With Nintendo announcing the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops, our staff has compiled a list of must-play entries for the former platform that everyone should purchase if they desire digital versions.
Etrian Odyssey Series
Etrian Odyssey is a dungeon-crawling RPG series with a take especially tied to the DS and 3DS configurations. As players explore the dungeons, they draw the maps with the bottom screen. Charting the territory by yourself adds an extra layer to the immersion of these first-person expeditions into unknown lands. Newcomers can also get started with the Untold subseries, adding a streamlined story with more exposition.
Devil Survivor: Overclocked
While both Devil Survivor games were released on the original DS system, they got revamped editions on the 3DS. Those added extra story scenarios, voice acting for most parts of the games, and new demons. The Devil Survivor games are a subseries of Shin Megami Tensei about people trying to survive a major crisis over seven days. The first game has a group of everyday people enduring a dire lockdown, and, as demons start to roam the roads, they will have to fight for their lives. On the other hand, DS2: Break Record has aliens invade Earth, and a group of young students joins a special operations group called JP’s after activating a Demon Summoning Program through a site that was rumored to show people’s dead faces.
Stella Glow is a strategy RPG, the swan song for developer Imageepoch. As a spiritual successor to the Luminous Arc franchise, it had a story about witches whose powerful songs could severely affect the world. You play as an amnesiac boy called Alto who joins the Regnant Knights along with his childhood friend, Lisette. As the Witch of Destruction, Hilda, causes havoc in the world, they discover Alto is a Conductor, someone who can fine-tune witch songs. As part of the Queen’s service, he will have to find witches who can sing an Anthem that can nullify Hilda’s powers. However, the journey is not what it seems at first. One interesting aspect of the game is the witches’ actual songs, which significantly affect the battlefield and are also of excellent quality.
Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology is a unique turn-based JRPG utilizing time travel and positional combat. This updated release adds new story content and a vital plot-relevant character. Additionally, it boasts redone character artwork and stellar voice acting. To be honest, it’s criminal that this game has not received a modern port yet in the same vein as Alliance Alive. Regardless, we implore you all to purchase it digitally if that is your only avenue of playability.
SMT IV & SMT IV Apocalypse
Shin Megami Tensei needs no introduction, especially after Shin Megami Tensei V’s commercial success. These mainline entries on 3DS stand out for their greater difficulty accessibility for more crowds. Still, the franchise staples are also here, like multiple endings, demon fusion, and much more. The samurai garb and different setting are also a neat change of pace, as temporary as the latter is. If you’re a newer Shin Megami Tensei fan and haven’t played these titles, then this is the time to pick them up and do so.
Released separately in the west, the Guild 01 and Guild 02 games were a Level-5 platform for smaller creative works from relevant JP developers. These included a highly varied selection of titles, with a weapon crafting rhythm RPG, an airport baggage dispenser simulation game, a first-person horror title on a spaceship, a life simulation game in a world with kaiju, and even a shoot’em up from Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture.
All of those are very worthy of giving a try for their own unique reasons but out of all of them we decided to pick Crimson Shroud. This is a unique RPG with clear tabletop inspirations, and, as players go through the dungeon, they will have to use dice rolls for combat. The game was created by Yasumi Matsuno, better known for his previous work at Square Enix in the Ivalice subseries of Final Fantasy. Again, it was a very unique project and one you can’t appreciate anywhere else but on the 3DS.
Persona Q1 and Q2
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth are 3DS exclusive Persona titles in the same vein as the Etrian Odyessy franchise. Players form a team of playable characters from Persona 3, 4, and 5 alongside original characters as they traverse an entirely new setting unknown to them. Part of the fun with these games is seeing these different casts interact, though the dungeon crawling is addicting and worth sticking with through till the end. Hopefully, these entries receive modern console and PC ports.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
While the Final Fantasy series may have people arguing about which game is better and which ones are overrated or anything like that, it’d be a crime not to consider the franchise’s consistent excellence in music. As such, it’s only natural that a rhythm game covering the series would be a great experience, and it’s indeed the case for the weirdly named Theatrhythm spin-off. Thinking about making it accessible in the handheld, the game features simple button schemes allowing players just to use one hand or the touchscreen.
There were two releases but Curtain Call covers all the content of the first version and its DLCs. One exciting aspect of the game is how it takes visual cues from the series by making it look like an RPG in which each time you hit the right note, your attacks hit the enemies while failures will reduce your HP. It also has Field Stages with the player characters moving automatically through areas reminiscent of the games and Event Stages with the games’ cutscenes. There’s a total of 221 songs and 60 playable characters, all of which come from various franchise entries. It’s a game that any Final Fantasy fan should have.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns
After being nearly a year only within Japan, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns was the point of the series, which many consider to be a peak, losing perhaps to the cultural phenomenon of A Wonderful Life on the Nintendo GameCube. However, with a lot of town festivals to experience across three towns and a wide range of mechanics that allowed for great farm customization, Trio of Towns has got to be the best Story of Seasons entry one can experience in a portable console.
Created by Level 5, Fantasy Life was a whimsical take on an RPG life sim. While the game spawned a mobile spinoff, there has never been a sequel or a port to a different system. The flexibility of the game’s classes allowed for people to, quite literally, do whatever they saw fit, with quests tailored to every single class available. If you do give it a try, we also recommend you purchase the Origin Island DLC because it adds substantial content to the game, allowing for hours in the triple digits. While the failure of the mobile game might spell an end for the series, you should still give it a try.
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