Nintendo had a whole room dedicated to current and upcoming games on the Nintendo eShop, and among them was a new portable version of one of WiiWare's biggest final releases, VBlank Entertainment's Retro City Rampage. I got to play a little bit of the demo, and it feels very much akin to its other versions, fit for the 3DS experience.
Retro City Rampage is a retro-style overhead action game akin to the older Grand Theft Auto games. Players control The Player as he ends up sucked into the past and now must find a way to get himself back to the correct time. Much like Grand Theft Auto, The Player can wander throughout the town and do oddjobs with a multitude of people, as well as complete a number of challenges in order to get money or medals and other achievements in the game. Searching through the city might even give you new special weaponry or abilities that can be helpful in completing the game's Story Missions. Once a mission or challenge is encountered and completed, players can choose to replay them from the game menu if they desire. Other than the main and side missions, the game also has mini-games to play, starring other indie game heroes such as Commander Video and Meat Boy.
Whereas the previous games have all displayed the game with a zoomed-out look using the retro-style graphics, the 3DS iteration defaults the option to zoom-in, accounting for the system's smaller resolution screens. Extraneous information such as money count, map, and weapon selection is stored on the bottom screen, although developer Brian Provinciano has noted on the game's site that he intends to check out possibilities of using the touch screen for more than just a display. In the demo, there was no noticeable element to the bottom screen, and it was actually difficult with the zoomed-in view to glance at the map to see where I should have been going. I was not exactly looking for anywhere specific anyways, so getting lost was expected, but I think some guides on the top screen would be beneficial, at least giving a general direction where a marked area might be.
The demo offered a free-roaming mode and a challenge mission to cause as much damage as possible in a short time. The gameplay was as smooth as the original version, though I had to figure out how turning worked on the Circle Pad. In my brief moments of gameplay, I found myself occasionally using the Circle Pad to point where the car should have gone, but the controls were set for steering instead. That was probably more a fault of mine over the game's, though. What I did notice, however, was that the graphics seemed to flicker on the menu screens. I thought it was a style choice, but there was inconsistency with how the flicker appeared. I suspect this would be fixed in the final release, and I hope other graphical glitches like that are ironed out in the completed game.
Overall, Retro City Rampage on 3DS played much like what you would expect on the other versions, with some adjustments to be put on the device. Those who enjoyed the game in the previous releases or have been curious about playing the game on the go (and not on PSVita), then this is shaping up to fit the bill.
Retro City Rampage on 3DS is expected to release this holiday. The game is currently available on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PC, and on WiiWare (also via Wii U).