Editor’s Note: Just before the start of each month, I will “look ahead” at the upcoming games that are slated for release; then, taking into account the general level of anticipation and the “buzz” within the media, I will select a handful of titles (two to four) that could be worth checking out when launch day finally comes around. Every month, this column will pinpoint the “cream of the crop”, so to speak – just keep your eyes peeled for the games mentioned here!
For whatever reason, each year it seems the major publishers in the gaming industry are more and more hell-bent on bringing forth an onslaught of blockbusters in a two-week time span. This insane rush of “AAA” titles and unexpected surprises generally comes between the start and middle of November.
To say the least, 2012 isn’t playing by special rules…so I hope your wallet is prepared.
If you’re a console player, big stuff like Halo 4, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale & the Wii U launch are probably on your mind. If you’re a 3DS owner, this is well and good, because the November release calendar was gutted like a fish over the past few weeks. “AAA” titles such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate and Animal Crossing: Jump Out were all set back to “2013″, along with Fire Emblem: Awakening.
There are still some pretty sweet new titles headed to both the eShop and retailers over the next few weeks, and as always, 3DStination would like to focus your attention on the following games as we look ahead at November 2012:
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (11/11)
I hate to sound like a “Daisy Downer” (har har), but Mario Tennis Open and New Super Mario Bros. 2 left me wanting more from my favorite Italian plumber, and I’ve ultimately spent most of the year looking forward to Paper Mario: Sticker Star, hoping for better results. After all, the Paper Mario franchise has always been held to a high standard, and Sticker Star has managed to impress with its apparently brilliant use of the 3D effects and the various gimmicks of the handheld.
I think Sticker Star will prove to be one of the 3DS’s top games of 2012, introducing some of the most clever mechanics seen on the handheld to date. I could be wrong, but if the following footage has anything to prove, Paper Mario will be in top shape when it launches in a few weeks:
Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion (11/18)
The 3DS installment of Epic Mickey, Power of Illusion, has been another highly-anticipated game since its appearance at this summer’s E3 showcase. Where Paper Mario looks to use the 3D effects of the system to go in new directions with its gameplay, Epic Mickey looks like a throwback to the Genesis era of platformers. Its lush 2D visuals and detailed sprites are just part of the charm; apparently the game design is brutally tough and reminiscent of classic side-scrollers.
I hope this one ends up being a big success when it launches in the middle of November; until then, I look forward to playing the upcoming demo version whenever it finally appears on the Nintendo eShop. Check out the footage below to see how this one looks for yourself:
Scribblenauts Unlimited (11/18)
Over the past month or so I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more intrigued by Scribblenauts Unlimited; I can’t really put my finger on a reason, but I can say that I think it looks gorgeous, and I am hoping to see the controls perform better than the original Scribblenauts on the NDS. That’s my only experience with the series, but there is a pretty good chance that I’ll cave in and check out Unlimited when it launches on the 18th – too bad 3DS owners don’t get a chance to play with the characters from Super Mario Bros. or Legend of Zelda, recently revealed as exclusives for the Wii U version. Bummer! Check out the trailer below to see the game for yourself:
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (11/20)
So, this one’s a bit of a bummer: not including Sega’s original confirmation about the 3DS port of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, there doesn’t seem to be a single trace of information, any screenshots, gameplay footage (trailers or off-screen) or otherwise…anywhere on the Internet. Believe me, I’ve looked for anything I could find over the past several months – I’m not even really sure why I am so intrigued by this kart racer, but I’ve followed it as closely as I followed Mario Kart 7 in 2011. I admit that I don’t exactly expect Sonic to out-pace MK7, but I would at least hope that Sega could keep up the pace.
With that in mind: I want a solid roster of characters, a nice selection of tracks, local & online multiplayer features, and most importantly…the fewest possible shortcuts in order to make it all happen on the hardware, just as well as the console versions. That might be a lofty expectation, but I really don’t think it’s completely unfair. The 3D effect is a natural fit for the racing genre, so if done well, I really feel like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed could be optimized on the 3DS, rather than slipping behind as a “lesser port” of the big console version.
For now, I’m looking forward to the demo version that was promised during one of the recent Nintendo Direct broadcasts. Unfortunately, there’s no trailer featuring the 3DS version, so I’ll skip to the last of November’s notable releases:
Crashmo [*eShop] (11/22)
I was definitely charmed by Pushmo, one of the eShop’s earliest games to draw in a lot of positive remarks from a majority of critics. The sequel, Crashmo, looks to expand a great deal on the gameplay from the original: now players can move around in full 3D, combining the push/pull mechanics and 3D effect to solve the dozens (possibly hundreds) of puzzles found in the game.
Crashmo apparently features the same QR-based level editor, so fans of the original Pushmo can get straight to creating their own custom stages and puzzles. Check out the trailer below, and stay tuned for this one to appear on the eShop on the 22nd:
There are a few more games coming out in November; these may not be completely outstanding on paper, but you never know what to expect these days:
-Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations Alive! (11/5)
-Pokedex 3D Pro [*eShop] (11/8)
-Ninja Gaiden [*eShop/Virtual Console] (11/8)
-Zelda II: The Adventure of Link [*eShop/Virtual Console] (11/22)