Hands-On With Four More Terrific 3DS GamesS

We brought you impressions of several 3DS movies and games yesterday. Here are some more. Short version: they are quite good. Long version follows:

Star Fox: I played a re-make of the Nintendo 64 Star Fox game. Enemy placement of this on-rails shooter was exactly as I remembered it. But the graphics are far improved. The 3D effect was most pronounced during a fly-through of the first level's city and past skyscrapers. Fox's ship seemed to exist in the middle of the battlefield, with activity all around him. The best 3D moment occurred when an enemy fighter took position behind Star Fox's ship. Most of the 3DS' 3D effects involve depth, making normally-fat graphics appear to be existing within a world extending into the screen. But when the enemy took position behind Fox's ship it felt as if that enemy had almost popped off the screen, trailing Fox a few millimeters atop the 3DS screen. It may have been an optical illusion, but it was a wonderful tech trick nonetheless.

Pilotwings: The Pilotwings on 3DS here is a demo featuring a quick fly-plane-through-hoops challenge and a jetpack course. The game is set on the same Wuhu island that we first saw in Wii Sports Resort. I flew my plane over the sword-fighting platform. I guess that is why they are calling this game Pilotwings Resort.

Face Off: This game had the 3DS snapping a picture of my face and then wrapping it around spheres. Little orbs covered in my face started flying at me, the 3DS' top screen appearing to be a viewfinder to an augmented reality version of my world. I could tilt and aim the 3DS to shoot at the orbs, but if I missed the enemies, my shots hit the background — which was the table over which I was holding the system. My missed shots caused an effect that made it look like the table surface was rippling with shockwaves.

Tech Demo: Target Shooting: This was another augmented-reality showpiece. For this one, a Nintendo rep put a brown mat on a table. I had to hold the 3DS 14 inches from the mat, my top screen acting as a viewfinder or window to that table and mat. Once I was holding the system at the proper distance, the tabletop appeared to transform, with a chasm opening in the middle and targets emerging. I had to move the 3DS all around the table to get the best angles on the targets, walking all around the table in real life. Once I shot out the targets, a dragon emerged. It had weak points on all sides, so I was again having to walk around the table to shoot it.

I tried a few more, including submarine simulator Steel Diver and a non-playable movie of Mario Kart. They were fine, but the above quartet were the most impressive. The 3D effect works well for the player holding the system and is just a terrific visual effect. The augmented reality demos, while not that different than what I've seen with a PSP or iPhone, were still a joy. Thumbs up to all of this. Nintendo has got it together with this one.

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