the train/plane/bus, MadWorld 3DS would make for one hell of a handheld beat-'em-up.
The PSOne era moved away from cute mascots and sidescrollers, and Namco’s Klonoa was guilty of being both. The odd blue rabitty thing’s undeniable adorability might have turned off some PlayStation gamers, but the melancholy platformer earned a cult fan base. And Namco felt that the game deserved a full-fledged remake on the Wii, where it was likely even more overlooked the second time around.
Both the original and the remake of Klonoa had 2D gameplay in a 3D world that was mostly just suggested through camera angles and simple polygons. Klonoa’s 2.5D world would be much livelier in stereoscopic 3D, and classic platformers are already thriving on the 3DS. At some point Klonoa is going to run out of second chances, but we hope Namco gives the little guy one more shot at stardom.
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Nintendo took a real risk on green-lighting Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, let alone localizing it in the west. Created by underrated developer Treasure, it was a sequel to an N64 game that didn’t leave Japan until it came to Wii’s Virtual Console in 2009. On top of that, it was the type of auto-scrolling shooter that Wii’s grandmotherly audience can’t be that enticed by. But Treasure still delivered a great game to the few players that noticed.
The Sin and Punishment series has always had more than a little in common with the Star Fox series, and S&P would likely profit from a 3D conversion like the one Star Fox 64 enjoyed. And S&P’s controls could be adjusted to work with the little-used second analogue stick, or it could replicate the input of Kid Icarus: Uprising. We’d miss seeing the action on our TV, but the fast pace of the action is better for a handheld anyway.
As the NES and SNES iterations of Punch-Out!! proved, waggle controls are not at all necessary to craft a fantastic boxing game. Less about actual punches and more about your adaptation to a set of patterns, the Punch-Out!! reboot on the Wii showed that Little Mac clearly had some fight left in him. Why not let him go a few rounds in the portable ring? Better yet, why not give King Hippo and Bear Hugger some three-dimensional girth that really pops off the screen?
Colorful visuals have a way of keeping their appeal even when shrunken down, and Punch-Out's cartoony style would likely follow the trend. The behind-the-back camera perspective would look nifty in 3D, and the sensation of seeing a punch actually coming at you would make it that much more apparent that it's time to dodge. A sideways Wii Remote was our preferred method of control for the original--a control scheme that would transition effortlessly to the 3DS. Simply put, we're shocked this port doesn't exist yet. Maybe Doc Louis has a thing against handhelds.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
This combat-centric sidescroller is already one of the most beautiful games ever made, depicting the demons and ogres of Japanese myth with the fluid, painterly style that only Vanillaware can create. But close your eyes and try to imagine what these already-gorgeous visuals would look like after a trip through the 3D machine. The parallax layers of the background, mixed with the striking character designs, would make Muramasa look like an exquisitely detailed diorama come to life.
We already know that the game can work on a handheld system--Muramasa Rebirth is already available on the PlayStation Vita. So why not spend a little extra moolah and give the 3DS its own version? The more people who experience the journey of Kisuke and Momohime, the better. If Vanillaware was feeling extra generous, they could tweak Musou mode to be even more accessible, akin to the beginner-friendly nature of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D's New Mode.
You don’t need to imagine some fantasy world or sci-fi future to find a great setting for a game. You just have to think small and watch a few nature documentaries. There you’ll find a world of insects that is as brutal and stark as anything in God of War, and Deadly Creatures dropped players into such a world with a common spider and scorpion as the main characters. It was an incredibly unique game that no one played.
