Angry Birds Trilogy
Publisher: Activision (2012)
Rating: Everyone (comic mischief)
Publisher: Ubisoft (2011)
Rating: Everyone 10+
Asphalt 3D strikes me as a "lowest common denominator" title for the 3DS. Sure, the tracks are rendered in 3D, but after playing for a minute or so you don't even notice. At that point you're left with a pretty generic racing game. You get a nice selection of track locations at least, including Athens, San Francisco, and Aspen (snow!). The controls are simple and the courses are forgiving. Guardrails bounce you back on the track and not-so-hidden shortcuts give you a leg-up on the CPU racers. Along the courses are icons you collect to pump up your boost meter or bank account. The racing action is very arcade-ish, but I don't like how using turbo blurs the screen. It's hard enough to stay focused on these 3D games as it is! I also noticed the frame-rate can stutter while rounding corners. It's fun to run other cars off the road, but it's often unclear who crashed - you or the other guy! I really hate the idea of other traffic on the road besides the racers. Not only is it hard to see oncoming cars, but one wreck will ruin an otherwise flawless run. The tracks exhibit nice lighting effects and the roads look shiny, but the scenery is forgettable. No 3D effects will catch your eye besides maybe the leaves getting kicked up by your tires. I do enjoy the relentless, grinding soundtrack, and the deep career mode can keep you busy for a long time. Asphalt 3D isn't bad if you can get it cheap, but it's not exactly a showcase title for the system. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive (2013)
Rating: Teen (blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes, use of tobacco, violence)
I enjoyed Batman: Arkham Origins
(Wii U, 2013) but I like Blackgate even more!
This has the playability of a classic 2D side-scroller with the style and visual pizzazz of a 3D Arkham title. The opening stage absolutely knocked my socks off
as I chased Cat Woman around Gotham on a dark, stormy night. The characters and scenery are richly detailed and the 3D effects are visually arresting. This is easily the best-looking game I've played on my 3DS. Batman's movement is limited to a single plane, but this means less aimless wandering, less wasted time, and a tighter storyline. When the action transitions to the prison facilities there's less eye candy but the grungy, dilapidated scenery still looks impressive as hell. You'll need to move back and forth between locations, but I love how you acquire new items (like a zip-line) that let you access new areas. Hazards like spikes, poison gas, and electrical charges feel like throwbacks to the 16-bit era. The well-designed control scheme mimics the 3D titles, making it easy to climb, grapple, and perform sneak attacks. The combat places heavy emphasis on counters and combos, and it's satisfying to witness that final, slow-motion blow. I really got into this game. Heck, I even enjoyed using the detective mode and cracking codes with my crypto sequencer. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is no joke. This is one game that plays as well as it looks, and in this case that's really saying something. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: NIS (2011)
This one looks really good
on paper. Cave Story 3D is a quirky 2D platformer that lets you explore subterranean areas while shooting bats, jumping between platforms, and solving puzzles. The rapid-fire shooting is the best part, and I like how you can fire straight up to destroy leaping blue blobs. To propel the story you'll converse with floppy-eared characters that offer clues on how to complete missions in dark forests and high-tech factories. The cartoonish characters, catchy music, and silly dialog give the game an old-school quality. The action is pretty slow however, requiring a lot of tedious exploration and plenty of trial and error. You can jump pretty high, but the slippery controls make it tricky to hop between narrow platforms. There are a heck
of a lot of one-hit deaths, sending you back to your last save point (and there's no auto-save). I also have a little problem with the size of the characters. The main character is literally
the size of a flea! This was the first video game that forced me to use my reading glasses!
The 3D effects are modest at best and really have no bearing on the gameplay. Frankly I suspect the game would play better on a big screen. Cave Story 3D has some appealing qualities but in the end I found the gameplay more tedious and aggravating than fun. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Atari (2011)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (animated blood, fantasy violence)
My feelings toward this 3DS version of Centipede Infestation mirror those I have for the Wii version. You control a guy scampering around a confined area while unleashing rapid-fire shots at bugs crawling out of the woodwork. The game seems fun at first but the novelty wears off quickly. One issue is obvious right off the bat: you need to use the four face buttons to aim. You'll be wishing for a second thumbstick in the worst way. The touchpad is used to select special weapons you collect. The problem is, I only have two thumbs, which means I either have to stop moving or stop shooting to change weapons. That sucks, and it's not even worth it because the special weapons really aren't very special. Certain types of bugs you shoot will produce "sentries" which function like cannons that work on your behalf. That seems awesome, but it really just gives you less to do in a game that already has a lot of dead time between waves. Other bugs produce huge mushrooms which are super annoying because they tend to get in your way. Giant centipedes inject some excitement, but they only appear in the waning moments of each round. The 3D effects have little bearing on the gameplay, and they're actually more noticeable during the cheesy cartoon intermissions. Infestation comes up short when it comes to challenge, sense of progression, and replay value. This by-the-numbers shooter was a weak attempt to cash in on the Centipede name. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Dead or Alive Dimensions
Publisher: Tecmo Koei (2011)
Rating: Teen (blood, mild language, partial nudity)
Publisher: D3 Publisher (2011)
Rating: No one
I felt a disturbance in the Force, as though a great many people who bought Dream Trigger 3D cried out in pain, and were suddenly silenced. The box has the audacity to call it "the ultimate handheld shooter". What kind of gullible chump would fall for that
one? Oh wait - that would be me
. Good thing being a sucker isn't against the law, or I'd be doing hard time!
Dream Trigger is a bad idea masquerading around as an even worse game. It cannot be played - only endured
. Its 3D effects are limited to layered backgrounds which have absolutely no bearing on its incomprehensible gameplay. The idea is to rub moving squares on your lower screen, causing flower-shaped enemies to appear up top. You then move this fairy thing over targets with the thumbstick and press the shoulder button to shoot. The designers failed to take into account that it's really hard
to watch both screens at the same time! While you're rubbing and shooting like a madman, hundreds of red projectiles appear from nowhere and criss-cross the screen in inescapable patterns. The fact that you're invincible while firing only further lowers my opinion of this putrid game. Dream Trigger's single redeeming feature is its serene soundtrack which envelops you in relaxing 3D audio. What a [expletive] waste. Designed on a cocktail napkin over a few drinks, Dream Trigger is a total sham. I'm calling out all critics who don't trash this game! You
are a fraud!
And for all the poor schmucks who made the mistake of buying this, I have a little piece of advice. Force yourself to play Dream Trigger every morning
, and you can rest assured that nothing worse
will happen to you for the rest of the day. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
Publisher: Disney (2012)