As part of our celebration of the best games of 2015, we want to celebrate those games that may not have pierced our borders but are wonderful anyway. So here they are: the best import games of the year!
Our methodology: games are eligible if they either (1) released first in 2015 or (2) released first in English in 2015, and are disqualified if they’re released or announced for release in North America. After all: if it’s already releasing here, you don’t need to import it!
5. IA/VT Colorful
You have to give IA/VT Colorful credit. The game’s got guts. After all, Hatsune Miku’s pretty much cornered the Vocaloid music market. But IA/VT Colorful tries some new ideas, has some pleasant music and tries to challenge players with Step Up’s missions. It wasn’t the best music game released this year, but it was quite good. – Jenni
4. Inazuma Eleven Go: Chrono Stones
The two latest Inazuma releases, Wildfire and Thunderflash, represent the continued European support for the franchise, and if you’re capable of playing PAL 3DS titles, you can enjoy that too. These games are fun RPGs even if you don’t like soccer, with all the charm and depth that you’d expect from Level-5. If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned to the site early next year; plans are brewing. – Graham
3. Theatrhythm Dragon Quest
Indieszero built a full-featured, impressive engine for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, and it gets some extra mileage in its Dragon Quest sibling. It still feels like Dragon Quest, though, with reworked interfaces, special side modes and an extra dash of whimsy. What’s most important, though, are the songs themselves, and the range of tone in this franchise makes it just more fun to play, avoiding Final Fantasy‘s all-too-often tendency toward stilted seriousness. – Graham
2. Picross 3D 2
Oh that pretty pretty Picross. Hal Laboratory’s Picross 3D 2 has always attempted to add a little more depth to nonograms, and this entry is as successful as the last. The inclusion of angled, yellow blocks puts a little extra thought and detail into each puzzle and unlocking additional puzzles is based on player performance. There are even amiibo puzzles, which are fantastic! I knew it would be worth investing those Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight figures were worth it! – Jenni
Best+ Import Game of 2015: Rhythm Heaven: The Best+
There’s very little to say about Rhythm Heaven that hasn’t already been said, and to a degree, that’s because The Best+ sports many challenges from previous installments. Even with the recycled elements, though, it presents the best possible version: one controlled by buttons, on a system with no lag issues and always in your pocket for some quick fun. I earnestly hope that the game will find its way to the West so more can play, but for now, it’s so text-light and accessible that importers won’t be sacrificing enjoyment through language barrier issues. – Graham