Last week, we made the second of four planned articles covering eShop recommendations to nab before the store shuts down: As we keep the momentum going here with these short and simple articles, we now move onto the more modern games, thus opening a bunch of new and familiar territory for me to recommend! Seeing how SFG got its start reviewing 3DS and Wii U eShop games, some of these recommendations are of games I outright reviewed here, so you’ll get handy links to those when applicable.
Of course, I’m gonna try and find some stuff I didn’t get to covering, to lead to a healthy mix! We’re continuing with the 3DS Download Soft here, since the Wii U eShop has actually suffered a stealthy set of delistings for years now, tying to expiring developer licenses over the years, long before the shutdown was announced.
Somehow, it didn’t impact the 3DS eShop much, if at all, but for Wii U, I regret to say a majority of games I reviewed are forever delisted into the dark abyss, so that list will take a bit longer to pull together. Without further ado, here are some recommendations for 3DS eShop games in no particular order!
Recently having covered the Switch sequel to this game, I noted in that review how I felt this 3DS original was a lot funnier and a bit more single player friendly than the sequel, and that still is a true statement! Released very late in the 3DS’s eShop life, Gotta Protectors is a super fun tower defense game with plenty of stages, lots of great retro throwbacks, and an amazingly composed soundtrack with an FM DLC pack to boot!
While both the Switch and 3DS versions have good gameplay that’ll keep you busy for quite a while, I still feel this installment has more than enough charm and passion put into it that helps prop it up high, despite unfortunately being covered in obscurity all this time. Still, I’ve been a champ for it since the launch back in 2016, and I still cannot recommend this eShop gem enough, especially if you did pick up the Switch sequel and enjoyed it immensely.
Technically lives on via a good Steam port, but this 3DS gem is also pretty fun on the handheld! A crazy, fast-paced metroidvania with several playable characters, encouraged sequence breaking and multiple playthroughs, and just a super addicting adventure all around, this is a metroidvania that satisfied every possible craving I had back in 2016: so much to the point I proudly double dipped on that aforementioned Steam port! Whichever you choose to play this on, this is a must-own for any metroidvania fanatics.
The 3DS eShop got lots and lots and lots of generic, paint-by-numbers stage based casual games, seeing that the 3DS eShop launched during the huge Mobile Gaming boom. Many of these are outright mobile ports, and there are some legitimately fun relics of a bygone era, such as Doodle Jump and Cut The Rope available on the 3DS.
Alongside these classic gems and the boatload of shovelware, are some honest-to-god outstanding obscurities that hit the 3DS eShop, providing the same sort of fun from a mobile pick up and play game, but with all sorts of quality polish and making use of button controls or the dual screens of the console. The one that stood out in my memory as I looked back on 3DS gems, was a little brick breaker known as Hazumi. Published by Gamelion waaaaaay back in my early days of reviewing, this is a really darn fun take on the formula that provides a simple, yet challenging set of brick breaking action to plow through, leading to an experience that still holds up remarkably well all these years later.
There are dozens of brick breaking games on the 3DS eShop, but Hazumi is one that is really good, yet has somehow never been ported to any other platform, or given a sequel: in fact, it seems the devs behind this game have completely vanished, which is a huge shame. As one of my early review games, this would definitely be one I’d like to revisit someday, and I feel you guys should pick this gem up while you still can!
Akari by Nikoli
Would you believe that the company who pumps out endless Arcade ports on a weekly basis, got their start with Nikoli adaptations? It’s true! Hamster Corporation worked on a variety of games before the ACA era, including a PS2 lineup of arcade games, but one of their games I was exposed to before the era of their modern port jobs was a lineup of logic puzzles, part of the “By Nikoli” series.
There are a variety of obscure Japanese puzzlers to purchase on 3DS, including a set of Sudoku puzzles, but my favorite of them all is Akari, a light puzzle. It’s really tough to explain, but a few variations of this light-toggling puzzle has shown up in a few mainstream games over the years, so if you see footage of this, you’ll recognize it quickly. It’s nothing too special, just being a batch of Akari puzzles to solve that gradually get harder, but this is a really fun puzzler I don’t think anyone outside of Japan really gave consideration to speak of.
In fact, as a fun bit of trivia, the Nikoli series’ UI elements were outright copied for the ACA series, including the sound effects for the menus, which completely threw me for a hard loop when I bought my first ACA title back in 2016. Who knew a porting company had such niche beginnings!
This is a game that’s noteworthy for being one on my own to-buy list… Meaning I don’t have my own opinion on it! But this is a positively received shmup from G.Rev, where you take control of a tank and set out to engage against enemy forces. Considering that the only other sort of game like this I can even think of is the Saturn classic Guardian Force, it’s honestly baffling this game didn’t get so much as a port or followup on other systems.
In fact, you can’t even buy this if you’re in Canada, and that was the case ever since the original launch. Still, if you are in the proper regions this game is available in, don’t hesitate to pick this up; I know I sure will!
An Nintendo eShop classic, this game followed up the insanely popular Pushmo, while adding some gravity elements to that popular formula. There are three games in the franchise here on 3DS, and this one is my personal favorite, having everything I love from the series: clever puzzles, a fantastic level editor with QR sharing, and just oodles of charm.
Considering the last installment in this IP was long, long ago, and Intelligent Systems have since moved onto other things like Fire Emblem Heroes and Paper Mario titles, I don’t think Mallow will get the spotlight again… Which is a crying shame! All 3 are worth buying before the shutdown, but if you can only pick one, Crashmo’s formula is the one I find to be the most endearing, and one I’d love to see a sequel/port of on Switch.
And there we have it! Six various titles available on the North American 3DS eShop… To be blunt, I think all of these might be available worldwide, but don’t quote me on that. Whatever the case, whether they were reviewed or purchased, the 3DS eShop offered tons of fun gems of all kinds, and that’s not even counting DSiWare! However, a list won’t be made for that department, since DSiWare offered next to nothing of substance and I could count the amount of worthwhile games on one hand, so here they are right here:
Art Style: Pictobits
Anyhow, there’s only one component left to this eShop roundup, and that’s the Wii U eShop! With all the delistings, finding games that are actually available to purchase may be tricky… But I reckon I can pull up something in the near future. Stay tuned!