As of September 2011 the 3DS is slowly gaining traction due to the recent price cut.  The problem still is of course: there aren’t too many great games to play, especially if you’re not looking for standard Nintendo-fare like Zelda or Star Fox.  For better or for worse, 3DS owners finally have themselves a ‘console caliber’ action game in the way of the Nintendo Wii port of Thor: God of Thunder.  Derivative to a fault – and lacking any kind of subtlety showing it – Thor: God of Wa -err.. Thunder is a semi-appetizing bone thrown to game-starved 3DS gamers.

T:GoT is an exact port of the Wii game of the same name released last march – albeit with 3D and some downgraded graphics.  Though a tie-in with the namesake Marvel film released over the summer, T:GoT has its own plot that has nothing to do with the film.  Told through an admittedly cool animated comic style it’s unfortunate that everything is entirely forgettable; sufficed to say, Thor lets his hatred for the frost giants snowball one fight into a all out war that affects his world of Asgard and several others, all the while sounding so much a block-head that it makes Kratos look like a poindexter in comparison.   Expect to be confused if you aren’t a fan of the comic book series or have seen the film.

If you’ve ever wanted to play God of War on a Nintendo handheld… then you should buy a psp. T:GoT tries to emulate the style of GoW in every which way – some of it works, though most unfortunately doesn’t.  The face buttons are mapped to weak and strong attacks, jump, and a hammer dash in which Thor lunges forward with his hammer extended.  L trigger blocks and R trigger revs up your hammer to be thrown.  Other special attacks can be performed through the combination of trigger and button presses.

The formula is simple: charge anything you see and hammer the attack buttons (and sometimes block!) till they are dead and you can move on. To break up the fighting, T:GoT includes some on-rails flying sequences that can be somewhat fun and do well change up game-play for a few minutes; think along the lines of Panzer Dragoon or Sin and Punishment.

Throughout the game Thor will unlock new special powers that consume his energy bar when performed.  These are activated through the bottom touch screen.  Some of attacks are pretty awesome, such as the lightning storm that damages all nearby enemies; others, like the maneuverable lightning bolt are awkward to use due to having to continuously press down on the touch screen while aiming with the slide-pad.

As Thor receives upgrade tokens for racking up kills, you can spend them to improve your health and energy bars, damage output, and add additional combos and special attacks. Throughout the short adventure you can also find equipable runes that augment Thor’s already formidable abilities.  Unlock-able costumes can further customize Thor and are fairly easy to find in the very straight forward and linear levels.  The upgrades and collectable runes can be allot of fun to purchase and find, yet the very easy nature of the game makes them somewhat unnecessary in all but the highest difficulty.

The mid and end level boss-fights are the only things with any semblance of a challenge; both rely on a mixture of normal fighting and timed button press mini-games.  While the gigantic end level bosses can be pretty satisfying to take on the smaller mid-level ones are all essentially the same and just become repetitive fairly quickly.

The graphics weren’t anything spectacular on the Wii and things on the 3DS are no different. To compensate for the weaker hardware the developers understandably had to cut back on the particle effects and remove all of the shadows.  What isn’t understandable is the overall lack of polish on the graphics, including clipping and frame-rate issues that plague the title throughout. Thor’s feet frequently blend with the environment and it’s common to see him standing knee deep in a piece of concrete.  These issues don’t affect the playability of the game much but do make it look quite sloppy at times. That said some of the large environments can be fairly impressive.

The 3D itself is adequately implemented, if not a bit on the underwhelming.  Even with the 3D set to maximum, the depth isn’t all that great, although objects do pop out on occasion.

If you’re starving for an action game to play on your 3DS then T:GoT may be worth checking out as it can be fun and entertaining at times – especially during boss fights; just don’t look for God of War quality here, the technical issues and uninspired game-play hold this 5-6 hour romp back from giving 3DS owners a great handheld action experience.

+ Some badass looking attack combos

+ Large environments

+ Entertaining on rails flying sequences.

– Graphical glitches and frame-rate issues

– Repetitive and unoriginal game-play

–  Forgettable story