Handheld gaming has evolved so much in my lifetime, but I still think fondly of the best Nintendo 3DS games in this list.
I see new GameBoy Emulator models and some of the best retro handhelds on the market hitting gaming headlines every week, but Nintendo still owns the handheld market, I’ve had every one of their consoles right from the original grey DMG, and I’m a true Nintendoid for life.
Finally playing in colour on the GBA was one thing and owning a pocket flip-up SP took things to the next level, but everything changed when the dual-screen DS came out. But did Nintendo stop there? Of course not; they did what I never thought was possible and made a screen look 3D without even having to wear glasses!
They made games come to life in a way that no handheld console had ever done before, bringing new dimensions to our favourite levels and bolstering playability by 100%!
It’s tough to pick my ultimate favourite games on this console, but if you held me at NES-Bazooka point and asked me to pick the Best Nintendo 3DS Games in my collection in no particular order, then I’d have to go with these.
15. Ever Oasis
First up on our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games is a classic that comes from the team that brought us Zelda. If that isn’t a tagline that draws you in, then nothing will!
Ever Oasis is an action RPG that is considered by many to be the unofficial sequel to the popular Mana series. While the gameplay and characters are more ‘toony’ than what we might expect from a Zelda title (apart from Windwaker), the gameplay is superb and the levels that you travel through are breathtaking.
Ever Oasis follows the story of a young Seedling named Tethu who must create an oasis with guidance from a water spirit. Teaming up with members of different tribes (some of which you can tell have been made by the team that made Zelda), you must create the perfect oasis by completing missions in dangerous locations.
Forage, solve puzzles, and fight your way through this exciting game. Materials and money will go a long way in helping you to achieve the perfect Oasis, if you can defeat the bad guys that stand in your way, that is.
Ever Oasis isn’t the world’s hardest game, but it is a great one for your collection.
14. Kid Icarus: Uprising
Some of you might have played as Pit in the Super Smash Bros. series. His 3DS adventure, the third instalment in this exciting franchise, is an absolute classic and went down a storm with critics across the globe.
Instead of messing around near the fiery sun, Pit, our very own Kid Icarus, is here to kick ass and take names. He’s on a mission from Palutena, the Goddess of Light to fight the forces of evil. Legendary names from Greek Mythology such as Medusa and Hades appear to throw you off course, creating a compelling story that compliments the crisp graphics and addictive gameplay.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is made up of two main modes of third-person play. You’ll switch between aerial-based rail shooter segments (think Sewer Shark but better and in the sky), and action down on the ground where you can roam around and explore.
The game has a single-player story mode as well as online and local multiplayer which was always fun to play. If you’re ever wondered about Pit’s back story when playing Super Smash Bros., then give this game a try and immerse yourself in some modified Greek mythology.
13. Super Smash Bros.
Speaking of Super Smash Bros., it’s time that Mario and the gang made an appearance in our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games!
If you’re familiar with the game franchise, then you’ll know all about how this crazy fighting title works. If not, then imagine a game where all your favourite Nintendo characters come together to use the special moves they are most known for in their respective worlds. It’s button-mashing madness right from the off, and it’s also one of the best franchises of all time.
Super Smash Bros. was released on the 3DS and Wii-U at the same time. The 3DS version differed from the home console in a few different ways, most notably by providing the ability to put a cell-shaded outline around each character to make them easier to spot on a small screen.
There are 58 characters available to play with from all your favourite games. The 3DS version includes an open-world fighting mode called Smash Run and a top-down, disc-based game called StreetSmash.
Despite the cool extras, the main mode is always going to be the best and the one that I still go back to again and again when I want to let off a bit of steam.
12. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
Majora’s Mask is an important game in the Hero of Time timeline and the impressive N64 sequel to the groundbreaking Ocarina of Time. Playing it in 3D on the 3DS made me love this game all over again, adding new depths to a game that I thought I knew inside out!
