Last Stand: Nintendo 3DS Games To Check Out In 2017

Nintendo Switch will be officially released into the wild on March 3rd, which means its handheld predecessor the 3DS is essentially dead and gone, right? Well, not quite. I wrote about Wii U’s effective demise a while ago, but its smaller cousin appears to be enjoying a pleasant, even peaceful fade from videogame prominence. It’s enjoyed a long and successful lifecycle that still isn’t over, as evidenced by the 2017 games slated for 3DS release.


Among what’s coming are franchises familiar to Nintendo systems, appearing in ways you may not expect. Of course, I’m secretly wishing for an end of life, Game Boy Micro-esque miniature 3DS to suddenly leap from Nintendo's R&D vault for a cool $99, but given that the 2DS already has that price bracket covered, it’s not very likely.


Regardless, here are the titles you’ll want to grab before you close Nintendo’s last clamshell for good.


Pikmin 3DS


Shigeru Miyamoto has long been discussing life for the Pikmin franchise after Pikmin 3, but is the upcoming Pikmin sidescroller on Nintendo 3DS the game he’s referred to all along? Regardless of whether a theoretical Pikmin 4 is in development, the yet-untitled “Pikmin 3DS” should work nicely as a charming twilight endeavor for 3DS owners.

Per Nintendo’s website, the game allows players to “tap the touch screen where you want to throw” your precious Pikmin, at which point they’ll begin “moving objects, battling creatures, or carrying treasures while heading for the goal.” It all sounds familiar, but if nothing else I’m curious to see how the series translates from 3D to 2D, a transition not as commonly explored as its reverse.


Release date: TBD 2017

Mario Sports Superstars


Mario sports titles have seen a bit of a fall from relevance since the days of the N64’s Golf and Tennis or the GameCube’s Strikers, but that’s all the more reason for a game like Mario Sports Superstars; get everything in one place for convenient, quick-burst enjoyment. Mario Sports Superstars features the Mario cast competing at Soccer, Baseball, Tennis, Golf, and Horse Racing, in addition to offering amiibo card functionality.

Given that the majority of the included sports have enjoyed their own full-fledged games in the past, it seems fair to assume that each will be mechanically sound (assuming Nintendo has granted Camelot and Bandai access to the inner workings of prior games). In particular I’m looking forward soccer, as Super Mario Strikers was a blast to play on GameCube, with its Wii sequel being one of the first Nintendo titles to support the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in a compelling way. Though I’ll admit, I don’t miss going to McDonald’s in search of Nintendo hotspots.


Release Date: March 24th, 2017

Fire Emblem Echos: Shadows of Valentia


Here’s a title you won’t want to miss; if nothing else, hold onto your 3DS until mid-May. Fire Emblem Echos: Shadows of Valentia is a full-scale remake of the second Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem Gaiden, that never saw release outside of Japan. If you’re like me and haven’t gotten around to playing or emulating the Japanese version, this 3DS take is exciting news indeed.

I enjoyed Shadow Dragon on DS, but it was a fairly straightforward revisit of the original. With Valentia, we’re getting animated cutscenes from Studio Khara, art from Japanese illustrator Hidari of Atelier fame, and full dialogue voice-acting, a first for the series. It may seem innocuous at first glance, but Shadows of Valentia is poised to be a fine 3DS swan song indeed.


Release Date: May 19th, 2017​

Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy


Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone’s Conspiracy’s title be a bit of a mouthful, but it’s also the latest in Level-5’s acclaimed Professor Layton puzzling series. Layton himself is not the focus here (apparently he’s vanished), but new protagonist Katrielle Layton, his daughter, is instead.


The game’s premise concerns the disappearance of Hershel Layton, and Katrielle’s continued efforts to seek him out. As you might expect, this entails a variety of touch-screen and environment-based puzzles for players to thwart, as well as the return of anime-style cutscenes from animation house A-1 Pictures. I play all things Layton by default, but if you don’t and your 3DS is collecting dust, Ariadone’s Conspiracy should be as good an introduction as any to the series.

Release Date: TBD 2017