It’s finally part ten, and I’ve covered all of the games I started out trying to cover, plus some more! Is this the last part of this series?
No, I’ve got more games to cover, the many games I’ve bought since I decided on this title list a year ago. However, there’s no way I’ll cover all of those before the shutdown later this month. I decides some time ago to not add many titles to this list because of how much longer it would take to cover a lot of games I haven’t played at all. Even so, I do plan on covering at least some of them. Look forward to coverage of some more 3DS games next week.
For now though, the last games of the original list.
Table of Contents for T to Z – 20 games
Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter
Touch Battle Tank – Tag Combat
Toy Stunt Bike
Witch & Hero
Witch & Hero II
Witch & Hero III
Word Search 10K
World Conqueror 3D
Zen Pinball 3D
Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX
Rankings for this update
Tappingo – Developed by Goodbye Galaxy Games and published by Circle in 2014. This game is a simple logic puzzle game. The game has okay but somewhat bland sprite-based graphics with a bit of stereoscopic 3d. While it has some things in common with some other games on this list, Block-A-Pix most notably, this one is much simpler than that one… too much simpler. The problem with Tappingo is, it’s a fun enough basic concept, but the game is way too easy and basic to hold my interest for long. So, each puzzle in this game is an image that you are trying to create, as in Picross, Block-A-Pix, and such. As in Block-A-Pix or Link-A-Pix, when you enter a puzzle you see a bunch of start points of blocks. Each block is a certain color and has a number on it. That number represents how many spaces long this color block needs to be in order to complete the puzzle. A 1 means that the block needs one space in addition to the one it starts on, a two means two, and such.
However, in this game you don’t control how many blocks a block extends to. Instead, by touching a block and dragging either left, right, up, or down, you tell a block to start sending out blocks in that direction until it hits something. If it is the correct number of spaces long now the number disappears, but if it is too short or too long you see a number in red telling you how far over it is. Tap on the block to retract it and try sending out blocks in a new order. The game does not have any kind of error-check function, but it doesn’t need it because once you get the basic concept here, gameplay is easy. Every block with a number must be extended out the correct number of spaces to complete the puzzle, so if a block is blocked off just undo the blocks around it and try a new order.
The issue here is mostly in how limited what you can do is. In Block-A-Pix or Link-A-Pix, you can click and drag the blocks to any size you wish as you try to fill in the image. Here, though, you just choose a direction and send out the line. If it’s the right length it’s good, otherwise retract it and try a new block order. As a result, pictures start out with a lot of blocks already filled in, and the gameplay is often less of a puzzle and more just of an order-of-operations simulator, as you start at some obvious point and go around the puzzle filling it in as the lines you complete make other blocks able to extend to their correct distances. The only challenge here is in figuring out which direction to send some of the blocks. The game does occasionally present glimmers of challenge at the midpoint of solving some puzzles, but it never gets at all difficult. The game has a lot of puzzles, but the later ones are just bigger, not harder. Perhaps due to the games’ core design there isn’t much that can be done to actually make the puzzles a challenge, unfortunately. I love 3DS puzzle games, but Tappingo is a disappointment. The game is too boringly easy and repetitive to be worth playing for long. It’s a “puzzle” game where, most of the time, you aren’t actually solving a puzzle, just clicking on lots of little blocks in a usually-obvious order. Probably skip it. Nintendo 3DS Digital Exclusive.
Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter – Published on 3DS by Big John games in 2014. This is a decent sci-fi flight action game. You control one of several fighters, flying around planets shooting various alien threats. This is a simple flight game, not a serious sim. The analog stick controls the ship, two face buttons increase or decrease your speed while you hold the button down, R shoots your guns, L puts a target icon around the nearest enemy though you don’t have any weapons that actually lock on to enemies, and d-pad directions enable turbo boost or weapon change between your two types of guns. The two guns are a machine gun which auto-fires while you press the trigger and a charge shot that powers up while you hold the trigger down. I prefer the charge shot. There are only eight missions in this game, so this isn’t a long game, though each one is a decent length so it will last a little while.
The controls are decent, but it is a bit annoying that you don’t have any kind of missile attack and can only shoot at targets straight in front of you. Slow down, slowly fly towards target, shoot at it, repeat. You have enough health that you can take a fair number of hits. Enemies are mostly either turrets, barely-moving ground objects, or things which infinitely spawn around you, so you won’t be doing much dogfighting in this game. You don’t have the space in most missions to circle around for realistic air combat, anyway; you fly close to the ground blasting stuff. I don’t mind this though, the game is decently fun and plenty of ’90s flight action games work this way, it’s just how Thorium Wars is.
On screen, the upper screen is the game, done in nice stereoscopic 3d, and the lower screen has a map of the surrounding area. Unfortunately the map does not show the walls or areas that you can go, only your ship, your targets, and a marker showing where your current objective is. The levels are often in slightly mazelike canyons, so despite the objective marker you will sometimes get lost. There is no time limit, though, so pay attention to the paths and you should make it out. If you die you have infinite continues from the last checkpoint, which is pretty nice. However, you can choose between three difficulty levels for each mission, and the game does record which difficulty you played the game on and gives you a medal which varies depending on how many times you died in the mission. It’s nice that the game does reward you for better play. Overall, Thorium Wars is a pretty average flight action title, but it’s decently fun if you like this kind of game as I do. Maybe pick it up. Nintendo 3DS Digital Exclusive.
