Listing The 30 Greatest Nintendo 3DS Games For Screen-Popping Action

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The 3DS might have been retired to the great games room in the sky, but that doesn’t mean that the best Nintendo 3DS games of all time can’t still be enjoyed on a regular basis!

Nintendo has always dominated the handheld market UNQUESTIONABLY from giving us colour with the GBC or going clam-shell with the SP, eventually creating a handheld with dual screens, and allowing us to live in a world where we’ve got 3D graphics without 3D glasses.

They’ve been one step ahead all this time, undeniably!

Picking my favourite games for the console is tricky, however. With 1,891 titles out there, whittling it down to just a handful of games is no easy task.

Still, we’re more than up to the job, and after careful consideration and a lot of gaming, I’ve finally got there.

Simply The Best
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
10

A truly unique RPG that is still one of the best Zelda games ever made.

A Superb Pokemon Game
Pokemon Sun
9.5

A large Pokemon game that will keep you entertained for months.

A Perfect Racer
Mario Kart 7
9.5

The best racing game on the Nintendo 3DS, it’s close to flawless.

1. Pokemon Sun & Moon (2016)

Pokemon Sun game case cover art

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve played every game since Red and Blue were first released on the Game Boy 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.

Pokemon Sun gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

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

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS

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.

A Link Between Worlds Gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

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!

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

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time game case cover art

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 count. Still, walking through Kokiri Forest with 3D mode on made this not only one of the Best 3DS Games in my collection but one of the best games on any console that I’ve ever played.

I didn’t think that it would be possible to fall in love with Ocarina Of Time all over again, but the 3DS made that completely possible by giving a new lease of life to a game that I thought couldn’t be improved on.

Link fighting Ganondorf Ocarina of Time Gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

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 this 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!

4. Mario Kart 7 (2011)

Mario Kart 7 3DS game case cover art

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 article. 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 3DS gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Mario Kart 7 sees the inclusion of new types of karts for the gang to use, along with some new powerups to spice races up a little bit. Use the Lucky 7 to get 7 different items at once if you’re far behind, take a Super Leaf to flip over other players, and shoot fireballs at opponents ahead or behind.

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.

5. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (2013)

Donkey Kong Country 3D Nintendo 3DS gameplay

What could make Donkey Kong Country Returns even better? How about creating Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, a reworked version with a brand new mode and 3D gameplay.

Donkey Kong games have always been close to my heart over the years. Ever since the first game for the SNES (you know, the one with the pre-rendered graphics that Shigeru Miyamoto hated), DK and his simian superstar family have gone from strength to strength.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D gameplay
CREDIT: NINTENDO

DKCR3D is jam-packed full of barrel blowing, jungle vine swinging, Rambi the rhino riding action.

And the 3DS brings a whole new lease of life to already textured and visually interesting backgrounds.

So, this new mode, aptly titled ‘new mode’ – what does it do?

Well, it makes the game easier if you’re struggling, a little like the mode on Yoshi’s Wooly World where you have wings to stop you falling down gaps.

There’s also a new world that becomes unlocked when you’ve completed the game!

6. Super Mario 3D Land (2011)

Super Mario 3D Land Nintendo 3ds game case cover art

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.

Super Mario 3D Land gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

This title 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!

7. Luigi’s Mansion 2 – Dark Moon (2013)

Luigi's Mansion 2 Dark Moon game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

Twelve years after the original Luigi’s Mansion came out on the GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion 2 – Dark Moon 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 other touch-screen functions really enhances the player experience as you head through the different levels.

Luigi's Mansion 2 Dark Moon Gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

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.

8. Pokemon X & Y (2013)

Pokemon X game case cover art Nintendo 3DS

Pokemon X & Y marks a pivotal moment as being the first Pokemon games to use 3D rendering. It’s a style more akin to what we’re used to with the newer games such as Sword and Shield.

While the formula is basically the same as the other Pokemon games we’ve covered over the years, X & Y also brought customising the player character to the table. Users could finally give their guy or girl a new look with new duds from time to time.

Pokemon X gameplay 3DS
Credit: NINTENDO

Catching and logging Pokemon still happens in exactly the same way. The battles, however, are a whole new story.

Who fancies a horde or a sky battle? Horde battles are where players fight more than one critter at once, and sky battles are pretty self-explanatory.

Mega Evolve your Pokemon, catch tonnes of new characters, and bond with your Pokemon like never before. X & Y changed the game mechanics so much and brought so many first to the table that we just take for granted now!

9. Super Smash Bros For Nintendo 3DS (2014)

Super Smash Bros For Nintendo 3DS game case cover art

Speaking of Super Smash Bros., it’s time that Mario and the gang made an appearance.

