It rewards those of us who know A Link to the Past’s version of Hyrule like the back of our hand, but makes enough concessions for those who didn’t play the original the first time around. It may be a shorter and less challenging adventure than many would expect for a modern Zelda game, but when that journey is so incredibly satisfying, you won’t feel short changed. I can’t think of a better way to end a brilliant year for the Nintendo 3DS than by playing one of the best games released on the system so far.
It’s a brave (geddit?) move on Square-Enix’s part to not stamp Bravely Default with a more popular title, because ironically, Bravely Default is one of the best Final Fantasies in years. Taking the very best of 8/16-bit entries of the series, and bringing them up to date with some beautiful graphics, clever features and engaging gameplay, this is a must for someone looking for a more traditional JRPG. On a system that has been lacking some meaty RPG action, this is a superb combination of old school gameplay with modern day additions that makes for an adventure you don’t want to miss.
Other than the new Operation L and Virus Buster modes, there is little in the way of new content that makes this a better deal than the previous (and cheaper) versions. For up to £5, Dr. Luigi would have been an OK puzzler, but at almost half the cost of a retail Wii U game, the person who decided the price for this retread probably needs some medical observation themselves.
However, each level of atmosphere conveyed by the visuals would be nothing if it weren't for an equally atmospheric soundtrack, and Tropical Freeze certainly delivers on that front. David Wise, the ex-Rare composer who worked on the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, has returned for Tropical Freeze, after missing out Returns, and his influence is an incredibly welcome one. While fans of the original trilogy will recognise the odd leitmotif here and there, these new compositions are fantastic. The Lion-King inspired savannah themes, and the chilled underwater tracks are certainly the highlights of the game.
A love letter to the Nintendo Entertainment System and a wonderful introduction or reintroduction for gamers of all ages, NES Remix 2 expands on the entertaining original by providing challenges based on some of the best first-party games ever released on the system, making it a more complete package than its predecessor. It's the kind of game that no-one else but Nintendo could create, and I only hope a Game Boy or SNES Remix is next on the agenda.
Ridiculous, hilarious and full of the unique surrealism that Nintendo does so damn well, it's hard not to fall in love with Tomodachi Life and the characters you create. The sedate pace and minimal interaction might not be everyone's cup of tea, but this is guaranteed to be a cult hit. Worth experiencing at least once to see something genuinely funny and unusual, this is the kind of game that reminds you how imaginative Nintendo can be.
Vertical Drop Heroes is a cheap and certainly cheerful 2D platformer, and pretty enjoyable, although it's unlikely to hold your attention for too long. It's a game that's as much about luck and perseverance than actual skill, but Roguelike fans who want something a little lighter might well enjoy this.
Fast and frantic, Bayonetta is still a quality action game. The visuals may have aged somewhat, and the difficulty may be hard as nails, but this is the definitive version of a game that feels strangely at home on a Nintendo console. A welcome refresher to the upcoming sequel, that deserves to be replayed for old times' sake.