But its creative approach to third person action isn’t the only reason it deserves a new start on the 3DS. The world of insects was composed of underground tunnels, and the nooks and crannies of mundane homes. The levels were designed to feel alien. The look of those areas would only get stronger with the inclusion of a third dimension of depth. We just need to find who ended up with the rights after THQ closed, add a handful of touch controls, and we’re good to go.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Given that Link's adventures are pretty much a free money machine for Nintendo, there's really no reason not to make his darker escapade go portable. Unlike Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess would do just fine without motion controls (see: the GameCube version). The darker hues of its ethereal realm would look stunning in 3D, and the thought of seeing bristling fur on Link's wolf form fills us with a geeky glee. We'd also be able to fulfill our lifelong dream of carrying around Midna in our pockets.
Like Xenoblade Chronicles, this one might be trickier to pull off given the space capabilities of a cart versus a disk. But even if the textures were slightly downgraded, that's a price we'd gladly play to relive Twilight Princess in a new dimension. At this point, we're looking for any excuse to play through this majestic, multi-dimensional quest one more time.
Lost in Shadow
One of the last games released by Hudson before the developer disappeared into Konami, Lost in Shadow had a simplistically novel approach to platforming. Platforms were constructed out of the shadows cast by structures in a derelict structure, and you explore that world as a boy reduced to a silhouette. It took 2D sidescrolling in a clever direction, but now the 3DS seems like it would have been the better venue for the game.
Lost in Shadow is all about the foreground and background elements working together to form a stage, but the flat standard definition of the Wii didn’t communicate it as well as stereoscopic 3D could. It saddened us that the game flopped on the Wii, but Konami could give this shadow a new lease on life as a high profile eShop download.
Super Paper Mario
The 3DS already has one Paper Mario game (and approximately 30 games starring the mustachioed plumber), but hear us out. Super Paper Mario was originally planned as one of the final GameCube games, but Nintendo shrewdly moved it to the Wii early in that system’s lifespan. While it was a great experience, the controls were a little weaker in the transition, so pushing it to the 3DS would give the title the analogue controls it was designed to have.
Additionally, Paper Mario: Sticker Star proved that the flat variation on Mario’s world looks great on the 3DS, and the gameplay conceit of Super Paper Mario would enhance it further. The visual effect of continually flipping between 2D and 3D worlds would benefit from the extra heft that stereoscopic visuals would give the title. Early Wii adopters got to enjoy the smart gameplay and even cleverer writing of this platformer, but every 3DS owner deserves the same exciting adventure.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Some Silent Hill fans might think the series has been in the crapper since developer Team Silent was dismissed after the fourth game, but Climax Studios did their best to renew the franchise. Climax returned to the original, kept it creepy, but made the proceedings even more internal and personally torturous. The city of Silent Hill has always externalized the inner torment of the protagonist, but Shattered Memories did it in an impressively human way.
Outside of the emotional tale it tells, Shattered Memories also succeeds in creating a disturbing, dimly lit Silent Hill that’s worth exploring. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon already proved that the 3DS is great at creating atmosphere with shadows and a flashlight, so just imagine how that would work with flesh-eating, shrieking monsters. Also, a 3DS port could correct the mistakes of previous handheld port that came to the PSP.
The Last Story
The title of this touching JRPG might've been a self-fulfilling prophecy: As one of the last original Wii exclusives, hardly anybody noticed when it arrived stateside in 2012 amidst a wave of Wii U hype. That's a damn shame, because The Last Story is an enchanting tale of warring nations and the band of mercenaries stuck between them, set against the backdrop of a unique, apocalyptic landscape.
This is essentially a Final Fantasy entry in everything but name--not all that surprising, given that the game's director, Hironobu Sakaguchi, was involved in the production of nearly every Final Fantasy ever made. A 3DS version would give The Last Story a new lease on life, welcoming in a new legion of fans with open arms.
So, have we teased your imagination with the prospect of these would-be 3DS version? Original IPs on the handheld are always welcome, of course--but sometimes, it's a joyous experience to play something familiar in a whole new way. Did we miss any of your Wii favorites (besides Tatsunoko vs. Capcom above, which Capcom sadly no longer has the license to) that you'd gladly double-dip for on the 3DS? Let us know in the comments!
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