Ranking The Greatest Nintendo 3DS Zelda Games For Portable Hyrule Action

Two Zelda games held by different members of the team

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Grab your green hat and count up your rupees as we check out the best 3DS Zelda games of all time!

The 3DS plays host to 10 of Link’s adventures past and present, and some have even received the 3D treatment to bring us even further into his world.

I know that the 3DS might have been discontinued now as I write this, but that doesn’t mean that some of the best Zelda games can’t be still enjoyed on this epic handheld at home or on the go.

Relive old classics and step into new quests with your friends right beside you. Give your 3DS a reason to stay charged and free of dust and snag the best Zelda games on the console today!

NB – The Nintendo eShop closed its doors on March 27th 2023. Readers viewing this article after this date will no longer be able to purchase software from the Nintendo eShop.

1. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D (2011)

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D game case cover art

Anyone that knows me knows that this game was always going to top our list of the best 3DS Zelda games of all time.

Seeing the Spiritual Stones popping out of the top of the screen in 3D mode still makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s almost as though you could just reach out and touch them!

The story of Ocarina of Time is, unsurprisingly, timeless, and before the game was available on the Nintendo Switch, playing this title on the 3DS with a smoother look and feel felt like Christmas every single day.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Until BotW dropped back in 2017, this was my favourite ever Zelda game, and in terms of old-school style Zelda gameplay, it still is.

The characters never get old, the story is sublime, and the concept of using Young and Adult link still blows me away. I remember the first time that I saw Adult Link picking up the Master Sword and felt like an absolute boss.

If you have a 3DS, then I urge you to try this game and get stuck into the 3D gameplay, if even just for a little bit. When you see Link battling back Ganondorf with those sweet, sweet 3D graphics, your life will never be the same again.

I might have oversold that a little bit, but it’s certainly the best Zelda 3DS game of all time!

2. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013)

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds game case held by Theo

A Link Between Worlds is a 3DS institution. Not only is it one of the greatest 3DS games of all time, but it’s rocketed straight into our list of the top Zelda titles too, which is not bad for such a new entry into the series.

One of the things I love the most about this game is that all of the items are available to you from the beginning. It’s a nice new feature that mixes things up a little bit and allows you to get stuck into the dungeons fully from the start.

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Travelling between Hyrule and Lorule is a really sweet gimmick too. And, finding little cracks to go ‘full on Flat Stanley’ through is always super fun. Lorule is a little like The Upside Down in Stranger Things. It’s not a nice place to be, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you if you want to stop all the evil entities that Yuga throws at you.

Wield Link’s famous bow, use the hook shot, and pound switches with a mighty hammer. For me, this is a nice nod to the old-school Zelda format with some slick new graphics akin to the Switch version of Link’s Awakening. In other words, you need this game in your collection!

3. The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons (2013)

Oracle of seasons game case
Credit: Nintendo

The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of SeasonsĀ is up next! I’m all into Zelda puzzles, but you just can’t beat some fast-paced action. That’s why Seasons wins over Ages in my humble opinion.

Ages feels a little more calculated, whereas Seasons keeps me on the edge of my seat. Or at least slightly tense while leaning back on my pillow.

The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

In terms of gameplay and mechanics, Ages and Seasons are incredibly similar. In fact, you need to play them both to get the full storyline.

The warmth in these levels also feels nicer to play through than the dusky tones of Ages. Admittedly, it’s all about personal preference but Seasons wins my vote every single time.

4. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (2013)

A link to the past game case
Credit: NINtendo

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past will always be one of the best SNES games of all time, and the GBA cart comes with both the original adventure and the Four Swords multiplayer extravaganza.

If you enjoyed Tri Force Heroes and want to add an extra player to the party, then this is a nostalgic blast from the past that should definitely be on your DS! Plus with richer graphics and the ability to play without one of those annoying worm lights needed on the original GBA, it makes gameplay much more fun.

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past gameplay 3DS
Credit: NINtendo

If you’ve read Hyrule Historia cover to cover like me, then you’ll already know that this game is the first in the branch of the ‘Hero is Defeated’ segment of the timeline.

Ganon has managed to get all of the pieces of the Triforce and now it’s Link’s job to make sure that the Sacred Realm doesn’t turn into the Dark Realm forever more. He’s already been defeated, can’t he get a break for crying out loud?

5. The Legend Of Zelda (2013)

The legend of zelda game case
Credit: Nintendo

Of course, we’ve got to include the epic first The Legend of Zelda game in this list of the best Zelda games on Ninty’s 3D handheld.

Back in 2013, playing this game on the 3DS felt like the ultimate nostalgia kick. Ok, it didn’t make anything extra 3D or pop out like Ocarina of Time 3D does, but it’s nice to have the first adventure along with all the other epic Zelda games on this list.

