There’s a case to be made that the many successes of the Nintendo Switch wouldn’t exist without the strides made by the earlier 3DS handheld system. However, Nintendo often prioritizes the revitalization of games from just the home consoles, neglecting the 3DS’ catalogue in the process. Now that Nintendo has ported so many fan requested Wii U games to the hybrid console, I think it’s time for the company to take stock of the 3DS games left behind.
With the 3DS selling well over 75 million units, there is no shortage of great games that found a home on the system and that more than deserve a new lease on life. Ranging from popular titles to smaller releases, the consistent theme with these games is that they all have the potential to find a new audience on Nintendo’s most current system, if only they were given the chance.
5-Persona Q and Q2
For the past decade or so, Persona has made significant progress in appealing to gamers outside of Japan. The series first found its footing in the West with Persona 4 Golden on Vita, before its rapid rise in popularity thanks to the release of Persona 5 in 2017. Further success followed upon the releases of Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5 Strikers. Still, for all the acclaim Persona has found as of late, many have questioned the lack of any entries that brought together fan favorite characters in one narrative.
Enter the duology of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. Both games feature the same turn-based dungeon crawling gameplay and are a huge departure from the mainline titles. In the Q series, players have to map out the dungeons themselves and keep track of special areas, treasures and shortcuts. While they can be more difficult than the typical Persona game, we feel they can deliver a deep and rewarding experience to those who stick with them.
The biggest differences between the Q games is the cast. The first game sees the lead characters of both Persona 3 and Persona 4 fighting alongside each other, with players choosing at the start which game’s cast they will command. Beyond the opening and some character dialogue changes, this decision doesn’t affect much as players are given the freedom to assemble a team composed of both games’ cast members after the first dungeon.
Persona Q2, on the other hand, combines the casts of Persona 3 through 5 and reintroduces the female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable, the latter being particularly welcomed by long-time fans. Q2 also benefits from much needed improvements over the first game and features a more focused plotline. The storytelling in the Q series is interesting as it allows for some narrative experimentation while letting the developers bring together all these beloved characters.
Each story is standalone but rewards those who come into the Q series after having played the other games. Potential players can take comfort in the knowledge that the chibi art style doesn’t mess with the darker narratives of the Persona games, as present and fascinating here as in the mainline games.
The only real trouble with porting Persona Q and Q2 would be the map making mechanic, which relied on the 3DS’s second screen for drawing, marking, and outlining pathways. It was integral to the systems and made up half the fun of the game. Mapping also lent a more personal feel to locations as they were unique to the player creating them, encouraging exploration to satisfy a drive towards completionism.
4-Bravely Default and Bravely Second
With the recent release of Bravely Default II, I decided to dust off my 3DS and replay the first two games in the series. During my playthroughs I kept having a negging feeling that more people should be able to play these two modern classic JRPGs, which shouldn’t be locked on 10 year old hardware.
The Bravely Default series rose to prominence as it helped renew interest in the classic turn-based RPG design model, returning the role-playing genre to its roots while also bringing it in line with the demands of a modern audience. Those who were fans of the classic Final Fantasy games will be quite familiar with the story of Bravely Default. Four heroes set out on a grand quest to save the world and restore balance to their world by protecting the elemental crystals representing earth, wind, fire, and water.
Each character is memorable and charming, further aided by some great voice acting from the cast. While simple in conception, the setting of Bravely Default contains a great deal of lore and compelling worldbuilding details that help connect players to in-game concerns.
However, the combat is where Bravely Default and Bravely Second really shine. As expected for something honoring traditional JRPGs, each character waits for their turn, at which point the player chooses what action to take. Party members can either attack or default, the latter being the game’s version of defending. From here, players can stock up on Brave Points (BP) up to four times, which let a character perform four actions once maxed out.
The BP system is complemented well by the job system, wherein each character can hold up to two jobs. Players can set a main job for levelling up while active and a sub job that gives the character access to more abilities. Mixing and matching jobs is a major part of the appeal of the Bravely Default games, allowing for choices like having the damage dealing knight also be a powerful healer. Porting both games to Switch would be a breeze for the most part, as Bravely Default and Bravely Second have very few 3DS features that can’t be tweaked a little for the Switch.
3-Fire Emblem: Awakening
With the massive success of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I believe it is only a matter of time before Nintendo decides to give what some fans would call “the best Fire Emblem game” a shiny re-release for the Switch.
Much can be said of Fire Emblem: Awakening’s top notch story and character work, its careful handling of marriage, and the depth of its strategy gameplay. Each time I reminisce about the game, I always regret not finishing it because of the frustration that came with brushing up against its difficulty.
Given my newfound appreciation for the series after Three Houses, I would love a chance to return to Awakening’s world. Fire Emblem: Awakening set a standard for modern strategy RPGs, so seeing that gorgeous sprite art come back in full HD with remastered music would be a real treat. Plus, as with the Bravely Default series, Awakening wouldn’t be too difficult to port to the Switch.
Like Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Detective Pikachu dared to do something different with the established Pokemon formula and pulled it off with grace. Detective Pikachu won over fans with an interesting plotline and a gruff variant on Pikachu that fit with the overall narrative intent, even if he proved a bit jarring for fans of the anime.
Detective Pikachu opts to deliver a mystery story that builds upon the world of Pokemon in new and interesting ways. Focusing on how people and Pokemon work together outside of battles was a wise choice and made me fall in love with its world even more. With a sequel on the horizon and the success of the tie-in film, I think porting over this underappreciated title would lead to a justified resurgence of love for Tim Goodman and his furry partner.
When most people think of the developer Grezzo, their minds go to the studio’s remasters of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, and for good reason. These remasters were labors of love and were treated as such, yet when it comes to Grezzo’s original work such respect is often absent. Among these forgotten gems is Ever Oasis, a game long overdue for a comeback on the Switch.
For fans of action RPGs and in particular the Dark Cloud series, Ever Oasis is right in their wheelhouse. Players start off tasked with building an oasis in the desert, requiring them to recruit townsfolk. The trick is, the player’s party is made up of said oasis’ residents, each of whom has special abilities for solving puzzles and traversing dungeons. This all serves to create a bond between players and the NPCs, as everyone works together to build a town from the ground up.
There’s more to Ever Oasis that makes it worthy of an updated version, though. Balancing town management, dungeon crawling, and leveling up party members is always fun and rewarding. In addition, the game’s colourful art style would lend itself well to the high definition screen of the Switch. Giving Ever Oasis a proper remaster with a handful of quality of life improvements would only amplify its strong qualities, leading more players to want to seek it out.