Touch Battle Tank – Tag Combat – Published by Circle and developed by SilverStar in 2016. Circle Pad Pro supported. Touch Battle Tank is a slightly isometric overhead-view tank action game. This game is actually the fourth game in its series on the 3DS, but the first three were published by Agetec and all Agetec games were delisted from the 3DS eshop back in 2018, before I had bought any of them, so unfortunately I can’t cover those. As for this game, though, it has polygonal graphics and decent stereoscopic 3d. You move around with either analog stick and fire with the touch screen. It’s nice that it supports both sticks because this means a left-handed person would be able to play with analog controls too without much of a problem. The controls are good and I really like aiming your shots with the touchscreen, it works great. Your goal in each small, only several-screens-sized level is to destroy all enemy tanks and turrets. Once they are all dead you move on to the next stage. This won’t usually be much of a problem, I often beat levels first try in this game. You have several tanks to choose from, each with different stats, and a good number of stages to play through. Even so this isn’t a long game at all, though, because each level is very short. The game has local multiplayer as well as single player, so if you know anyone else with a 3DS you can play against them, but doesn’t have online play. This is a very simple but fun little game with simple graphics, good controls, and fun but mostly easy gameplay. I don’t think the game will last long, but you may be entertained while it does. I guess I recommend it. Nintendo 3DS Digital Exclusive.
Toy Defense – Published by Circle and developed by Melesta in 2016. Toy Defense is an irritatingly grindey tower defense game. It was first designed for mobile, and removing the microtransactions as they did here only made the game cheaper, not better, unfortunately. This is one of the most common types of tower defense games, where the enemies move along a preset path and you build towers at certain preset points along the sides of that route. I prefer tower defense games where you build defenses that the enemies have to go around, but this style is good too. The game has okay graphics and competent tower defense gameplay, but the game has an upgrade system that you spend money you gained in the levels on. Units also build up experience as they kill enemies, and you can take some troops from level to level as well. Both of these features may sound good, but unfortunately the game feels way too heavily rigged towards forcing you to play the same levels over and over as you build up enough money to upgrade your troops enough to be competitive in later stages. At first I tried to just move on to the next level each time that I finished a stage, but got destroyed pretty quickly and initially thought that the game was impossible. It’s not, though; you just need to grind for upgrades. I hate that, it makes this otherwise fun game really irritating.
I do like the theme here, though. You control some Army Men-style toys, defending against attacking enemy toys. You can build several different types of troops, only a few at first and more once you buy them in the shop, and as I said can only place them on the preset spots. As in all tower defense games each unit has a specific attack range and damage, and different weapons will do better against different enemy troop types, such as flamethrowers being better against infantry. Combined arms with well-placed units of the correct types will do better than flooding the screen with weaker units, which is nice. However, some levels get harder by artificially limiting the number of spots you can put units in, emphasizing the focus on grinding for upgrades even more. Overall, Toy Defense is an okay tower defense game for genre fans, but the heavy focus on grinding is a pain. It’s probably average overall. It’s a shame that mobile games are so often ruined by grindey, clearly originally meant as microtransaction-bait, nonsense like this. Oh well. Also available digitally on iOS, Android, and PC (Steam).
Toy Stunt Bike – Developed and published by Wobbly Tooth Ltd. in 2014. This game is an indie take on Ubisoft’s popular Trials franchise. Just like in a Trials game but in stereoscopic 3d, you play as a motorcycle bike rider trying to make it though 2.5d sidescrolling platform-puzzle challenges. This game started out on Xbox 360 Indie Games, before going to iOS and then here on the 3DS. Fortunately, unlike some games on this list this one was not ruined by being on smartphones. You can customize your rider and bike in this game, but start out as a shirtless guy; you will only unlock other clothing and such later. This is a precision driving game, and you will need to drive just right to get through each level. You will need to carefully have the exact right throttle speeds and bike rotation in order to get past the challenges without crashing. The controls in this game are touchy, but once you get used to them this is a fun Trials-style game. The graphics here are simple, but the visuals do have nice stereoscopic 3d depth. Just like in Trials, stages have checkpoints in the level. However, the game is keeping track of your total time, so if it takes you a long time to get through a checkpoint you might want to restart from the beginning if you want a good time on the stage. The game keeps track of your time on each level. There are also three collectibles to try to get in each level. If you’re thinking ‘does this game have a mobile-style three-star system?’… yes, of course it does. Even so, though, despite the touchy controls and simple graphics, I do think that Toy Stunt Bike is a decently fun time. I like platformers and racing games, so this combination of the two works well. Recommended. This game had a sequel, butt unfortunately the second one was not released on 3DS. There is a third one on the Switch, though. Also available digitally on iOS, and it was also on Xbox 360 Indie Games.
Tumble Pop [Game Boy Virtual Console] – Published by G-mode in 2012. The original game was published by SunSoft (licensed from original arcade game developer Data East) in 1993. I still have my original Game Boy I got back in the early in the ’90s, so I understand that due to screen blur, it’s best for Game Boy platformers to scroll somewhat slowly if you want the player to be able to see what’s going on. However, this game took that way too far. Tumble Pop is a sidescrolling platform-action game in the Bubble Bobble vein. You play as a guy using a vacuum for a weapon, and need to destroy a certain number of enemies on each level. Once they are all dead, you beat the level and can move on. Unlike Bubble Bobble this is a scrolling game, though, not single screen. So, over-correcting for the Game Boy’s screen blur, this game is slow, slow, SLOW. Your movement is slow, enemies are slow, and everything here is tediously slow. The game does have powerups you can purchase in between levels and use, and one of those is a speed-up, but unfortunately it’s not permanent and you can’t afford to have it all the time, so this is only a very temporary improvement. Even with it the game is still slow, though. On the more positive side the game has password save and even a level editor, and of course with this version you can make savestate saves. The manual is also extensive and surely copies everything from the original paper manual.