This 3D version came out 15 years after the original home console title dropped into our lives. Like other 3D games for the console, it features enhanced stereoscopic 3D graphics, turn and tilt gyroscopic features, and a host of touchscreen controls. Items and maps appear on the bottom screen. giving you access to your adventure equipment at all times.
If you’ve never played Majora’s Mask before, then here’s a little rundown of what it’s all about.
Link has three days to stop a pesky Skull Kid from coaxing the moon down from the sky and wiping out the land of Termina. Things only happen on certain days, and you have to move back and forward through time to complete the game. Travelling through time will also cause you to lose rupees (unless you bank them first).
Players will be able to use masks to turn into different characters or to complete certain tasks. It’s a must-have for anyone who loves in-game collecting and puzzles. That’s what Zelda titles are all about!
Well…that and fishing.
11. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Next up on our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games is one that fans of Animal Crossing: New Horizons might want to head back and check out. New Leaf is another incredible title in the Animal Crossing series, featuring all of your favourite talking animals and zany antics.
Unlike other titles in the series, you start New Leaf as the town’s mayor rather than as a prospective citizen. You’ve got to make your little town a better place for all of the residents to live in, so you better not screw up!
Animal Crossing is an incredibly popular life simulation game that has garnered a strong following around the world. Thanks to the Nintendo 3DS’ internal clock, the game actually follows lots of the same constraints that we experience in our own lives. Shops have certain opening times, actions have to be completed at specific points, and you’ll also play through the passing of day/night and seasons.
Playing as the town’s mayor opens up even more customisation options than ever before. You can use the Nintendo Network to check out other user’s town and compare your handiwork, or just play solo and enjoy imparting your own creative flair on your little world.
10. Luigi’s Mansion 2 – Dark Moon
Twelve years after the original Luigi’s Mansion came out on the GameCube, the next title in our best Nintendo 3DS games flew onto shelves and down digital download channels.
We all waited a long time for a sequel to Luigi’s first bone-chilling adventure, and in true Nintendo fashion, the long wait was totally worth it. Sucking up ghosts in glorious 3D is perfection, and having the map option available on the lower screen with
King Boo has been up to his usual tricks again (he is a king, after all) and has smashed the Dark Moon into pieces using a special gem in his crown. The ghosts of Evershade Valley, usually a joyous and happy lot, have turned hostile, forcing our favourite shrivelled Professor, the one and only E-Gadd, into hiding.
Gadd calls Luigi to sort things out with a brand new Poltergust 5000 and sends him into another terrifying adventure filled with ghost dogs, scary flowers, and dust-sucking action. Check it out if you’re planning on buying the new game for the Nintendo Switch this October.
9. Super Mario 3D Land
Described as a 3D Mario game that plays like a 2D one by Papa Nintendo himself, Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario 3D land is the perfect fix for anyone who wants to take part in portable-plumber action on the go.
It looks like Super Mario 64 but with all of the elements that we know and love from the SNES Mario Classics. It also tests out a few of the ideas that went on to feature in Super Mario Odyssey, but I’ll let you search for those when you give the game a try yourself.
This title in our list of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games might just have the most complicated plot-line of all time, but I’ll try to summarise it for you here.
Bowser steals lots of Super Leaves from a Tail Tree on Princess Peach’s land, giving all of his minions the ability to fly. Mario has to go and save Peach, and then he has to restore the tree and put everything back to normal. Then he notices Luigi has been captured, so he heads off to rescue him, and then has to go and rescue Peach all over again because she can’t stay un-captured for more than 10 minutes.
Honestly, Nintendo, I’ve seen Peach kick ass in Super Smash Bros. so I know she can fend for herself! The plot might be confusing, but the gameplay is jam-packed with classic Mario Bros action, and I can’t get enough of it!
8. Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart hardly needs an introduction on any platform, but it would be a pretty dull list if I just left this section blank and moved onto the next title!
Yes, folks, Mario Kart 7 is the next classic in our best Nintendo 3DS games. It’s a mighty superb racer that reverts back to the one-person rule of karting after the Mario Kart: Double Dash change on the GameCube.
