Kids today with their Wii U and 3DS don't understand what constituted as fun back in the early '80s. Ironically enough, they can now find out on their 3DS by downloading this collection of eleven Game & Watch classics.
Games included in Game & Watch Gallery 3
- Turtle Bridge
- Mario Bros.
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Flagman (unlockable)
- Judge (unlockable)
- Lion (unlockable)
- Spitball Sparky (unlockable)
- Donkey Kong II (unlockable)
- Fire (bonus unlockable)
Right off the bat, you can play five of the games in either their classic form or a remade "modern" form. As you get higher and higher scores, you'll unlock stars and eventually more games. However, the unlockable games only come in classic form.
One thing the Game & Watch Gallery series does well is updating the classic games. Not only are the graphics drastically improved, but you get to play as various modern Nintendo characters like Yoshi and Toad instead of the old monochromatic shadowy figures such as Mr. Game & Watch. Another improvement is the fact that these modern reinterpretations feature music. All of that being said, the originals sure haven't aged well. Their graphics consist of pale coloured backgrounds with all of the characters and moving parts being solid black. Characters move with no animation (unlike the modern remakes) as they automatically jump between predefined positions. This causes a great deal of visual confusion as it leaves a lot up to your imagination. In other words, you have to take the time to learn each game's rhythm and subtleties because the graphics certainly don't allow for intuitive gameplay.
Although each game has its own basic mechanics, they are all generally played the same way. Basically, you do a repetitive task in order to get the highest score possible. These tasks include collecting eggs before they fall, spraying bugs before they touch your plants, crossing a bridge back and forth, and keeping lions in their cage. A running theme tends to be that you must multitask to avoid hazardous events from happening. It's a lot like juggling. In fact, the first Game & Watch game (not featured in this collection) is about juggling. It can be extremely rewarding when you manage to achieve a truly high score since that can take a very long time. Also, you'll be rewarded with more stars and therefore more games, so it's definitely worthwhile to hone your skills.
Keep in mind that since these games were pre-NES, there are some inherent problems that are difficult to forgive in this day and age. The gameplay for every game is awfully simplistic and repetitive and takes way too long to get interesting. You'll need a great deal of patience to play long enough to get a decent score. After playing for a minute or two, you'll find yourself mindlessly repeating a task over and over again only for things to get mildly tricky. Once it does, you might lose a life plainly because you were locked in a rhythm. If you have as little patience as I do, you'll find it strenuous to play the same game twice in a row.
Game & Watch Gallery 3 is a worthy collection for nostalgia-prone fans of Nintendo. Besides the eleven Game & Watch games, you also have access to a plethora of extra content. Each game has two modes that are mostly difficulty-related with the exception of Judge which features multiplayer. It's too bad you have to have two Game Boy Colors, two copies of the game, and a link cable to experience it. A music room allows you to hear all of the awesome tracks and while you're in the groove you can change the tempo and drop some radical sound effects. Maybe it's not as cool as it sounds, but it's a nice inclusion. You can also visit the museum to read brief blurbs about 32 Game & Watch titles, have Toad and Yoshi teach you the rules and give you tips, and receive unlockables from Peach. Finally, you can play "Fire" which was also on the original Game & Watch Gallery. What makes it special is that the original was reversed due to a manufacturing error, so being able to play it in all of its backwards glory is a nifty treat. Of course, you'll have to be pretty good to get enough stars.
For some, going back to the days of overly simplistic and repetitive games can be an amusing trip back in time. Game & Watch Gallery 3 may not be for everyone, but it's quite a satisfying package for those who just can't get enough nostalgia.
- + Decent collection for nostalgic Nintendo fans
- + Added music and improved graphics breathe new life into five of the included games
- + Getting high scores is a rewarding challenge
- - Most games are too simplistic, repetitive, and take forever to get interesting
- - The classic games haven't aged well and can be visually confusing at times