Some people may have moved on from their 3DS systems, but certainly not everyone.
Nintendo 3DS consoles are still readily available to buy, so it’s entirely possible that right now, someone out there is buying a 3DS for the first time. Aww. Those people are likely wondering which games they should pick up to make the most of their new system – and to those people, we are here for you.
Or maybe you’re not new to the 3DS, maybe you just haven’t used yours in a while. Perhaps you’re ready to dust it off and jump back in, and you’re wondering what you might have missed. Well, we’re here for you too. Whatever your reason, it’s always good to have some kind of idea of what the best games out there are. Here’s our pick of 10 of the best games on 3DS of all time.
1Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is possibly one of the coolest game concepts of all time. You play as protagonist Link (who else?) who has been tasked with restoring Hyrule to its former glory after Princess Zelda is captured by the evil sorcerer Yuga. The main concept of the game is that Link could utilise a bracelet which allowed him to go from a 3D boy to a 2D image on a wall.
This merge ability allows Link to access areas of the game that he couldn’t previously access – and it’s this unique concept that pulled so many fans in. Not to mention it’s technically a sequel to the excellent SNES classic A Link to the Past. A Link Between Worlds is undoubtedly one of the best games available on 3DS. [Buy on Amazon]
2Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (known as Luigi’s Mansion 2 in Europe and Australia) is Luigi’s second ghostly adventure that puts players back into his shoes to help him suck up ghost baddies. Players are equipped with the Poltergust 5000 with the goal of gathering shards of the broken up “Dark Moon” which is able to pacify ghosts.
Luigi travels around five differently-themed settings, all while taking on ghostly enemies and collecting shards. And, of course, he’s got to save his big brother Mario from the clutches of King Boo. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has great 3D graphics and is pretty much a must-have for 3DS owners. [Buy on Amazon]
3Animal Crossing: New Leaf
I could gush about Animal Crossing for thousands of words, but for the sake of your sanity, I’ll try to limit myself to a couple of paragraphs. You’re welcome. Here goes: Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the 3DS entry of an extremely popular Nintendo series – and until the launch of the Switch’s New Horizons, it remains perhaps the best Animal Crossing game out there. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf you are a villager headed to a new town. You’re mistaken as the town’s mayor and soon take up that position, making decisions for the town and helping other townsfolk with whatever they may need. Throughout the game you’ll be able to build up your house, go fishing, catch bugs and all other sorts of things to keep yourself entertained and even earn a little money.
What players love so much about the Animal Crossing games are the adorable animal villagers, the simplistic gameplay and how, overall, the game makes you feel well and truly relaxed. If you’re looking for something to unwind with that you can easily spend hundreds of hours with, look no further than New Leaf. (Phew. That wasn’t so hard!) [Buy on Amazon]
4Resident Evil: Revelations
Fans of the Resident Evil franchise have likely played one or both of the Revelations games. Based between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil Revelations puts you back into the shoes of ex-S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine on the search for Chris Redfield who recently went missing aboard the cruise ship Queen Zenobia.
Many gamers were surprised that Resident Evil Revelations started life on 3DS as it’s since been ported to pretty much all other formats. As such, the 3DS version is likely not the best or prettiest way to play Resident Evil Revelations anymore, but it truly pushed the handheld’s technology with its use of 3D – and it’s great to see where the game started. It remains one of the best games on 3DS. [Buy on Amazon]
5Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Possibly my favourite series on the DS, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask was the first title made for 3DS and is perhaps the best game of the series. In this story, the amazing puzzle solving professor and his friends, Luke and Emmy, are investigating the theft and use of a mysterious mask that grants the wearer the ability to perform “miracles.”
What makes Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask leagues better than the previous titles was its focus on storytelling alongside its use of the 3DS’ 3D capabilities. That isn’t to say that previous Layton titles didn’t have great stories, but Miracle Mask was particularly engaging and intriguing and the 3D elements just added to that “wow” factor. [Buy on Amazon]
6Rhythm Heaven: Megamix
Rhythm Heaven Megamix (known in Europe as Rhythm Paradise Megamix) as you may have guessed is a rhythm game published by Nintendo. It is the fourth game in the series and I, for one, couldn’t wait for this new title when it released for 3DS. The game is made up of 100 rhythm games, a mixture of minigames from previous titles and some new ones. The player can use the stylus or buttons on the 3DS to move along with the rhythm and beats of each game to get high scores.
Megamix also features a story mode where players try to help a character named Tibby reach Heaven World where he lives. Rhythm Heaven Megamix is a great addition to the series, keeping the games that players loved from previous titles and adding a bunch more new ones to the mix. [Buy on Amazon]
7Fire Emblem: Awakening
Fire Emblem Awakening is the thirteenth game in the Fire Emblem series and the first to be released on the 3DS. The game is a tactical RPG where players control multiple characters and move them around a battlefield as strategically as they can to take out enemies. They’re also tasked with making sure that their characters develop relationships with each other so that they can work together more efficiently.
Players will be entirely engrossed in a twisting and intriguing story. Fire Emblem Awakening has fantastic graphics, an easy to learn combat system and a whole list of other reasons why it one of the best games to be released on the 3DS. [Buy on Amazon]
8Super Mario 3D Land
This Mario title is a platformer that uses both the 2D and 3D spaces in each level by having 2D side-scrolling levels as well as 3D free roaming areas. You play as Mario, whose love interest Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser. Is anyone surprised?
Despite some players not finding Super Mario 3D Lands‘ 3D spaces to be very special, the game was praised for its clever level designs. Not only was it one of the first Mario titles to be developed for the 3DS, it was also one of the best selling. If you’re a fan of classic Mario adventuring, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s a fantastic title to add to any 3DS games library. [Buy on Amazon]
9Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask started out life in April 2000 as a Nintendo 64 exclusive, but a remake for 3DS came along in 2015. Not only was this remake graphically enhanced to include 3D features, but it also incorporates touchscreen controls and utilises the 3DS’s gyroscopic features.
Like all Zelda games, you find yourself in the shoes of Link. This time, he has three days to save the land of Termina which is at risk from being crushed by its (frankly super creepy) moon. Link is able to gain special abilities by equipping different masks that players will acquire throughout the game. Majora’s Mask is widely known as one of the greatest Legend of Zelda games of all time – and definitely one of the best games on 3DS. [Buy on Amazon]
10Pokémon X & Y
These Pokémon titles made their way to the 3DS in 2013. Both Pokémon X and Y follow a budding Pokémon trainer as they collect and train various Pokémon – you know the drill by now. Both games takes place in the Kalos region and introduced 72 new Pokémon species, including Fairy-type. It also introduced new ways to customise your character for the first time.
While Pokémon Sun & Moon, the successor to X & Y, were also released on the 3DS, X & Y were recognised for their innovation, creativity, visuals and new 3D Pokemon models, making them the obvious choice for our list. [Buy on Amazon]