Summer 2013 Handheld Console Video Game Guide

Handheld game systems are great on long summer car trips or on the beach, so grab a quality arsenal before you head out the door for warmer weather fun.

Recently released exclusive Nintendo 3DS games generating some heat include LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins, Rayman Origins, Heroes of Ruin, Angry Birds Trilogy and Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone!

Keep connectivity in mind when playing great mainstays like Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Skylanders. More recommendations include Super Mario 3D Land, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – an action-adventure game was developed by Next Level Games and the sequel to the 2001 GameCube game Luigi’s Mansion.

Little Orbit has a rated E monster game from the Monster High franchise called Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze. Older player recommendations include Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance, Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask and Resident Evil: Revelations, which was such a big hit on the 3DS that it’s releasing to consoles now.


Nintendo has a triple threat for 3DS players this summer with Animal Crossing: New Leaf (June 9), Mario Golf: World Tour, and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (May 24). AC: New Leaf will also be included with a special 3DS XL bundle while MG: World Tour will offer a community play option as well as worldwide, competitive, real-time multiplayer matches. DK Country Returns 3D, originally released on the Wii, comes to the 3DS handheld system with upgraded 3-D effects and extra advantages.


Majesco will release Crash City Mayhem (May 14) with 15 different vehicles ranging from Monster Trucks to F1 racers all in highly destructible environments. Racing fans can also try Fast & Furious: Showdown (May 21) where players can experience the main plot from multiple characters’ points of view.

June 25 is a big release date. Shin Megami Tensei IV from Atlus will place players in the role of a samurai who must defend his kingdom from rival factions in this Japanese RPG. The action-strategy RPG Project X Zone, Limited Edition by Namco will feature 50 familiar character from Namco Bandai, SEGA, and Capcom games. LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (June 25) will feature over 60 characters with unique abilities. Build-A-Bear Adventures (June 30) from 505 Games lets players experience these furry friends any time.

July 16 features two notable releases. The role-playing game Rune Factory 4 (XSeed) will hit the 3DS as players follows the tale of a hero who has lost his memory manages a town and makes many mysterious discoveries. Nintendo DS players can enjoy Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, based on the upcoming DreamWorks animated film, from D3 Publisher (also on 3DS). Players can earn several customization pieces and gain advantages with special stunts from a “snail’s point-of-view.”

Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (August 3) from Aksys will feature a very unique action/story experience based on the highly popular Japanese animated television and games series.


Disney’s Planes, based on the upcoming movie, will release on August 6 on multiple Nintendo consoles including the Nintendo 3DS and DS. Nintendo also has Mario and Luigi: Dream Team coming on the Nintendo 3DS on August 11. Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff (Aug 13) by Majesco Sales Inc. will let player switch between these two comical characters on a treasure adventure.

The Nintendo eShop always has great offerings like 101 Dino Pets 3D, Crazy Construction, and SpeedX 3D Hyper Edition. Be sure to keep online connectivity/availability in mind be for head out for summer fun and check out the eclectic Game & Wario releasing on June 25.

The PlayStation Vita library continues to grow and features some great holiday holdovers starting to come down in price like racer Need for Speed: Most Wanted and the extensive action-adventure Assassins Creed III Liberation. Mortal Kombat, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Rayman Origins are more great PS Vita experiences.


The PS Vita will have several exclusive releases including Muramasa Rebirth (June 25) from Aksys, which will also be available in a Blessing of Amitabha edition. The Jax and Daxter Collection (June 11) from Sony Computer Entertainment will include Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy®, Jak II, and Jak 3. Atlus will release Dragon’s Crown (also available on PlayStation 3) on August 6. This 2-D action multiplayer beat-’em-up will not have a crossplay feature, but will feature cross-saving.

What are your favorite summer handheld games on the go in summertime? Enjoy a great gaming summer!

Categories: Gaming


5 replies

  1. On my recent work trips I have alternated bringing DSi and PSP Go for some classic games. I really like those systems … but as recent reports have shown, they are being totally decimated in terms of game sales. iOS & Android are out-selling the combined Nintendo & Sony systems 4:1 on a dollar basis … and given that the average DS/PSP game is $30 and for iOS/Android is 60x on iOS/Android. Not sure how much longer that can sustain development for those handhelds!

  2. Last I looked, July 16 is the SMT4 release date.

    Michael: I’m of the opinion that phone games and handheld game consoles touch on different, if overlapping, market segments. For action games, touch is useful, but I prefer dedicated controls… And I’m not fully sold on the Ouya or its like at this time.

    Plus, I’m not the type of idiot who likes to run out of power for phone calls or checking texts/news feeds just to play an RPG, which often will need hours of gameplay invested in them. The market for handhelds is smaller than that for smartphone-toting casual users, but it’s not dead yet either. It’s like declaring consoles dead because PCs can play games at higher resolutions.

    Consoles, if anything, are adapting to meet the needs of modern gamers. Phones are good for light games or games that are pick-up-and-go. Consoles of the handheld type I find better for games which need more investment into them, time-wise or skill-wise. Plus, they take one battery drain off of today’s rather under equipped devices, which are sacrifice longevity for thinness or larger screens.

    • I get what you are saying – and I agree, for many games there is nothing like physical controls. Games like FPS will never transcend ‘mediocre’ on touchscreens due to controls.

      *BUT* there has been a clear and direct increase / decline relationship between smartphones/tablets and the Sony/Nintendo handhelds.

      • I disagree about the decline: except for the fact that smartphones have made it possible to play portable games without a dedicated console, I don’t see a direct drop in sales since the rollit of ios and Android devices with decent graphics and CPU’s. for example, The 3DS sold 4.5 million units in the US, according to Forbes, by March of 2012, whereas the DS only sold 2.3 million units in its first year. Nintendos figures for game sales had total 3DS software sales at 45.34 million cartridges by March 2012 with 5.2 million units of Mrio Kart 7 sold.

        What the iOS and Android (and Windows Mobile/Blackberry before them) platforms did was open up new markets for the sales of casual games… the same games derided by so called “real’ gamers for the last decade. They had lower barriers of entry (especially compared to Sony’s policies), as anyone could get an SDK and license relatively cheaply. Plus, casual games don’t always need super reflexes or enormous lengths of time to complete a level.

        Remember Bejewelled? Popcap Games made out like a bandit before companies like

        • Like Zynga came around. The top charts on the iOS App Store are full of Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, etc. plus, these other platforms were IAP friendly and provided a support infrastructure for it. Up until the PSP or 3DS, good luck getting a console to do such micro purchases.

          The sales figures reflect the reality that there’s both a bigger market… and that some companies have unrealistic expectations…. Square Enix, for one. That’s why I trotted out the “PC games are a dead end” argument as an example of this type of oversimplification. It’s more that there’s a different market which doesn’t mean one or the other is dead – just they’re both part of different ecosystems which have some overlap in their customers.