3D Fantasy Zone continues the trend of absolutely stellar 3DS titles from Sega and M2. You don’t even have to scroll down to see that I’m giving this game an A. It’s everything you want from a 3D Classic title; a solid port with improvements and extras that bring you back for more. That said, this one isn’t for everyone, and that is no fault at all of the port.
Fantasy Zone is a classic cute’em up in the style of Defender. In this title, you play as Opa-Opa and shoot everything in sight. Collect coins, dodge bullets, and shoot some more; this is hardly the most complicated of the 3D Classics. That said, the dodging part is more difficult than it sounds. In fact, this title has an enormious difficultly curve to get over, which is one of the main reasons I would not recommend this game to just anyone. While the rest of the 3D Classics have had a way of taking the sting out of retro difficulty – Super Dolphin Mode comes to mind – 3D Fantasy Zone offers only a small amount of help.
For some basics, you can adjust the number of lives, the difficultly, and increase the rate of your rapid fire, which are essential for beginners. You can also “bank coins,” which is the big feature of this 3D Classic. As you play the game, you collect coins, and if you lose your lives, those coins are saved for your next run. This method of coin banking can help you have a ton of coins to spend early on power ups to dominate early levels; however, this method will only make power ups more expensive in later levels. Smart strategy suggests playing the first half of the game using the default weapons.
Beat the game and you’ll unlock Upa-Upa mode, which takes advantage of the dual screens by placing the weapons on the bottom screen. Instead of buying weapons, simply tap the weapon which will then use your coins as your ammo. If you can’t tell, this mode is substantially more challenging; there’s good reason you have to beat the game first to play it.
Make no mistake, M2 crafted a wonderful port that will easily be loved by long time fans of the series. I can definitely call it my favorite version, and it’s refreshing to be able to launch the game any time at all instead of having to plug in my Master System or Japanese region Saturn. That said, I can really only recommend it to those who want to dig into that classic retro challenge. Any who don’t want a cute and frantic reflexes test should stick to Super Dolphin Mode.