My Most Anticipated Handheld Games of 2014

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2013 was a blast, wasn’t it? How do you follow something like that?

With another string of awesome games, that’s how, sucker!

The following nine choices are my most anticipated games of 2014, but only represent what I know of, which is pretty crazy considering this list is solid as a rock. 2014 is shaping up quite nicely, and I’m glad I get to share it with you, dear reader.

Mario Golf: World Tour – Nintendo / Camelot Software Planning – 3DS

Hey, Ball. Welcome to...the Club!

Hey, Ball. Welcome to…the Club!

Camelot became its own worst enemy when it crafted World Tour‘s predecessors. Released on the Game Boy Color and Advance, these games carried an RPG mode of sorts; a career which allowed players to explore, perform tasks, and meet objectives, all in an effort to raise the stats of the player’s character. The home console versions of these games omitted the RPG features, a trait that made its way into Mario Tennis Open on the 3DS.

To put it bluntly, people were butt hurt. However, as much as I’d like to see the RPG mode return, as a sport Golf is far more varied than tennis, so it’s not as crippled without it.

The Mario Golf games are a blast, and I can say without a doubt that I’ve put more hours into it than any other series. The controls are incredible, and that shot of ‘Mario’ into the world of golf takes the sport from the realm of boring to “Holy Crap a Chain Champ just ATE MY BALL” territory.

Super Smash Bros. – Nintendo / Namco-Bandai Games – 3DS

"Damn...I AM pretty cute."

“Damn…I AM pretty cute.”

I see a lot of concern of the 3DS game ‘holding back’ the Wii U version. It’s as if people forgot just who is making this game.

To know Masahiro Sakurai is to love Masahiro Sakurai. In turn, you’ve likely played Kid Icarus Uprising. Which means you understand that nothing gets in Sakurai’s way. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is going to be stuffed to the gills with content. It won’t be want of anything.

Best of all, it’s portable! What was a time sink before has become a black hole, sucking me into its swirly mass and spitting me out a happier person. Sakurai’s talk of a more single player focused handheld version intrigues me, as the time spent alone against bots far outweighs that spent with friends in multiplayer.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – NISA / Spike Chunsoft – Vita

What's harder, discovering the killer, or pronouncing the game's title?

What’s harder, discovering the killer, or pronouncing the game’s title?

Danganronpa is something I’ve wanted for a very long time. It released in 2010 on the PSP, which meant the likelihood I would ever see it localized was nil.

But, here we are in 2014, and in those four years Aksys Games worked their buns off in bringing us similar Visual Novels in the form of 999, Virtues Last Reward, the Hakuoki games and Sweet Fuse. That kind of gumption made an impression on NISA, who through Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc are dipping their toes into the VN waters.

Danganronpa casts the player as a young man accepted into a prestigious school. Upon arrival, instead of his studies he’s forced into a game overseen by an eccentric robotic bear. The premise is simple, murder one of your fellow students to escape. Not down with murder? Good, because as the protagonist you instead save yourself by solving the incident, and revealing the killer.

It looks to strike a similar tone as Sweet Fuse, one which balances the horrific and comedic with aplomb. It’s right up my alley, and is a great start to the year.

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey – Natsume / Agatsuma Entertainment – 3DS

Yumi is conducting a pole.

Yumi is conducting a pole.

I really blew any chance I had to pick up an import copy of Umihara Kawase for the DS. While it remained available on Play-Asia for quite some time, I dilli-dallied just long enough for it to become unavailable (at least for a respectable prices, it’s going rate on eBay makes my head spin).

Thankfully, Natsume sees its sequel, Sayonara Umihara Kawase, fit for release in North America on the 3DS eShop.

Using her fishing rod as a means of conveyance, Yumi flings herself about the game’s stages, which conflicts with the native’s plan of not allowing her to do so. Those natives being fish, however, means their wants and needs are second to human kind’s own. So suck it, fish.

Treasurenauts – Renegade Kid – 3DS

Treasurenauts

Renegade Kid really got its hooks in with Mutant Mudds. It displayed a knack for minimalism, an example of honing in on what works and ignoring the rest.

The same goes for Treasurenauts. The studio is taking some interesting risks, crafting a game intended for single playthroughs. No saving, no ‘leveling up’. Treasurenauts is just jumping, destroying enemies, and collecting treasure, a feature set that worked wonderfully in Mudds.

Bravely Default – Nintendo / Silicon Studio / Square-Enix – 3DS

bravely4

Default caption.

It’s hard not to feel that Bravely Default just ‘gets it’, you know?

It really knows its hardware, and how people want to use it. The StreetPass is incredibly beneficial, you can save anywhere, and putting the 3DS to sleep doesn’t mean the game stops in its tracks. It’s incredibly forward thinking, and allows for plenty of customization, all without feeling you’re going to end up with a useless party of glass cannons.

It appears as if those behind the game desired to make the next, great RPG. And the way things are looking, they very well may have.

Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Nintendo / Level-5 / Capcom – 3DS

laytonvswright

Watch out for Layton VS Wright: Turbo Edition in 2015!

Someone once tried to sell me a turd they claimed “Shu Takumi made.”

Improbable? Absolutely. But if he was truthful…this could be one of the most interesting, twisting, dialog rich turds ever made.

I bought that turd.

Don’t take this to mean that Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a poo? No. Does it mean I lose all control at the mention of Takumi’s involvement in a project? Yes, but he’s earned it

The quality of story is assured, but the rest? I’m sure it’ll be fine. I may not be making much of a case as to why you should care, and I wish I could. But when the last game you made is Ghost Trick, you deserve all the faith in the world.

Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster – Square-Enix – Vita

ffx

“I’ll never let go, Tidus.”

Final Fantasy X is a mystery to me. I played the demo, and really liked it. The first game I bought for my PS2 was Final Fantasy IX. I liked the series, owned the platform…so why didn’t I buy FFX?

There is no answer. I haven’t the foggiest clue. But, one thing I do know is that I’m buying this collection. What little I’ve played of FFX really impressed me, and what I’ve since learned of the game has cemented the fact that I must own it.

Plus, if I enjoy an entry as reviled as XIII, this one may just blow my mind.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe – Nintendo / HAL Laboratory – 3DS

Kirby

Kirby could suck the fart out a butt.

Yeah, I’m that kind of Kirby fan. I like all his games, not just the innovative entries like Mass Attack or Canvas Curse. Return to Dreamland. the other Kirby game on the Wii, was terrific, and Triple Deluxe looks to be more in line with that entry than the almighty Epic Yarn. To some, that’s a disappointment, but I’ll take Kirby however they serve him.

Power ups in most games (Mario included) always seem intentionally placed. You’re really only supposed to use it in a designated area, otherwise you’re overpowered or, heaven forbid, under. Kirby games kind of don’t give a damn, preferring to give the player whatever power, whenever and wherever they like. While it’s spoken of as a ‘kiddy’ game, Kirby can be pretty freeing.

Plus that Dedede rhythm game looks hot.

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