The brass at Nintendo may have been a bit slow to add demos to the 3DS eShop, but they've done their best to pick up the pace over the last few weeks.
Being the sucker that I am for free stuff (even when that free stuff constitutes just a small portion of a game and can only be played a limited number of times), I downloaded a number of said demos recently and gave them the old college try. My thoughts on each of these bite-sized experiences are below.
Heroes of Ruin--I'm sure this admission will cause some of you to get the vapors, but it can't be helped: I knew next to nothing about this Square Enix-published title before acquiring this demo. As such, you could say my expectations were about as low as you can get. Did that help me enjoy this bit o' Heroes of Ruin more than I may have otherwise? I'm can't say, unfortunately. What I can say is that the game looks nice enough--or at least nicer than I thought it would. Also, I like that you can customize your characters to a fairly high degree. That said, I didn't find the gameplay all that captivating and I doubt I'll be adding this title to my overly long 3DS wish list.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance--Full disclosure: Before I played through this demo, I'd never before played a Kingdom Hearts game. I've always thought this series looked nice, but the seeimingly one-dimensional gameplay just didn't appeal to me. Still, I thought I should try this demo, as it would give me a chance to see if these games are more or less superficial (for lack of a better word) than I've long imagined them to be. The verdict, after spending a good bit of time with its demo: Dream Drop Distance actually seems to be a deeper experience than I expected it be. Running around Traverse Town was a thrill, as was battling the title's rather whimsically designed baddies. I'd be lying if I said I was now planning on buying this entry in the Kingdom Hearts series, but I may pick up the original release sometime soon and progress from there should I dig it.
Order Up!!--I've expressed my love of the Wii version of this game (called Order Up!--please note that it has just one exclamation point while the 3DS release has two), so it shouldn't be surprising to hear that I've been chomping at the bit to play this particular demo. How does this "enhanced port" compare to the original? I'd say pretty well, based on the demo. Controlling the action via the touch screen rather than with a Wii remote is off-putting at first, but it becomes quite a bit more appealing over time. That said, I have a feeling at this point that the demo hurt rather than helped this game's chances of being bought by yours truly, as it prompted me to realize that I'm pretty content with the Wii version. Folks who passed on the Wii version and have no interest in tracking it down, though, should give this a try, in my opinion.
Rayman Origins--So many people have gushed over the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii versions of this game since they were released in late 2011 that I was more curious about this demo than any of the others mentioned in post. (Well, except for maybe the one below.) Now that I've played a smidge of this portable iteration of Rayman Origins, I can see why everyone was so gush-y. Not only is the game absolutely gorgeous, but it's a joy to play, too. My only qualm with this demo is that it's difficult to enjoy and appreciate the aforementioned graphics on such a small screen. As such, should I decide to add Rayman Origins to my collection--and believe me when I say I'm seriously considering it--I'll likely buy either the Wii or the Xbox 360 version so I can experience its wonders on my flatscreen TV.
Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure--This Sega-made rhythm game has been on my radar since it was revealed around this time last year. Given that, and given my oft-avowed love of the genre, to say I was eager to give it a go would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. Amazingly, this demo not only lived up to my lofty expectations but surpassed them. My favorite of the three mini-games made available here is the first one, "Showtime," which calls to mind another of Sega's music-focused titles, Space Channel 5, although the other two are also a blast. All of them are admirably dynamic and cover the gamut when it comes to gameplay styles (the first has you slide the stylus in various directions, the second has you hit tap the touch screen and the third has you use the 3DS' d-pad and face buttons).
All things considered, the Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure demo impressed me the most. Not only that, but it actually pushed me to pick up a copy of the game (which I'm hoping will arrive on my doorstep shortly). I'm also thinking of buying Order Up!!, although I probably won't do so for a few months (if at all). Surprisingly, I'd be more likely to grab it if were available at retail as well as on the eShop. (What can I say? I like owning physical copies of games.)
Anyway, I'm guessing some of you have tried these demos, too. If so, what did you think about them? And did any of them get you to buy the full version of the game?