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Top 10 Nintendo 3DS Games of 2011

It's both a sassy joke, and an eerily accurate statement, to say that you can just append the suffix "3D" to any current Nintendo title, and voila, you have a Nintendo 3DS launch title! Even as such, we picked through the obvious contenders, and chose the ones that won't just be a "plus 3D" port, but look like demonstrative titles for this all-new Nintendo platform.

Animal Crossing 3DS
No longer just a town citizen trying to make ends meet while beautifying your surroundings, you now take on the role of mayor in this next entry to the popular and addictive sim series. Few details are known, but early screenshots show that while the anthropomorphic neighborhood creatures look unchanged, the player's character looks less stocky, with the lower torso showing more predominantly than before. This gives the character a more "grown up" appearance, which could be reflective of newfound responsibilities (and presumably activities) via mayorship. New duties and new collectibles are undoubtedly expected and exciting, leaving only one real question: What's to happen to that money grubbing loan shark Tom Nook?

Harmonix Music Games
Where does a company like Harmonix go after putting out Rock Band 3? They focus on new properties. While everyone might be thinking about Dance Central, it seems unlikely they'll try to extend that franchise beyond the home console. But the tightly focused developer has had hits with the relatively simple Amplitude and Frequency in the past, and more recently with Rock Band: Unplugged on PSP -- and they did all that without any crazy peripherals or bulky system add-ons. We're not sure exactly what they might have in store, but we're definitely excited to try it out.

Kid Icarus: Uprising
We kept on asking, and asking, and outright (and incorrectly) predicting or proclaiming the advent of a new Kid Icarus for the Wii. Turns out that Pit is skipping the Wii, and going straight to 3DS for his next adventure. With Masahiro Sakurai, the brain behind Kirby and SuperSmash Bros., at its helm, Uprising doesn't look like a typical Kid Icarus. Instead, it features a, "blend of aerial and ground-based shooting built on an elegantly intuitive and streamlined play control" (per Nintendo). Even if it turns out to be a simple rail shooter, a new (and snazzily 3D) KidIcarus would likely turn out to be a damn fine demo title for this new platform.

Mario Kart 3DS
Mario Kart is such a reliable staple that even weak entries, such as Double Dash!!, are still damn fun to play. So it's no surprise that Mario Kart will also make its way to the 3DS, but beyond that, we don't really know too much. Though, at the very least, Shigeru Miyamoto himself recently remarked on how well Mario Kart works -- noting that the sense of depth gets enhanced by the 3D effect (which in turn makes it easier to discern, and then dodge, pickup, or aim for ramps, obstacles, and objects). We're simultaneously looking forward to, and not looking forward to, seeing those damn flying blue shells pop out of the screen.

Metal Gear Snake Eater 3D: The Naked Sample
Some will argue that Metal Gear Solid 3 isn't the best chapter of the Metal Gear saga, but pay no attention to such crazy talk. We're not entire sure whether Hideo Kojima's 3DS debut is a straight port of the PS2 game with visual enhancements or a dramatically revamped rendition (or even a totally new work), but we're confident it will be an extraordinary game regardless. Between the excellence of the source material, the visual prowess on display in the game's E3 demo, and the Metal Gear team's portable triumph in Peace Walker, this seems like a sure masterpiece.

Nintendogs + Cats
When Nintendogs hit the DS, it quickly became a phenomenon and helped catapult Nintendo's risky dual-screened, touch-enabled handheld to success. While Nintendogs took a page from Pokemon's playbook and released different editions of what essentially was the same game, the true sequel, Nintendogs + Cats, features more dogs, and now cats. Expect to interact with your new digital puppy (or kitty) in new ways, using not just the two screens and the microphone, but the camera, as well. On top of all that, cyberpet owners will get to enjoy their new friend in 3D, as mainstream-friendly as you can get for selling the system.

Paper Mario 3DS
It's a pretty big move that Paper Mario, previously seen on N64, GameCube, and Wii, is making its way to a handheld for the first time. Unlike the most recent Super Paper Mario, this next installment will mark the return of the turn-based combat of the first two Paper Mario games. The interface looks like it's been redesigned to take advantage of the two screens, and our glance at the video shows that the game won't always go for the obvious "make the game pop out at you" effect. In fact, we notice the level popping inward, rather than outward. A return to form, plus an cleaner interface design to make the distinct art style pop even more? Yes, we're excited.

Pilotwings Resort
Though several Pilotwings-like ideas may have been folded into Wii Sports Resort, this much-loved franchise hasn't seen a standalone release since the Nintendo 64 era. But maybe it was worth waiting for on 3DS; the systems improved graphics and 3D capabilities may make navigating floating hoops and landing on moving platforms a cinch. Either way, we'll take any excuse to strap on a jet pack.

Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
The Specter's Flute might not even be out in the US yet, but that doesn't mean Nintendo is always going to stop the rest of the world from keeping up with its series of insidiously devious puzzle games. The Layton franchise, while beautiful, hasn't been known for putting demands on the DS's processor, though, so hopefully this 3DS version will not only allow for even more cut-scenes and voice acting, but also puzzles that the developer could have never created without the new 3D capabilities.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
It almost seems too good to be true, but if the screens don't lie, Street Fighter IV 3D Edition could pack enough punch to make a serious contender of the 3DS. First, it's a great looking port of one of the best fighting games revivals from this past decade. Producer Yoshinori Ono is already promising this 3DS version will feature the same gameplay as SuperStreet Fighter IV alongside a bevy of online options using the 3DS's built in WiFi. Still, possibly the most exciting aspect of this project could be seeing a fully autostereoscopic 3D Hadoken fly across the plane into your opponent.


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