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The 3DS games are coming! 15 exclusives you can play before the end of this year

The promising remakes

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked

Release: August 23, 2011

Even when compared to some of the other remakes on the 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked might be the least necessary. The original Devil Survivor came out only two years ago for the Nintendo DS, so you can actually pick it up and play it on the 3DS already. To make things even more confusing, Devil Survivor’s action takes place almost exclusively on the bottom screen, so any 3D elements added are going to be somewhat secondary. Still, with a sequel coming out this year (on the Nintendo DS), and a number of updates, it’s not without merit. Atlus has enhanced the visuals and included full voice acting, as well as making some tweaks to the gameplay, so if you are going to get it, you might as well get the enhanced version.

Even when compared to some of the other remakes on the 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked might be the least necessary. The original Devil Survivor came out only two years ago for the Nintendo DS, so you can actually pick it up and play it on the 3DS already. To make things even more confusing, Devil Survivor’s action takes place almost exclusively on the bottom screen, so any 3D elements added are going to be somewhat secondary. Still, with a sequel coming out this year (on the Nintendo DS), and a number of updates, it’s not without merit. Atlus has enhanced the visuals and included full voice acting, as well as making some tweaks to the gameplay, so if you are going to get it, you might as well get the enhanced version.

Even when compared to some of the other remakes on the 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked might be the least necessary. The original Devil Survivor came out only two years ago for the Nintendo DS, so you can actually pick it up and play it on the 3DS already. To make things even more confusing, Devil Survivor’s action takes place almost exclusively on the bottom screen, so any 3D elements added are going to be somewhat secondary. Still, with a sequel coming out this year (on the Nintendo DS), and a number of updates, it’s not without merit. Atlus has enhanced the visuals and included full voice acting, as well as making some tweaks to the gameplay, so if you are going to get it, you might as well get the enhanced version.

Even when compared to some of the other remakes on the 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked might be the least necessary. The original Devil Survivor came out only two years ago for the Nintendo DS, so you can actually pick it up and play it on the 3DS already. To make things even more confusing, Devil Survivor’s action takes place almost exclusively on the bottom screen, so any 3D elements added are going to be somewhat secondary. Still, with a sequel coming out this year (on the Nintendo DS), and a number of updates, it’s not without merit. Atlus has enhanced the visuals and included full voice acting, as well as making some tweaks to the gameplay, so if you are going to get it, you might as well get the enhanced version.

Star Fox 64 3D

Release: September 9, 2011

While we’d prefer a new Star Fox game as opposed to a remake, we’re not going to argue with one of the best N64 games of all time being bumped to the third dimension. With enhanced visuals and improved controls (seriously, playing with the gyroscope is much more fun than it sounds), Star Fox 64 3D is one of our most anticipated games on the platform. Like Ocarina of Time before it, we’re happy to have an excuse to jump into one of our favorite games, and after playing some levels are recent conventions, we’re happy to report that it most certainly holds up to the test of time. The lack of online multiplayer is a total bummer, especially considering the team added streaming video of opponents to the game’s competitive gameplay, but we’re still excited to do more barrel rolls.

While we’d prefer a new Star Fox game as opposed to a remake, we’re not going to argue with one of the best N64 games of all time being bumped to the third dimension. With enhanced visuals and improved controls (seriously, playing with the gyroscope is much more fun than it sounds), Star Fox 64 3D is one of our most anticipated games on the platform. Like Ocarina of Time before it, we’re happy to have an excuse to jump into one of our favorite games, and after playing some levels are recent conventions, we’re happy to report that it most certainly holds up to the test of time. The lack of online multiplayer is a total bummer, especially considering the team added streaming video of opponents to the game’s competitive gameplay, but we’re still excited to do more barrel rolls.

Bit.Trip Saga

Release: September 13, 2011

It’s a shame that WiiWare never became the powerhouse that Xbox Live and the PlayStation Store did, because many great games were released for the service that never got the recondition they deserved. Among those ranks are the six games in the Bit.Trip series, all of which were absolutely worth paying attention to when they came out on WiiWare, and all of which are doubly as worth paying attention to now that they’re coming to the 3DS. The team has bundled them together, bumped them to 3D, and packaged them for a 3DS re-release of what they’re calling the Bit.Trip Saga, and considering each one was worth a purchase when it was released on WiiWare, picking up this 3D re-make of the 2D series is a no-brainer, both for fans and those who skipped out on them before.

Cave Story 3D

Release: November 8, 2011

Even when compared to the other re-releases on the 3DS, Cave Story has the most to gain, as it never was able to shed the “indie” label and make it to mainstream success. This retro love letter to classic shooters like Metroid has its fair share of fans, but despite several re-releases on both WiiWare and DSiWare, it never made it to retail shelves. Now, with the game hitting the 3DS, it finally has its chance to shine, packaged with divisive 3D graphics (replacing the low-resolution retro look), Cave Story has its chance to gain the widespread success it deserves—and the developer is promising some expanded areas, too, meaning more content for those still crying about the new graphics.

