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 3DS FEATURE
Pocket Gamer's Top 10 Games of the Year 2012 - 3DS Edition
Those handheld games you really can't do without
Product: Nintendo 3DS | Publisher: Nintendo
 
Nintendo 3DS 3DS, thumbnail 1
Let's be honest: 2011 wasn't exactly a stellar year for new software on the Nintendo 3DS.

This is evident from the fact that in Pocket Gamer's top 10 Nintendo 3DS games of 2011 we were forced to include a couple of 3D remakes, plus one of the mini-games that came pre-loaded with the device.

But, times change, and as soon as Nintendo started selling 3DSs by the bucketload, more studios started banging games out for it. It's the way it works, you know.

So, yes, compiling this year's list of the ten best Nintendo 3DS games was extremely difficult. Only this time, it was for all the right reasons - there were too many good 3DS games to consider.

Anyway, we've somehow managed to whittle the longlist down to ten, and now present you with our findings. Go forth and purchase. Immediately.

Fallblox
By Intelligent Systems (available on the eShop only)



Fallblox's predecessor, Pullblox, is still one of the best games you can buy for the Nintendo 3DS. In fact, a 3DS without a copy of Pullblox is like a soccer pitch without a ball. Pointless.

Fallblox is just as fantastic as its forebear, with Intelligent Systems taking the original concept and twisting it. In Fallblox, then, the blocks fall rather than float in space.

While Fallblox may look similar to the original, this new mechanic turns it into a completely different gaming experience, and a seriously mind-blowing one at that.

Scribblenauts Unlimited
By 5th Cell



When the first Scribblenauts was announced in 2008, the idea that you would be able to conjure up anything at all to complete a quest was game changing.

As it turns out, it has taken developer 5th Cell up until now to perfectly hone the concept. But, goodness me, the wait for Scribblenauts Unlimited was totally worth it, as its open-ended puzzles are absolutely fantastic.

You can even create your own items by stringing together various objects and giving them a name. This instalment is what we were hoping and praying for from the very beginning.

The big question is: where does Scribblenauts go from here?

Heroes of Ruin
By n-Space



Nintendo consoles don't do online multiplayer, right? Think again.

Heroes of Ruin is a full-fledged online co-op dungeon-crawler, which plays out just as well as many of your favourite PC RPGs.

As you bomb around the game's various environments and take on huge gaggles of enemies and boss battles, real players will pop up in your game, talk to you over the 3DS microphone, and offer a helping hand.

It's expansive, it's customizable, it's online - it's everything you need in a dungeon-crawler, essentially, and if you can get your 3DS online out and about, you're laughing.

Art of Balance Touch!
By Shin'en Multimedia (available on the eShop only)



Don't let the dull name and seemingly dull concept put you off. Art of Balance Touch! is great fun, with a ton of content to sift your way through.

It's all about balancing a variety of bricks and blocks on top of a pedestal in such a way that they don't fall off when you let go.

The precision with which you can balance blocks really helps this game shine, as does the variety of special blocks you can obtain later into the game. A must-download from the eShop.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
By Level-5



Professor Layton's adventures have been lacking a certain 'oomph' in recent times. Level-5 clearly recognised that fact and injected some much-needed spark into the series during its journey across to the 3DS.

In no uncertain terms, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask put Hershel back on the map. The animated puzzles are glorious. The stereoscopic 3D environments are a huge step up. The story is genuinely entertaining. The list of upgrades goes on and on.

Not only has Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask breathed new life into the franchise, though, but it's also got us incredibly excited about the next chapter in the ongoing saga.

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
By Chunsoft



If you've played visual novel 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors for the Nintendo DS, you'll know why we were so excited about its sequel, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward.

And we weren't left disappointed.

All of the mystery, paranoia, and subterfuge from the original are present and correct in this hugely absorbing follow-up. You are asked to either put your faith in other characters or choose to betray them, all for the sake of escaping your puzzle-based prison.

You've never felt tension like this. Playing Zero Escape is like putting your brain through a grinder... in a totally good way.

Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]
By Square Enix



Say what you like about the Kingdom Hearts RPG series - each instalment always seems to bring something new to the table.

Dream Drop Distance was no different.

In it, Squeenix throws in a special "Drop" system that forces you to jump between two storylines and see them play out alongside each other.

There's also the "Flowmotion" concept, which lets you engage in some parkour action during battles. Well worth checking out, just to see how true innovation can re-invigorate long-running franchises.

Hydroventure: Spin Cycle
By Curve Studios



Hydroventure: Spin Cycle is a gorgeous physics-based puzzler that truly raises the visuals bar for games in the eShop.

You control Eddy, a water spirit who has jumped into an infected story book in a bid to remove the evil from the pages.

Sometimes, you're tilting the Nintendo 3DS left and right to direct the water. On other occasions, you have to spin the 3DS completely upside down.

It's a huge amount of fun, with plenty of content to work your way through and lots of abilities to mess around with throughout your adventure.

Kid Icarus: Uprising
By Project Sora



After a 21-year hiatus, Kid Icarus came back with a bang in 2012. And what a bang it was.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is part-on-rails shooter, part-arena battler, and allllll action, as you race to hold back Medusa's Underworld demons.

The game's learning curve really gives it an edge, as you slowly but surely become one with Pit's movements, meaning you can eventually take on huge enemies with all guns blazing.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure
By Sega



It wouldn't be a proper Nintendo handheld console without a great rhythm-based game, and Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure filled that role on the 3DS in 2012.

The story of (game protagonist) Raphael feels like a blend of Elite Beat Agents and Professor Layton, as you explore Paris and attempt to steal precious artefacts from its major museums.

Each mini-game is silly but delightful, and the soundtrack is genuinely entertaining and quirky. This all means Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure has a certain charm that is hard to dislike.
 

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 29 December 2012
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Squashie | 17:38 - 4 January 2013
Fallblox was absolutely awesome! I had been waiting for a Pullblox sequel for a good while! Sadly, I haven't played Scribblenauts Unlimited yet, I can't wait to though! I loved all the other games in the series! :)
 
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