Get ready to check out the most underrated 3DS games of all time!
The 3DS has had a stellar career thus far. We’ve seen lots of exciting titles heading to the dual screen marvel, with some of the biggest names in gaming getting the 3D treatment and popping out into our eyes.
But what about the games that you’ve missed out on, the ones that you should have played but never knew existed? What about the games that still hit hard today, and the ones that need a little bit more love?
That’s where we come in!
So, without further ado, let’s kick off with my choice for Number 10… which is sure to divide opinions early on!
10. Majora’s Mask (2015)
Yes, you read this right. I’m kickstarting this list with Majora’s Mask for a very good reason, and that reason is that for a long time, Majora’s Mask has hidden in the shadow of Ocarina of Time.
It won’t be a surprise to regular Dodo readers that I for one have always preferred Ocarina of Time to Link’s Clock Town outing, but the 3DS version of this game changed my opinion of it entirely. I don’t know whether it was because of the fact that I could take it out with me on the road and play at my own leisure or whether I had just matured (slightly) that I enjoyed it more.
Either way, playing Majora’s Mask on the 3DS just felt more enjoyable. With updated graphics, a nice user interface, and of course, the 3DS’ piece de resistance of 3D gameplay that actually feels like the Happy Mask Salesman is actually throttling you in real life. It really adds more life to the game.
This is admittedly a personal opinion, and some of you might be thinking that it’s a bit of an overrated choice considering how many times you’ve played it over the years. But at least I’ve finally changed my tune about Majora’s Mask after all this time.
It only took about 23 years!
9. Pilotwings Resort
Pilotwings Resort is up next, a game that should instil intense excitement into players, but one that fell a little short of the mark when it first came out.
How many of you played Pilotwings back on the NES and N64 in the day? It was a bit of a weird and exciting concept when it first came out, but that’s always been Nintendo’s prerogative when making games, right?
It took Nintendo 15 years to make a new game in the series, which I think we can all agree is a bit more than what you’d call a ‘hiatus’, right, meaning some people lost interest a little and understandably moved on.
And, while the concept is essentially the same, the whole thing is just a little short to have made it as popular a title as the mainstream players like Luigi’s Mansion 2.
It feels more like an extension of the ‘Mii’ series of games too and less like the original, which may or may not be good in your book.
There’s only one island and three modes of flying, so it’s not exactly the most taxing experience either. But, it’s a Pilotwings game, and that stands for a lot if you’re a die hard Nintendoid like it’s mandatory for everyone in the RD team to be.
8. Metroid Prime: Federation Force (2016)
Metroid Prime: Federation Force takes the 8th spot in our list of the most underrated 3DS games of all time, and it’s a real shame that it’s sitting in this list right now.
You see, the main problem was that, while this title bears the Metroid name, it’s not what you would call a ‘proper’ Metroid title. I think we’ve been waiting for a Metroid Prime game for so long that we just assumed we’d be getting something that felt. More like Samus’ GameCube outings.
What we actually got was a co-op shooting game that wasn’t exactly revolutionary… or a Metroid game.
It’s hard to put aside disappointments like this aside in order to look at the bigger picture; it’s another game featuring Samus Aran – we should be jumping for joy and not being bitter.
Plus, any game where you get to go into battles against Metroid villains teaming up with your mates with 3D action is definitely worth a shot, right?
Ok, multiplayer Metroid isn’t what we signed up for, but it’s what we got, and I for one love kicking back with the Retro Dodo team and having a literal blast whenever we have the chance.
7. Corpse Party (2008)
You might recently have spotted Corpse party in our list of the best Anime PSP games, but its’ also one of the most underrated titles on Nintendo’s 3D-throwing masterpiece.
One of the things that most of these underrated games have in common is the fact that, back in the day, they just weren’t very popular. In fact, there are so many underrated game sin our lists that, while never being very popular back in the day, have since achieved a cult status in later years. This survival horror has seen steady success throughout its life, but in recent years people have gone mad for it on second-hand sites.
I bet the devs are wishing that they’d had this kind of take up on release day, but the game title doesn’t exactly sound very Nintendo famiy friendly, does it.
As with many horror movies, you’re playing as a bunch of teenagers who shouldn’t have stuck their noses where they don’t belong. This time, you become embroiled in a monster school, and not the kind that Sully and Mike visit in Monsters University.
Pain is the name of the game here, and weirdly there’s nor combat elements, this is a game for players that like horror stories, playing out the narratice elements of a title where the characters are pretty much helpless and danger lurks around every corner.
Talk about giving us goosebumps!
6. Cave Story 3D (2011)
We love a bit of Cave Story here at Retro Dodo, and the 3DS version has transformed this epic classic tenfold.
