The upcoming 3DS games for 2015 and beyond
Look at this little lot...
It may have had something of a rough start, but the Nintendo 3DS library is just growing and growing. With every Nintendo Direct, we can feel our wallets getting smaller and our grins spreading wider. What's more, the New 3DS XL could very well shatter our expectations, delivering handheld experiences that tower over our wildest dreams.
But regardless of our hardware expectations, we know there's more software inbound than you can shake a wet plumber at. Come along as we check out the newest games worth getting excited about in 2015.
Citizens of Earth
Release date: January 20, 2015
Citizens of Earth looks downright goofy, and we can't help but be excited for it. Playing as the Vice President of the World (yes, of the ENTIRE WORLD), we head home to our little hometown, only to have some crazy stuff go down during my visit. Thankfully, this world leader is the hands-on type, and he's going to find out what's going on!
One really cool feature of Citizens of Earth is the lack of NPC. Sure there are random people populating the world, but every last one of them can be recruited for the team. Each citizen has his or her own unique abilities (all of which will level up), which will help the team grow stronger by the second. Citizens of Earth is part RPG, part Wonderful 101, and a little tiny bit of Earthbound mixed together; that combination can only be a good thing.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3DS
Release date: February 13, 2015
Nostalgia’s one hell of a drug. When Nintendo updated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for our then-new handhelds, we rode around every corner of Hyrule excited to see how well our childhood playground held up over the years. Moblins, Poes, Skulltulas, Dodongos, Cuccos--everything was just as we remembered it, if not better.
To be honest though, the series has much more to gain from a successful Majora’s Mask rerelease. Many who missed out on Link’s more unsettling adventure may not have been able to stomach the 3-day novum’s occasionally demanding restrictions. However, some quality of life additions such as an in-game day planner and hint systems could make a world of difference, or should we say... a moon of difference? (Bad joke, moving on...)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Release date: February 13, 2015 (out now in Japan)
The 3DS may only have Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate in the West, but Japan is already gearing up for the launch of the next handheld installment of the mega-selling franchise. Expect more co-op monster hunting, with more truly gigantic bosses to best, as well as proper online gaming that doesn't require a Wii U with a wired broadband connection to get you up and running.
If you want to whet your appetite, witness how the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate trailer features massive monstrosities! Japan, you’ve had your fun, now come 2015 it's our turn to hunt some big-time monsters.
Fossil Fighters: Frontier
Release date: February 27, 2015
Part Pokemon, part Jurassic Park, the Fossil Fighters series is a mixed bag of borrowed gameplay ideas reworked into colorful anime style. Dig for dino--err--Vivosaur bones, resurrect them back into gigantic fighting monsters and duke it out in a 3v3 turn-based battle. Yup, definitely a Pokemon clone.
But that’s not to say that there’s no reason to revisit Vivosaur Island. Online co-op, dune buggy races, and more beasts still have plenty to offer. If nothing else, it’s probably more fun than sitting in a hot pit, carefully brushing rocks and dirt like a real archaeologist would. Gotta dig them all?
Release date: February 2015
It may not be the Pokemon MMO we’ve all been clamoring for, but there’s a very good chance that Nintendo’s upcoming foray into the free-to-play market could also net the big bucks. Think about it--how could a company that set the standard for handheld gaming not want a piece of Candy Crush Kingdom’s pie?
Cutting it all down to a simple connect three, however, would take away everything that makes the series unique. The solution? Battles and type advantages. The rock-paper-scissors strategy of the main games is carried over into elemental-themed attacks, preserving some semblance of the strategy we’ve grown to love. No word yet on EV training, egg groups, and shinies, but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath.
Release date: February 2015
There’s no shortage of RPGs, platformers, strategy games, and visual novels on the 3DS, but it’s hard to think of too many shooters that have made a mark on the platform. Nintendo knows that bullets and sticky cover are the way to the Western market’s hearts, so they’ve gone ahead and given us what appears to be a stripped down, portable Gears of War.
But before we conjure up too many memories of touchscreen aiming, it’s worth noting that the second thumbstick of the New 3DS may just be able to pull it all together. What’s more, a promised 60 frames per second and a cooperative multiplayer mode are more than some full-sized console series have to offer--score one for portable gamers everywhere.
Story of Seasons
Release date: March 10, 2015
Despite our 21st century lifestyles and fancy pants industry, there’s something romantic about being a small town farmer and working the land like they did in the good old days. Caring for the livestock, watching the crop grow, harvesting your own supper… sometimes there’s nothing more appealing than a simple straw hat and a rake after a long day in the cube.
