Nintendo 3DS launch titles announced

Nintendo has today announced the list of titles set to hit shelves alongside their new handheld, the 3DS, when it makes its debut in March. 13 titles have been confirmed, and with an extensive back catalog of DS games compatible with the new system, the 3DS looks like it's off to a respectable start. Below is a list of the launch titles and what you can expect from them.

Nintendogs + Cats: Continuing from where the popular DS series left off, Nintendogs + Cats will be a launch day title for the 3DS and will come out in three flavours: Golden Retriever, French Bulldog, and Toy Poodle. Facial recognition technology is set to make an appearance, taking advantage of the 3DS' camera, allowing players to interact with their digital dog in new and interesting ways. Pets will attempt to mimic your movements, hide away from strangers, and even lick your face.

The Sims 3: The 3DS version will take advantage of the system's wireless capabilities and allow players to trade characters with each other. Rather ambitiously, EA are also touting a new feature that will use the 3DS camera to generate a character based on your likeness. Karma Powers bring interesting new ways of interacting with the game, such as shaking the console to make an earthquake, but beyond that it seems like business as usual for the little people simulator.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars: As the name suggests, Lego Star Wars III will be centered around the Clone Wars as depicted in the recent TV series. "Unique 3DS content" includes new characters and mystical bonus content, whatever that may be. Lego Star Wars has always received a warm reception from critics, so this is sure to be a crowd pleaser either way.

Super Monkey Ball 3D: The "3D" in the title is probably a good indicator of what to expect from 3DS games, much like the "DS" suffix for DS games. Like the iOS version, Super Monkey Ball 3D employs the use of the gyroscope to tilt a monkey in a ball to the end of a board, collecting bananas along the way. In the 3DS version, the gyroscope is optional. The analogue stick (or Circle Pad) can be chosen instead for players more comfortable with the traditional way of playing, or for situations like car journeys where using the gyroscope may be impractical.

Rayman 3D: A port of Rayman 2: The Great Escape, little is known about what differentiates the 3DS version from the others, but Ubisoft are promising "major updates on key game play elements such as accessibility, progression and learning curve." It's worth noting at this point that the 3DS is fully backwards compatible with Nintendo DS games, so Rayman DS (another port of Rayman 2) will work fine.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition: Capcom has billed the 3D edition as "exactly the same" as the HD versions, but added bonuses should enhance the experience on the small screen. An over-the-shoulder 3D view has been included, a conscious attempt to play on the main selling point of the console, something which a lot of games don't seem to have explicitly tried. Two control modes, Light and Pro, cater to old and new fans of the series, and Street Fighter fans can get together and wirelessly swap trophies with each other.

Ridge Racer 3D: Namco's newest addition to the ongoing series about shamelessly sliding around corners in a souped-up car will feature tracks both new and old, in a move that the developers hope will emphasise the franchise's 18-year history. To make the game easier for newcomers, a new drift button is included allowing players to pull off tricky corner stunts with ease. But Ridge Racer's biggest advantage in the launch lineup is the sense of speed that's sure to be impressive on a 3D screen, so any new features come second to the big feature of being able to slide around at speed in 3D.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars: Ubisoft has been surprisingly secretive about Shadow Wars, but what is known is that the game will be turn-based. Joystiq uncovered comments from creative lead Julian Gollop, but without any official word from Ubisoft it's worth taking Gollop's comments with a grain of salt. According to Gollop, Shadow Wars will have "more of an Advance Wars feel," and works around controlling a team of six, each with their own unique abilities. Characters accumulate points that can be spent on teamwide benefits, such as airstrikes, or individual benefits, such as rapid fire. Data exchange and the like won't be making an appearance, but regardless of any special 3DS features, it sounds like Ubisoft has an interesting title on their hands.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D: The series' 3D debut brings the third entry in the series, Chaos Theory, to the 3DS. Critically acclaimed and considered by some to be the best in the series, Chaos Theory revolves around Sam Fisher trying to quell the brewing storm in the Korean Peninsula, tangling himself up in conspiracies and the like along the way. Hacking has been redesigned into a 3D puzzle of sorts, while lock picking will take advantage of the Slide Pad to provide a more interesting way of picking locks than the tiresome "twiddle the analogue stick."

Pilotwings Resort: Using the popular Mii characters players will have already made on the Wii, Pilotwings Resort is the sequel to the 1993 SNES classic Pilotwings. Resort takes place on Wuhu island, apparently the same place that Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort take place. Three game modes have been confirmed: piloting, hang gliding, and rocket belt hovering.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D: Beating FIFA to the football punch is undoubtedly something Konami is proud of, and fans will be pleased to hear that unique features such as a Stadium Editor will be available from the start. PES 3D uses a camera view that sits closer to the player's shoulders rather than the usual TV-style top down view. Konami are hoping that the unique view will show off the 3D features in greater detail, but a hands-on preview from Everybody Plays found the view "had the potential to be quite disorienting," so it might be worth holding off until some reviews trickle in.

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles: A new addition to Koei's Warriors series, Chronicles lets players create their own character based on their own likeness, which the developers hope will mean players become more attached to their character. Up to four playable characters at a time are permitted, so players can switch controlling character in realtime for quicker battles without so much character travelling. Samurai Warriors enjoys a warm reception in Japan, so expect this to sell well in Nintendo's birth country.

Asphalt 3D: The last title on the list, and the second racer, lets players race around 17 tracks in 40 licenced cars from the likes of Lambourghini and Bugatti. Gyroscope controls are an optional extra, allowing you to control the car and view it from different angles in your garage. Appealing to the arcade racer crowd, Asphalt 3D features the usual gratuitous helpings of nitro boost, as well as eight different game modes to keep the gameplay fresh.

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