Whether you like to play on the bus, in the park, or on the toilet, Mario Kart’s Grand Prix mode or VS races are short and snappy, and they’re perfect for a little bit of ‘it’s-a-mee’ time whenever you’re feeling a little stressed or tired out. I love the fact that Mario Kart takes zero skill to play and can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their age or gaming background.
I also like the fact that I can usually beat the people with no gaming background (you’ve got to take the small victories in life).
Mario Kart 7 sees the inclusion of new types of karts for the gang to use, along with some new power
The coins from Super Mario Kart have made a comeback, and two new features; hang-gliding and first-person-mode have also been introduced. Mario Kart 7 sold a whopping 18 million copies since its release in 2012, making it the best selling game on the console.
7. Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D
What could be better than being able to play the best Zelda game of all time while on the move? Playing it in 3D perhaps?
Yeah, that would do it alright!
I’ve played this game on the N64 and the GameCube more times than I can
Join Link on a quest to become the Hero Of Time and save Hyrule from the evil clutches of Ganondorf. Learn mystical songs that can change the fabric of time on the Ocarina Of Time, a gift bestowed upon Link by Princess Zelda of the Hyrule Royal Family, and unleash the hidden power of the Master Sword to bring peace to a dark and troubled land.
I’ve really skimmed over a lot of the other awesome stuff that happens in this game there, but if you’re reading an article about the Best Nintendo 3DS Game and don’t know anything about Ocarina Of Time, then there might be no hope for you.
If you’ve never played this game, then I suggest you leave this list immediately and go buy yourself a copy. It’s about £15 on the Nintendo online store which is cheap as chips for the best game of our generation!
6. Fire Emblem: Awakening
The next title on our list of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games is another Nintendo classic, this time with dual screen action. This tactical Role Playing Game might remind some other gamers of the Final Fantasy series, but Fire Emblem has been going for just as long and has an impressive number of titles in its back catalogue.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the thirteenth game in the series and is set 2000 years after the first-ever game. Players take part in turn-based combat and interact with other characters to improve abilities along the way, with additional cut scenes to help narrate the game’s epic quest.
Fire Emblem: Awakening follows the Prince of Ylisse, Chrom, and his personal ‘Shepherd army’. They take it upon themselves to rescue you, the
As you regain a sense of who you are, you help the Prince and his army battle zombie-style monsters and protect Ylisse from the neighbouring nations that want to see its demise. If turn-based RPG’s are your bag, then it might interest you to know that Fire Emblem: Awakening has been considered one of the best of all time by critics. If that doesn’t convince you to give it a go, then I don’t know what will!
5. Metroid: Samus Returns
We can’t get enough of Samus Aran at the minute, and rightly so! How many space warriors do you know that can wield a plasma cannon and swing across ravines using a grappling hook.
There’s only one, and she can also morph into a tiny ball and drop bombs while she’s at it.
Yes, Samus is back to rock our worlds in Metroid: Samus Returns, the next title on our list of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games on the planet. Samus Returns is a newly updated version of Metroid II – Return of Samus, with new features, colour graphics, and some sweet split-screen action which makes following maps much easier.
Samus Returns also features some of the attacks and abilities that we’ve come to love from Samus’ later titles; the grappling hook, super missiles, and bombs are all available for you to use as Samus makes her way around creepy space levels destroying hostile aliens and looking cooler than an ice cube in a cyber-age tray.
Those Metroid jelly brains don’t stand a chance against Samus’ plasma gun, and that Ridley creep better watch his back too! If none of this makes any sense and you’re wondering what the hell I’m on about, just go and download a copy of the game and give it a try out for yourself; I don’t want to spoil the magic!
4. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Say what you will about Professor Layton and his incredibly large top hat, this game is a slice of Sherlock Holmes-style crime-solving brilliance, and it helps to keep your little grey cells in check too!