If you’re familiar with the game franchise, then you’ll know all about how Super Smash Bros For Nintendo 3DS 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 for 3DS gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

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.

10. Kirby: Planet Robobot (2016)

Kirby Planet Robobot game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

Save the world from mechanised doom! This Kirby game could well be one of the best, 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!

Kirby: 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.

Kirby in a giant robot with a character made out of ice cream next to him
Credit: Nintendo

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 game’s 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 ’em hell!

11. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (2011)

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask game case cover art
Credit: NINTENDO

Say what you will about Professor Layton and his incredibly large top hat, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask 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 and the Miracle Mask gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

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.

12. Metroid: Samus Returns (2017)

Metroid: samus returns game case cover art
Credit: NINTENDO

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.

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.

Metroid, Samus Returns Gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

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 tryout for yourself; I don’t want to spoil the magic!

13. Fire Emblem: Awakening (2012)

Fire Emblem Awakening game case cover art
Credit: NINTENDO

The next title on our list 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 gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

Fire Emblem: Awakening follows the Prince of Ylisse, Chrom, and his personal ‘Shepherd army’. They take it upon themselves to rescue you, the player, and help you recover from a nasty bout of amnesia.

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 RPGs 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!

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

The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask 3d game case cover art Nintendo 3DS

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!

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 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.

Link standing in Clock town with a dog behind him
Credit: NINTENDO

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.

15. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2012)

Animal Crossing New Leaf game case cover art

Next is one that fans of Animal Crossing: New Horizons might want to head back and check out. Animal Crossing: 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 New Leaf gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

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 towns and compare your handiwork, or just play solo and enjoy imparting your own creative flair on your little world.

16. Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon (2017)

Pokemon Ultra Sun game case cover art

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are up next, giving players a chance to get up close and personal with Necrozma’s two newest forms!

In these two updated variants of Sun and Moon, players must discover all they can about two new exciting Pokemon – Dusk Mane Necrozma from Ultra Sun and Dawn Wings Necrozma from Ultra Moon.

And yeah, it’s just as good as you’re imagining!

Pokemon Ultra Sun gameplay
Credit: NINTENDO

Step back into the Alola region and encounter two new legendaries who are both trying to rule the roost.

As always, these new updated variants of the Pokemon series (ala Yellow, Crystal, Emerald etc) follow the same basic principles as the previous iteration with a few new tricks up their sleeves.

Putting new Pokemon in a game that’s basically the same as the last shouldn’t be enough to make us part with our hard-earned cash, but it works every time!

I’m being unfair; there are new places to discover and the enemies provide more of a challenge. Both games are worth a shot, I just prefer the other titles listed further down this list!

17. Star Fox 64 3D (2011)

Star Fox 64 3D game case cover art Nintendo 3DS

Let’s carry on this list with Star Fox 64 3D, a game that doesn’t really need any introductions. If you’re into your N64 games (which should be all of you, let’s face it), then you’ll already know how amazing Star Fox is.

Essentially, it’s the same game on the 3DS, with 3D gameplay and bombs popping out of your screen as you loop-the-loop and take down Andros’ forces.

And if you didn’t get the from the intro, then there really is no helping you.

If you’ve played the original game on the N64, then you’ll already recognise all the levels, power-ups, and characters.

Star Fox 64 3D gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

I said essentially the same game; there are a few new features such as a scoring mode where you can beat your previous score on your last level and a camera function where you can see your actual friends while playing multiplayer.

You can see their faces when you blast them out of the sky and laugh at how annoyed they are.

18. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (2013)

Mario & Luigi Dream Team game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

The Mario & Luigi RPG series never fails to put a smile on our faces, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a credit to the canon.

We all love the comedic mishaps of our favourite Italian brothers in this game and the weird and wonderful enemies they come up against, and this new title has a fresh feature to mix things up.

Play moves between Mazza’s normal world, viewed top-down, and a dream world which is viewed side-on.

Mario & Luigi Dream Team gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Dreamy Luigi moves through the Dream World, helping Mario solve problems that he comes across. I guess it’s a little like Gooigi helping Luigi out in Luigi’s Mansion 3!

Pull off poorly title moves (get ready) such as ‘Lugination’ and ‘Luginary Attacks’, work together with Mario to pull off the iconic Bros. moves, and kick ass in turn-based fights with bosses three times your size.

19. Rayman Legends (2011)

Rayman Origins 3DS Game case cover art

Rayman has been the gift that has kept on giving for years now, with this armless wonder scratching our platforming itch perfectly. He somehow always gets pushed to the back when Mario and Sonic are around, but for me, he’ll always be the Prince of the Side-scrolling realm.

And you can quote me on that!

I imagine that most of you will have played Rayman Origins on the PS3 or Wii, and I’m going with that assumption mainly due to the fact that everyone I know has a copy of this game for those two consoles!

