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The 5 Best Nintendo 3DS Games

The gaming world is abuzz with excitement, thanks to the release of the Nintendo 3DS. Like you, we were first in line to pick one up. But the most common question on everyone’s lips wasn’t which color 3DS system you should buy (it’s available in Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black), but which games?

We spent the weekend at a special Nintendo event in Santa Monica, California, playing the latest 3DS games and getting a sneak peek at some games on the horizon. Buying a 3DS? Here are the games you want:

Pilotwings Resort
When it was first released on the Super Nintendo platform, the arcade flight-sim Pilotwings used a technology called “Mode 7” for game play. That technology ushered 2D console games into the 3D era — and while there had been other games that “faked” 3D, the Mode 7 chip finally delivered on the promise. For its day, this development was akin to the transition from black & white television to color.

Taking flight in Pilotwings Resort.

By its very nature, the experience of flight requires that you judge distance, height and other variables. By that criteria, there’s no game better suited for the 3DS platform than Pilotwings Resort. As a pilot, you’ll take to the air in planes, Para gliders and parachutes. Game modes include Missions and take-off and landing Challenges, as well as Target Tag and Free Flight. This game will probably be one you use to show your 3DS off to your friends, as it really spotlights the 3DS’ various abilities.

Ridge Racer 3D
Every game machine since the original PlayStation has had a Ridge Racer game as a launch title. The Nintendo 3DS, of course, continues this trend. The Ridge Racer formula is repeated here — a slick CG intro movie and tricked-out rides bookend a solid, arcade-style, drift racing game.

Smoke effects have been added to this version of RR, so when you’re burning rubber, you’ll see it.

The most impressive thing to watch was the post-race replays — in 3D they’re not only amazing but they create a transcendent experience — probably because we were so focused on the horizon while playing that we didn’t pay attention to the astounding effects during the regular game. Because of the game structure, super-deep features and a wealth of options (such as the ability to change the steering to give the game a more Mario Kart-like feel), this game seemed to offer more overall depth than the other titles we played. And, man, is it beautiful.

Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
It may not be the original one-on-one fighting game, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, the green man-beast known as Blanka, wireless multiplayer — they’re all back in Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, which may be one of the best games in this legendary series.

The World Warriors return! Here Ken and Ryu prepare for a battle that has raged  for years…

Capcom doesn’t go overboard re-making the mold; all the moves, combos and special features you loved from the original games are still here. Only now, the punches and kicks are coming right at ya! — courtesy of the Nintendo 3DS. (Seriously, there were moments when we thought the characters were going to fall right out of the screen and into our lap.) There are plenty of added game modes and eight new characters too, but it’s the tried and true Street Fighter formula (now enhanced with 3D) that makes this game shine and kick butt, all at the same time.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (SNEAK PEEK!)
Of all the forgotten heroes from the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, one character stands out in the “Whatever Happened To…” category: Kid Icarus. And since last June, when Nintendo announced Kid Icarus would be resurfacing on the 3DS after a 20-year absence, gamers have elevated the stature of the game, making it probably the most anticipated 3DS title. Produced by the mastermind behind Super Smash Bros. (Mashahiro Sakurai), this game has “awesome” in its DNA.

The Kid is back and town, and he bears only a faint resemblance to his former self.

And forget what you remember about the original Kid Icarus game. This game is nothing like that. Instead of the pixilated side-scroller of old, today’s Kid Icarus is a 3D rollercoaster ride. Game play is firmly rooted in a third-person shooter.

Star Fox 64 3D (SNEAK PEEK!)
Fox McCloud is another Nintendo icon who had been missing in action recently, but he can’t seem to resist the lure of 3D, either. Star Fox 64 3D features completely overhauled graphics and a much better frame rate than the N64 version. But while the visuals have gotten re-worked, the game play (thankfully) hasn’t. It’s the same shooter you fell in love with, featuring the same spaced-out animals fighting to save the universe.

Fox McCloud zeroes in on his target.

3D helps enormously in judging distance and targets better, and the new circle pad on 3DS makes piloting the Arwing much easier. New game modes include Score Attack and Multiplayer. We can’t wait to get our hands on a final game.

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