If you do play it, though, Tumble Pop has an overworld, this isn’t just a level-based game. You can freely move around the overworld. From the overworld you can travel to worlds which have levels and bonus stages in them. On this map you move along paths which connect the stages, and can only move past each stage once you’ve beaten it. Worlds have multiple routes and end with a boss at the end, but sadly you will only see the ‘you’ve beaten this world’ flag appear on the overworld map if you beat every single level in the world, so I’m not entirely sure why this is. Once you enter a level, you move with the dpad and jump and use the vacuum with the buttons. Once you have an enemy in your vacuum you can shoot it out as an attack, which will follow a downward-curving path. The number of enemies you suck up at once affects the power of the shot you shoot out If you suck up two or three enemies at once you will shoot out a more powerful shot. Three is the max power, though. You can move around with an enemy in the vacuum for a few seconds, but wait too long and it will escape and you will lose a life.
Some people like this game, but I find it incredibly boring and kind of bad. First, again, movement is very tediously slow. Everything feels like you’re moving through mud, stages take way too long. Play Bubble Bobble instead of this. Additionally, your attack feels perhaps overpowered, as most enemies are helpless once you start it up, they will be sucked up. You can take damage even when using the vacuum, though, because the enemies in stages drop out of certain marked spawn points. Your best strategy in most levels is to find the right place to stand where the enemies will keep spawning out of each spawn point and wipe them out one after another. It’s even better if a stage has ones in each direction, because then you can just shoot the ones from one direction at the enemies the other way. You can just repeat this until they’re all dead, they’ll walk straight into your attack over and over. But if the level makes you get close to the spawn points, you can be killed unfairly by enemies suddenly appearing behind you. Even if that happens, though, there isn’t much of a penalty of death. Oh, and as for those bosses, you need to figure out how to hit them then repeat that until they go down. Do not expect variation. This game is playable, but after a few stages I got incredibly bored and barely had the patience to keep going long enough to finish even a single world. I’m sorry, but I don’t like this game at all, it’s pretty bad. I love my original Game Boy, but not this game. Skip it. Also available on Game Boy. This title is a heavily altered version of an arcade game.
Turkey, Please! – Published by Nostatic Software in 2019. This is another adventure game in the ____, Please! series. You once again play as the little girl from the previous games in this very ’80s or’90s-nostalgia-styled title. As the name suggests this time there is a Thanksgiving setting. Other than that it’s similar to before, so it’s set in the same house and environs, just with Thanksgiving decorations around this time. You need to help Mom prepare Thanksgiving dinner (while your brother plays videogames in his room, so he’s unhelpful like usual in this series…), so the puzzles involve finding specific ingredients, going to your neighbors’ house to take things from his place, and more. As before this is a very simplified adventure game, as there are no dialog options, conversations are extremely short and your character rarely speaks, and you can only hold one item at a time. Once you find the next item you need, you will need to choose between just tossing the item you have on the ground or going back to put it where it originally came from. Those are your two options.
Despite the simplicity of the design and the small number of locations you can go to, though, the puzzles are plenty tricky. I definitely found myself stuck during this game more than a few times, since you rarely know where to go to accomplish your current objective or, sometimes, how to get the item. For instance, you will make a slingshot that shoots brussels sprouts, which you fire by flicking the analog stick. But what should you shoot? You’ll need to figure that out. Fortunately ammo is infinite. If you want a break, you can also play the videogame in your brothers’ room. It is a Flappy Bird clone with the dragon from the 3DS/Wii U game Fat Dragons. It’s alright but a bit boring, like usual for Flappy Bird games. Overall, this is a charming adventure game I recommend. You can play it on other formats but this is a good version. Also available for PC (Steam) as DLC for the Quiet, Please! collection.
Turtle Tale – Published by Saturnine Games in 2014. Is this yet another mobile port? If not it sure feels like one. Turtle Tale is a very simple 2d platformer. The gameplay here is very plain, but at least this title does have one thing going for it, a very strong stereoscopic 3d effect. The game is standard 2d side-scrolling platformer with sprite based graphics, but the developers made the background layers look quite far apart. The 3d effect is really noticeable and looks great, I like the depth it adds to the image. It’s a shame that glasses-free 3d didn’t catch on, it’s a fantastic technology! Other than that there isn’t much to say about Turtle Tale, though. You play as a cartoon turtle. In each level you have 100 fruits to collect, and you walk to the right, collect fruits, get checkpoints, and shoot enemies along the way to the goal. Your gun seems to be a water gun of some kind, but it’s enough to wipe out the various creatures trying to stop you.
The game is playable but, again, extremely plain. Levels are very basic assortments of platforms and pits. All levels are straight left-to-right paths made up of basic rectangular platform blocks and enemies, there are no mazes or more complex layouts to be found. You don’t have a double jump or anything, either, and while some of the controls are responsive, turning around to shoot the other way is not; there’s a noticeable delay when you turn around that often makes hitting an enemy approaching you from behind difficult. Combine this with the fact that you get knocked back when enemies run into you and that if you fall into a pit or run out of your five hit points you go back to the last checkpoint, and occasionally this game can get annoying. It is quite an easy game on the whole, though, as a little caution should be enough to get you past most obstacles. Just plan ahead when you first see a foe instead of trying to react on the fly and you can shoot them all down easily enough. Overall, Turtle Tale is a below average game with some of the most basic platforming and shooting around. The games’ very strong 3d depth effect is neat, but I wish that the game was anywhere near as interesting as the amount of 3d depth is. Ah well. Also available digitally on Wii U.