The Legend Of Zelda on 3DS gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

I still can’t believe that Zelda, Ganon, Link, and the rest of the motley crew have been around since 1986. I bet Nintendo never even thought there would be a 3D-graphics-producing handheld back then!

If you’ve missed out buying this game on the Nintendo eShop, then consider getting a NES HDMI cable to pimp your NES ready for your new 4K TVs and modern monitors!

6. The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages (2013)

The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages is part of the Oracle duo of games, partnering with Oracle of Seasons.

While Seasons is set in the warmth of the afternoon, Ages has more of a dusky vibe to it, playing with the blue game case cover. And also, giving the GBC a chance to show off a a nice background that we just would never have dreamt of on the DMG.

The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

The general rule of thumb when playing these games is to play Oracle of Seasons first and then to go onto Ages. The idea is to play both together, however, with both games joining together to make a full story.

Ages is more puzzle-orientated, and while I normally love the puzzles in Zelda, I’m also a big fan of skirmishes with enemies, and you get much more of that in Seasons. Can you stop the Sorceress of Shadows from destroying the world of Labrynna? Join up with Oracle of Seasons to use passwords for item upgrading and much more!

7. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (2015)

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D game art 3DS

The very first time I played Majora’s Mask 3D on my 3DS, I fell back in love with this game again. I think it’s safe to say that initially, I wasn’t too much of a fan of this game back on the N64. The time pressure system just wasn’t something I sat well with; it’s also the reason that I’m not a huge fan of the first Pikmin game.

But, the mask mechanic and interacting with all the NPCs in the world really do make for great gameplay. And all that collecting is worth it for getting the epic Fierce Deity mask at the very end.

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3DS
Credit: Nintendo

Instead of fighting Ganondorf, players are trying to stop the havoc being caused by a pesky Skull Kid. After stealing Majora’s Mask from the Happy Mask salesman, he goes on a rampage and decides to bring the moon crashing down on the world.

Your job is to move back and forth through a 3-day period in order to prevent the end of the world, and while it can get a little tedious, the dungeons and quests are more than worth persevering with this game for.

8. Hyrule Warriors Legends (2014)

Hyrule Warriors legends game box
Credit: Nintendo

Playing Hyrule Warriors Legends in 3D with characters popping out of your screen makes the concept of this game even more bonkers!

And, if you loved the Wii U version of the game but found yourself wishing that it had more Wind Waker action, then have I got some exciting news for you. I know it’s a really niche thought to have, but some of you might have had it!

Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Getting the chance to play as Toon Link, Tetra, and King Daphnes makes for some incredible gameplay.

Plus, hack-and-slash gameplay on the go is the perfect way to wind down and relax on an evening. Just make sure you don’t slam your DS closed too hard when you get killed for the umpteenth time or you might smash it!

9. The Legend Of Zelda: Triforce Heroes (2015)

Tri force heroes game case
Credit: Nintendo

The Legend Of Zelda: Triforce Heroes is up next, a game that fans of Four Swords will definitely love. Based on the three elemental powers of the Goddesses that forged the Triforce, players take a red, blue, and green Link around in a 3-player cooperative game.

It’s top-down Zelda Gameplay at its best, with cool new features such as making a Link totem pole to reach new areas… but admittedly the game is better when played with two other people.

The Legend Of Zelda: Triforce Heroes 3DS gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Working with your mates just makes Tri Force Heroes more fun. You can play solo, but changing between the different characters does become a chore at times.

That being said, your friends will share the heart meter with you, so only pick players who know how to handle a sword. And if any players do stop pulling their own weight, then you can challenge them in the colosseum mode to see who is the ultimate swordsmith!

10. Zelda II: Adventure Of Link (2013)

Zelda 2 the adventure of link game case
Credit: Nintendo

So, I’m going to end this list off on a bit of a low; Adventure of Link isn’t my favourite game in the canon by any stretch of the imagination. The side-scrolling Gameplay just feels very strange, and while it’s a fun element of A Link Between Worlds, this game feels more like a Castlevania title than a Zelda title.

And, the main reason this game takes the last spot is because of how rock-hard it is! Honestly, it’s a one-stop death shop from the very beginning.

Zelda II: Adventure Of Link gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

If you lose hearts in this game and die, then you have to start again all over from the beginning. There’s no password system – dead is dead, and you’ve got to go through all your progress again!

Dark Link isn’t exactly an easy boss to fight either, and he has a habit of culling your hearts faster than my dad emptying bowls at a pasta-eating competition.

It’s not my favourite Zelda game, but it does have its merits. For one thing, it’s the only Zelda sequel in the series. Every other game is stand alone or, in the case of Seasons and Ages, serves as a dual-story piece.

Despite my thoughts on Adventure of Link, it still has a loyal following of fans. For me, it just doesn’t have that Zelda feel, and that’s why it’s sitting up here in 10th place.

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