Well, the US launch of Nintendo's 3DS handheld is just around the corner (March 27), and while the system comes with some fun AR games to tinker around with, there will also be a bunch of actual titles to play at launch or within the "launch window."
As with any console launch, you're spending so much money on the system that you probably won't want to spring for more than one or two games to play on it. Which means it's really important that you make the right call. (I mean, God, I remember buying Kileak for the PlayStation at launch and immediately regretting it.)
So in the interest of helping you out, I thought I'd offer up some guidance, based on my hands-on time with each of the games. Keep in mind these aren't reviews just impressions. And it doesn't include all of the launch titles, just the ones I've played.
$$$ (A good bet)
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
One of the standouts at the 3DS press event to me. Combines buttery smooth graphics with the classic SF gameplay and then sweetens the deal with delicious 3D effects. Add in multiplayer and tag mode extras, and it's a helluva deal.
nintendogs + cats
If you didn't like the original Nintendogs, then go ahead and pretend this is in the one-$ section. But if you did, then this is clearly one of the must-buys for the 3DS. The graphics are drastically improved, plus the new Street Pass functionality will make it a lot easier to meet other dogs and owners. (I will admit that not directly petting the animals on the touch screen is an odd disconnect, but it's certainly not a deal-breaker.)
Ridge Racer 3D
Well, it's Ridge Racer. And it's in 3D. And it looks gorgeous. What more do you need to know? If you like racing games, this is your best bet at launch. And maybe for a while after that, too!
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
It's really the only adventure game at launch, but it's okay because it's a LEGO game, and they're always super-addictive fun. The 3D doesn't add much since it's just a top-down perspective, but this was one of the few demos that I got annoyed with for timing out on me!
$$ (Worth it if you're a fan)
Wuhu Island looks better than it even does on the Wii, and flying planes, jet packs and hang gliders around in 3D looks spectacular, but with only two gameplay modes and no multiplayer, I'm not sure it'll have enough content. The final release could change my mind, though...
Dead Or Alive Dimensions
While I have to give SSFIV3D the slight edge here, that's not to say that DoA isn't also a fine fighter. It has graphics that are just as amazing, if less-stylized, and their own unique take on multiplayer. Plus, you can smash people through the multi-level stages!, and that's always fun!
Resident Evil: Mercenaries
If it was Revelations, I bet it would've gotten three $'s, but since this is just the Mercenaries missions as its own game, I'm less enthused. The graphics are spectacular, but I found it difficult to appreciate the 3D as I was constantly runing for my life.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
While sports games are admittedly not my thing, even I have to admit that the 3D view of the field helped gauging shots, and it was pretty fun to play the demo. Add an extra $ if you're a big soccer fan.
$ (Unless it's up your alley, wait for a sale)
It's a little more over-the-top cartoony than Ridge Racer, but while that might be fun, it just didn't feel as polished as Namco's title. Perhaps it was just an early build, but I didn't enjoy it as much.
I will admit that the periscope game is a lot of fun and uses the 3DS gyroscope in a unique way, but the sidescrolling sub game was so sluggish and boring. Sure, it might control as slow as a real submarine, but how is that fun?
Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
Yeah, the 3D effects caught my eye, but at its core, this is really just a budget-type game gussied up in three dimensions. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't amazing, either. In the bargain bin at the right price, it might be worth a try.
Sorry, but I really don't care for football. Maybe if it's your cup of tea, this is a great game. I couldn't say. I tried to play the demo, but since I had no idea what I was doing, I gave up and just talked to the PR guy about it instead. It looked good, but I can't say if it plays as well as it looks. So since I didn't technically play it, I didn't feel right rating this one at all.