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5. Nintendo Land
Holy frijoles, was this game a blast. The Wii U had an absymal launch lineup, but Nintendo Land was its low-key saving grace. Playing this game with my brothers may very well have been the most fun we’ve ever had with local multiplayer: and that’s taking into account the likes of Smash and Mario Kart. Metroid Blast, Mario Chase, and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion had to have been some of the funnest mini-games ever created. And in the end it turned out to be the only Wii U game that properly utilized the gimmick of the Wii U Gamepad.
The game even sold well, breaking five million copies and managing to take the spot of third best-selling Wii U game(yet it still gets totally overlooked). The Switch really could have used this as the de facto launch title that demonstrates the system’s hardware gimmick, but instead we were stuck with 1-2-Switch. It’s likely that this one will remain a relic of the Wii U era, lost to time and forgotten.
4. Super Mario 3D Land
Okay, so this one is cheating a little bit, as we did get a sequel of sorts in Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. But I’m frankly shocked that we haven’t had a direct sequel release on the 3DS.
This game is often credited with SAVING THE 3DS. The console was a great success in the end, sure, but in its early days hardly anybody wanted to buy the thing, and that was due in large part to the lack of games on the system(Pilotwings Resort was the closest thing to compelling software it had on launch day). The system’s fortunes finally turned around during the time period in which 3D Land released, thus cementing the game as a critical component in the success of the 3DS.
I figured we’d see another 3D Mario like it release on the system, but nope. The game sold gangbusters and was met with critical acclaim, but for some reason the Big N decided against giving the 3DS a 3D Land 2; there was still plenty of time to do it after the dust had settled from 3D World, but alas, ’twas not meant to be. Now that the 3DS is surely in the last year of its life it looks as if this sequel is simply not meant to be.
3. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
The Switch era isn’t the first time Nintendo has tried reaching out to the core, “mature” demographic by publishing an M-rated game. Long before they’d ever thought about backing up Bayonetta, they published Eternal Darkness, which released as a launch title for the GameCube. For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Resident Evil would be the closest comparison in terms of tone and gameplay. From a critical standpoint, the game did quite well, leaving those that played it satisfied; the problem is, hardly anybody played it. The game only sold half a million copies, leaving the possibility of a sequel in question.
The tragic thing is that we were SUPPOSED to get a sequel; Nintendo trademarked the name again in 2011, which led to widespread speculation that a sequel was in the works. Indeed one was, however it was eventually confirmed that the game had been cancelled, and the team that developed the game ended up disbanding. We’ll likely never see another entry in this series, and that’s a real shame. It’s nice seeing Nintendo go outside their comfort zone with titles such as this.
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2. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Those ignorant of the glory that is The Thousand-Year Door(as well as the original Paper Mario) will cry out: “But The Thousand-Year Door got a sequel! Three Paper Mario games came out afterwards!” Those of us who are actually familiar with what Paper Mario once was will tell you that no, The Thousand-Year Door has NOT gotten the sequel it so richly deserves.
The game is essentially perfection: they got everything right. The writing/storytelling and gameplay in particular are incredible. It would never again be matched, however, as the next game in the franchise, Super Paper Mario, would completely ditch TTYD’s gameplay in favor of this weird 2D platforming gameplay that rendered it a sequel in name only. It at least retained some of the quality writing/storytelling. But even that would be thrown to the wayside in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which many consider to be the true death of the Paper Mario series.
While The Thousand-Year Door received critical acclaim, it didn’t sell especially well, having been held back by its release on the GameCube. Meanwhile, Super Paper Mario and Paper Mario: Sticker Star are the best-selling games in the franchise. Many would point out that this is due to the platforms they released on rather than the direction the games took. Still, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a true return to form for Paper Mario.
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising –
This game is a masterpiece. I wasn’t expecting much going in, and this game managed to blow my expectations out of the water, leaving me ready to declare this the greatest game on the 3DS’s already impressive library. The way Uprising combined its fast-paced on-rails shooter gameplay with the impressively well-written banter between the characters was a combination so glorious that I couldn’t wait for more. The game had immense entertainment value, as well as a plethora of content, including a fun online mode that’s just begging to be expanded on. I was certain that such a well-crafted game would receive a sequel!
Well, it hasn’t. The group that developed Uprising, dubbed Project Sora, disbanded upon the game’s completion. Masahiro Sakurai, who directed the project, stated that he had no interest in developing a sequel. While the game sold fairly well, it wasn’t such a success that one could expect Nintendo to push for a sequel, leaving us with an incredible gaming experience with no follow-up in sight.
And that’s a real shame, because I see a lot of potential in this series to become something huge; if Nintendo put their weight behind it I believe it could see an explosion in popularity akin to that of Fire Emblem or Animal Crossing. While I’m desperately hoping for a port on the Switch, I don’t believe this series will see the light of day again for a long time to come.