The Harvest Moon games have satiated our desire for years, and the Story of Seasons spin-off seems to be no different. The game’s heavier focus on town life and schmoozing villagers could be a good change-up from hours in the field, but we all know that planting seeds is the real action here.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon
Release date: April 7, 2015
Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a cross-over that makes too much sense to ignore. Both games revel in RPG combat and sprawling dungeons, and both have found their home on Nintendo’s dual screen handhelds. To an untrained eye, they could easily be confused for the same series.
As such, we’re hoping that their fusion brings us the ultimate dungeon crawling experience. We know that there will be randomly generated levels and extensive party management, but we don’t know whether or not the Etrian series’ contributions will be enough to distinguish it from other Mystery Dungeons. We’ll just have to wait and see if the game is more than the sum of its parts.
Release date: April 2015
Maybe you read it on the internet or a friend put you in the know after a round of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, but here’s the skinny: Xenoblade Chronicles may well have been the best JRPG on the Wii. Shulk and company’s quest to uncover the Monado’s power and fight off Mechon sticks close to generic traditions, but we’ll be damned if it doesn’t pull off each and every one with finesse.
With the added power of the new 3DS, we’ll soon have the whole adventure in the palm of our hand, and no longer locked in the greedy clutches of hoarders and ebay scalpers. We don’t need any kind of foresight abilities to know that this one’s going to be a winner.
Release date: Spring 2015
With so many developers content to pump out carbon copy sequels, it’s kind of refreshing to hear that Image & Form is completely shifting gears with their latest release. The original game’s blend of rogue-like platforming and entrepreneurial mining had us falling in love with the steampunk-scifi-western world, but could the formula hold out for one more go?
Apparently not, as SteamWorld Heist trades in the action platforming for something totally new. As you lead your robo-crew through randomly generated missions among the stars, running into a crew of baddies will instantly convert the game into 2D turn-based strategy. We can’t say it would have been our first choice for the series, but we’re more than happy to be proven wrong.
The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup
Release date: 2015
The Unlikely Legend of Rusty Pup features a robot with a dog's head and a single wheel as its main hero. It's an indie platformer that's sure to charm the pants off of us, but that's not what has us most excited for this: this strange concept was thought up by the same man that gave us Conker's Bad Fur Day. Do we expect the same kind of raunchy romp here? Not at all, but we can't deny how much fun we had with Conker, and perhaps now we can have the same fun with Rusty.
Rusty will have to figure his way through a large world of metal and rust, not unlike the world seen in fellow indie hit Machinarium. Despite the cutesy exterior, we've been promised a mature, adult tale that will make us think as much as Rusty makes us laugh. We had no idea we'd be so pumped for a game like this, but we can't wait to take Rusty for a walk.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.
Release date: 2015
Turn-based strategy is right at home on handhelds. Just the mere mention of Fire Emblem or Advance Wars is enough to get the more intellectual among us in a tizzy, so any announcement from the people behind those franchises is a dream come true.
Code Name: STEAM fits the bill in this regard, but is admittedly a little bit out of left field. You take command of an elite team of steam-powered warriors formed by Abraham Lincoln--yeah, the president-- to fight Lovecraftian aliens in an alternate version of London. There’s also airships, comic book-esque visuals, and some shooting mechanics that seem to actually take advantage of the system’s 3D functionality. It’s pretty crazy, but that doesn’t mean we’re salivating for some more deets on this one.
Mighty No. 9
Release date: 2015
We were stunned when Keiji Inafune announced his departure from Capcom. We were noticeably less stunned when the Kickstarter project he led looked exactly like Megaman. Seriously though, robot boy, built by Dr. White, friendly girl robot, eight enemy robots he’s got to take down--squint your eyes a bit and you may as well be playing the same game!
Originality complaints aside, we have no reason to believe that Mighty No. 9 won’t have the same level of quality as some of our favorite games starring the Blue Bomber. The Kickstarter made over four times its original goal, so it’s safe to say that we’re not the only ones. Oh, and before we forget, the robot’s name is Beck. Weird, right?
Release date: 2015
Man, nothing is worse than being stranded on a deserted island by some jerkwad pirate, instructing you to find a cool $1 million worth of treasure in order to get back to the world you came from. Unfortunately, that’s the problem the Treasurenauts face in this 3DS eShop platformer, and it’s up to us to help them get out of it.
Treasurenauts looks like pretty standard platforming on the surface, with 20 different levels, big time boss fights, and a variety of items to collect, but the ability to add a partner for co-op treasure hunting is pretty cool. We hope the Treasurenauts end up keeping the $1 million; they’d be able to get themselves off the island for less and pocket the rest. We wonder if the bad guy realizes that.
Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI
Release date: 2015
We know what you’re thinking: “I really love my collection of 3DS games, but none of them are cute enough for my high-energy, world famous pop star lifestyle.” Well, we’ve got some great news--the leading name in vocaloid rhythm games, Hatsune Miku, is hitting the 3DS in style!
Match the face button with the beat, master your timing for better scores, yada yada yada. What really matters here are all of the adorable outfits you can collect to dress up your favorite star during the performance. Seeing your chibi idol on the screen, performing a custom dance routine to j-pop anthems… kawaii to the max.
Release date: 2015 (Episodes 2-4, Episode 1 out now)
Did you play Moon, the first-person shooter for the DS? Not many folks did, despite it being one of the better FPS experiences on the Nintendo handheld. Well, Renegade Kid didn't want the world to forget about its lost gem, so they've updated it, split it into four downloadable episodes, and are re-releasing it as Moon Chronicles on the 3DS eShop. You all now have a chance at redemption!
Moon Chronicles will use the Circle Pad Pro for those who still have it, and it will offer two different control schemes, depending on whether you're right-handed or left-handed, which is awfully nice of Renegade Kid to include. Southpaws sometimes have trouble getting a game's control scheme down, but having one that caters just to them will be a welcome sight. Episode One of Moon Chronicles is due soon, with the other three coming throughout the year.
Puzzle and Dragons Z/Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Edition
Release date: TBA
From Bejeweled to Puzzle Quest, connect three games have come a long way in mobile gaming. Simple enough for casual gaming and quick enough for subway rides, chances are one has permeated your life at some point or another.
Puzzle and Dragons is king of the gem-matching ring in Japan, so naturally Nintendo is doing what it can to fuel the fire over here. The paid release strips the free-to-play microtransactions as expected, but also adds a couple of iconic mascots into the mix as well. We never thought we’d see the day when Mario needs to connect three fireflowers to fight off a simple Goomba, but this is just the kind of world we live in now.
Dragon Quest VII
Release date: TBA (out now in Japan)
The Dragon Quest series once was as well known for retro graphics as it was for hardcore JRPG goodness, but the remake of the franchise’s seventh entry is one of the prettier games on the 3DS. Originally released on the PSOne, Dragon Quest VII tells a seriously epic tale of a young boy that has to restore entire lost continents on his sparsely populated planet. Just how epic is it? The original took easily more than 80 hours to complete, and that’s ignoring much of the side content.
Fortunately, this 3D update not only improves the graphics, but also the pacing, unlocking many of the most engrossing features earlier on. This gussied up re-release is already a huge hit in Japan, and while it hasn’t been announced for the US yet, Nintendo published the last few DQ titles. We’d hate to think the publisher would exclude us from one of the biggest entries in series history.
Gunman Clive 2
Release date: TBA
Originally released on iOS, Gunman Clive found its home as a budget title in the 3DS’s eShop. Short, sweet, and to the point, the cowboy-themed platformer was part Megaman, part silky-smooth goodness. By the time we made it through the hour-long campaign, we were more than ready to dive back in for a replay with one of the other characters.
If we had one complaint, it’d be that the game’s sepia-based art style, while unique, grew a bit monotonous by the end of it all. Not so in the upcoming sequel--with his trip around the world, Clive finally gets his chance to move away from the color brown. Now with red, white, blue, green, purple, we can only imagine what other glorious innovation 2015 will bring.
Fire Emblem (2015)
Release date: TBA
Tactical strategy games have always thrived on Nintendo handhelds, but the Fire Emblem series has always led the pack. 2013’s Awakening was an excellent introduction for those new to the genre, but some old vets were still clamoring for something new. We figured they would have to wait a few years, but fate seemed to have something else in mind.
The most striking difference we saw in the reveal trailer was the setting. Instead of the medieval Europe standard that we’ve come to love, Japanese architecture and soldiers were front and center. Is this simply aesthetic? Will the West square off with the East? Will our protagonists rebel against an unjust shogun? We’ll just have to wait and see.
But what are you looking forward to?
Looking for a console-by-console breakdown of every game you need to pay attention to? GamesRadar has you covered. We keep lists of the most anticipated upcoming games totally up-to-date to give you the best information available on the web.
Upcoming Xbox 360 games | Upcoming Xbox One games
Upcoming PS3 games | Upcoming PS4 games | Upcoming PS Vita games
Upcoming Wii U games | Upcoming 3DS games
Upcoming PC games