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3D Game Collection - 3DS Download Review

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3D Game Collection

3DS Download | Joindots | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | $5.99
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4th February 2013; By KnucklesSonic8

Invited to attend a board game night on a whim, being put in charge of activity selection can be a headache in itself. Unless this is a repeat gathering and you're familiar with the tastes and experience of each guest, you may just end up bringing bags full of options to try and compensate for the range in demographics and psychographics. How much easier it is when you can condense your load with a dedicated, all-in-one set. Granted, these often consist of two-player excursions (Checkers and Chess being the most popular), but the point still stands that these are very appealing to have in your game library. Digital game collections tend to be not as dependable in the way of allure, but there are always winners that stand out from the deck. Without question, Clubhouse Games is one of the accomplished ones, but 3D Game Collection isn't. Often without amenities and at times having questionable execution, 3D Game Collection isn't something you will necessarily go wrong with, but its qualities need a big leap to reach the purchase satisfaction of the meaty weight described.

    Found within this package is a series of card, board, dice, paper and logic games you'd likely view as customary or would be quickly thought of for brief amusement lasting no more than 30 minutes. Marketing says there are 55 to choose from, but this claim is an exaggeration, or at least not entirely accurate in the sense that is implied. The collection is divided up, strangely, by background theme, and you'll see some games are repeated more than once across more than one or even all of these huddles, just with slight cosmetic changes. In actuality, there are a little under 30 different games, including custom renditions of Minesweeper, Bingo, Yahtzee, Mastermind, Connect Four, Sorry! and Battleship. To give the appearance that you're doing something worthwhile, players are evaluated on their results or speed in connection with an implemented trophy system. It's nothing that will trigger bustle, but it's through this method that the game attempts to be more than that of a straightforward digital translation of both popular and obscure games. 

Let's get one thing out of the way right now: The draw of focused presentation values (i.e., 3D-enabled visuals) the game attempts to set in front of you isn't supplementary whatsoever. Besides just being underutilized most of the time, neither the backgrounds nor the music tracks are all that inviting. They were on the right track with the last of the three settings -- an outdoor scene with a tablecloth traditional to picnics sprawled over the grass -- but other elements are mediocre-looking. Ultimately the desired effect of having an extra layer to mold the experience for the better is pretty much shot. 

    Looking, now, at the performance quality of the included endeavours, activities such as difference spotting, dominoes, Sudoku, and memory matching have all met with predictably proper execution. What is more, a few have a valuable feature attached to them, such as the speedy preview option in the case of slider puzzles. However, not all in this grouping are perfectly presented. Jigsaw puzzles, for one, suffer from the same issue present in Joindots' earlier eShop title, Murder on the Titanic, where a tight frame has made piece manipulation an annoying affair. And sad to say, the absurdities run even deeper than mere organization (though there are still instances of this too) as you examine how some of the board games have been treated.

    Controls and setup is one way in which a few of the games don't always please. In Beano (or Bingo as it's more commonly known), for instance, tap recognition can be a tad imprecise and similarly annoys with the stiff win condition of having to monitor target lines on three cards. Pipe Shift, which has you creating a path for water to flow through from one side of the board to the other, is determined by luck, thus making it difficult to chart out a full course that uses most if not every inch of the grid. Related to the matter of setup, some of the rules that either you or the computer are allowed to pull off aren't very sensible, nor can they be adjusted to your liking if you play a game a particular way. To cite some more examples: There are no limitations in Checkers as far as direction when it comes to captures; certain strategies, like backtracking via the top deck to get ahead or transferring straights over to another column, can't be executed in Card Solitaire; and a particular, game-deciding move can be repeated again and again in Nine Men's Morris and there's nothing you can do to prevent it from wiping out your force.

Yes, 3D Game Collection not only disposes of any options for disabling or toggling certain rules, but it is also missing standard customization features visible in other collections of the same make. Difficulty selection of the AI will longed for in some games because of how inconsistent it is at times. A good example of this is in 4-in-a-Row, where easy-to-spot, winning moves can be accomplished one round, with the same computer blocking your every move the next. The biggest manner in which the game misses the mark is the glaring omission of multiplayer. That's not to discount the game's scoring system for offering more to solo players, but to be honest, the way this is managed (such as in Ludo, where the presence of luck can wind up pushing you deep into the negative point values) or even unspecified leaves a question hanging overhead as to its overall effectiveness. 

    Striving to be a one-stop lounge for simple enjoyment, it's a shame the package is incapable of effectively honing a by-the-fireplace aesthetic, and an even bigger shame that multiplayer is out of the question. Its reach isn't just limited by this, though. It is as a result of simplifying matters and not availing players of seemingly obvious settings that the game does so. Moreover, the process of securing or deflecting a win in certain situations is enough to cause a mild tantrum, due to things not playing out when you play these activities your way (or even the official way) outside this collection. There's enough content to justify the price tag, so that's not what I'm questioning here. Instead, it's the divided execution that will leave eager enthusiasts wanting more from this all-in-one collection.

18/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 6/10 - Fair variety in the selection, some questionable rules put in place, a lack of configuration settings on certain activities, inconsistent AI
Presentation 6/10 - Not too successful in trying to draw you in through 3D imagery, neither music nor visuals are all that inviting, somewhat mediocre
Enjoyment 3/5 - Lacks customization, some activities are decent fun while others irritate by their execution, will leave players wanting more
Extra Content 3/5 - Trophies try to elevate the collection to mixed success, number of different games less than advertised, no multiplayer

Equivalent to a score of 60% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

3D Game Collection
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