Most console gamers have sworn off hand-held games because they rarely hold up the greatness seen on consoles. While that is mostly still true, there are a few games that have stepped things up and tried to raise the bar for hand-held games and prove that they are still a viable form of entertainment. So with 2013 drawing to a close, we thought we would take a quick look at some of the best titles for hand-held systems (not iOS or Andriod, iPhone or iPad) that were released in 2013.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
This is the sixth title in the Professor Layton series of games. It is also the final part of the prequel trilogy of the series. It follows the adventures of Professor Hershel Layton as he embarks on a journey to find the ‘living mummy’, and instead finds a girl frozen in ice. After thawing her out, she is abducted by the organization Targent, and Professor Layton must find and free her. It is a puzzle/platformer of the best kind.
Having originally played this game on the PS3, I was worried that this port-to-portable take on the game would fall short of the fun I had with it on console. While a few of the controls differed, they managed to solidly capture the aspects of fun that I loved so much about the console version. All in all, this game was pretty great. Your typical side-scrolling dungeon crawler – it gives you great visuals and a cool story (and boobs).
This is probably one of the best hand-held, first person shooters on the market. Whether or not you are a fan of the series is irrelevant. If you like first person shooters and you are looking for one for your Vita, to take with you on the go – skip over that terrible Resistance hot mess game and grab this one. It thrills shooter fans and Killzone fans equally. Great visuals, solid gameplay and just a ton of fun — all wrapped up in this nice little portable package.
Okay, apart from the lame flip-flop name game between the male and female characters (Iota for male and Atoi for the female), this was a great game. It managed to make me feel a little younger for liking it so much. It has a unique story, and very unique visuals, as you play through a game that was nearly solely inspired by drawings left all over the offices of Media Molecule. And yes, they were on tear-away paper.
So you are a boy with no name. You wake up literally on the edge of Hell. Your sister is lost and you have to find her. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? Did we mention you woke up on the edge of Hell? As this nameless boy, you work your way through a dense forest filled with a whole lot of nothing. You meet about 4 human characters the entire game (there’s actually more, but it feels like four) but they either run from you, or are already dead. Oh, and the ending is one of the more insane ones we’ve seen.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
This classic game made its triumphant debut on 3DS in 2013. Always one of my personal favorite games, it was good to see Donkey Kong Country port to a hand-held in a way that was in-keeping with the style, spirit and overall feel of the original. I feel like DKCR3D does just that. So, if you are a fan of the originals, grab a copy of this one– you won’t be disappointed.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
This game picks up where Sly Cooper 3 left off. Sly is still trying to fake amnesia to be with his love, Carmelita, but somehow, the words from the Thievius Racoonus start to disappear, as does Penelope. So, the gang reunites to try and fix the errors in Sly’s past that are causing the changes in his present. The controls, while a little different from consoles, seem familiar and comfortable, and the graphics are just cool in all their cell-shady goodness.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
As if the console versions of this game weren’t badass enough, Warner Bros. went and made the Bat mobile. The combat system is remarkably smooth, for having been retooled from the ground up for hand-helds. Some of the new features, like being able to see the enemies’ line of sight in detective mode, are super-helpful, and the fact that Batman changes color to show varying levels of detection is great as well. Overall, this is a great hand-held entry into the series of Arkham games.
Pokémon X & Y
In the now classic form of releasing two corresponding Pokémon games at the same time, X/Y has introduced some new stuff this time. There is trainer customization, and even the ability to grab up some classic Pokémon. Also there is a new type called ‘fairy’, which is the first new Pokémon type introduced since Gold/Silver . As with all of the recent Pokémon games, there are exclusives to each version, as well as the ability to trade with the 3DS’s connectivity features.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The funny thing is that, before this game hit the shelves, I had actually broken out my old NES and shiny gold cartridge, and played through the original Legend of Zelda . So I was pleasantly surprised when Between Worlds ended up being a really cool update of the classic. It had a new story, some seriously cool new elements of gameplay, and the dual screen thing made me wish that I had that option all along.