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The Best Downloads for the Nintendo 3DS August 20, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Nintendo released the New Nintendo 3DS XL earlier this year to much fanfare.  It’s a beautiful piece of hardware that can play any retail title from the Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS’s grand software library, and grants you access to a great digital marketplace called the Nintendo eShop.

With so much content being offered on the eShop, it can be overwhelming for new 3DS owners to know what they should download, so I’m going to give you some tips on what are the best downloads for the system.  It’s hard to break down a list of some of the best software that is being offered through the eShop since it has been in operation for several years.  With so much content being offered how is a new user going to know what to get?  Well, that’s what we’re here for, this article is going to detail some of the best content to download on the Nintendo 3DS platform.  Some of the content is free, some of it will cost money, but trust me, all of it is worth taking a look at.  Break out your Nintendo 3DS system, turn on your system’s WiFi, update your system software, and fire up the Nintendo eShop app because we are about to get started.

Before we get started I want to give a few points about the rules for this list.  We will be exclusively talking about titles available through the Nintendo 3DS system’s eShop, but DSi-compatible software can get mentioned as long as it will work on the Nintendo 3DS.  Since we’re only going to be talking about 3DS downloadable software, any games that have been released at retail in North America will not be counted here, so titles like Pokémon X, Fantasy Life, or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will not be listed, but game demos are perfectly acceptable.  We’re also not going to be mentioning any downloadable titles available through the Virtual Console, because if I did that this entire list would be populated with classic Game Boy, Game Boy Color and NES titles, and most players will already know which titles from those platforms are good or not.  With all that out of the way, let’s get started.

Demos

Here’s a section of demos which in my opinion go above and beyond what is expected of them.  While you can find demos for all sorts of retail titles you might be interested in playing on the Nintendo eShop, you should download these particular demos even if you were planning to get the game at retail anyway because they can either offer exclusive items or feature a section that is not included in the full version of the game.

Bravely Default Demo – All I can say is if you’re even the slightest fan of JRPGs, you need to get this demo right now.  Bravely Default has gone on to become one of the most essential titles for the Nintendo 3DS platform.  It was developed by Square Enix, and draws heavy inspiration from their earlier Final Fantasy titles, including Final Fantasy III.  The game’s demo serves as a prequel to the game and covers events which do not happen in the main title.  This does a great job of setting the stage for the player, and becomes a great use of the player’s time.  You can also unlock exclusive content and items you can transfer to the full game by completing certain goals during the demo, so make sure to keep playing it to its fullest if you want to buff up your party as much as you can once you start the full retail game.

Pokémon Omega Ruby & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Demo – Because this demo was so unlike any demo Nintendo had released previously on the Nintendo eShop, it was originally only offered exclusively to special players through special promotions.  Thankfully, Nintendo reversed that policy and now anyone can download this awesome demo from the Nintendo eShop, and I would recommend doing that even if you already have a copy of the full version of either game.  This demo, like the one for Bravely Default, takes place before the events of the Generation III remakes, and gives you a first look at one of the later areas in the game.  The demo might seem short at first, but just completing the demo once grants you a Mega Evolution capable Level 40 Glalie you can transfer to the full game.  After that, every time you fire the game back up you’ll be presented with another random challenge you’ll have to complete.  The more you play, the more you can unlock, and that content can be brought into the full version of either Generation III remake using Pokémon Link.  The best part is that unlike other Nintendo demos, there is no limit to how many times you can play this game so play as much as you want.

THEATRYTHEM: Final Fantasy Curtain Call – The 3DS demo for this delightfully fun rhythm game is a must-download for anyone who is a fan of Final Fantasy’s incredible music library.  While the demo does not offer any exclusive songs to play, anyone who plays the demo gets the chance to unlock a playable character early if they pick up the full version of the game.

Applications

That’s right, you can download more than just games for the Nintendo 3DS system, you can also find plenty of useful applications on the Nintendo eShop which can improve your system’s functionality and enable you to do more with your portable gaming system.  Let’s take a look.

Save Data Transfer Tool – This is a very useful tool to download as soon as you get your 3DS online.  It’s designed to take any save data from a retail 3DS game card and permanently transfer it to the 3DS’s internal SD memory.  This will enable retail owners who wish to trade in their games the ability to back up their save and wipe it from the game card before it is traded in.  After that, if the player chooses to purchase the game once again as a digital download off the eShop, they can restore their previous game progress and resume where they left off.  It is a really useful feature for anyone who wants to borrow a friend’s retail copy of a game or trade any retail titles, but just be aware that this is a one-way feature and any save data transferred to the 3DS’s SD Card can only be used by a digital copy of the game, and cannot be installed onto a different retail copy.  It’s still a really useful tool, its free to download, and it doesn’t take up that much storage, so I would still recommend getting it.  Never know when you might need it.

Pokémon Bank – This is the application many Pokémon Trainers have been wishing for since the first Pokémon titles were released in the late 90s.  Pokémon Bank can store any of the Pokémon you’ve captured from the Generation VI Pokémon games, and enable you to use them in other Pokémon titles.  In fact, if you download an extra special application called the Poké Transporter, you can even bring the Pokémon you’ve captured or stored in your Generation V Pokémon games into Generation VI.  While the application is free to download, it does have a $4.99 US a year fee to use the service.  As a safety feature, It will not work unless you have created a save in any Generation VI Pokémon title..

Games

Well, we’ve talked a lot about the 3DS’s downloadable demos and apps, let’s talk about the platform’s download-exclusive titles.  Let me tell you, there is an incredible amount of great games you can download on your 3DS right now, and here are just some of them.