VectorRacing – Published by Arc System Works in 2012 (and perhaps developed by Sweet-Soft?). Vector Racing is an indie futuristic racing game which is an enhanced version of a smartphone game. The game has a great visual style with a nice vector-style 3d graphics, but the gameplay is somewhat plain, its mobile roots show. Visually the game kind of looks like a 3d Virtual Boy game but with color. I love the wireframe 3d you see here, and the stereoscopic 3d effect is great. The game has simple graphics with no backgrounds at all, only a solid black screen, but the look fits what they were going for well. There are a decent number of hovercars to choose from as well. For content the game has three cups of four tracks each. That would be plenty of tracks, but most of them are pretty simple so it feels a bit sparse. It’s okay, though. There are several modes, including circuit mode where you play all of the tracks from one of the cups, get points depending on your finishing position, and try to have the most points at the end of each circuit; a single race mode; and more. For the price point it’s an okay feature set.
The controls are pretty average. You drive with the stick and accelerate and brake with buttons. And that’s about it; this game doesn’t have a weapon system or anything. There are boost pads on the tracks which give you a speed-up for a moment after you drive over them, but that’s it. The game doesn’t have controls as tight as F-Zero or Wipeout and doesn’t have dual airbrakes Wipeout-style, either, so while Vector Racing’s graphical style is great, its gameplay is unfortunately average. The game can be fun to play as you zoom in nice stereoscopic 3d through wireframe 3d courses, trying to learn the boost pad locations, and the sense of speed is decent, but after not too long I do start to get bored here. The game is okay, but it doesn’t do anything to keep me coming back for its gameplay, only for its graphics. Based just on gameplay this is a playable but somewhat bland game with repetitive and simple gameplay. There is some learning to do as you try to race a better line, but reasonably decent play will do fine, just keep going and you will win most races on the medium difficulty. VectorRacing is an alright game definitely worth a look for its aesthetic, but with such average gameplay it’s hard to recommend too strongly. I wish that this game was better, but ah well. It does look cool at least. Enhanced remake of an iOS game.
Wakedas – Published by Circle in 2013. Even if you hate sliding tile puzzles, Wakedas might be worth your time. This game is a sliding tile puzzle game with a bit of a twist. Don’t worry, it’s not your classic incredibly frustrating sliding tile puzzle game, in this title the tiles slide as full rows. Each puzzle is a grid, 3×3 for the easy levels, 4×4 for the medium, and 5×5 for the hard ones, made up of different colors. Your goal is to get all of the blocks of each color in a contiguous group. The key feature of the game is how you accomplish this: when you move them, the tiles slide around the edges of the edges of the screen. You can control the game with either the d-pad, analog stick, or touch controls, though touch is best of course. Slide a row vertically or horizontally and the blocks will shift from one side of the puzzle to the other. Once the tiles are broken up into a few single-color groups, the puzzle is over. Most puzzles can be completed in a handful of moves.
The game is fine, but simple. The game starts out easy, and stays that way for perhaps too long. It does get more challenging over time, though, and there are plenty of puzzles so it is a fair challenge overall. The game gets harder once the triangular half-block tiles are added that have two different colors on them, those can be tricky to line up. Additionally, as with so many mobile-style games on this list it does have a three-star system which rewards you for taking fewer moves to complete a puzzle, but it’d be nice if the difficulty curve went up faster, I solve most puzzles first try in under ten moves. Still, the game has okay sprite-based graphics with solid colors. The game may be too easy, but its simple but satisfying light puzzle gameplay is above average fun. I’d probably recommend this title to puzzle game fans. Don’t expect too much, Wakedas is a simple mobile-style game, but it’s alright to good, maybe pick it up. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Witch & Hero – Published by Circle and developed by FK Digital in 2013. This game started a trilogy of simple but fun classic-style games. As with many Circle titles this started out as an Asian mobile game, but this one is good. The visuals are somewhat NES-inspired, but with a lot more sprites on screen than a NES could have done. The game is framed as being an RPG adventure and it does have a leveling system, but the gameplay is mostly classic arcade-style stuff. This is a top-down action game with Ys-styled bump combat. Each level plays on a single screen, as waves of monsters attack you from all directions. The story is that you play as a hero warrior guy trying to save the day from the demon king or such, so you’re off on an adventure. It’s all somewhat comical. You have a witch companion, but she got turned to stone by a curse. She stays immobile in the center of the screen, and the monsters head at her. You need to keep her alive by killing them first.
For control, you move the hero with the dpad or analog stick, and controls are analog if you use the stick. You rotate the witch with the L and R buttons for aiming her regular attacks, and use her super magic attack with a face button when a meter is charged. Again the game has bump combat, so you fight enemies by walking into them. You will take less damage if you bump enemies on their sides instead of their front. The hero takes some damage each time you bump an enemy, though. Once your health runs out you are stunned for a few seconds. Pressing directions on the pad will speed up your recovery time. During this time the witch is probably going to take some damage and once she runs out of health you lose and need to try again, so you need to manage offense and defense well to keep the team alive. Dead monsters drop lots of stuff, including money and meter. You can bank meter on the hero, and when you go back to the center of the screen and touch the witch it will transfer to her to use for magic attacks. Each time the regular meter fills she does a regular attack, and when you fill up the additional super meter you can do her super attack.
