June marked the one-year anniversary of the Nintendo eShop, the online market/download service that allows 3DS owners to purchase and download digital software, media, applications, and so on. The last year has been a period of growth for the 3DS in general, but the eShop has been perhaps one of the most rapidly-growing features of the handheld.
In celebration of the eShop’s first full year, I would like to take a look back at my five favorite downloads, all of which I have personally purchased on the service up to this point:
#5 – Let’s Golf! 3D
This was actually my very first “3D Download” purchase on the eShop; the 3D-enhanced port of the simple golfing title was only $4, and worth every penny. Though it was fundamentally very basic, I spent well over a dozen hours playing through the Career mode tournaments and competitions, enjoying the added depth effects that were only possible on the 3DS. There could have been more content, but for the cheap price, Let’s Golf! 3D was a nice place to start.
#4 – Pushmo
Pushmo was a very charming, clever little puzzle/platform game developed by Intelligent Systems. This is actually one of the highest-rated eShop games to date, and it’s with good reason: the game features dozens (hundreds, really) of levels, each challenging you to use the same push/pull mechanics on the various blocks within each stage. The goal was simple; reach the stranded child at the top of each stage. I really liked the fact that Pushmo boasted a level creator, and the use of the QR scanner to transfer user-created stages was pretty nifty as well. Overall, you can’t really go wrong with Pushmo – it’s definitely one of the most valuable downloads on the eShop to date, even now.
#3 – Mighty Switch Force
Mighty Switch Force was a flashy side-scrolling puzzle/platforming game designed by WayForward Technologies. In addition to running, jumping, and shooting through each stage, players had to master the game’s “switch” mechanic, interacting with various blocks to make platforms, attack enemies, and more. This one was recently updated by a patch released on the eShop, so the action has only gotten sweeter with time. I really enjoyed racing through the sages and trying to clear each “par time”, chipping seconds away from my best times with each consecutive attempt. It was one of those twitchy, fast-paced platformers that relied on expert handling and almost a certain degree of muscle memory in order to earn a “star” and set a high score.
#2 – Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword
The best way to describe Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword? Imagine Punch-Out! with ninjas and swords instead of boxers and gloves. This precision-based action game was a real surprise, and though I avoided downloading it for quite some time, I eventually couldn’t resist the temptation – and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest bit. Art of the Sword wasn’t perfect, but for just $7, I had more fun playing it than almost anything else on the eShop. The combat system was a lot of fun, and required you to perform various evasive moves, followed by counterattacks when the enemy recovers. The difficulty curve picked up as the game went on, but in the end, I felt like I got every penny out of the investment. I highly recommend Sakura Samurai – don’t pass it up for weeks like I did, just give it a shot, you’ll like what you see.
#1 – Mutant Mudds
Renegade Kid’s flagship eShop title, Mutant Mudds, is definitely my all-time favorite download offered on the market at this point. The retro-style 2D platforming and enemy-blasting was nostalgic, but the tricky use of the jetpack and the frantic hunt to find all the collectibles within each difficult stage made this one stand out. Mutant Mudds was pretty simple to pick up, but if you had any intention of clearing each stage with all the collectibles, finding each hidden area within the basic levels…well, you had quite the task on your plate. There is a demo available on the eShop; I recommend that you immediately check it out, and unless it completely turns you off, follow up by purchasing the full version. Also, stay tuned for more news about the sequel that was recently announced by the developer.
What do you think? What are your favorite eShop games? Trust me, games like VVVVVV, Dillon’s Rolling Western, Colors! 3D, and even some of the Virtual Console games were considered for this list – but I haven’t personally played them, so I wanted to keep the list limited to what I know best. Be sure to share your feedback in the comments section below!