Professor Layton games are as addictive as they are puzzling (see what I did there), and they keep you coming back for more and more every time. Like Mario Kart 7, this is another one that you can play on the bus or the potty, keeping you entertained while performing some of life’s more mundane tasks.
Professor Layton games follow a ‘whodunit’ approach, sending the player on a mission to solve puzzles and find clues as to who committed the crime. You can use the bottom touch screen to move a magnifying glass around your surroundings, searching for hidden secrets and conversing with characters along the way, all in glorious 3D.
I’ve played a few of these Professor Layton games, but The Miracle Mask is by far my favourite one. The storyline is just like a lost Arthur Conan-Doyle novel, and the gameplay is brain-ticklingly good. Give it a try if you like your games with a side of thought-provoking mystery.
3. Pokemon Sun & Moon
No list of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games would be complete without a Pokemon combo, which is exactly why I’ve added Pokemon Sun and Moon into the mix.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve played every game since Red and Blue were first released on the GameBoy or whether you’re jumping into the series without ever having captured a pocket monster before, Sun and Moon are easy to pick up and full of enchanting little critters that will soon have you hooked.
The 3DS versions have a slightly different format to the original black and white days, following a series of trials where you learn about your Pokemon, your skills, and the wider world, as opposed to travelling between gyms and then getting your arse kicked by MewTwo over and over again.
You might recognise some of the characters from the Super Smash Bros. Wii U game or from your continuous travels through the internet, or they might all be completely new to you. I still can’t get my head around how many Pokemon there actually are these days.
All I know is the storyline in Sun and Moon is just as gripping as Red and Blue, and coming from someone who used to sneak his GameBoy everywhere with him just to be able to blast through Cerulean City on his bike, that’s saying something! Give it a try, and then why not revisit all of the other classic games on the previous Nintendo consoles that you might have missed along the way!
2. Kirby: Planet Robobot
Save the world from mechanised doom! This Kirby game could well be one of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games ever made, and it’s definitely my favourite in the Kirby series.
Our pink floating friend is back again, and this time he’s trying to defeat robots from outer space. Stealing abilities from other characters and enemies will never get old; heck, it’s part of the reason why Kirby games are so damn fun!
Planet Robobot sees you able to use some brand new moves too such as poison, scientist, and a brand new ESP move that looks a little like the power ball that NES used in Smash Brothers for the N64.
When things get tough, Kirby can jump into a giant mechanical robot and bash his way through steel walls and any other objects that stand in his way. Float and fight through rich and colourful worlds where the attention to the background detail might end up distracting you from your mission.
This is a relatively new game to the Nintendo 3DS, but it’s still an instant classic that you should definitely add to your collection. Critics praised the games graphics, soundtrack, and overall gameplay very highly. I would too if Kirby was promising to save us all from an evil race of space robots! Go on kid; give
1. Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I know I probably threw you all by putting a Zelda title up near the top of the article, but I’m finishing off our list of the Best Nintendo 3DS Games with another cracking Hyrule adventure that more than holds its own with the other games in the series.
A Link Between Worlds combines top-viewing Zelda action with 3D worlds crammed with stunning scenery and the same puzzle-solving action that we’ve come to know and love. And if you read our Links Awakening Review for the Switch and loved the game, then you’re bound to enjoy A Link Between Worlds. The added bonus of being able to move between worlds through paintings is also pretty handy, but I’ll get onto the how and why in the next section.
Everyone’s favourite green-garbed hero (sorry Luigi) is back to save the day once again, this time by defeating an evil magician named Yuga. In some sort of mishap, Yuga gives Link the ability to go all ‘Flat Stanley’ and blend into solid walls like a moving Harry Potter style painting.
This new ability must be used to combat new enemies and to solve brand new puzzles in both Hyrule and the kingdom of Lorule which, as it might sound, is a kind of ‘Upside Down’ world where everything is dark and foreboding.
To cut a long story short; it’s a Zelda title, which means it’s a hit from start to finish and playable over and over again without getting boring. What more do you need to know!