Overall, Witch & Hero has a well-balanced gameplay system that is a good mixture of fun and challenge. Once all of the monsters in a wave are dead and you’re still alive, you beat the stage and move on to the next one. The game can be frustrating at times, but you always get money and experience so if you lose you will soon be able to get some more upgrades and beat the level. The last level is hard, though, but you would expect it to be.
Once you beat a stage, on the world map you can choose a level or go into a shop where you can spend the money you collected in the stage from killing monsters on upgrades for your characters. You can upgrade five things, three for the hero and two for the witch. The game has 20 stages and each upgrade maxes out at 20, and levels don’t take all that long, so as I said the game is on the short side. The gameplay is fun, as you walk around slashing various enemies and then blasting them with magic. The game is definitely on the short side, as there aren’t all that many levels, but the few hours you will spend with the game are worth it. I like the sprite-art graphics as well. Witch & Hero has a silly premise, good controls, solid difficulty balance, and fun gameplay. It is a good game which I I recommend for sure. Also available digitally for iOS, PC (Steam), and Nintendo Switch.
Witch & Hero II – Developed by Flyhigh Works and published by Circle in 2016. This time the Hero and Witch are both missing and in trouble. So, you play as the Little Witch and Little Hero and are going on an adventure to save them and defeat all of the monsters along the way. This game plays a lot like the first one. Once again you control two characters at once, though this time you do that more because the Little Witch is not stone most of the time and can move, sometimes. You will still be controlling the Little Hero most of the time, since magic is limited while swords are not and she moves very slowly, but you need to pay attention to both characters’ locations.
The core gameplay is similar to before, with some tweaks. The game consists of a world map with shop, with the same upgrades as the first game, and about the same number of levels as the first game. Each level is a single screen overhead-view action stage, where you move around the screen killing all of the approaching monsters. You move the little hero with the d-pad or analog stick, though you don’t have analog movement this time for some reason, it is digital. That’s odd. Again the game has simple bump combat, so run into the enemies with abandon! … Well, preferably from the back or side, as you will take less damage that way and deal out more. It’s quite fun and rewarding to defeat enemies and watch them drop all kinds of goodies to collect.
For the witch, L switches magic between fire and wind, R activates her super attack, and the ABXY buttons move. You can also change her firing direction with the touch screen. However, you can only move her when using the wind spell. When using the fire spell you can only pivot her around in place. Otherwise the game plays like before, so it’s still quite fun, but sometimes frustrating when you keep getting knocked out and then lose. Still, it’s mostly pretty good stuff. Just like the first one, I finished this game.
And as before the sprite art is nice, the controls good and responsive, and the game fun to play. Witch & Hero II is a simple but fun sequel which improves over its predecessor across the board. I like that you can move the witch now, it makes the game slightly more varied and interesting than the first one, and improves the feeling of having a party instead of just a sole warrior. Witch & Hero II is a good game definitely worth playing. It’ll be a fun few hours. Also digitally released for iOS and Nintendo Switch.
Witch & Hero III – Published by Circle Entertainment in 2017. In the third and sadly final entry in the Witch & Hero series, you play as three characters at once: the Hero, Little Hero, and Witch. As in the first game the witch cannot move, is stuck in the center of the screen, and must be protected until she can use magic when you return meter to her. The two warriors, meanwhile, move around the screen fighting the badguys. This game is tricky to get used to because this time you really are playing as two characters at once — the Hero is controlled with the analog stick or d-pad (control is digital either way, though), and the Little Hero with the ABXY buttons. That may sound hard, but the game has optional AI for the Little Hero to help you out. This time, the rest of the controls are touch buttons on the left and right sides of the touchscreen. Here you can change the Little Hero between protecting you, protecting the witch, or standing in place for you to fully control him; use the Witch’s super attack; and change her magic between fire and wind as usual. The game has a few new powerups, including a version of the super attack which pushes enemies back. This move has a nicely quick timer, so you can use it often, and will need to.
Otherwise, though, the game is the same as before. You need to kill the enemies with bump combat, collect the many things they drop, return meter to the witch so she can use magic, and repeat. Because of having two heroes, this game gets more hectic than either previous one, with many more enemies on screen. It gets a bit overwhelming at times in a way the previous games don’t. I recommend turning on the AI unless you are very good at tracking multiple things on screen at the same time. And even then, you will need to replay levels for experience and money. The game is still simple fun, but the added complexity holds it back a bit, I think. Additionally, I find it annoying that the Little Witch, who can move, was dropped in favoe of just the static original witch, I preferred it when both the male and female characters could move around. Overall, Witch & Hero III is a good game, but with a higher difficulty level than the previous games and a few drawbacks I liked this game a bit less than the second one. It relies on grinding a bit too much. It’s still a good game I recommend playing, though. I didn’t finish this game, unlike the first two, though I should; it’s still quite fun. I recommend getting all three Witch & Hero games, this one included. Due to the increased difficulty I think that this is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
Worcle Worlds – Developed and published by Lightwood Games in 2017. This is a word puzzle game where you make words. This game basically plays on a one dimensional playfield, in that it plays on a circular line curving around the lower screen. It may look like a circle, but it’s actually just a curved line because words only can go one way, left to right like standard text. You can’t go backwards or diagonal or anything. You shoot letters from the center of the screen into the almost-ring around. You can control the game with d-pad, analog, or touch. I prefer touch. If the ring fills up you lose and have to start the stage over. The game has simple but good enough sprite-based graphics and uses a bit of stereoscopic 3d depth.