Still, it shouldn’t be overlooked on the 3DS, providing some stellar handheld vibes that can be enjoyed, if you’re me, on the many trains I take to and from the airport.

Rayman Origins gameplay
Credit: Nintendo/Ubisoft

The main difference in this version compared to the other ports of Origins, as you might have guessed, is the functionality of the second screen. The 3DS touchscreen gives users a chance to see where they are on a level at any given time, while the top screen allows you to dive a little way further into Rayman’s world.

Be careful, or Globox might swallow you whole!

Fans of Child of Light, Shovel Knight, Metroid, and in fact any Mario side-scrolling game in existence will love Origins. It’s wholesome, bright, colourful, and the perfect game to give to younger gamers who might be revisiting Nintendo’s last true handheld!

20. Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012)

Kid Icarus Uprising game case cover art Nintendo 3DS

Some of you might have played as Pit in the Super Smash Bros. series. His 3DS adventure, the third installment 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 gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

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’ve 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.

21. Ever Oasis (2017)

Ever Oasis game case cover art
Credit: NINTENDO

Next 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 gameplay 3DS
Credit: Nintendo

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. 

22. Monster Hunter Generations (2015)

Monster hunter Generations game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

Hunting monsters on the go in 3D – sounds like it’s time for Monster Hunter Generations!

How many of you want to take on the role of a newly appointed Monster Hunter? I imagine it would be better to have some sort of experience under your belt, but you’ve gotta start somewhere I suppose!

Four villages, four threats, and you’re the only one who can save the inhabitants of each from certain death!

Monster Hunter generations gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Generations brought a whole new way to hunt and even more ways to attack. You haven’t lived until you’ve battled winged creatures in the skies or summoned brutal spells to destroy your combatants.

And don’t worry about completing this game in a hurry. There are literally hundreds of different quests for you to take on both solo or with friends.

Yes, folks; local or online play allows you and your mates to hunt monsters together. Nothing says friendship like taking down a dragon, am I right?

23. Kirby: Triple Deluxe (2014)

Kirby triple Deluxe game case cover art

We couldn’t just Kirby once in this list now, could we? He’s a Nintendo stalwart and one of the cutest characters of all time, for crying out loud – we all need more Kirby in our lives!

So what’s the score in this adventure?

Well, Dream Land is now at the top of a giant beanstalk in a place called Floralia, and a gigantic caterpillar is causing havoc.

All sounds about right for a Kirby game to me!

Kirby Triple Deluxe gameplay

I know this is going to sound odd to say about a game that’s in the best 3DS games list, but this isn’t a revolutionary title. It’s a Kirby game through-and-through with Kirby’s enemy-swallowing ability still the prominent force in the game.

That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. Kirby games sell because they follow a specific formula that people love. Don’t forget, it’s worked for Mario all these years!

There are a couple of new abilities such as the Rhino Beetle Horn shown in the picture above and bow and arrow gear, and it comes with cool modes such as a rhythm-based game and a time-trial mode where players must defeat all bosses against the clock!

24. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (2012)

Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D game case cover art

Every now and again, we get a game that passes through the ranks that I can well and truly say ‘this one doesn’t need an introduction’. And to be honest, I could probably say this about everything Hideo Kojima has worked on – the man is an absolute genius.

We’ve all played the 2004 classic Snake Eater and headed deep into Soviet territory in order to save the scientist and save the world.

I know that sounds a little bit like the whole idea behind the first series of Heroes, but that was a cheerleader…

Playing Snake Eater on the 3DS is still an absolute pleasure. I mean, what could be better than 3D stealthy action; sometimes I sneeze and think that the NPCs are going to hear me!

Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D gameplay
Credit: Nintendo/Konami/Hideo Kojima

Unlike the recent confusion around Elden Ring on the Nintendo 3DS, Naked Snake’s adventures have been given the full remake treatment and look incredible on Nintendo’s wizardly handheld.

Gamers can now take advantage of a camera that moves the full 360 degrees, giving them the full scope of their surroundings. Heck, the gyroscope even comes into play too when it comes to balancing.

That’s when my sneezes have 100% had a negative effect and Snake has gone flying…

25. Sonic Generations (2015)

Sonic Generations -

Sonic Generations is the perfect nostalgic kick for fans of the blue blur.

I imagine Sonic feels a lot differently about that description above, considering the fact that he’s been pulled into a time continuum and must now work with his past self in order to put things back to normal.

I wonder if he ever just wishes he could have a week off?

Time is of the essence, but with double the speed, it should be easy, right?

Sonic Generations gameplay 3DS
Credit: Nintendo/Sega

This game originally dropped as part of Sonic’s 20th birthday celebrations and received a 3D port for the 3DS four years later.

