How Nintendo’s 3DS Made Card Games Better

By  | 

 Nintendo’s 3DS

The 3DS was one of Nintendo’s most important consoles, not only serving as a 3D successor to the Nintendo DS but also paving the way for the incredible Switch. At the time of its release, it was a complete package deal that offered (almost) 3D gaming in the palm of your hand. The console had incredible hardware and features for a handheld console, and it showed in the variety of games that were released for the device.

Card games are no such exception. Compared to its previous counterpart, the 3DS not only enhanced gameplay with its dual screens and better touch controls but did so while maintaining peak sound quality and smooth 3D gameplay. While not distinguished for it, the 3DS was a pivotal step for card games because it allowed them to introduce new features and unique gameplay which permanently transformed the landscape for future titles.

In fact, some were so influential that you can see their direct effect in modern casinos, where some traditional table games have moved away from sterile graphics and old-school gameplay. Still wondering what these games are? Let’s find out, starting off with one of the most interesting titles of the 3DS.


Pocket Card Jockey 

Considered a cult favourite and one of 3DS’ most bizarre games, this game combines the already risky sport of horse racing with…solitaire. The brainchild of Masao Taya and his passion for horse racing and card games, Pocket Card Jockey’s weird combination might sound alien but boy, it just works.

It features the Golf version of the solitaire card game as a core mechanic which you play on the lower screen while your jockey struggles with their horse in real-time on the upper counterpart. Your chances of winning the race directly depend on a little bit of luck and how well you play Solitaire.

In order to win a race, players have to finish arranging all the cards from their column into the pile while going one number higher or lower until you run out of possible combinations. Then, you can simply flip a card from the deck and start making combinations from there. The round ends when your deck runs out of cards, where you lose, or all your cards end up in the pile, which means you won!

Now where is the horse racing you might ask? Well, winning each round of solitaire increases the ‘unity’ bar you have with your horse (power of friendship!) as well as the number of cards you have left in the deck. This unity is then used for positioning your horse in the best spot where it has the highest chance of winning. If you have a lot of cards in the deck, you overflow the bar, where the leftover unity is converted into ‘enthusiasm’ which increases your horse’s speed for the last stretch of the game.

However, if you keep losing for 3 rounds or so, your horse retires and is then used for breeding a better horse for the next race. And trust us when we say this, you’ll be doing this a lot more often than you’d expect because losing is an integral part of this game – as it is with life.

The game has several other deeply integrated features that the game takes a lot of unnecessary time to explain. According to NintendoWorldReport, if it weren’t for the game’s convoluted and long tutorials, it’d be one of the top Nintendo games in 2016.

However, Pocket Card Jockey continues to be a thriving success to date because of its reworked release on iOS and it serves as a shining example of what passion combined with a little bit of quirkiness can achieve.

 Nintendo’s 3DS

Culdcept Revolt

Have you ever imagined what it would be like playing Monopoly but magic and monsters instead of money and properties? With Culdcept Revolt, you don’t need to.

The gameplay features a closed loop where you roll your dice and go through the map, square by square. You can place a monster on each territory who you can level up later, equip, or deploy magic spells on as the game progresses. If your enemies are unfortunate enough to arrive at the same square, they are instantly punished with a hefty toll – exactly how an opponent’s upgraded rental made you cough up dollars when you played Monopoly as a kid.

The core concept of the two games might be identical but that’s where the similarities end. Culdcept Revolt features a designated deck of 50 cards that feature the monsters you are going to place. This deck needs to be carefully chosen, especially in the latter parts of the game, to carefully balance out attacking elemental types (fire and earth) with defending elemental types (air and water).

The goal of the game is to pass through the checkpoints of the map called ‘gates’, which essentially count your laps around the map and reward you with magic. This is the in-game currency that you use to place and upgrade your monsters which you earn back when your opponents go through your territories. The game ends when you achieve the maximum amount of magic.

The game is heavily luck based which can either have you jumping up and down in ecstasy or punching the walls in anger – the best thing is, you won’t even see it coming. In their review, Destructoid talks about how the game is “simultaneously inventive and archaic, doling out moments of pure delight and agonizing frustration in equal doses.”

The tutorials are great and intuitive and the graphics are designed by Kinu Nishimura himself – the artist behind Street Fighter. Just like with real-life gambling, if you can manage your luck and cards right, you are going to have an absolute blast with this game.


Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal

Even if you are a dedicated part of Yu-Gi-Oh! fanbase, there is a slim chance that you have heard of the game for Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. The anime and manga? Sure. But the game that was released for the 3DS was a really big hit or miss for most players, and for good reason.

While the game itself is decent, it was considered a letdown compared to the Yu-Gi-Oh! games that were released before it. The story was lacklustre, there was no multiplayer, the gameplay wasn’t rewarding since the game unlocked everything for you right from the start and the American version had a ton of cut content.

According to NintendoWorldReport, the American version only features a mere 12 characters from the original cast of 40 and some players have also reported the removal of core card series’ such as the Ghostrick cards, Horn of the Unicorn, Raigeki, etc. to count a few.

While these factors have dissuaded many fans and players from playing the game, there are still a few redeeming factors that have made it into one of the 3DS best card titles. One of the major contributing factors to that title is its massive library of cards.

The game features a whopping 5,500 digital cards which also includes the XYZ and Synchro sets freshly released at that time. The gameplay might not be rewarding but it sure is fun and engaging if you like Yu-Gi-Oh!, even more so than its predecessors. The AI has the perfect amount of difficulty – not too easy to be boring, but not too challenging to make you give up on the game either.

The game features your standard Yu-Gi-Oh! system – you have a deck of cards with spells, traps and monsters and you dish it out with your opponent’s cards where the winner is decided either by who has the better stats or who manages to use traps and abilities effectively. We could go really in-depth on how to play the game, but that would warrant a huge separate guide of its own! If you are interested, though, check out this in-depth tutorial here that will help you through everything necessary.

To date, the game remains a mixed favourite among fans – some hate it, and some swear by the game. But there is little doubt over the fact that the game was an integral part of continuing the Yu-Gi-Oh! game series over the 3DS and, consequently, future consoles and devices.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login