Here you will find my brief reviews of Nintendo 3DS games, along with a rating from 1 to 10. A rating of 9-10 indicates a great game; 7-8 is a good game; 5-6 is a mediocre game; 3-4 is a poor game; and 1-2 is a horrible game.

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6
This Animal Crossing spin-off is not a real-time life simulation where you go fishing, run errands, and pay off your debt. Instead, you work at Nook's Homes and you design houses for each of your clients. Each of the 300+ animals will have a specific theme in mind, but they will be happy with anything. The game uses the touch screen interface to move furniture around, and the system works very well. New features let you add ceiling decor, customize windows and curtains, and even design the front yard! A few items are unlocked with each client, so your furniture catalog will be somewhat limited until you've designed a lot of homes. The game can use Amiibo Cards (optional) to immediately bring a specific villager into the game, but they will require an NFC Reader if your system isn't a New 3DS. In addition to homes, you will also design public facilities including a school, hospital, and restaurant. These projects are more complex and time-consuming, but they're also more enjoyable. The level of customization is impressive, and the game can be moderately fun for a short time. But it isn't long before things become tedious and repetitive. Unless house designing is your favorite aspect of Animal Crossing, you may want to pass on this mediocre game.

Full Review - Jeff's Happy Home Designer Blog - Buy Happy Home Designer at Amazon.com

9
In this open-ended life simulation game, you play as a human living in a village of animal residents. To earn spending money for house upgrades or furniture, you'll catch bugs and fish, do favors for residents, dig for fossils, collect fruit, and sell various objects you acquire. Unlike previous Animal Crossing games, New Leaf allows you to be the mayor of the town. You can choose to install benches, sculptures, streetlights, and many other town projects. Other new features include the ability to swim and dive, a night club for dancing, a recycle shop where you can customize furniture, and a Dream Suite where you can visit "dream" versions of other people's towns. As for regular online play, island tours provide new mini-game competitions. However, communicating in New Leaf is a bit of a pain, with fewer options than in City Folk (no voice chat, etc.). Also, text messages disappear after only five seconds, which is far too short. But New Leaf is fun and addictive, and the new features and improvements make it the best Animal Crossing game to date.

Full Review - Jeff's New Leaf Blog - Video - Buy Animal Crossing: New Leaf at Amazon

8
This might appear to be an Animal Crossing type game at first, but it actually has a wide range of gameplay styles. Action stages are a big part of the game, where you'll use a magic wand to shoot ghosts. You'll also run your own cafe, using recipes and ingredients to make food and drinks. There are separate worlds based on Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh. The Cinderella world includes some dancing mini-games where you'll need good rhythm and timing. The Winnie the Pooh world involves farming; many of your cafe ingredients will come from here. The game starts out slowly at first, but things open up quite a bit after a few hours. You can buy or make various outfits, acquire furniture for your cafe and room, collect trading cards, and more. On the down side, some items you'll need are quite hard to come by. You'll have to grind through action stages over and over in hopes of eventually getting one. But overall, Disney Magical World is a very fun and addictive game that keeps you coming back for more.

Full Review - Jeff's Disney Magical World Blog - Video - Buy Disney Magical World at Amazon

8
Much like Mario's Picross on Game Boy, this is a logic puzzle game in which you color in squares of a grid. Each row and column is labeled with a series of numbers that tell you how many spaces need to be colored in. However, the number of blank spaces in between them is unknown. For example, a row marked "1 4" will have one space colored in somewhere, followed by one or more blank spaces, and then four consecutive colored spaces. Using logic and the process of elimination, you color in the correct spaces and "x" out the blank ones. When you complete a level, the colored spaces will reveal a picture. The game lets you use the stylus and touch screen, or you can use the control pad for classic digital controls. Even though I enjoyed using the stylus at first, I eventually switched to the control pad, which is more precise. With 150 puzzles, Picross e will keep you busy for quite a while. My biggest complaint is the music--both the quantity and the quality. There is only one (fairly bland) song that plays during gameplay for the entire game. But Picross e is still quite fun, and that's what's most important. I recommend this game for any puzzle fans. Note: This game is only available as a digital download from the 3DS eShop.
8
Screenshot of Picross e2 for 3DS.This sequel to Picross e keeps the same controls and gameplay as the first game, but has 155 new puzzles. For each one, you're given an empty grid with numbers for each column and row. You must use logic and the process of elimination to color in the correct squares to complete each picture. While there is a new mode called Micross, it really just takes a larger puzzle and divides it into many smaller ones--and those smaller pieces are often simpler and just feel like filler. The lack of musical variety is still a problem: While the new Micross mode has a separate tune, all of the other modes (consisting of 150 of the 155 puzzles) have the same boring song. A choice between multiple tunes really would have helped break up the aural monotony. The gameplay is still solid though, and Picross e2 is an enjoyable game for puzzle fans. Just don't expect anything new and exciting if you've already played the first one. Note: This game is only available as a digital download from the 3DS eShop.
8
This life simulation game plays a bit like a simplified version of The Sims, but with its own wacky sense of humor. The game uses Miis, which can be created in-game or imported from your Mii Maker, and you can customize each Mii's personality and voice. You don't control the Miis directly, but you can interact with them by giving them food or clothing, making choices for them, or playing mini-games with them. They can form relationships with Miis of the opposite gender, get married, and have babies. The game has a very odd sense of humor, with Miis fighting over random objects or appearing in ridiculous scenarios on the local news. It runs on a real-time clock, so unfortunately, there's not a lot to do at night because most of your Miis will be asleep. One of my favorite parts of the game is the concert hall, where your Miis can sing songs of various styles. You can actually change the lyrics and they'll sing the words in their own voices! While the game eventually gets a bit repetitive, Tomodachi Life provides many hours of bizarre entertainment.

Full Review - Jeff's Tomodachi Life Blog - Video - Buy Tomodachi Life at Amazon.com


Disclosure: Nintendo has provided me with advance copies of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Disney Magical World, and Tomodachi Life. This has not affected my review scores in any way.

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