It’s got all the best stages from across the years too; we’re talking everything from the first Sonic the Hedgehog title right through to Sonic Colours

In each stage, Act 1 sees old Sonic taking the regions, whereas Act 2 sees new Sonic taking charge and boasts lots of newer 3D elements to it that would probably just give old Sonic a headache.

If you love Sonic, then this is a no brainer. Give it a go and let us know your thought

26. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (2016)

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
Credit: Nintendo

It’s safe to say that no matter what platform we play Shin Megami Tensei games on, they hit the spot every time. We loved the previous Shin Megami Tensei IV game too.

What, the previous one… what’s going in?

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

The clue is in the title – Apocalypse. This game is set in an alternate timeline to the previous game, It’s still set in the same war-torn world, just a new character in a new time.

I guess this is what happens when developers get too many ideas for one game!

One thing is instantly noticeable in this title is that the gameplay mechanics are much tighter. From the outset, it’s much nicer and smoother to play, refining the experience we had from the previous title while simultaneously turning it up to 11.

The annoying thing is that not enough people got to experience this the first time around. Giving the game the same title and number as the previous game meant that people just passed it by or didn’t see a need to grab a copy.

Do yourself a favour; play this alternate version of SMT IV, it’s well worth a purchase!

27. Mario Golf: World Tour (2014)

Best Nintendo 3ds games - Mario Golf World Tour game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

Playing Mario Golf is one of the best ways to relax, full stop. It’s colourful, 100% non-threatening, and easy to pick up and play.

Ok, so if you’ve played one of these games before now then you’ll know it can sometimes be frustrating when trying to nail those power shots, but practice makes perfect!

Mario Golf world tour gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

The courses are all super imaginative too, boasting true Mushroom Kingdom scenery right from the off.

As always with the handheld Mario Golf games, there’s an RPG story element where players must rise through the ranks and use prize money to buy better gear.

If, however, you just want to play for fun, then you can just pick your favourite Mario character and hit the courses. With multiple challenges and minigames to complete too, there’s something to keep everyone happy!

28. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (2016)

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright game case cover art

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright is up next, one of three iterations of Fire Emblem Fates.

And you know how we love a trilogy here at Retro Dodo!

This isn’t the last time you’ll see Fire Emblem written in this list, and for all intents and purposes, the gameplay is very similar to the title sitting at Number 6, albeit if anything a little easier to grasp.

Fire Emblem Fates - birthright gameplay
image credit: nintendo

Fans of the Blood Moon resurrections in Zelda (spoiler alert – that’s no one in the history of time) will be all over the Pheonix Mode in this game, a setting where enemies literally rise from the ashes on their next turn.

Birthright is pretty progressive too, allowing two women to have a same-sex relationship as well as the option for marriage between characters of the opposite sex.

As well as tactical battles and exploration, players can make their very own village in a mode called My Castle. Birthright is the gift that keeps on giving, especially with the added DLC too!

29. Bravely Default (2014)

bravely default game case cover art

If you’re looking for a renowned JRPG for the 3DS, then look no further. Bravely Default is about as classic a JRPG as you can get – turn-based combat, jobs for characters gathering points through battle to use on upgrading your character, and obtaining items.

If you can name an RPG trait, then it’s in this game.

Bravely Default gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

The combat elements feel a lot like Final Fantasy, so much so that I think a lot of the elements of the battle segments and beyond have actually been ripped from the FF franchise.

But don’t quote me on that, we don’t need a lawsuit on our hands.

Stock up on Brave Points and Sleep Points and use them in battle. Yes, it’s a little convoluted but easy to get the hang off after a couple of rounds.

There’s also a minigame where players get to rebuild a village, hopefully getting some sweet freebies from the business you reopen along the way!

30. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King (2017)

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the cursed king
Credit: Nintendo

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King is a game that you probably remember playing back on the PS2. It’s one of the best Dragon Quest games of all time and a bonafide classic.

And if you thought it looked slick on the PS2 back in the day, then you’ve seen nothing yet. Revisiting this epic adventure in 3D has only made it better, and the new additions added to the 3DS title make this well worth a purchase. It should have been called Dragon Quest VIII 2.0!

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King gameplay
Credit: Nintendo

Back in 2004, this was the very first 3D dragon quest title. So i guess it’s only right that it went on to get the 3DS treatment.

One of the best changes from the original to now is the eradication of random battles, and you know how much I hate those!

Enemies appear up close and personal for all to see, and what’s more, saving anywhere is now a possibility too!

That should be something you can do anytime, anywhere in any game. It still annoys me having to find those campfires in Horizon: Zero Dawn!

With new dungeons, items, and tonnes more challenges to encounter, the 3DS version of Journey of the Cursed King is a real force to be reckoned with!


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