Gaming enthusiasts all over the world agree that the 3DS console had an impressive library of games. Despite the console being retired, the legacy of the best 3DS games of all time still lives on. With so many great titles available, it can be difficult to decide which ones are worth your time and money. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best 3DS games of all time, based on factors like critical acclaim, fan reception, and lasting impact.
Ranking the Best 3DS Games: Our Top 10 Picks
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
A Link Between Worlds is considered one of the best Zelda games of all time, and for good reason. It’s a spiritual successor to A Link to the Past, one of the most beloved games in the franchise, and features similar gameplay and graphics.
However, it also introduces new mechanics, like the ability to merge into walls and navigate between two worlds. The game’s non-linear structure allows players to tackle dungeons in any order, adding to its replayability. Overall, A Link Between Worlds is a must-play for any Zelda fan or action-adventure enthusiast.
2. Fire Emblem: Awakening
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a strategy RPG that’s widely regarded as the best 3D games entry point for newcomers to the series. It features a robust cast of characters, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and a compelling story that unfolds through visual novel-style cutscenes.
The game’s turn-based battles are challenging but rewarding, and players can customize their units with various classes and skills. Awakening also introduced the popular “pair up” mechanic, which allows units to fight together and boost each other’s stats. With multiple difficulty settings and optional “casual” mode (where defeated units don’t stay permanently dead), Awakening is a game that can be enjoyed by both strategy veterans and newcomers alike.
3. Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land is a perfect example of how to do a 3D platformer on a handheld system. It strikes a balance between the open-ended exploration of Mario’s console adventures and the linear levels of his 2D platformers.
The game features vibrant graphics, catchy music, and clever level design that takes advantage of the 3DS’s 3D capabilities. Mario can use new power-ups like the boomerang flower and tanooki suit, and there are plenty of secrets and collectibles to discover. With over 90 levels, Super Mario 3D Land is a game that will keep you entertained for hours on end.
4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing is a charming and relaxing life simulation game that has players building their own town and interacting with its animal inhabitants. New Leaf is the fourth main installment in the series and adds new features like the ability to become mayor and customize your town’s layout, making it one of the best 3DS games of all time.
Players can decorate their homes, collect items, and participate in seasonal events. The game operates in real time, meaning that events happen in accordance with the system clock, so there’s always something new to discover. New Leaf’s laid-back gameplay and lovable characters make it a great choice for players who want to unwind and escape into a virtual world.
5. Pokemon X and Y
Pokemon X and Y marked the first time the beloved monster-catching franchise had appeared on a handheld console with 3D graphics. The game features new Pokemon to catch and train, as well as updated mechanics like the ability to customize your trainer’s appearance and ride Pokemon around the game world.
X and Y also introduced the Fairy type, which balanced out the previously overpowered Dragon type. The game’s multiplayer features, including trading and battling, were expanded with the new Player Search System. Pokemon X and Y is a must-play for any Pokemon fan and one of the best entries in the series.
6. Bravely Default
Bravely Default is a throwback to classic RPGs like Final Fantasy, but with a modern twist. The game features a unique combat system that allows players to store turns and use them in future battles. The game’s job system allows for extensive customization of your characters’ abilities, and the story features a compelling mix of humor and drama. Bravely Default also offers multiple endings, encouraging players to explore different paths and outcomes. With a sequel, Bravely Second, already released, Bravely Default is a great starting point for anyone interested in the series.
7. Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 7 is the seventh main entry in the long-running kart racing series, and it’s one of the best. The game features a variety of tracks, both new and classic, and allows players to customize their karts with different bodies, wheels, and gliders.
The game introduces the ability to drive underwater and glide through the air, adding new dimensions to the races. The game also includes a robust online mode, allowing players to compete with others from around the world. With local multiplayer and download play options, Mario Kart 7 is a great choice for parties or on-the-go gaming.
8. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Monster Hunter is a series that’s all about hunting and slaying giant beasts. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the best entry in the series for the 3DS, featuring updated mechanics and a ton of new monsters to take down. The game’s crafting system allows players to create new weapons and armor from materials harvested from the creatures they defeat.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is challenging but rewarding, requiring careful planning and execution of strategies to take down the game’s toughest enemies. With local and online multiplayer, the game also offers a great cooperative experience.
9. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a sequel to the GameCube classic, Luigi’s Mansion. The game has players controlling Luigi as he explores haunted mansions and captures ghosts with his trusty Poltergust 5000. Dark Moon features multiple mansions to explore, each with their own unique themes and puzzles.
The game also includes local and online multiplayer modes, allowing players to team up and take on ghosts together. With charming graphics and fun gameplay, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a great choice for fans of puzzle-solving and ghost-catching.
10. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight is a retro-style platformer that pays homage to classic games like Mega Man and DuckTales. The game has players controlling the titular Shovel Knight as he battles through levels filled with enemies and obstacles. The game’s pixelated graphics and chiptune soundtrack perfectly capture the feel of classic games, while the modern gameplay tweaks make it feel fresh and fun.
The game also includes multiple playable characters, each with their own unique abilities and stories. With a challenging but fair difficulty level and plenty of secrets to uncover, Shovel Knight is a game that will keep you coming back for more.
The 3DS may be a thing of the past, but its library of games remains as impressive as ever. These top 10 titles represent the best of what the system has to offer, from classic franchises like Mario and Zelda to new IPs like Bravely Default and Shovel Knight. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer, any of these games are sure to provide hours of entertainment and cement their place as some of the best 3DS games of all time.