By Jenae R / April 27th, 2017
All opinions in this top four overlooked 3DS games list are my own and do not reflect the views of oprainfall as a whole.
I was recently browsing the internet and I came across a thread about what peoples’ favorite 3DS games to play are. There are a lot of these topics out there, but I’m starting to notice how most people have a 3DS for the various series you expect one to play on it. Some of those series being Pokemon, Zelda, Mario and Fire Emblem. There’s nothing wrong with those, they are all great in their own ways. Yet it got me thinking, why do some of the other awesome games that I have on my 3DS and love playing, not get mentioned nearly as often? That’s what this opinion list will be about. And yes, I know four is a strange number to choose for a list, these are just the 3DS games that come to mind and in my opinion, are often overlooked. Without further ado, here is my list, in no particular order.
Etrian Odyssey IV
Etrian Odyssey is a series of 1st person dungeon crawler games. Four of them have made it to 3DS, two being remakes, and three out of four 3DS entries have all been localized in English. Etrian Odyssey IV specifically, is my personal favorite of the bunch and the one I’d recommend if it’s your first foray into the series. What separates Etrian Odyssey from other 1st person dungeon crawlers is how on the touch screen you draw your own maps as you progress through dungeons. One mistake on your map could have you totally lost for hours, at least until you happen across where you drew something wrong or forgot to mark a spot with stairs, or possibly a warp point. Also unique to Etrian Odyssey are the giant monsters, called F.O.E’s, which you run into in dungeons and can be completely cornered and wiped out by. The games are a lot of fun once you really get going and have your party customized and set up in a way that works well for you. Plus, the music by Yuzo Koshiro makes for an always enjoyable experience. Etrian Odyssey is far from being a boring a dungeon crawler series. They’ve even been much improved upon for the 3DS entries, in comparison to the original games on DS. The games are extremely challenging, but every 3DS entry has an easy mode, which is a great place to start if you’re new to them.
This overlooked game was Imageepoch’s last title before going bankrupt and shutting down. It’d be a shame if it had never gotten localized. Thankfully Atlus USA localized Stella Glow in North America and NIS America localized for Europe. Stella Glow is a fantasy SRPG with a musical twist. The game starts off with an evil witch, Hilda, trapping towns and people inside crystals using the power of her Song of Destruction. The people in charge at the capital are on a search for the other witches, who they need to sing an ensemble piece, which would free the trapped citizens with their song’s power. The battle mechanics are what you’d expect of an SRPG. But what’s different is each witch has her own song skill that completely changes the music in battle. Each song has its own specific effects that extend across the whole battle stage. However, whenever a witch sings her song, she will be temporarily immobile during the amount of turns the song plays for. Stella Glow is full of awesome songs which the witches sing, a heart and soul filled story and great gameplay. I personally find this gem to be the best SRPG on 3DS. Fire Emblem is cool and all, but I found myself much more sucked into the world of Stella Glow.
Return to PopoloCrois A Story of Seasons Fairytale
Return to PopoloCrois is the most recent entry in a longtime Japanese series going as far back as the late 70’s. It was originally a manga series and one day became a video game series with many entries among different PlayStation consoles. Until the PopoloCrois PSP game, this series had never before gotten a western release. Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale, is a 3DS entry and the second PopoloCrois game to be localized in English. The Story of Seasons portion of the title refers to an optional farming aspect that was added to the game, resembling the farming in Story of Seasons/Bokujo Monogatari. Aside from the optional farming, this is mainly a PopoloCrois game. On the PopoloCrois side of things, it’s a turn based RPG with old series regulars to play as, in addition to some new characters. No prior knowledge of the PopoloCrois franchise is needed to enjoy this one and the game is a more casual RPG, it’s nothing super difficult at all. Nonetheless, I think even RPG veterans would also enjoy Return to PopoloCrois. The amount of charm in this game make it worth playing. It’s an extremely charming game, with memorable characters, a heartwarming story and surprisingly great music. I actually wasn’t expecting the background music to be as good as it was. If this game hasn’t found its way into your 3DS collection, you’re missing out. Return to PopoloCrois follows the story of Prince Pietro and his friends, who go on a journey to save their kingdom from being covered in darkness. To save Pietro’s kingdom, you travel to another kingdom which already has been covered in darkness. I really can’t say anything more about the story without spoiling things. Because this game is so overlooked, the price has plummeted and it can be found for fairly cheap today.
Finally, the fourth overlooked game to add to my list. Unchained Blades is another 1st person dungeon crawler game. It was developed by FuRyu in Japan and released physically. The English localization was done by XSEED and unfortunately only localized digitally in North America and not in Europe. Unchained Blades was released for both PSP and 3DS. I put this game on a 3DS list because I own and have only played it on 3DS. It’s also a perk to have the bottom screen for your map instead of having it overlay everything going on in the top screen. Unchained Blades is a mix of gameplay features that resemble a few different RPG’s. For example, the 1st person dungeon crawling style could be seen as similar to Etrian Odyssey and the skill trees for your characters are set up in a similar way to Final Fantasy X. Every character in the game is either an adult creature or a humanoid kid. People in their world turn into a full fledged creature of some kind when they’ve become an adult. Anyone can travel to the top of a titan and have one wish granted by the goddess Clunea. Fang, the main character, is the leader of the dragons. He is extremely cocky and full of himself. The game starts off with Fang reaching Clunea, being a rude demanding jerk to her and ultimately getting struck down and turned back into his young humanoid self. He sets off to get his revenge and hopefully have his former self returned in the process. Throughout the story you meet other young characters all with wishes of their own. It is an extremely similar game to Etrian Odyssey, gameplay and difficulty wise. It does have more of a story than traditional Etrian Odyssey games though and is in my opinion, a lot more in your face Japanese anime styled than Etrian Odyssey. But I find Unchained Blades to be yet another great dungeon crawler done right and worth playing. I think the rare few FuRyu games that get localized are so niche and unheard of, they happen to end up overlooked. It doesn’t help that Unchained Blades is a digital only game. If you can look past those things and want another dungeon crawler to play, I highly recommend looking into it.
There you have it, there is my personal top four overlooked 3DS games. The goal of this list was to show fellow 3DS lovers some games they might not have picked up or tried before. All of these I’m sure have at least one walkthrough or let’s play on YouTube that you can watch in addition to the trailers included here. Check them out, and see if they are of interest to you. Stella Glow, and all three 3DS entries of Etrian Odyssey have free demos in the eShop you can try out.
Even if only one person reading this sees a game they never played listed here, tries it out and realizes they love it, then that’s awesome. I love sharing what games I love and I hope others share their favorites too. I bet there are a couple of games on 3DS all of us have overlooked and haven’t yet bothered trying.
3DSAtlusEtrian OdysseyFuRyuNintendoNintendo 3DSoverlooked gamesReturn to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons FairytaleStella Glowtop four listUnchained BladesVideo GamesXSEED