Throughout last week, we hit the most exciting games bound for the stationary platforms in 2015. Well, stationary if you don’t count the likes of remote play and game streaming. Regardless! We did the console and PC stuff. Here’s the rundown.

Which brings us to this week. We’re going to highlight the biggest games bound for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita in 2015. Today, we’re doing the 3DS. We’ll run through the Vita tomorrow.

Now, there is something that should be said about this list in particular. Handheld games tend to get shorter announce-to-release windows, so the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS game lineups might light very different for 2015 come E3 time this June.

We’re going on what we know or assume will drop this year. What did we miss?

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – (3DS)

When the developer behind Fire Emblem steps up and says they’re working on a new strategy game, the world sort of takes notice. That was the case last E3 with the outlandish Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and its reveal. Would we be all over this game if it was being made by another studio? I’m not sure.

The demo is actually out now if you’d like to give this one a crack. It’s a turn-based tactical strategy game. Your moves consume steam in this steampunk historical remix that pits a task force put together by Abraham Lincoln against an alien invasion. Yep, it sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It’s Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., and we’re excited to play it.

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Etrian Mystery Dungeon – (3DS)

Etrian Mystery Dungeon, as its name would imply to those familiar with the two franchises, is a crossover between Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon. One is a rogue-like dungeon game, while the other is a larger turn-based RPG.

Mashing the two up is Atlus’ business with this game.  This will be a tough game, and players will be required to consider strategy, character placement and progressive levelling and skill use. It’s going to be a tough ride for fans of this type of thing, so get pumped.

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Fire Emblem If – (3DS)

Fire Emblem

Intelligent Systems is developing the next game in the now beloved Fire Emblem series. The first 3DS release for the franchise, Awakening, was sort of a rebirth for the games. It turned a lot of folks who only knew the characters from Smash into out and out fans.

Now, Fire Emblem If (that’s the Japanese name, we don’t know if that’ll carry over) looks to continue that trend. The core thread changes here in that players will make choices throughout the game that constantly change the flow of the storyline. We’ll see how that choice and consequence system plays with the already tough permadeath the franchise is famous for.

Fossil Fighters: Frontier – (3DS)

Don’t you dare laugh, friend. Fossil Fighters is actually quite good, and Frontier looks to evolve on what made the original from 2008 so good.

Players basically dig up fossils and clean them in a lab. They use the DNA they find there to create dinosaur-esque monsters called Vivosaurs. You then use these guys in battle in order to level up. It sounds crazy cheesy, and it is, but this is a great franchise. Really.

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Gunman Clive 2 – (3DS)

If ever there was a bona fide sleeper series on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, it would be Gunman Clive. The original game launched a while back, and the sequel came out within the last few weeks. This game is sort of an old school 2D shooter in a vein not too dissimilar from Mega Man. Only if offers a western vibe… that slowly includes dinosaurs.

Whatever. I played the original. I have the sequel on my list of must-haves this year. It’s charming, it can be tough and it’s a whole lot of fun.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D – (3DS)

Obviously you know that Majora’s Mask 3D, much like a few games on this list, is already out and available. It’s easily one of the most exciting games this year, so we’re including it in our rundown. The 3DS sort of got an early start on us.

I reviewed this game. It’s wonderful. If you have a New 3DS XL, it’s even better there. This is the black sheep of the older Zelda franchise, and Nintendo put a lot of love into remaking it with a better color palette, more streamlined features and a good use of 3D. It’s a must if you enjoy Zelda games, plain and simple.

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Mighty No. 9 – (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Vita, 3DS, PC)

If you needed any indication that the gaming world wants more from Keiji Inafune in a vein similar to Mega Man, all you need to do is look at the amount of money the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter raised during September of 2013. It earned $3.8 million. That’s a lot of scratch.

Yes, you’ll battle robot bosses, steal their powers and progress through stages in whatever order you like. Anyone denying the Mega Man formula is either lying or blind.

Mighty No. 9 should bring some new mechanics, too. There’s a dash and odd collection attack, and our hero Beck can turn into a unique shapes in order to dispatch enemies.

If it lives up to Inafune’s legacy, it should be good.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – (3DS)

I’m currently up to my eyeballs in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. I snagged the game with my New Nintendo 3DS XL, and I’m sucked into its addictive gameplay loop in a big way.

Capcom has pretty much perfected the circle of life that is Monster Hunter. You quest to kill monsters, take their remains, make new gear and head out on more quests to kill monsters. Rinse, repeat, add in great design, tons of customization options and massive monsters that feel like incredible boss encounters, and you’ve got a wonderful game.

This franchise regularly gets its fans to dump hundreds of hours into each entry. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is no different.

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SteamWorld Heist – (3DS, Wii U, PC, PS4, PS Vita, XBO)

Not exactly a straight sequel to SteamWorld DigSteamWorld Heist exists as a new effort from the same studio behind the original mining adventure. The first game got its start on the 3DS, and this new one will hit that platform as well,along with all the others listed above.

Heist is a story driven game that will require users to build a crew, board enemy ships and raid them in close combat with guns. Yes to all of that, my friends. It’s supposedly quite far away from Dig in terms of gameplay, so expect a game with a similar aesthetic and not necessarily mechanics.

Story of Seasons – (3DS)

What makes Story of Seasons so compelling for us is its connection to Harvest Moon. Natsume owns the rights to that game’s name as of now, and that means XSEED and Marvelous AQL are starting a new series. They’ve brought along with them developers from the Harvest Moon franchise, including Yoshifumi Hashimoto.

This game looks to hold the integrity of its spiritual predecessor, exploring more than just farming by tackling life, death and work. This one’s on our radar in a huge way because of those factors and word that its developers are so passionate about the genre. We can’t wait to play.

Treasurenauts – (3DS)

When Renegade Kid makes a 3DS game, we sort of like to pay attention to what it is. I personally adore Mutant Mudds, and I really liked Xeodrifter (which released late last year). Treasurenauts‘ development was actually put on hold when Renegade Kid decided to put out Xeodrifter.

Now they’re back at work with this 2D platformer with an emphasis on treasure colleciton and battling red crabs. This dev almost always nails tough but fair gameplay and typically does so with a great soundtrack to boot. Treasurenauts should be on your watch list, friends.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D – (3DS)

Xenoblade Chronicles wasn’t originally set for release in North America. That changed when a group of gamers put together Operation Rainfall and pushed Nintendo to release this and other games in western regions. With that, Monolith Soft’s massive RPG saw an explosion in popularity, the inclusion of its main character in the new Super Smash Bros., a sequel and news of a 3DS port.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D will require the New Nintendo 3DS in order to work, friends. It’s the first piece of software exclusive to the system upgrade. This Wii port comes from Monster Games, and RPG fans should be pumped to play it (again or for the first time).

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