GamerTell’s 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012

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As you know, GamerTell’s been putting together its year end round-ups for 2012 over the last few weeks. We went over the 10 worst games of 2012 and the 10 best indie games of 2012 and the time had come to get into the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012. Except, I couldn’t find 10 games for each system that I had played and really deserved to be called the best. So rather than create two stories with two lists of 10 games, padding them out with filler just for the sake of reaching the “almighty 10,” I decided to consolidate.

The 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012 list was born.

It features everything you really need to know about portable gaming in 2012. If you have a 3DS or a Vita, you’ll be able to find at least two, perhaps even three games that you have to get for your system. Plus, it has the added bonus of making you jealous drool over the games you don’t have but would definitely want. So go ahead, read about the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012. You’ll like it.

10: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (3DS)

It’s not often a Harvest Moon game ends up on a year’s end best of list and I’ll tell you why – each iteration is typically the same. While Harvest Moon: A New Beginning does follow the standard series’ tropes, it has so much new content that it is easily the best portable Harvest Moon in years and definitely deserves to be one of the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012. Players can not only completely customize their avatar, they get to customize their farm and their town. Not to mention the online multiplayer is quite nice, since you can trade and tend others’ animals. Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is just fantastic, even with a slow start, and will guarantee players oodles of hours of farming fun.

9: Retro City Rampage (Vita):

I raved about Retro City Rampage in GamerTell’s 10 best indie games of 2012 list and you’re going to hear about it again in the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012. It’s a fantastic, retro, open-world game that is campy fun. The video game and pop culture references abound and even though the difficulty does spike around the halfway point, I still say almost every mission is fun. Most importantly, it looks best on the Vita, even though it’s available on other platforms. There, I said it and, deep in your hearts, you know it’s true.

8: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS):

You’re probably thinking Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is on this 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012 list out of some kind of obligation. You know, because it bears the Kingdom Hearts name. Nope. Kingdom Hearts 3D is here because it’s actually a really good game. Sure, it’s filler, but at least it’s filler that takes Sora and Riku to new worlds and involves new characters. Plus it does advance the story. It earns a spot here though because it really is fun to play and is one of the few games released in 2012 that makes good use of the 3DS’ 3D effect.

7: New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS):

See, now this is the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012 obligation game. Frankly, the only recent, traditional-style Super Mario game I’ve been excited about in the past few years was the original New Super Mario Bros., but when I mentioned I was doing this list, the rest of the GamerTell staff considered a best of 2012 list lacking if New Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn’t on it. I suppose I can understand. I mean, I did enjoy New Super Mario Bros. 2, with its coin rush elements, and I did love the free DLC pack Nintendo released with original Super Mario Bros. levels all decked out in New Super Mario Bros. 2 style. I suppose the best word for this game is solid. And any solid Super Mario game is better than most other platformers.

6: Sound Shapes (Vita):

Sound Shapes is what LittleBigPlanet would be if it were a 2D game that relied heavily upon music. This is a fantastic, minimalistic platformer where the focus is on creation. Yes, it comes with a starter bundle of levels featuring songs-levels featuring Jim Guthrie, Deadmau5 and Beck, but the main appeal is the ability to create your own songs and levels with the built-in editor and then share them online. I’ve seen some amazing stories and songs created with Sound Shapes, which means it definitely is one of the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012.

5: LittleBigPlanet (Vita):

I love LittleBigPlanet, so naturally I love the Vita incarnation. It’s everything I had hoped the PSP version would be, back when that had first been released. I love the levels and the variety of objectives, I love the community levels released so far and I love how easy it is to make my own levels. Not to mention it looks practically identical to the PS3 versions of LIttleBigPlanet! The only downside I can see is, no one’s playing it. Okay, people are playing, but not enough! Get out there and start making more levels people, because if you had been more active, this could have been higher on this grand list!

4: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS):

Confession time! I have logged over 46 hours playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Keep in mind, this is a music game where each song segment is just about two minutes long, perhaps a tad less. This music game filled with classic Final Fantasy songs and RPG elements took away almost two days of my life and you know what? I’d do it again. Hell, if I could go back, I’d spend even more time playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy because it is that good. The music is amazing, the controls are great and I love the character art and RPG elements. Besides, my life won’t be complete unless I unlock Sephiroth – I only need two more crystal shards for him!

3: Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS, Vita):

Anyone who’s been keeping up with GamerTell knows I have a passionate love for 999 and Zero Escape, Spike Chunsoft’s thrilling, Saw-style visual novels. They’re smart, engaging and have so many wonderful twists and turns. Most importantly, one playthrough is never enough, because you’ll never get the full story or true ending if you play once and stop. Though the 3DS version does have that save-corrupting bug, this is easily one of the 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012 and I would recommend it to anyone mature enough to handle the content and storyline.

2: Gravity Rush (Vita):

Gravity Rush may be the second video game to ever make me feel motion-sick (Super Mario Galaxy was the first), but a little queasiness can’t tarnish the affection I feel for this gorgeous, open world adventure. It just feels magic, with the whole idea of an amnesiac girl discovering she has the superhero power to control gravity and is then relied upon by a whole, supernatural city to save them from monsters while also helping with other affairs. It’s a delightful adventure and sometimes I play just to explore Hekseville and see where Kat’s gravity powers can take her. I just wish there weren’t so many loose ends to the story.

1: Persona 4 Golden (Vita):

Oh Persona 4 Golden, you’ve brought all us Vita owners so much joy. In fact, I’d dare say you’ve given us a reason to proudly proclaim we own a Vita. Sure, you’re a port, but you have so much extra content, it’s like a huge expansion was added to a game we already loved. In fact, it has! There are more personas, events, characters, social links, jobs, areas to visit and endings. Not to mention the game received a visual upgrade. Persona 4 Golden was the pinnacle of handheld gaming for 2012 and no other game on this 10 best 3DS and Vita games of 2012 list can top it.

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    3DS kicks ps vita in the face where it hurts, and farts it off in the nostrils.

  • Stealth20k

    list is incomplete

    I could of done 20 games for each system

    • Jenni Lada

      What would you have added? In terms of incredibly-awesome 3DS games, this year’s been a bit week and I didn’t want to include games I hadn’t played.