Attack of the Friday Monsters – Are you a fan of Japanese culture, fighting monster movies like Godzilla, and superhero sentai shows like Kamen Rider?  If you are, you need to give this download-exclusive game from LEVEL-5 a look.  You play as a young boy who just moved to Tokyo during the booming popularity of sentai hero shows.  Every Friday, enormous monsters come to do battle, and all the children line up to watch the event and play a special card game.  But is everything exactly as it seems, and are you sure you know your own background?  This game features a great story, relatable characters, and a great art style.  Without a doubt you’ll get a few hours of enjoyment from this game, well worth the price.

Weapon Shop de OMASSE – Another LEVEL-5 exclusive downloadable game, but this one is heavily inspired by RPG games like Dragon Quest and adventure titles like The Legend of Zelda.  The game takes place in a time when warriors, knights, and adventurers of all sorts come together to complete quests all with the hope to defeat an ultimate evil.  However, you don’t play one of those heroes, you play the guy who makes weapons for those heroes to use, and oh boy you’re not going to believe all of the crazy and eccentric people who want to rent weapons from you, just make sure you give them the right one.  The best part is the game has some of the funniest writing I’ve ever heard, with lots of jokes poking fun at RPG clichés, and several attacks on the fourth wall.  If you enjoy parody, or just want to participate in a funny story, this is well worth a download.

Shovel Knight – This 8-bit inspired platformer has won numerous game of the year awards and I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t played it yet…

Pokémon Shuffle – Imagine a puzzle game where you need to group together similar characters to win, only these similar characters happen to be Pokémon.  Each puzzle is devoted to a specific Pokémon, and if you can complete it, you will earn the chance to capture that puzzle’s Pokémon. Any Pokémon you capture can then be used in subsequent puzzles to help you capture more.  This free game is probably one of the hottest downloads on the entire Nintendo eShop and has been so successful on the 3DS the Pokémon Company plans to bring it to smartphones in the near future.  If you ask me it strikes the perfect formula to make for an enjoyable puzzle game.  The best part is new puzzles are added all the time, and special limited puzzles with unique parameters are brought in all the time.

The Starship Damery – Another great downloadable title from LEVEL-5, this one is a science fiction title where you play as a character trapped on a derelict spacecraft.  You’re stuck in a cryopod and your only hope to escape is by taking control of a small autonomous robot.  You’re going to want to play this game to the end, because this game’s got a big twist that I did not see coming.

Dr. Mario Miracle Cure – If you liked Dr. Mario on the original NES or the downloadable title Dr. Luigi on the Wii U, you must download this game.  This is without a doubt the definitive version of Dr. Mario, and not only offers tons of puzzles from either game, but a cool special mode with tons of exclusive puzzles you’ll have to wrap your brain around.  If that’s not enough for you, there’s always online multiplayer.

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a section of game titles and apps which were offered for download on the Nintendo eShop, but are not currently available anymore for one reason or another.  If the apps are ever re-released I would recommend downloading them immediately, but until then here’s some of my favorite apps that unfortunately you may never get to use.

Nintendo Video – Nintendo Video was a small video app which could automatically download as many as four short 3D films to your Nintendo 3DS.  Over the years it showcased popular web videos like the Dinosaur Office series, music videos from bands like Linkin Park, and clips from 3D-exclusive series like Meat or Die and Dream Defenders.  While the app could only hold four videos in memory at any given time and its content lineup at any given time was entirely decided by Nintendo’s programmers, I was charmed by the variety of the 3D videos showcased on the app.  Sadly, Nintendo Video was shut down a few weeks ago, and will no longer function even if you have already downloaded it.  Nintendo has promised that the incredible trove of content they offered on the app will be accessible on the Nintendo eShop from now on, but as of this writing only some of the content the app has showcased over the past three years is watchable in the eShop.  However, if you get the chance I would recommend checking out Shaun the Sheep shorts on the eShop, they’re great.

Pokédex 3DPokédex 3D was released as a free Nintendo 3DS download to coincide with the release of Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 on the Nintendo DS back in 2012.  It is essentially a Pokédex for your Nintendo 3DS, and features information on Pokémon from the Generation V games.  While very little content is unlocked from the start, you could unlock new Pokédex entries by scanning AR codes or trading information with your friends. The app was later used as the groundwork for the Pokédex 3D Pro premium app, which added entries for all of the previous generation’s Pokémon and a cool trivia contest.  Sadly, when Pokédex 3D Pro was released, Nintendo discontinued offering the Pokédex 3D app on the eShop for download, and now you will have to pay $15 US to download the Pro version.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary – This DSi-downloadable title is an enhanced port of the original Four Swords bonus game included with all copies of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance.  In it, you and as many as three other Links have to work together to complete challenges and defeat enemies.  It may sound simple, but it was a lot of fun and inspired many future games in the Four Swords series including The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.  Sadly, this free game was released for only a short period of time to celebrate The Legend of Zelda‘s anniversary, but it was briefly rereleased last year to celebrate the critical success of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.  I would be happy to recommend this game, but Nintendo is very hush-hush about if they plan to offer it for download again.  Regardless, if it ever goes back up for any amount of time I would recommend getting it as soon as possible.

StreetPass Plaza

Last off, I want to remind all of you not to forget to create a Mii and enable StreetPass Plaza.  There are currently six exclusive games available for purchase through that application and they can only be purchased through the application.  Take my advice, all six of the games are a lot of fun, so your best deal is to buy them as a bundle since Nintendo offers the bundle at a discounted price.  Trust me, once you start visiting Nintendo Zone hotspots you’ll be very happy you bought them.

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