The game starts out easy and reasonably fun, but by the midpoint I would say that it gets much more frustrating than fun. The problem is, you get a random assortment of letters, and whether you can make words or not in the fairly limited amount of space you get — you can only fit a couple dozen letters before it’s Game Over — is a matter of chance. You must play each letter you are given and may not be able to make anything with them, so expect to restart levels over and over. The levels are fairly long, too — where I stopped playing is at one where you must make 50 four-letter-or-more words. My best so far is about 30, which is okay, but once I failed it’s all the way back to the start. Worcle Worlds starts out as simple fun, but overall I find this game mediocre. It’s just a bit too limited in word creation and frustrating in how little room for error you get before losing. It’s average. Nintendo 3DS Digital Exclusive.
WordHerd – Developed and published by Nellyvision in 2020. In this word puzzle game starring Mia from Mia’s Picnic (or rather the other way around, this game released a bit before that one), you need to make words. This game is not endless, it is stage-based. You complete a stage by making a certain number of words. Letters drop into a screen, like the tiles in a puzzle game, and you need to make words from those tiles. When you make a word those tiles disappear, making space for new words to fill in the space. If you try to make a word but the word is not accepted, the game turns those letters grey. If you fail to make a word on that greyed-out letter again, that letter turns dark grey and now it is useless, you cannot make matches with that letter and it is effectively just a block now taking up space. You start with three health hearts and can take three hits before losing and having to restart the stage. The game mixes things up eventually by having some other block types drop, such as blocks that take up a space or red letter tiles which you can make a word with but which take away one of your hearts when you make a word with red letters in it. You can remove a block by double-tapping on it as well, but this also takes away a heart. The core concept here is great and I played many hours of this game; according to my 3DS’s time tracker this is one of my most-played 3DS games. I beat the game on both Normal and Hard difficulties; Hard makes the game tougher by having to win an additional, harder round at the end of each stage to complete it and move on to the next one.
Unfortunately, those were not all happy hours, because this game is incredibly flawed for one simple reason: the dictionary is unacceptably small! I can’t even count how many hundreds of times this game blocked my plays because sorry, that word wasn’t in the dictionary. I got a strong sense that this game was not made by an American, because a lot of American words are missing from this dictionary. Even beyond that, lots of words are missing, period. It’s ridiculous how many should-be-accepted words don’t work here! And there’s nothing you can do about it, either — unlike, say, Boggle Plus for the original Game Boy, you cannot view or add to the dictionary. Yeah, that is a better game than this one for sure. So, do I recommend WordHerd? On the one hand, if you like puzzle games this is a very addictive one. I wouldn’t have played dozens of hours of this game if it wasn’t fun. But the limited dictionary is so incredibly obnoxious that I can’t entirely recomend it. There are far, far too many missing words that absolutely should be makeable for this word-making game to be a definite recommendation. If you do play this game probably don’t play it on Hard, that additional round on each one adds a lot of time to the runtime. Or at least don’t play on both Normal and Hard as I did. I guess I do recommend the game overall, though. Despite many sometimes-unfair failures I kept trying until I completed everything in this game, after all, that says a lot about a game. Also released digitally on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
Word Search 10K – Developed and published by Lightwood Games in 2017. If you like word searches, well, this is your game. Instead of being a game with a lot of smaller single-screen word search puzzles, though, instead Word Search 10K is, as the name suggests, a single ludicrously gigantic word search with 10,000 words to find in its dozen-plus-screens-wide-and-deep space. The game puts part of the field of letters on the lower screen, and a list of words that are on that screen on the upper one. The biggest problem I have is, that’s only partially true: words that start on the next row of letters just OFF of the screen also often appear on the list! So, the word you are looking for may or may not actually have any letters on the screen. This game is tricky like that.
Otherwise though, this is a fairly standard word search, just in gigantic scale. The puzzle is broken up into blocks, each of which have a theme. So one block is all colors, one things from Indiana Jones movies, and more. There is one big oddity about this game, though: the controls. As you would expect you select letters to form words with the stylus and scroll around the gigantic puzzle with the analog stick. The odd thing is, though, that for some bizarre reason, the analog stick’s controls are entirely reversed. So, you press right on the stick to scroll the screen left, and down to scroll it up. I do not understand this, but it’s how it is.
Other than that, though, this is a totally fine game which accomplishes what it set out to do. The graphics are extremely basic, with no stereoscopic 3d and visuals that almost entirely consist of letters and words, and the gameplay is extremely repetitive as all you do is look for words which may or may not actually be on the screen you are currently looking at, but if you like word searches this game certainly should satisfy. I somewhat lost interest after a while, since this puzzle is so ridiculously big that I’d never have the patience to actually find all of the words and that words are sometimes just off of the screen despite appearing on the word list is very frustrating, but still, Word Search 10K is an okay game I guess. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive.
World Conqueror 3D – Published by Circle in 2013. World Conqueror 3D is a World War II turn-based strategy game. This was the first console game in this previously mobile series. This game is the predecessor to European Conqueror 3D, a game I covered earlier in this series. I probably should have covered this game back in that update since I tried to put most series together, but unfortunately I did not. That is indeed unfortunate because the two games are extremely similar. I would highly recommend going back and reading my summary of European Conqueror 3D, because this game plays the exact same. The only differences are in which countries you can play as — the United States is in the game this time, most notably — and in the map, which is, as the name suggests, the whole world instead of only Europe. Other than that, both games play nearly identically. This previous game in the series is unfortunately just as seriously mechanically broken game as its sequel is . I like the world map, but if you were hoping for better gameplay from this one, well, unfortunately you won’t find that here. The controls are the same too, so the game still has a mixture of touch and button controls that don’t entirely make sense.
