12 Best 3DS Games of All Time

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Image via intelligent systems

The Nintendo 3DS is one of the most popular handheld consoles in history. Its portability, local co-op feature, and split-screen design have attracted many developers to produce a ton of amazing games from the platform. In no particular order, here are some of the best 3DS games of all time.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

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Ocarina of Time is a must-have game for all The Legend of Zelda. It’s the so-called main branch game – the game from which other titles such as Twilight Princess and Majora’s Mask originated. It tells the story of Link, the hero of time, and his journey through time to avoid a ruinous future. The 3DS version plays exactly the same as its N64 version with the addition of gyroscope controls, harder post-game difficulty, and hints if you get stuck (which will be a lot thanks to its puzzles).

Fire Emblem: Awakening

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Fire Emblem: Awakening tells the story of Robin, an amnesiac tactician, and their quest to help defeat the great evils of the realm. Its battles are harder than ever and the story is very well written. It is also the first Fire Emblem game to feature a dating simulation mechanic. But unlike its successors, like Three Houses, the dating aspect, too, adds to the intrigue.

Mario Kart 7

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The 3DS supports local gameplay via Bluetooth. As long as one person in your group had Mario Kart 7, up to eight 3DS users could play. Mario Kart 7 offered 16 new tracks and 16 old ones so everyone could race one, making it one of the console’s best games – no TV or internet needed.

Kid Icarus: Insurrection

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Kid Icarus: Uprising features some of the most fun and chaotic gameplay on the 3DS. It’s technically a third-person shooter, but it’s more of an action RPG than anything. How you play depends on the weapons you lean on. The dialogues are top notch and the characters have a lot of personality. We are a big fan of his version of Hades!

Related: What is Soul Hackers and how does it relate to Shin Megami?

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

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Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is different from the early versions of the game (Sun and Moon). Aside from a slightly different storyline, Ultra titles are upgraded versions of its predecessors. It has all the Mega Stones, more Pokemon, and a much better Battle Tree BP earning system. There’s also a special treat for Kanto fans at the end.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s battle gadget is called Z-Moves. Depending on your Pokemon’s type and species, they are capable of unleashing a powerful move in every battle.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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Both Ace Attorney titles from the Professor Layton games on 3DS are good on their own, but what if we told you there’s a crossover? Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright tells an amazing story between world famous archaeologist Professor Layton, rookie lawyer Phoenix Wright and the humble storybook town of Labyrinthia. The game features both puzzles that the Professor Layton series is known for and courtroom battles.

A brave omission

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If you like the classic JRPG-style job system that older Final Fantasy games are known for (with a nice twist!), then you’ll love Bravely Default. Along with incredible soundtracks from the Attack on Titan composer himself, Bravely Default features beautifully hand-painted maps, lovable characters, and an intricate plot you’ll never see in another game.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an amazing game no matter how hard you play it. The soundtrack is still, arguably, the best in the series. Additionally, there are more villager interactions and unique characters in New Leaf, which makes the town more lively. There are lots of little details you wouldn’t want to miss either, like being able to brew your own coffee.

Additionally, given the p2p nature of the 3DS, people can visit the islands whenever they want without purchasing a subscription.

Related: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Share Dodo Codes & Add Friends!

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

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What makes a Monster Hunter game truly amazing is how many hours you can sink into it, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is not an easy game to put down. The combat is super tough and the amount of weapons and armor you can build is amazing. You can even train up to four people in online multiplayer mode, free of charge!

Also, if you’re new to the series, this is one of the few Monster Hunter games you can pick up first. Most of the tutorial is still text, but you can easily choose a fighting style that suits you with experience.

shovel knight

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It’s no secret that Shovel Knight draws mostly inspiration from Megaman, both in gameplay, art, and perhaps his music. This side-scrolling 2D platformer is loads of fun! The mechanics are really simple (you hit things with a shovel) but the versatility of said shovel is remarkable. You can use it to punch enemies, dig up treasure, and even as a boost to jump on enemies. Each stage is unique, the bosses are challenging, and the customization features available are nothing to fear. This is a must have for all 3DS users!

Luigi’s Mansion: Black Moon

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Sorry Mario, but we’re ranking some of the best games on 3DS, the winner is your brother’s title: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Luigi’s Mansion is a comedy ghost-hunting puzzle game that only arms players with two things: a flashlight and a ghost vacuum cleaner. The maps are cleverly created to confuse you, but that makes it so much fun.

If you liked it, its prequel, Luigi’s Mansion, is also available on 3DS. But Dark Moon has just the best puzzles!

If you’re interested in more 3DS games, check out 12 3DS Games to Buy Before the Nintendo eShop Closes and All Kirby Games, In Order on Pro Game Guides.