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10 essential DSiWare games for 3DS owners

Mighty Flip Champs! ($7.99)

Mighty Flip Champs! is one of the more notable original platform experiences on DSiWare, which is due in part to the dedication of developer WayForward to the downloadable platform, but also because the concept simply makes perfect sense on a dual-screen device. Each mission is comprised of two visible stages %26ndash; one seen upside-down on the touch screen %26ndash; which can be swapped on the fly by pressing any face button. The goal is to move your character to the goal by avoiding barriers and hazards on one screen by flipping between the scenes, and while it starts off innocuously enough, the challenge level picks up throughout thanks to more complex missions that include several swappable stages.

Shantae: Risky's Revenge ($11.99)

The original Shantae for Game Boy Color arrived too late to make much of an impact, while the DSiWare sequel %26ndash; Shantae: Risky's Revenge %26ndash; no doubt suffered due to the poor design and marketing of the DSi Store. But the latter issues didn't stop Risky's Revenge from notching near-universal praise for the vibrant platformer, which takes cues from the top side-scrollers of the 16-bit era and offers up a meaty, fulfilling adventure at a fraction of the cost of a retail Nintendo DS release. Shed your perceptions and invest the $12 for this awesome action affair, which we called "worth the money at twice the price" and"proof that the 2D side-scrolling formula still holds up after all these years"in our glowing review last fall. And hope WayForward gets another chance to bring Shantae to the masses somewhere down the line.

Starship Defense ($4.99)

From PixelJunk Monsters makers Q-Games comes this inventive take on tower defense, where %26ndash; instead of building up turrets and such to protect a fortress %26ndash; you'll add armaments to a series of spaceships to fight off the waves of enemies that fly along your path. With multiple weapon types, unlockable power crystals (which let you tap into advanced firepower), and SOS cards that can help in a bind, the 30 missions offer quite a bit of variety, as well as a serious challenge in the later parts. It's an alluring variation on a tried-and-true genre, plus the alluring graphing-paper-like aesthetic and humorous text exchanges keep things entertaining throughout.

Trajectile ($4.99)

Trajectile (a.k.a. Reflect Missile in Europe) sure looks a lot like Breakout, but this bite-sized puzzle favorite focuses less on chance and more on strategic missile placement, as you'll work with limited resources to smash specific blocks in each complex arrangement. Each puzzle allows the use of just a few distinct missiles %26ndash; including ones that bounce repeatedly back and forth, and others that pummel through a string of several blocks %26ndash; and you'll have to aim precisely with the stylus to successfully complete the stage. Trajectile doesn't offer up a ton of visual gloss, but the concept is totally entertaining and sound throughout; plus, it includes hundreds of distinct puzzles for just a few bucks, which will keep dedicated players busy for some time.

X-SCAPE ($7.99)

Q-Games goes three-for-three with its original trio of DSiWare games (following Trajectile and Starship Defense) with X-SCAPE, which serves up an impressive 3D combat experience on the smaller screens of the 3DS/DSi. It also happens to be the sequel to a little-known, import-only Game Boy game called X, but that won't stop the vast majority of newcomers from enjoying this intriguing little gem. X-SCAPE alternates between tunnel-based "flight" missions where you'll avoid hazards in brightly colored pipes and Battlezone-like segments where you'll blast tanks and complete other objectives. It's a little pricier than the other Q-Games releases, but the investment is rewarded with a meaty campaign and flashy production values.

Jul 6, 2011

Revisit, replay, rehash, re%26mdash;hey, that%26rsquo;s new

They can't all be legendary. Or can they?

In a proverbial sort of way