For modes, just like in the last one, you have a general conquest mode where you choose a nation and try to conquer the whole world, and a scenario mode with zoomed-in maps of only parts of the world where you have more limited, though still often time consuming, goals. There still is no multiplayer and the same bad AI. The biggest difference is that this time you will be doing a lot more naval combat than in European Conqueror, which adds a bit of complexity to the game, I guess. Or not; navies here are just land troops that you pay to turn into troops that can go onto land or sea, so for the most part this game is just as simple as the other one is.
To reprise my coverage of the core gameplay from before, this is a turn-based military wargame. It has stereoscopic 3d depth in that the units stand out above the map below them. You can play as any of the five major World War II combatants, and some minor nations. The map is highly stylized so, for instance, the Pacific Ocean is much smaller than it is in reality so Alaska is right next to Japan, but it works. Once you choose a mode and start up, you will see the land and oceans broken up into territories. Many of the land territories, and some sea ones, start with troops on them. The game has a build sub-menu. Here you can buy troops to place on any province which has facilities that started at or are upgraded to the max, level five. Here we again get to this series’ biggest flaw, how hard is is to take a province which can build troops due to the seriously flawed design. You can also buy some other upgrades for your provinces, such as the one to turn an army into a navy that you still can move back onto land at any point to turn it back into an army. Note, you must pay this fee again EVERY TIME you want to turn an army into a navy, it’s not a one-time fee. That’s kind of annoying. As before, there are three types of troops, infantry, tanks, and artillery. You can only have one type of troops in each territory at a time.
But this is a wargame, so how is the combat? As I described before, annoyingly slow and broken. When you attack one army with another, you send up to five units forward. The enemy sends its first five forward, and a set of die rolls shown on screen determine how many troops each side loses. Then your turn ends. So yes, once again each territory’s troops can only do up to 5 damage each turn. This means that a large army takes a long time to break down. This becomes even harder on a territory which can build units. I’ve mentioned this issue repeatedly because it is one of the series’ most defining “features”. You can build generals to boost your chances, but still it’s a major problem. Fortunately the AI here is just as bad as it was in the last game so taking advantage of the AI is a good strategy, but still. Despite the many problems I do find this game fun to play for a while, because I like the genre, but it is far too flawed to recommend. Play Risk or Axis & Allies instead. With annoyingly long games and fundamentally flawed design, while it is possible to have fun playing this game since some of the ways the game are broken are to your benefit and I do enjoy it sometimes, it could have been a LOT better and I can’t recommend it. This series started out with mobile games, and unfortunately when it went console with this game it did not improve over mobile “quality”. Both of these games are, unfortunately, overall failures. Nintendo 3DS digital exclusive. I’m not sure how similar this games’ iOS predecessors are.
Zen Pinball 3D – Developed and published by Zen Studios in 2013. Zen Studios is one of the primary pinball videogame developers, and have been so since the later ’00s, with their Pinball FX / Zen Pinball franchise. They are probably best known for licensed pinball games, but they have also made original tables, these among them. Zen Pinball 3D is a collection of four tables, all of which previously released on other platforms: El Dorado, Earth Defense, Excalibur, and the very culturally sensitive (hah) Shaman. All four tables have plenty of options and look like real pinball tables. The graphics are done in nice stereoscopic 3d, so there is a solid illusion of depth as you look towards the back of the table. The pinball physics are good, and with four tables there is a good amount of content here. The paddle controls are responsive as well.
The big problem with this game is, since these tables were not originally designed for the 3DS but were first made for TV systems, down-porting them to this portable means shrinking the size of everything so small that it’s very hard to make out details. You have eight camera view options to choose between, but all feel a bit too zoomed out to actually make out all of the details on the boards. The stereoscopic 3d is nice, but the screens’ low resolution is a big problem that the game does little to address. Tables designed for this screen size and resolution could have worked well, but they didn’t do that here, they just ported console tables over and called it a day. Oh, and for one more issue, this game had online leaderboards but the servers are down, so that feature doesn’t work anymore. Too bad. So, despite being a solid game, I probably don’t recommend Zen Pinball 3D. The tables just are not suited for this screen at all! You can play it and whack the ball around and hitting ramps isn’t very hard, so you can have some fun, but if you want to actually accomplish table objectives it’ll be difficult. Everything is just too small to make out all of the details of the tables. If you want to play Zen Pinball, play a console version of these tables instead. And probably don’t play Shaman, it’s incredibly stereotypical in quite culturally insensitive ways. This title is Nintendo 3DS exclusive, but it is a collection of tables also available on PC (Steam), iOS, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and more.
