The lights are on
Now that the 3DS eShop is open for business, many of the console’s owners are confronted with the DSiWare’s mountain of titles for the first time. Here are some great games to start with.As of press time, there are 360 DSiWare titles on the 3DS’s eShop. That’s a little too much to deal with if you haven’t been following the releases for the last few years. Maybe you’ve owned a non-Internet connected Lite for all your DS gaming. Perhaps you’ve had a DSi, but never knew what to download outside of a couple games. Whatever the case may be, I’ve compiled a list of ten quality DSiWare games to keep you entertained while the 3DS Virtual Console and eShop library slowly expand.
Art Style: PictobitsDeveloper: NintendoPrice: $4.99This block dropping puzzle game combines color matching with plenty of old school Nintendo charm. Oddly shaped pieces slowly drift downward and players must collect matching blocks and draw them under the falling piece to clear it out. As multiple pieces start to drop, you can chain together several clear-outs in a row for big points. Where do these cleared blocks go? Up to the top screen to eventually form a classic 8-bit Nintendo character, of course. Unlockable stages add a sense of progression add fun, and the remixed NES music sounds great.Shantae: Risky's RevengeDeveloper: WayForwardPrice: $11.99At $12, this is the most expensive title on DSiWare, but with price comes quality. Many consider this the best game available on the service. A sequel to Game Boy Color cult classic, Shantae, this followup shines with vivid animation, lush backdrops, a keen sense of humor, and tight action. If any of these descriptions sound familiar, you may recognize them from reviews of other excellent WayForward games like Contra 4 and A Boy and His Blob.
AlphaBounceDeveloper: Motion Twin/Mad Monkey StudioPrice: $4.99We’ve all played Breakout before in many different forms, but you’ve never played it like this. AlphaBounce frames this classic gameplay into a sprawling space exploration RPG. The entire galaxy is mapped to a grid and you move from square to square in a search for upgrades, new ships (paddles), and planets, playing a new brick breaking stage each time. The dozens of wild powerups (and power-downs) will keep you on your toes at all times. Imagine a black hole swallowing most of the bricks, a laser grid that prevents balls from going behind your ship, and a ball that phases through the bricks and reappears behind them to bounce away like crazy at the top of the screen.
Dragon Quest WarsDeveloper: Intelligent SystemsPrice: $4.99While the primary Dragon Quest series remains tied to tradition, offshoots like the excellent Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime and DSiWare exclusive Dragon Quest Wars show that Square Enix isn’t afraid of experimentation. It hired Fire Emblem and Advance Wars studio Intelligent Systems to create a lite strategy game featuring slimes, drackies, hammerhoods, and more. While the movesets are simple and the maps small, the strategy gains depth over time. Add in local and online multiplayer and this’ll keep DQ fans busy for a long time.Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQDeveloper: EnjoyUp GamesPrice: $7.99This zombified, super-Japanese take on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale gets plenty of points for being so over the top. But this shooter’s tight gameplay and imposing bosses show that it would be fun regardless of the presentation. Players move Red along the bottom of the touch screen with the d-pad while aiming her trusty machine gun with the stylus. Her battle against the undead is aided greatly by limited ammo powerups like the flamethrower, grenades, and shotgun (naturally).[PageBreak]Chronos TwinsDeveloper: EnjoyUp GamesPrice: $4.99I like this game simply because it’s one of the few DS games that would be impossible to do without two screens (though the developer did put a squished screen WiiWare version out as well). You play Nec, a blue space man who kind of controls like Mega Man (though he doesn’t steal powers from bosses). The catch is, you control him both in the past and present; one on each screen. Some platforms, hazards, and enemies only exist on one screen so you’re constantly checking up and down for danger and puzzle solutions. Plus, the whole presentation and sound effects have an unmistakable Sega Genesis vibe that locks in a retro feel.Mighty Flip ChampsDeveloper: WayForwardPrice: $7.99WayForward makes the list again with its first DSiWare outing, Mighty Flip Champs. This puzzle game cast you as inter-dimensional traveler Alta as she tries to meet up with Fishman – who is a man that looks like a fish. The controls are simple (you only walk left and right, climb fences, and warp), but the tricky puzzles aren’t. Each puzzle is a room with multiple variations or “pages” that you can flip between. Platforms, deadly spikes, walls, and climbing fences are in different places with each page flip. Fortunately, you get a preview of the next page on the bottom screen to help plan out the next move. [Apologies for not being able to find an official trailer]Starship DefenseDeveloper: Q-GamesPrice: $4.99Q-Games is mostly known for its popular PixelJunk series on PlayStation Network, but the developer has also put out several quality games on DSiWare. Starship Defense blends tower defense with classic arcade shooters like Galaga. You must protect your ship or fleet of ships from attacking waves of smaller vessels that weave varying paths around your fleet. You’ll attach a mix of lasers, gun turrets, and missile launchers to your ships and hopefully take down every wave as it comes. Rather than going with a black space backdrop, Q opted for a unique graph paper look that helps enemies pop onscreen.Link ‘n’ LaunchDeveloper: Intelligent SystemsPrice: $4.99This puzzle game tasks players with dragging fuel lines into place to blast a rocket further into space. The main mission mode is a race against the clock as you complete a puzzle to fuel up the rocket, blast off, fuel up, blast off, and so on until you reach the goal planet. Certain powerups add time to the clock or upgrade the rocket with farther blast distance. Puzzle mode isn’t timed, but you have to complete a single puzzle in as few moves as possible in order to gain a medal. I don’t know why, but there’s something very satisfying each time you launch that rocket. [Couldn't find any videos of Link 'n' Launch so screens will have to do]DodogoDeveloper: Alien After AllPrice: $7.99Just try to play this Lemmings-style title with out getting the Dodogo theme song stuck in your head. The set up here involves players guiding cute little eggs to through treacherous grounds in order to make it to the safety of their nest. Not only does at least one egg have to survive, but bigger points are awarded if they’re in a good mood. Rub their bellies to calm them down or guide angry eggs to happy ones to spread good cheer. More and more gimmicks are gradually introduced over time, and skilled players can unlock bonus stages and other various rewards.MORE GAMESThis is just a taste of the many great games available on DSiWare. Here are a few additional titles that are just as excellent: -Plants vs. Zombies-Cave Story-Tetris Party Live -Dark Void Zero-Zenonia-Soul of Darkness-Dr. Mario Express-Bejeweled Twist-Rabi Laby XD-Mighty Milky WayWhat are your favorite DSiWare games? If you haven't played any, did any of these interest you?