In the same way as the 3DS version of Majora’s Mask gave the old legend a new lease of life (for me anyway), the 3DS version of Cave Story just feels brighter, more exciting, more fun.
We’ve always been huge fans of Metroidvania-style games here at Dodo, and while this version does have a few differences that hardcore fans might miss from the previous iteration of the game, getting to step into a 2D classic with a 3D twist never gets old.
Plus it’s just a great and challenging little game from start to finish; not quite a show-stopping top-tier underrated title, but one you should check out nonetheless!
5. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (2011)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars takes the 5th spot in our list of the most underrated 3DS games of all time.
What do you think when you see Tom Claancey game? Shooting, stealth, and covert takedowns from the shadows, right?
Well, this game is actually a strategy title that would make Poirot feel a little light headed. If you love the miltary strategy elements of Advance Wars but wish it had more of an Age of Empires meets Fire Emblem feel, then you’re in the right place.
And it’s long too, providing players with around 30 hours minimum depending on how long it takes them to make moves and how much they deliberate over troop placements etc.
If you’re anything like my mate josh who once made his opponents nose bleed as he was forced to concentrate so hard while playing chess against him, then you could be in for a long and bloody ride!
4. Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012)
Kid Icarus takes the 4th spot in our list, and if you’ve never played any of these titles before, then you may recognise Pit as a character from Super Smash Bros Ultimate on Nintendo Switch.
These games are unbelievable once you get into them, providing a mixture of gambling gameplay and aerial magic that Space Harrier would be proud of.
This Kid Icarus game is split between gameplay in the air and on the ground, and you can decide how difficult you want each level to be before diving into the action. That at least means that you can play each level a maximum of 9 times while having a different experience every time – it’s all about getting your moneys worth.
Let’s talk about that difficulty factor a little more, becausr there’s something here that hardcore gamers are going to enjoy a lot. If you manage to get through a level without dying, then you get more bonuses and rewards.
So that’s me out of the special prize for being the best angel fighting machine of all time then!
If you want a break from the challenge of the main gameplay, then there’s always a deathmatch style multiplayer mode for you and your friends to jump into. It’s a great side-scroller with classic nostalgic feels boasting a modern look. And as I said earlier, if you’re a Smash Bros fan, then it’ll be nice for you to get into one of Pit’s native games to see his world first hand!
3. Final Fantasy Explorers (2016)
We couldn’t have waited much longer to include a Final Fantasy game on this list, could we? Final Fantasy Explorers is up next!
If, like us, you like Crystal Chronicles, then this game is going to feel very familiar. I know that Final Fantasy games usually have a massive storyline that players want to get lost in, but Explorers is different.
It relies on players heading out on multiple quests, meaning more action and less over-arcing plotline.
And, as the name suggest, exploration is a key element of the gameplay, with a whopping 500 items and objects for players to find along the way.
Now, if you know your DS games, then there’s a strong chance that you’ve already seen this game referred to as a bit of a Monster Hunter copy. I think that, while it has definite similarities, it’s unfair to say that it’s just a repeat of what weve had before with different monsters. There are jobs to complete, but that doesn’t make it a rip-off of Octopath Traveler II either!
In all honesty, however, this game would have scored higher had it been more difficult. It doesn’t provide miuch of a challenge, meaning that while fun, it’s a bit too easy for seasoned gamers.
2. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (2004)
Todays silver medal goes to a title from one of the best game series of all time – Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
If you’ve played the original version of Snake Eater, then there won’t be any surprises in store.
Well, bar the fact that you can play in 3D now, which for the 30 minutes that it doesn’t cause your head to feel like it’s going to explode will feel very cool indeed.
What players do get is an updated version of a classic, a portable masterpiece that takes advantage of the DS’s dual screens with both maps and gameplay viewable at once.
Again, Snake Eater isn’t a title that I initially associate with the 3DS, with my mind jumping to titles from the big Ninty hitters like Mazza, Link, and co. Still, it’s a solid game (excuse the pun) that looks incredible with a nice shine and HD polish.
1. Fantasy Life (2014)
It’s time to crown the winner of this compendium, the one under-appreciated 3DS title to rule them all. Fantasy Life is officially the most underrated 3DS game of all time.
Listen, we all love SIM games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, but wouldn’t it be a lot better if you could do more in them… like go out do some Zelda-style exploring while picking from a plethora of jobs and slaying monsters?
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!
If you’ve ever been staring at a Froggy Chair and wishing that you could give it the Holy Magic Century treatment, then your time is nigh. Pick from one of 12 jobs and play 12 different ways. There are so many possibilities and different paths to take, and there’s no right or wrong way to play either.
Seriously, we need more epic free-playing RPG titles in our lives, and I can’t for the life of me think of why more people haven’t given this game a go. I urge you to sell your possessions or soul and grab a copy of this right now.
Come on, what are you waiting for!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.