Even when compared to the other re-releases on the 3DS, Cave Story has the most to gain, as it never was able to shed the “indie” label and make it to mainstream success. This retro love letter to classic shooters like Metroid has its fair share of fans, but despite several re-releases on both WiiWare and DSiWare, it never made it to retail shelves. Now, with the game hitting the 3DS, it finally has its chance to shine, packaged with divisive 3D graphics (replacing the low-resolution retro look), Cave Story has its chance to gain the widespread success it deserves—and the developer is promising some expanded areas, too, meaning more content for those still crying about the new graphics.

Tales of the Abyss

Release: TBD 2011

The trend of porting last-generation’s hits to the current generation’s handheld continues with Tales of the Abyss, a well-reviewed PlayStation 2 RPG getting the 3DS treatment. Developed by the same team that made Tales of Symphonia, this 3D remake will improve the visuals and take full advantage not just of the system’s power, but of the two screens, giving players better control of their team. If you missed it before (and considering it was a PS2 RPG that released after the PlayStation 3 launched there’s a good chance you did) there’s no reason not to give it a go this time around—the game’s story and battle system were great on the PS2, and we’re sure it’s going to be just as good on the 3DS.

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Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns

Release: September 2011

That’s right; it’s another Harvest Moon game! And it’s in 3D on the 3DS! You can farm, marry a local, and raise alpacas and honey bees. What else could you want from Harvest Moon? This one actually has a little bit of a story, too, involving two rival towns that need to be brought together by… the power of farming? We’re not too sure, but we’re sure it’s appropriately lighthearted. There’s a reason the series has been able to chug along so consistently over the years, though: the games are solid, and provide a few dozen hours of cheerful entertainment. At the very least, it should help fill that spot in our hearts that was left gaping when Nintendo announced that Animal Crossing wouldn’t make 2011.

Frogger 3D

Release: September 20, 2011

Yeah, we know. It’s Frogger, how good could it be? Well, don’t leap out into traffic just yet—we were actually extremely impressed when we saw this game at E3. Instead of simply bumping Frogger to 3D, the developers have created a mind-bendingly twisted game. Jumping across 3D cubes? In 3D? Alright, we’re listening.

Yeah, we know. It’s Frogger, how good could it be? Well, don’t leap out into traffic just yet—we were actually extremely impressed when we saw this game at E3. Instead of simply bumping Frogger to 3D, the developers have created a mind-bendingly twisted game. Jumping across 3D cubes? In 3D? Alright, we’re listening.

Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights

Release: October 11, 2011

Wait! Don’t skip over this just because it looks like simple Professor Layton rip-off! It might actually surprise you. Our early impressions of the game have actually been fairly high, and despite lacking originality in the concept (and design, and characters), it looks to be a fairly charming puzzler. In fact, the only thing that keeps this out of being a “heavy hitter” on this list is the fact that it’s unproven, but we’re willing to admit that we have high hopes for this interesting game. Plus, it stars a scholarly gentleman in a top hat solving puzzles—we’ve never been lead astray by that premise before, and we can’t imagine we’re going to be now.

Wait! Don’t skip over this just because it looks like simple Professor Layton rip-off! It might actually surprise you. Our early impressions of the game have actually been fairly high, and despite lacking originality in the concept (and design, and characters), it looks to be a fairly charming puzzler. In fact, the only thing that keeps this out of being a “heavy hitter” on this list is the fact that it’s unproven, but we’re willing to admit that we have high hopes for this interesting game. Plus, it stars a scholarly gentleman in a top hat solving puzzles—we’ve never been lead astray by that premise before, and we can’t imagine we’re going to be now.

Pok%26eacute;mon Rumble Blast

Release: October 24, 2011

Don’t get too excited; this isn’t a traditional Pokemon RPG. In fact, it’s about as far as you could get from it. It’s a brawler, where you control and battle wind-up versions of Pokemon. If you played the WiiWare version you already know what you’re getting into, but if not, expect a few hours of mindless fun and not much more. We’re not 100% sold on this being a full, retail game (especially considering the WiiWare version barely justified the $15 price tag), but die-hard Pokemon fans might find some joy in winding up a Pikachu and setting him loose on the battlefield.

Don’t get too excited; this isn’t a traditional Pokemon RPG. In fact, it’s about as far as you could get from it. It’s a brawler, where you control and battle wind-up versions of Pokemon. If you played the WiiWare version you already know what you’re getting into, but if not, expect a few hours of mindless fun and not much more. We’re not 100% sold on this being a full, retail game (especially considering the WiiWare version barely justified the $15 price tag), but die-hard Pokemon fans might find some joy in winding up a Pikachu and setting him loose on the battlefield.

Not everything on here is a must-buy for everyone, of course, but if you grabbed a 3DS at launch we imagine there are at least four or five games you’re interested in. Unless, for whatever reason, a new Mario doesn’t get you excited, in which case… why did you buy a 3DS at all?

Aug 10, 2011

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Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.