Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. The 3DS is old news! Put those games on Switch! But hold on two seconds – the 3DS had a strong year in 2017, and there are also a decent handful of exciting games coming to the platform in 2018. Yet, as Nintendo devotes more and more attention to their phenomenally successful hybrid system, it appears increasingly likely that this will be the last year where 3DS sees major releases. To help the 3DS line go out in style, then, here are 6 games to play on the portable in 2018 (going by European release dates):
Pokémon Crystal Version
Let’s start with a throwback. Pokémon Crystal, originally a Game Boy Color follow-up to Gold and Silver, landed on 3DS Virtual Console at the end of January. We’ve already seen some of the earlier Pokémon titles pop up on the 3DS eShop, but Crystal is notable for a few reasons; this was the first game in the series to allow you to play as a girl, and also the first to have in-battle animations for the Pokémon themselves. Not to mention that the second generation was fantastic to start with, spanning two regions and featuring plenty of innovations – such as breeding – that have become series mainstays. If you’re looking for some nostalgic Pokémon fun on 3DS, Crystal is a great choice.
Detective Pikachu has been out on the Japanese eShop since February 2016, but soon we’ll all be able to get a physical copy. The game will release in a lovely yellow 3DS case on 23rd March in Europe, North America and Japan, with a large-scale amiibo of Detective Pikachu available as well (because why wouldn’t it be). A physical purchase of Detective Pikachu will get you the original Episode 1, as well as all-new content in Episode 2; in-game, you play as Tim, who solves Pokémon-related mysteries alongside Detective Pikachu. With the film based on this game – which stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) – coming out in 2019, a western release for the source material makes a lot of sense. Playing the 3DS game is also a great way to brace yourself for the, erm, unique experience that film may end up being.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
With Pokémon, Shin Megami Tensei and some of the titles later on this list, 3DS is still getting big franchises releasing games on the platform. Strange Journey Redux – coming May 18th 2018 – is a beautiful reimagining of the DS title Strange Journey, which never even came to Europe! This subsequently makes this a brand new Shin Megami Tensei JRPG for many 3DS owners. The core of the story is about a United Nations soldier who discovers a mirrored version of Earth – an Earth that is much more dangerous. Masayuki Doi has delivered wonderful new illustrations for the new release, and there is additional in-game content too; an enigmatic new character named Alex joins the story, there are additional endings, and even callbacks to other Shin Megami Tensei games.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
This is another 3DS game that Japan already has, but will be coming to the west sometime in 2018. The long-running Dragon Quest series is often worth the wait, though, and in Echoes of an Elusive Age the classic formula of the turn-based RPG series continues. Story-wise, the player character finds out that he is the reincarnation of a hero and has to deal with the expectations that come out of that. As you travel the world of Lotozetasia, you’ll be battling various monsters and undertaking quests with your ever-changing team of colourful characters. The 3DS version of the game (it’s also available on PS4) lets you choose whether to battle with modern 3D visuals or retro-styled sprites, which is pretty neat! Look, yes, this is coming to Switch eventually as well – but we have no concrete date there, so who knows how long you’ll be waiting. If you’re a fan of the series, the 3DS version should be a solid option.
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
Just like Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, this is a JRPG re-release with new visuals and content. Another similarity is that they both have gorgeous art styles, and bring in a new character to add more intrigue to the story. In this case, your journey across the continent of Vainqueur introduces Nemesia, who can teach you about the world and even open a third timeline of events depending on how you play. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology brings with it a majorly overhauled presentation, including new art, new music, New Game+, and more difficulty modes. It should be the best possible way to experience this turn-based time-travel JRPG!
After the massive success of Persona 5, it’s little surprise that publisher Atlus is trying to bring the beloved cast of the game to other platforms. A new spin-off will do just that on 3DS – to be specific, a sequel to Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, a game our editor Josh Stevens liked rather a lot in his review. For now, we know little about Persona Q2; the website that came with the initial announcement still only shows an animated Take Your Heart logo (very similar to the insignia used in Persona 5). The Persona Q series mixes the world of Persona with the dungeon-exploring gameplay of Etrian Odyssey (another Atlus series), so it would be safe to expect a similar approach for the sequel. This is one of the more mysterious, but most exciting, 3DS games on the immediate horizon.
So, 3DS players, don’t fret; there are a bunch of exciting games coming in 2018. Frankly, constructing this list has raised my own interest in playing my 3DS again. Are there any games on this list that you are especially excited for? You can let us know in the comments (I know the answer is Detective Pikachu)!