The third game I wanted to point out for the Nintendo 3DS is New Super Mario Brothers 2. Its an obvious game to point out - Mario games are always solid titles you can rely on for any Nintendo system. While this revival of 2-D Mario Platforming, ironically on a 3D system, is covering familiar ground - there has been an added twist to the gameplay. For years and years, coin collecting and 1-Ups have become less and less necessary. They are useful when trying to get through a particularly aggregating level - but most players usually have over 50, or 80 lives to spare by the end of the game. Save files, really, have made collecting lives kind of redundant. So it was interesting to see Nintendo shift renewed focus onto coin collecting - challenging you to collect a Million Coins! Your total number of coins is continually tallied, and can be boosted with the Coin Rush mode, where you are given 3 randomly chosen levels to get through quickly, but also try and collect the most coins. It's ultimately a gimmick - and with the plethora of hidden locations, where you can amass a large number of coins, you'd think it would become less enticing to continue searching for secrets and hidden pathways. Quite the opposite -- while you might not risk a frustrating level to find every single stash of coins -- the process of collecting more and more, to that grand total, is engaging in of itself. There supposedly isn't any prize to be gained by collecting a million coins - the the total will continue to be tallied, even across multiple game files and playthroughs. It simply makes coin collecting in a Mario Brothers game engaging again.
While the 3D in this title isn't necessary - I found it to be a nice atmospheric effect. The back background, clear when in 2D, becomes blurry in 3d - which gives a slight sense of depth. The effects become more noticeable in water levels, or levels with lava, with embers flying around in the fore and background.
Luigi can be unlocked, by completing the main quest -- after which all you have to do, when clicking on your game file, you press the shoulder buttons together. Luigi is playable right away for co-op play.
One of the cool things about this title is the return of the Tanooki flying powers. While it's great to see the flying and floating power-up back in the series - in this title, while it still works the same as in the original Mario Brothers 3, you are given fewer opportunities to run at full speed to be able to lift off the ground.
Mario Brothers 3, being of one of the best gaming experiences on the original NES, I am continually pleased to see the Koopa Kids returning yet again. They battle much like they did in their Wii appearance - but that's not a bad thing. They aren't hard bosses to beat - but they are fun to stomp on every time!
Anyway - that's the last 3DS Recommendation I have. The 3DS certainly had a slow start out of the gate - but with more games like this, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, the system's future should hold quite well.
As to what might be worth your time on the 3DS in the coming months? Paper Mario: Sticker Star looks like its going to be a fun title, that should make good use of the 3D capabilities of the system. The Mario RPG series has always been fun and wildly imaginative - so it's a title I'll be eyeing this Holiday season. I'm waiting, though, for the inevitable pre-order bonus announcement; stickers seem appropriate!