The 3DS e-Shop launched just a couple of weeks ago along with the 3DS Virtual Console and all the classic DSiWare favorites, but due to how disorganized the menus are at the moment it is rather difficult to find a specific title you want. When I received my first DSi at launch a couple of years ago, there was very little choice as it took Nintendo a good year to truly build up a decent selection. However, there are now nearly 400 titles to choose from covering nearly every genre. It seems that many 3DS owners have not had a chance to see some of the gems are on the download service, which is the purpose of this article you are about to read. Want to find that perfect title to spend those points on? I present to you some of the DSiWare’s finest titles (Please note that prices my differ per region and are marked in U.S. currency).
Dark Void Zero (CAPCOM) – $4.99
One thing that I have always been a fan of is sheer amount of remakes that have been released on Nintendo’s portable consoles, where ports were put out that captured the magic of the 8 to 16 bit eras while delivering a blast of nostalgia for on-the-go gaming experiences.
Dark Void Zero is a more original take of recapturing those golden moments of the past. I know the name “Dark Void” may at first remind some as the somewhat mediocre title that Capcom brought to the Xbox 360 & PS3, but Dark Void Zero is truly the definitive game to bare that name. Starting up Dark Void Zero, the player is treated to booting up the game by literally blowing in their NES Dark Void cartridge (via the mic on the DS/3DS) and then sucked into an full 8-bit world to take the role as the main protagonist, Rusty.
Everything about Dark Void Zero would literally make you feel it was ported straight out of the 80’s, as the controls, sprites, and even the story make you feel as if you are powering up an NES one more time, which is literally the charm of the whole experience. While nostalgia is nice, Capcom did not stop there and brought about a “Metroidvania” style of gameplay to the game where you can literally roam around via Rusty’s jetpack and view the retro-love that was tacked into every pixel of Dark Void Zero. Tons of power-ups, weapons, collectibles, and even a cameo by Jimmy Fallon can be found in this gem that should be placed in any 3DS owner’s digital collection.
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (WAYFORWARD) – $11.99
If Mario is the Mascot of Nintendo, Shantae in my mind is the true representative for the DSiWare. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge released last year as a follow-up to the barely known Shantae, a title that seen a very limited run but gained an instant cult following due to the quality in level design, gameplay, and visuals that ended the Game Boy Color’s lifespan with an explosion. Being a true sequel, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge delivers the same mechanics that made the bubbly little character a star, but with even more of Wayforward’s charming settings and characters thrown in.
Much like Dark Void Zero, Shantae is a “Metroidvania” game, where the player controls Shantae in a free-roam 2D enviroment as she tries to put a stop to the mischievous Risky Boots. Not only does Risky’s Revenge look incredible on any DS/3DS system, you can truly feel the passion that went into this sequel from Wayforward, a trait that is rare to see in the age of rush-jobs and cash-ins.
Mighty Milky Way (WAYFORWARD) – $7.99
Part platformer, part puzzler, and with another lovable mascot, Mighty Milky Way was quietly released for the DSiWare earlier this year and made quite an impression due to it’s unique gameplay style and full utilization of the touch screen controls. Playing as Luna, it is the player’s job to bounce across the universe and create their own path of planets along the way by collecting pieces of candy.
Luna is a French martian, and is at her most talkative during moments of pure doom. Most protagonists just kill over when hitting an enemy or a damaging obstacle, Luna stops and spurts out a line of French dialogue before accepting her fate. That is the pure charm of Mighty Milky Way though, as the game tries to get you to care about Luna’s success during this spacey tale. A very dapper T-Rex also makes appearances during boss battles that change up the gameplay and make this title end on a highly rewarding note.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NINTENDO) – $7.99
The Mario vs Donkey Kong series has been one of those small Nintendo franchises that has slowly grew into a staple for the Nintendo DS. While I do feel the most recent Mini-Land Mayhem is the best title in the series to date, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! is still a very worthy title of mention as it feels like it should be on a cartridge.
The best part of this title however is the level editor known as the Construction Zone in which players can create up to 140 stages with all the power-ups and enemies they can fit into one map. Afterwards, the game allows you to connect with friends via the DSi’s wireless function and share maps, adding an infinite amount of replay value to an already fantastic game.
Plants vs Zombies (POPCAP) – $7.99
I don’t think I can do a recommendations article without mentioning Plants vs Zombies. I would guess most of you who are reading this have tried this game in one form or another, as it is on just about every device with a power button, but the DS version in my opinion is the strongest offering due to the touch screen. Never has it been easier to quickly sort out an army of plants onto your lawn than in this portable version as the stylus controls make everything a quick, drag-and-drop job.
I will say if you own the DS cartridge of Plants vs Zombies, there really isn’t a need for this digital version as it plays exactly the same (sans a few of the extra modes) but at a nice low price of just 800 points, making it worth a download for anyone who just want the core experience.
200 Point Quickies (1.99 eShop)
Frenzic is just how the name sounds, a hectic puzzler where the player must quickly fit pieces into circles (that sort of resemble a pie) while trying to strategically gain bonuses for color combos. Its a rather simple game, but one of the most addictive puzzlers on the service that can keep you infatuated for hours at a time.
Birds & Beans
Another small yet addictive game on the DSiWare comes in the form of Birds & Beans. Originally released with WarioWare for the Game Boy Advance, this game has players take control of a very hungry bird by the name of Pyoro. As beans rain from the heavens, it is this your job to use Pyoro’s long tongue to eat as many as possible while trying to obtain a high score. If a bean hits the ground, it breaks the platform and shrinks the very ground you walk on, giving this small contender a bit of challenge for veteran players. “Pyoro 2” can also be unlocked later on, which doubles this package and makes it one of the best values on the eShop to date.
There are quite a few chess titles on the DSiWare, but personally I enjoyed Absolute Chess over the handful of others I have downloaded thus far. It simply is a game of chess, but with 8 different characters that the player can use to represent themselves while they play. If you have a friend with any form of DS, a Download Play option turns this title into a fine multi-player experience at a low budget price.
Of course these are just a few of the offerings 3DS owners can find on the service, but hopefully with the new additions of 3D Nintendo Classics and the Virtual Console, we will be in for even more fantastic releases in the coming years as honestly, things just seem to be heating up on the Nintendo download circuit. Stay tuned as we still have plenty more downloadable greatness to cover in Part 2 of the Best of the eShop.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below if you have a favorite DSiWare title worthy of mention to anyone with access to the service below. If you have played any of the games above, let us know what you thought during your experience with them.