3DS hands-on report – PAX East 2011

I spent nearly 45 minutes playing with a variety of games at the Nintendo booth during PAX East. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • The first game I played was Steel Diver. When the rep handed the 3DS to me, 3D was switched off. The game was immediately impressive graphically and its motion controls were much more responsive than similarily controlled games on iPhone. Then he turned on the 3D for me and I knew I was pre-ordering the game. It made decent use of 3D, especially the ocean surface, but the game itself was very solid.
  • AR Card games were a lot of fun. It’s really amazing how it incorporates the surface you put the card on, let alone moving around the targets in the real and virtual worlds simultaneously. I hope they can release more cards that trigger new games throughout the life of the system. Even if they’re ads for products, this is such a neat technology I wouldn’t care.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising was as beautiful as Smash Bros Brawl and made good use of 3D effects. The controls were like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, added to the brand new 3D screen, which altogether made me feel very discombobulated at first. As the game progressed, I quickly got the hang of it. It plays like a variety of games and reminded me of 1942, Galaga, and especially Space Harrier.
  • Nintendogs + Cats was fun and cute, but after two minutes of playing it, I was already bored. This one went from pre-order to rental in a matter of minutes, for me.
  • Pilot Wings Resort gave me exactly what I was hoping for: Wuhu Island and flight, my two favorite things from Wii Sports Resort. Hopefully the game will have many secrets and extras to unlock. I have also played this at my local Best Buy.
  • Super Street Fighter IV is a must-have for the 3DS. Not only is it freaking Street Fighter, but it’s a beautiful portable game and the graphics are incredible enhanced by 3D, not to mention the plethora of StreetPass and online features it has.
  • Games I saw but didn’t get a chance to play were Lego Star Wars III (looked fun, like all Lego titles), Zelda: Ocarina (looks so much better than N64 and included motion controls for the slingshot), Dead or Alive (not as exciting to me as Street Fighter), and Face Raiders (which seemed fun, but I don’t know why you’d want to shoot yourself in the face).
  • And finally I have to mention the operating system and menus. The 3DS is absolutely gorgeous on the outside and this is mirrored in the menus. Extremely fluid and easy to find what you’re looking for. Also, creating a Mii using the camera is incredibly fun.

Any questions?