I did! I noodled around with some of the recommendations; the tower defence games stuck the longest, but weren’t quite scratching the itch. I actually ended up digging out the 3DS as I remembered I had a box of unplayed games and figured the hardware sort of auto-enforces a bunch of the filters I had.
The screen is too small to display a huge amount of text or support the sort of UI required for an extremely systems-intensive game. The battery life puts a limit on the sort of play-session length developers can anticipate. And the control scheme obviates a lot of the more intense, mechanically challenging games (although I’ll never understand how Monster Hunter could have sold as many copies as it did on the system).
So I’m playing lots of dungeon crawlers and SRPGs, and I’ve wishlisted a few more on Steam and the Switch. Automapping dungeon levels is just satisfying in a way it has no right to be - it’s a very easy sense of accomplishment, the classic ‘tidy-up game’ as I believe Jim Rossignol used to call it. It somehow feels more honest than the way linear JRPGs put a bunch of fights between you and the next cutscene, even if in practise it amounts to the same thing but with less ‘reward’. Hard to describe exactly what I’m getting at here.
Another gem I’ve discovered has been Camelot’s Mario sports RPGs. They have such a gentle, Hogswart-esque fantasy of being a kid who enrols at a tennis/golf academy and gets to tear around campus challenging other students, playing tournaments and rising through the classes. Battles are replaced with matches and your character stats improve things like your drive distance or your drop shot. It’s honestly kind of amazing to the point where I wonder why more developers haven’t stolen the idea.