Five Best 3DS games of 2012 (thus far)

By Paul Hunter

This year the Nintendo 3DS has built a lot of momentum with a consistent stream of quality games released month-after-month. Now that we're approaching the busy fall gaming season, I thought it would be important to take a look back at the year to recap some of the best games released for Nintendo's 3D portable handheld.

It was a tough decision narrowing the field down to my top five games released in 2012 thus far, but after much deliberation I did it, and so here they are:

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 23, 2012
ESRB Rating: E10+

Kid Icarus was one of Nintendo's most popular game franchises from the mid 80's to early 90's, and after a twenty-year hiatus, this long running game series finally returned with Kid Icarus: Uprising, the much-anticipated 3D follow-up. Players once again assume the role of Pit, our young angel protagonist, as he does battle with the evil Queen of the Underworld, Medusa, and her Underworld Army. Battles take place by air and by land, all presented in perhaps the best 3D seen yet for the Nintendo 3DS. Throughout the lengthy adventure, Pit can find literally hundreds of unique weapons across nine types: bows, blades, clubs, claws, staffs, arms, orbitars, palms, and cannons, each having their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Also included is a robust multiplayer mode for up to six players, using either local connection or WiFi. Multiplayer matches include Team Deathmatch, which has players outfitted as Light or Dark in a 3-vs-3 battle, and the more traditional Free-For-All set-up. Without a doubt, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a fantastic Nintendo 3DS game, and definitely recommended for all players aged 10+.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: February 7, 2012
ESRB Rating: M

Resident Evil: Revelations is the first full-length game in the series to grace the Nintendo 3DS, and the results are fantastic. In Revelations, the action takes place on three distinct locations: the derelict ship Queen Zenobia, snow-covered mountaintops, and floating city of Terragrigia, in a story that is seen through the eyes of four playable characters. The game is structured as episodic missions that switch between playable characters, which include fan favourites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. The action is as tense as ever, with the Queen Zenobia featuring mostly tight hallways and suspenseful, close-quarter combat, and the snowy mountains are home to terrifying new breeds of bio-organic weapons. In addition to the new characters and settings, Revelations also introduces a new piece of equipment, the Genesis Scanner, which allows players to scan their environment and enemy remains to find hidden objects, uncover secrets, and discover valuable health packs. Along with the campaign, the game also features a time-attack mode that can be played solo or cooperatively via local play or online with WiFi. For those who own the Circle Pad attachment, Revelations is a compatible title with this device. As one of the best portable Resident Evil games ever released, Revelations is so good it's just as good, if not better, than some of the series main console entries. Resident Evil: Revelations is recommended for ages 17+.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

Publisher: Konami
Release Date: February 21, 2012
ESRB Rating: M

Snake Eater 3D is a reworked update of the best-selling PlayStation 2 title, and is the first Metal Gear Solid for Nintendo 3DS. Set in the 60s during the cold war, players control series hero Solid Snake as he infiltrates the Russian jungle to rescue a scientist being held captive against his will. The game features lush jungle environments presented in stunning 3D for the very first time, and using the dual-screen of the Nintendo 3DS, Snake's inventory is located on the lower screen at all times. Another addition to Snake Eater 3D is the all-new camouflage photography system, which lets players take a picture of your surroundings to alter the colour and pattern of Snakes outfit. Snake Eater was a great game when it released in 2004, and this updated version is even better with the incredible 3D graphics and gameplay enhancements. Definitely one to recommend for gamers 17+.

Mario Tennis Open

Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: May 20, 2012
ESRB Rating: E

Continuing the long line of Mario sports games, Mario Tennis Open brings back many of our favourite characters for some incredibly fun arcade tennis action. There are sixteen playable characters in total, including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, and Bowser. Mii characters can also be created and brought into the game, and Mii skills and are completely customizable depending on what gear is equipped. Six different shots can be performed, ranging from Flat Shots that are straight and fast, to Lob shots that have a wide arc and distance. Selecting which shot you want to perform is as simple as pressing buttons on the lower touch screen (or for tennis pros out there, you can use the face buttons). While the game is enjoyable single-player, the real bread and butter of Mario Tennis Open is its local wireless and online capabilities, allowing up to four players to play simultaneously. With lots of modes and outfits to unlock, and excellent online replayability, Mario Open Tennis is recommended for gamers 6 and older.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Publisher: Square-Enix
Release Date: July 31, 2012
ESRB Rating: E10+

King Mickey and Sora return in the latest installment in the widely popular Kingdom Hearts franchise. Featuring a mixture of the very best characters from the Disney and Final Fantasy universes, Dream Drop Distance is the first ever to bring the franchise into full 3D. Joining Sora is his best friend, Riku, who is also a playable character in the game. During the adventure the duo will visit the worlds of many popular Disney stories such as Tron: Legacy, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. These worlds are inhabited by new creatures called Dream Eaters that split into two categories: Spirits, which eat nightmares and create good dreams, and Nightmares, which eat good dreams and create nightmares. These Dream Eaters serve as the main enemies similar to the Heartless and Nobodies from previous Kingdom Heart games. Kingdom Heart 3D fills a much-needed void in the Nintendo 3DS RPG category, and is recommend for ages 10+.

Well there you have it, my top five Nintendo 3DS for 2012 so far. What are you favourite games? I'm curious to know in the comments.

All five titles above are available now Nintendo 3DS.

[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]