The Nintendo 3DS released in North America on March 27, 2011, and during its first few months of life it was constantly struggling finding its place in the market and into consumer’s hands. This was mostly due to the fact it was expensive when it came out and there was really no reason to own one on launch since there weren’t any games that took full advantage of what the 3DS is capable of. During the first few months of being available, the 3DS was constantly marked as the next Virtual Boy by a lot of fans and media. They was said that it was going to fail. That, of course, didn’t happen. After just a few months Nintendo announced that the 3DS was going to get a price drop, and this turned out to be the turning point in the 3DS’ life. After the price drop, sales improved and games like Star Fox 64 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Super Mario 3D Land eventually made their way to the 3DS and gave people a reason to own one.
It’s been awhile since that happened and now the 3DS has a huge selection of games! It’s now praised for all the excellent games that it has. This is why the 3DS is now often referred as the best handheld gaming device ever. At least, this is what we here at BlazeKick think. That’s why we’re going to list what we think are the best Nintendo 3DS games ever. This was a difficult task to put together because there are just a lot of games to choose from. For this list we’re going to exclude remakes, so Ocarina of Time 3D and Majora’s Mask 3D are out of the running.
This is our list of the top 10 3DS games.
10. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate takes the 3DS hardware to its limits, without forcing any over-the-top sensory overload in order to push the overall gameplay dynamic. The controls are easily some of the most responsive, smooth, and satisfyingly open to creative use that the franchise has ever seen; and the graphics are gorgeous to boot. Also, the multiplayer is basically lag-free both locally and in online play, at least in comparison to MH3U. All this, bundled into one game, with free sets of DLC releasing every month, including various Nintendo armor and weapon crossovers.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is everything one should expect from a Kirby game. The levels are designed perfectly, and the new copy abilities are great. Each level has different elements such as only being able to see enemies and hazards in mirrors or riding platforms over lava you control by tilting your 3DS. Like most Kirby games, Triple Deluxe isn’t that hard but that doesn’t stop it from being fun, and going for completion adds to the challenge. Triple Deluxe comes with two mini-games – Dedede’s Drum Dash, which is a rhythm game where you have to avoid enemies while collecting stars, and Kirby Fighters, where you chose one of Kirby’s powers and fight it out with your friends or computers.
8. Pokemon X and Y
Pokemon X and Y are great games, but full of minor issues. Most areas don’t have any stereoscopic 3D at all and those that do cut into the framerate pretty drastically. The post game is also nearly non-existent and Gym Leaders are back to the non-memorable formula after their major involvement in the Gen V game’s stories. That’s not to say it’s all bad, as it has the biggest region Pokedex housing over 700 Pokemon, so battling trainers with the same Pokemon over and over almost never happens. Also, it introduces Mega Evolution which is fun to play with and gives some Pokemon like Mawile and Kangaskhan new light. It’s also the first main series Pokemon game with full 3D environments which look very impressive compared to the past games.
7. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight, the Kickstarter-funded effort from indie studio Yacht Club Games, is a careful concoction of ideas from some of the most beloved NES games ever made, but it ditches the less popular conventions of that era in favor of some smart new ones. For instance, whereas a life system is typically the consequence for death in old-school platformers, Shovel Knight has players drop a certain amount of gems after death. However, the player can attempt to recollect these gems on their next try, but this might be difficult depending on the circumstances of their previous death. While such a currency might be virtually useless in most platformers, a big part of Shovel Knight is making purchases to increase your arsenal or upgrade abilities. On top of clever design choices, the game features exquisite pixel art and one of Jake Kaufman’s best soundtracks to date.
6. Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land holds a unique place in the Mario series’ history, being the first 3D Mario title built from the ground up for a handheld system. The unique level design combines elements from the New Super Mario Bros. games and the Galaxy games, resulting in levels which are compact but full of fresh ideas and fun gameplay. A standout is the top-down level based on the original Legend of Zelda. Once you complete the relatively short first 8 worlds, another 8 are unlocked with a higher difficulty – and you’re able to play as Luigi! 3D Land also brings back some classic elements from Mario 3 like Donut Lifts, Music Boxes, and, of course, the beloved Tanooki suit. The graphics are cute and colorful, while the soundtrack consists of some original tunes but also some reused ones.
5. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
One would’ve imagined it would be difficult to make such a chaotic fighting game like Super Smash Bros. work on a handheld system, but to our surprise Masahiro Sakurai not only managed to deliver that, but also an excellent entry to this beloved franchise with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Just like any other Super Smash Bros. game, Smash 3DS is filled with lots of content—some new and some old. Modes like Classic Mode and All-Star Mode are back with a few new twists, and a new mode called Smash Run can be a bit bland at times, but it can occasionally provide a fun distraction from the core game. Smash 3DS has a huge roster, a decent amount of stages, a great soundtrack, amiibo support, and so much more! Players are even able play Smash 3DS online! Well, kinda… since most online matches tend to have a crazy amount of lag. This might be the game’s biggest flaw; however, it doesn’t take away the amount of hours you can spend thoroughly enjoying the game. This insane love letter to video games is a great addition to 3DS’ library.
4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
In order to differentiate itself from previous games in the franchise, Animal Crossing: New Leaf puts you in the position of the mayor of a town. SpotPass and StreetPass have been incorporated into the gameplay and hopping into your friend’s towns via Wi-Fi or locally works great. In addition to your traditional Animal Crossing activities, you can now visit Tortimer’s Island to play unique minigames with friends or catch fish and beetles that you can sell for loads of bells. The mayor aspect of the game has you selecting ordinances for your town and starting public works projects. Public works projects allow you to build tons of structures in your town such as bridges, lighthouses, or even entire buildings which can be slowly paid off over time. The game is a lot more customizable than ever before, especially in terms of your Villager. basically, you can wear pants now! Clearly this new element of the game seemed appealing to longtime fans and new players alike, as New Leaf is the fastest selling Animal Crossing date.
3. Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Awakening is an amazing turn-based strategy RPG. Not only is the gameplay top notch, but the story and its characters are really fascinating. This is a game that will make you stop and carefully think out your next moves, and in this regard this is a very special game. Fire Emblem is known for its high difficulty, and this might’ve caused some people to skip previous Fire Emblem games in the past, but now thanks to Awakening’s new Casual mode it allows players to experience the game without worrying about Fire Emblem’s well known concept of permanent death. Of course veteran players of the series able to play the game like it was meant to be played, with permadeath. Fire Emblem Awakening is a deep, challenging, replayable, and excellent game. It’s full of rich content like animated cutscenes, great storytelling, and very enjoyable gameplay. It’s truly one of the best games that the 3DS can offer.
2. Kid Icarus: Uprising
Kid Icarus: Uprising is a reboot done right. The game blends flying segments with ground segments, both of which involve blasting up various enemies using a massive collection of weapons. Part of what makes the game so unique is the constant dialogue between characters. This might seem like an annoyance, but both the writing and voice work are done incredibly well. Relationships built between the characters are genuinely charming and often laughable. The strong presentation doesn’t end there, though. Uprising’s sweeping soundtrack is nothing short of epic and it goes hand in hand perfectly with the gorgeous, colorful vistas that truly pop in 3D. As if the satisfying gameplay and unforgettable presentation weren’t enough, the developers included an intense multiplayer mode that can be experienced both locally and online. Uprising is a very ambitious game, and it ultimately succeeds in being more than the sum of its parts.
- Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Dual Destinies
- SteamWorld Dig
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
- Resident Evil Revelations
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to the iconic Super Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. While some people mistook it for a remake when it was first revealed due to the nearly identical overworld layout, A Link Between Worlds has entirely new dungeons and a new storyline. The game shakes up the Zelda formula in a few cool ways. First of all, it’s the first nonlinear Zelda game in a long time, aside from the brief opening gameplay segment. Additionally, whereas Link’s items were obtained inside dungeons in previous games, now they can all be rented from the quirky shopkeeper Ravio who decides to set up shop in Link’s home without permission.
Items can be rented for a low price, but if you die you’ll have to return them. Buying items comes at a higher price, but you get to keep them forever and earn upgrades over time. Upgrades are obtained by returning the missing Maimai to their mother. 100 of these cute little creatures are scattered around both overworlds and are very fun to hunt down. That’s right, BOTH overworlds – the Dark World is back, with the clever but cheesy name “Lorule.”
The graphics are very vibrant and run as a smooth 60 frames per second with a deep 3D effect. The sound in A Link Between Worlds also helps set the mood for the player. There are some fun StreetPass battles to mess around with, too. All of the game’s elements flow together extremely well, resulting in a title that rivals A Link to the Past as one of the greatest Zelda games, and our favorite title for the Nintendo 3DS.
Those are our top 10 Nintendo 3DS games so far. Of course, since the 3DS still has a lot of life left, this list will probably change in the future. This is especially likely because the New Nintendo 3DS XL, the newest iteration of the system, just released in North America, and hopefully there will be more games like Xenoblade Chronicles 3D that take advantage of the extra processing power. That’s why we’ll try to update this list once a year.
What are your favorite 3DS games? Make sure to let us know in the comments.
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