Zombie Incident – Published by CoderChild in 2015. This game is an open-exploration-style 2d platformer with simple sprite-based graphics. This is a modern homebrew game designed for retro platforms, but was also ported to 3DS. The game is also available on MSX and Colecovision, and this is a faithful port of the original with enhanced graphics, stereoscopic depth, and an on-screen map on the lower screen. You play as a girl fighting zombies. The game has very small sprites, but looks decently nice. I will say though, the title screen has a detailed image of the girl, drawn in an anime style and wearing a bikini top and shorts, but the in-game sprite is not exactly like that, you’re only a handful of pixels tall. Yes, this is one of those games that tries some somewhat false advertising to sell based on an oversexed title screen, but at least the game is good beyond that. There are a certain number of zombies on each screen, and your goal is to kill all of them in each screen of the game world. This task will be quite challenging though, because you can only damage them by jumping on them and it is quite easy to take hits. You have a long health bar and can take dozens of hits before it’s Game Over, but it is quite difficult to replenish health so this isn’t much of a relief. You see, the only way to replenish those quickly-lost health points is to clear all zombies from a screen. Once you kill all of a screen’s zombies, you get a couple of hit points back. So if you lose a lot of health somewhere it’s probably a much better decision to just die and try again from the last time the game saved than to keep going, you will need that health. The controls are reasonably responsive, but it can be difficult to not end up taking hits when you are trying to land on an enemy’s head.
Making it harder to kill the zombies, different types of foes have different levels, and you can only kill enemies of your level or below. You will need to level up by killing zombies you can kill in order to be able to defeat the tougher ones. And just killing the ones you can kill for now doesn’t get you any health recovery. The game does save exactly which enemies are dead, though, which is pretty nice. Once an enemy is defeated it stays that way, permanently. To help you out, on the lower screen map, not only does it show where each screen connects to each other screen, but the tile colors indicate whether you can defeat any enemies on that screen right now. Blue tiles mean that all enemies on that screen are defeated; tiles where there are still enemies you can currently defeat are green; and red tiles have exclusively enemies you can’t defeat yet. A yellow tile is your current location. Your goal in the game is to find eight rooms which have a pillar with a yellow (golden?) star on them. Find all eight yellow stars and you beat the game. The game autosaves when you collect a yellow star. It may also save when you enter a room which previously contained a star.
The game doesn’t heal you at all when it saves, though, so this is definitely a game you will be starting over from the beginning more than once. After all, you get Game Over when you run out of health and go back to the last time you saved, losing all progress since then. Your health is precious. The game world is relatively small, but it is large enough that exploring the world will take some time considering that you will need to be careful as you go if you want to stay alive and not take too much damage to be able to continue. Overall, Zombie Incident is an above-average classic-style game which definitely gets some bonus points for not just being a simple modern classic-style platformer, but actually also releasing on some retro platforms. Other than slightly more detailed sprites and stereoscopic backgrounds, this seems to be the same exact game on all formats, which is impressive for the MSX or Colecovision. The game has issues, most notably with its difficulty but somewhat also with how easy it is to take hits while jumping, but I do like it overall. Perhaps pick it up. Also released (as an unofficial modern homebrew game) for Colecovision and MSX.
Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX – This is a light-gun-ish shooter which, gameplay-wise, is a lot like Cabal on the NES or Wild Guns for SNES. The game first released on WiiWare, and this 3DS version is an enhanced version of the original. Of course the game doesn’t support a real light gun, this is the 3DS, but it does have very nice stereoscopic 3d graphics with good art design and nice-looking stages. I don’t like the gameplay here as much as the graphics, though. This game is okay, but it has some design issues. The core concept is that you control a character on the bottom of the screen and shoot at enemies. Yeah, it’s very much like Cabal. You move left and right with the analog stick when not shooting, and when shooting stand in place and the stick instead moves a cursor around the screen. With buttons you can move left and right while shooting as well to dodge attacks. You also have a super attack. Each stage is a slightly scrolling area. Enemies appear from various preset locations, and you will need to learn those enemy patterns in order to avoid their attacks and stay alive. You beat each level when you reach a certain percent of enemies killed, and die after taking a few hits. In the main game, you play as Momotarou, the peach boy of Japanese legend. You cannot save in this mode and must play the entire thing in one go without dying, which is a major cause of the games’ problems. Each level is long and difficult, good luck with this one.
The game has two modes, Story and Arcade. Story is the main mode. Story mode has cutscenes between stages, and must be played in one go, without saving or continues. Take a couple of hits and it’s Game Over, start again from the beginning. It’s crazy punishing. You also must play as Momotarou in this mode and cannot change characters. If you beat levels in Story mode you unlock them in Arcade mode, which is a single-stage mode. Here, you can play as a variety of characters, including Momotarou or several mostly female characters you will unlock as you complete the stages. I really wish that you could play as the other characters in the main mode, but sadly you cannot. You can beat stages here, but have to play the main mode in order to actually proceed. And there you, again, can’t really save, which is ridiculous for a game as difficult and memorization-heavy as this one. I liked playing Zombie Panic in Wonderland at first, as the shooting action feels nice as you blast away scenery and enemies, and the graphics are very nice with great stereoscopic 3d, but the main mode got too hard a few levels in for me to want to keep starting over. It’s also pretty annoying that you can’t change characters in the main mode, when the others are in the game and there isn’t much of a storyline reason to not let you switch to the other ones you’ve unlocked.
Overall, I like Cabal on the NES, but despite the entertainingly nice graphical design here I would rather play that game than this one, it’s definitely more fun. With some changes this game could have been pretty good, but unfortunately as it is it’s an overly frustrating game that I would call strictly average. Pick up Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX if you like hard shooters. Otherwise, skip it. Also available, also digital only, on the Nintendo Wii (WiiWare) and the Nintendo Switch.
Rankings for this update
Witch & Hero II
Witch & Hero
Toy Stunt Bike
Witch & Hero III
Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter
Zen Pinball 3D
Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX
Touch Battle Tank – Tag Combat
Word Search 10K
Poor to Bad
World Conqueror 3D