Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

2011 Buyers Guide: WiiWare, DSiWare, and 3DS eShop


Somehow you've ended up with a prepaid points card for your Wii, DSi, or 3DS. If you're looking to fill up your Wii with the best stuff from this year, you might be surprised to find out that there was stuff this year! The Wii Virtual Console actually looks populated, for example, when you look at the whole year's output at once. And we were surprised to see how well the 3DS Virtual Console has built up since its launch.

Join us after the break to find the most entertaining ways to spend your Nintendo points on your platform of choice. You guys probably don't even know about Freakyforms, do you?


MotoHeroz ($15)

A side-scrolling stunt racer in the vein of developer RedLynx's Trials series; but with cartoon physics in cartoon landscapes. Bounce giant trucks around on looping, swirling levels, knocking your friends around as you do so.

Bit.Trip Flux

If you don't have any Bit. Trip games yet, you might be better off buying one of the compilations on Wii or 3DS. But if you just want to download one for whatever reason, Flux ended the series this year with a return to Beat's block-paddling form.

escapeVektor: Chapter 1 ($5)

A Qix-style surround game with a beautiful, kind of Tron-ny graphics appropriate for its "inside the Wii CPU" setting.

Flight Control ($5)

It lacks the direct touch controls of the better-known iOS version, but the WiiWare version uses the Wiimote pointer as your method of guiding a bunch of planes to safe landings.

Bomberman Hero ($10)

Perhaps more interesting as a novelty than anything else: this Nintendo 64 Bomberman adventure was heavily focused on single-player ... by which we mean it didn't have multiplayer. What?

Super Bonk

The former Turbografx-16 mascot migrates to the SNES, in ... a really weird game, with growing and shrinking abilities, monster transformations, shooting sequences, and, of course, tons of things to hit with your giant head.

Mega Man X ($8)

It's the first game in the Mega Man spinoff series, and the first Mega Man game on SNES. It's also one of the best Mega Man games of any series.

Chrono Trigger ($8)

One of the absolute classic Squaresoft RPGs, along with ...

Final Fantasy III ($8)

Beautiful for its time, mechanically interesting, and with a story that people still fondly remember. If you want to give someone a crash course in the "golden age" of JRPGs, you could hardly do better than this.

Super Adventure Island and Super Adventure Island II ($8 each)

Hudson's grass-skirted, skateboarding Master Higgins comes to the SNES in the best-looking games in the series. The first one is strictly vintage Adventure Island, with none of the dinosaur companions or map screens from later NES games. Super Adventure Island II is kind of an RPG, with equippable armor and other items, and multiple islands that you can travel on a larger quest.

Super Earth Defense Force ($8)

One of the classic shooters from the SNES launch, in which you protect the earth from aliens by, you know, shooting at stuff constantly.

Faxanadu ($5)

Reminiscent of Zelda II, this is an epic action-RPG set on an enormous, dying World Tree.

Mega Man 5 ($5)

You might want to get just about any other NES Mega Man before this one, but it's still better than most non-Mega Man games.

Black Tiger ($8)

The more you play, the more exciting it gets! At least that's what the flyer for this 1987 arcade game says. It's a side-view, multi-scrolling action game that builds on Ghosts 'n Goblins.


Antipole ($5)

The level designs in this side-scroller force you to get creative with your ability to flip gravity early on. You'll be flipping back and forth to float in the middle of the screen, navigating past toxic substances that also react to your gravity powers, and dealing with spikes on every side of every surface.

Mighty Milky Way ($8)

More fun with gravity! Developer WayForward brings a rather bizarre game about jumping from tiny planet to tiny planet, using their gravitational fields to sling yourself from one to the next. You can also create and destroy planets to aid in movement. And you'll need to be adept to avoid the eye-lasers of a robotic T-rex.

Go! Go! Kokopolo

Here's an experience you won't get anywhere else. Vibrant sprites present the story of a cat scratching enemies into uncontrollable frenzies, and then leading them into carnivorous plants. That ... unique narrative provides the motivation for a series of top-down maze chases.

Plants vs. Zombies ($8)

It's not a game platform without Plants vs. Zombies!


A simple game in which you hold the stylus on a spot to grow big flowers. You must fill up the screen with as few big flowers as you can manage, while avoiding bouncing obstacles.

3DS eShop

Donkey Kong ($4)

If you didn't play this Game Boy platformer back in 1994, you owe it to yourself to go back and check it out. It takes the single-screen, enclosed levels of the original Donkey Kong, and expands that gameplay into a series mechanically novel jumping, climbing, and dodging exercises, with brilliant level designs and tricky, interesting mechanics.

Metroid II: Return of Samus ($4)

Samus Aran explores a spooky, cavernous planet teeming with monstrous, mutant Metroids. It nicely sets up the story of Super Metroid, if, uh, you haven't played Super Metroid yet.

Balloon Kid ($3)

The Game Boy sequel to Balloon Fight, the "Ambassador" game that made paying $80 too much for a 3DS totally worth it.

Gargoyle's Quest ($4)

A spinoff of Ghosts 'n Goblins starring the frustrating red devil Firebrand -- this time an action RPG set in a world of monsters.

Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins ($4)

This Game Boy game introduces the funhouse-mirror version of Mario, a guy called "Wario" who stuck around. It also introduces a carrot powerup that gives you rabbit ears. That didn't take on quite as much of a life.

Mega Man ($4)

We've been waiting for another opportunity to buy the portable Mega Man games since the GBA compilation was canceled. The 3DS Virtual Console provides just such a chance -- at least for the first one.

Mario's Picross ($4)

You probably know Picross -- the puzzle game about following numerical guides to fill in squares on a grid and reveal pictures. But if you don't know it, prepare for a few hours of frustration, followed by a lifetime of enjoyment and more frustration.


There are shades of Catherine in Intelligent Systems' cute puzzler: you push and pull blocks to make surfaces to climb. Only, in this game, the blocks form the pixelated shapes of objects, and you can create your own levels, to share with QR codes. And there's no meditation on adultery.

Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! ($7)

Creation tools are also involved here, as you create your own weird hero, and then drag it around a brightly-colored environment, meeting new "Formees" and taking on quests for them.

3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure

Kirby's NES game, pretty much exactly as it appeared back then ... except with 3D!

3D Classics: Excitebike ($6)

Sorry if you didn't sign into the eShop in time to get this for free. But it's still totally worth checking out, for a dramatic 3D effect that nothing else attempts, actually changing the whole perspective of the game with the movement of the 3D slider. Also, a save feature!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr