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Best Nintendo 3DS games: the most essential 3DS releases

On the hunt for the best Nintendo 3DS games? This guide is for you. The 3DS is now a whole decade old. Which means it might not be the latest and greatest way to play games, but it also has a huge library of fantastic titles to play right now. For that reason, and many more, it’s still competing with theNintendo Switch when it comes to pure handheld entertainment.

As you’d expect from any Nintendo console, the 3DS has a big library of games to suit all kinds of gamers. There’s slow-paced life simulator Animal Crossing, through to nail-biting racing in Mario Kart, or even intriguing puzzle adventures, like Professor Layton. While these might not be the latest titles from each franchise, they’re still classics that stand the test of time. 

Whether you’re playing on the2DS XL or you've chosen an extra dimension with the3DS XL, all of the games on this list are worth your time and we’re sure you’ll find something to scratch your gaming itch. 

Remember, you could also use the backwards compatibility of the 3DS to dip into the more retro DS library, read ourbest Nintendo DS games for more.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you find yourself thrust into the role of a village's new mayor, which means it's up to you to help make the rules and aid in the burg's development. Don't fret, though: it's a pretty chill gig. You'll still have time to go fishing, catch bugs, design clothes, dig up fossils, decorate and expand your home, and hang out with friends doing lots of relaxing stuff. 

The 3DS's online and StreetPass functionality are put to great use here, allowing you to visit friends' towns see how other players' homes are decorated.

Animal Crossing fans will also be pleased to know that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is also now available, though that's for the Switch.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

After being out of action for many years, Donkey Kong finally made his platforming comeback with Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii, and this 3D version could be even better than the original. It contains everything that fans loved about the classic DKC titles: enemies to jump on, bananas to collect, mine carts to ride, secrets to uncover, and wacky bosses to overcome. 

It may look like a bunch of monkey business, but don't be fooled—the game can be extremely challenging and it's one of the best Nintendo 3DS games.

Ever Oasis

Ever Oasis is a game that tries to do many things. Somehow it's simultaneously an action RPG, a settlement-building game, and a dungeon-crawling adventure title. Imagine animal crossing mashed into The Legend of Zelda and you get some idea of what it's aiming for. 

You play as a young creature in a dangerous desert world. With the help of a water spirit your people can create safe spaces called an Oasis. An evil force known as Chaos is moving across the land trying to destroy all living things and it's up to you to build a strong Oasis by drawing in residents through completing missions in the wider world and maintaining the Oasis itself.

The premise is simple but it's enjoyable and adds a more open twist to the settle-building genre. Being so ambitious, the game doesn't hit the mark in all areas but it's well designed with satisfying mechanics and adventures that will keep you playing.

Fire Emblem Awakening

The strategy-RPG series Fire Emblem has been around for quite some time, but the 3DS entry is arguably the best yet. With a variety of unique heroes at your disposal, you'll engage in turn-driven, grid-based combat to bring peace to the land of Ylisse. 

When you're not fighting enemies, you'll work to build up relationships between characters, which allows them to not only cooperate better in battle, but to get married and have children, who also become playable characters. Lots of downloadable extra missions add to the depth and longevity of this game making it one of the best 3DS games you can get.

Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon

While Mario has always been bold and brave, his brother Luigi is ... well, not. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon follows the less adventurous of the two Mario Bros. as he wanders through mansions with a tepid nervousness that's just as likely to make you laugh as it is to sympathize with the game's green-hatted hero.

Dark Moon, the sequel to the original Luigi's Mansion on the Nintendo GameCube, is an adventure game through and through. You'll solve puzzles, collect coins and generally revel in the game's spooky – but never overwhelmingly frightening – abodes. If you're looking for smart, funny platforming, Dark Moon is the bite-size adventure you've been yearning for.

Prefer a more modern version? Then you may prefer Luigi's Mansion 3 for Switch. 

Mario Golf: World Tour

Mario sports games have always been a contentious affair. Whether you remember slamming home goals in Super Mario Strikers, smashing an ace in Super Mario Tennis or shooting an eagle in the original Mario Golf title, most of the Nintendo sports titles starring the mustachioed mascot have been memorable, enjoyable—and yes, even competitive—affairs.

Mario Golf: World Tour does nothing to break that trend. Simple tutorials ease you into the world of Lukitos and Chain Chomp-equipped lawns, while local and online multiplayer compel you to take your game to the next level.

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-nintendo-3ds-games

Nintendo 3DS

Portable 3D dual-screen handheld by Nintendo

"3DS" redirects here. For other uses, see 3DS (disambiguation).

This article is about the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. For their revisions, see New Nintendo 3DS. For the budget model, see Nintendo 2DS. For its revision, see New Nintendo 2DS XL.

‹ The templateInfobox information appliance is being considered for merging. ›

Nintendo 3DS logo.png
Nintendo-3DS-AquaOpen.png

An aqua blue Nintendo 3DS in the open position

Also known as3DS (abbreviation) iQue 3DS (China)
DeveloperNintendo Research & Engineering
ManufacturerNintendo, Foxconn
TypeHandheld game console
GenerationEighth generation
Release dateNintendo 3DS:Nintendo 3DS XL:
  • JP: July 28, 2012
  • EU: July 28, 2012
  • NA: August 19, 2012
  • AU: August 23, 2012
Lifespan2011 (2011)–2020 (2020)
Introductory price
Discontinued
Units shippedAll models combined: 75.94 million (as of March 31, 2021[update])[6]
Media
Operating systemNintendo 3DS system software
CPU
Memory128 MBFCRAM, 6 MBVRAM (Fujitsu MB82M8080-07L FC-RAM)
Storage2 GB Toshiba eMMC
Removable storage
  • 3DS: 2 GB SD card (included)
  • 3DS XL, New 3DS, New 3DS XL: 4 GB SDHC card (included)
  • Cartridge save
Display
GraphicsDMP PICA200 @ 133 MHz
SoundStereo speakers(pseudo-surround), microphone
InputA/B/X/Y buttons, Circle Pad, L/R bumpers, D-pad, 3D depth slider, volume slider, wireless switch, power button
CameraRear: 2 x 0.3 MP, f/2.85

Front: 0.3 MP, f/2.85

[email protected] video recording
Connectivity2.4 GHz802.11b/gWi-Fi, infrared
Power
  • Nintendo 3DS:
  • 1300 mAh, 3.7 Vlithium-ion battery
  • Battery life

    • 3DS games: 3–5 hours
    • DS games: 5–8 hours
    • Sleep Mode: ≈ 3 days
  • Nintendo 3DS XL:
  • 1750 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery
  • Battery life

    • 3DS games: 3.5–6.5 hours
    • DS games: 7–10 hours
    • Sleep Mode: ≈ 3 days
Current firmware11.15.0-47, as of July 27, 2021; 2 months ago (2021-07-27)
Online services
Dimensions

Body

  • Nintendo 3DS:
    Width: 134 mm (5.3 in)
    Height: 74 mm (2.9 in)
    Depth: 21 mm (0.83 in)
    Nintendo 3DS XL:
    Width: 156 mm (6.1 in)
    Height: 93 mm (3.7 in)
    Depth: 22 mm (0.87 in)
Mass
  • 3DS: 235 grams (8.3 oz)
  • 3DS XL: 336 grams (11.9 oz)
Best-selling gameMario Kart 7, 18.94 million units
(as of March 31, 2021[update])[7]
Backward
compatibility
Nintendo DS
PredecessorNintendo DS
SuccessorNew Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS[a] is a handheld game console produced by Nintendo. It was announced in March 2010 and unveiled at E3 2010[8][9] as the successor to the Nintendo DS. The system features backward compatibility with older Nintendo DS video games.[10] As an eighth-generation console, its primary competitor was Sony's PlayStation Vita.[11]

The handheld's most prominent feature is its ability to display stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or additional accessories, and offers new features such as the StreetPass and SpotPass tag modes, powered by Nintendo Network; augmented reality using its 3D cameras; and Virtual Console, which allows owners to download and play games originally released on older video game systems. It is also pre-loaded with various applications including an online distribution store called Nintendo eShop; a social networking service called Miiverse (shut down on November 8, 2017[12]); an Internet Browser; the Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube streaming video services; Nintendo Video; a messaging application called Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe and Australia); and Mii Maker.

The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011, and worldwide beginning in March 2011.[13][14] Less than six months later on July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a significant price reduction from US$249 to US$169 amid disappointing launch sales.[15] The company offered ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten free Game Boy Advance games from the Nintendo eShop to consumers who bought the system at the original launch price.[16] This strategy was considered a major success, and the console went on to become one of Nintendo's most successful handheld consoles in the first two years of its release. As of March 31, 2021[update], the Nintendo 3DS family of systems combined have sold 75.94 million units, and games for the systems have sold 386.48 million units as of March 31, 2021.[17]

The 3DS received multiple redesigns over the course of its life. The Nintendo 3DS XL, a larger model, was first released in Japan and Europe in July 2012, featuring a 90% larger screen.[18] An "entry-level" version of the console, the Nintendo 2DS, with a fixed "slate" form factor and lacking autostereoscopic (3D) functionality, was released in Western markets in October 2013.[19] The New Nintendo 3DS features a more powerful CPU, a second analog stick called the C-Stick, additional buttons, an improved camera, and other changes, and was first released in Japan in October 2014.[20][21]

The 3DS family was discontinued on September 16, 2020, though the Nintendo eShop and Nintendo Network remain active in most regions.[22][23] While the 3DS stands as the lowest-selling Nintendo handheld, largely due to major adoption of smart devices, it is still regarded as a success, hosting several critically acclaimed games that helped it stay competitive, and helping Nintendo stay relevant in the industry despite the commercial underperformance of the Wii U.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Nintendo began experimenting with stereoscopic 3D video game technology in the 1980s. The Famicom 3D System, an accessory consisting of liquid crystalshutter glasses, was Nintendo's first product that enabled stereoscopic 3D effects. Although very few titles were released, Nintendo helped design one—called Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally—which was co-developed by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory and released in 1988. The Famicom 3D System failed to garner market interest and was never released outside Japan.[24][25]

Nintendo's second attempt with 3D development was the Virtual Boy, designed by Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy handheld console and popular Metroid video game. It was a portable table-top system consisting of goggles and a controller that used a spinning disc to achieve full stereoscopic monochrome 3D.[26] Released in 1995, the Virtual Boy sold fewer than a million units, with only 22 compatible game titles released, and was widely considered to be a commercial failure.[25][27]Shigeru Miyamoto, known for his work on popular game franchises such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda, commented in a 2011 interview that he felt conflicted about Yokoi's decision to use wire-frame models for 3D and suggested that the product may not have been marketed correctly.[25] The failure of the Virtual Boy left many at Nintendo doubting the viability of 3D gaming.[28]

Despite this, Nintendo continued to investigate the incorporation of 3D technology into later products. The GameCube, released in 2001, was also capable of displaying true stereoscopic 3D with an LCD attachment, though only the launch title Luigi's Mansion was ever designed to utilize it. Due to the expensive nature of the requisite peripheral technology at the time, the GameCube's 3D functionality was never marketed to the public. Nintendo later experimented with a 3D LCD during the development of the Game Boy Advance SP, but the idea was shelved after it failed to achieve satisfactory results. Another attempt was made in preparation for a virtual navigation guide to be used on the Nintendo DS at Shigureden, an interactive museum in Japan.[29][30] Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi encouraged additional 3D research in an effort to use the technology in the exhibition. Although the project fell short, Nintendo was able to collect valuable research on liquid crystal which would later aid in the development of the Nintendo 3DS.[25]

Development[edit]

Speculation on the development of a successor to the Nintendo DS began in late 2009. At the time, Nintendo controlled as much as 68.3% of the handheld gaming market.[31] In October 2009, tech tabloid Bright Side of News reported that Nvidia, a graphics processing unit (GPU) developer that recently made headway with its Tegra System-on-Chip processors, had been selected by Nintendo to develop hardware for their next generation portable game console.[32] Later that month, speaking about the future for Nintendo's portable consoles, company president Satoru Iwata mentioned that while mobile broadband connectivity via subscription "doesn't fit Nintendo customers", he was interested in exploring options like Amazon's Whispernet found on the Amazon Kindle which provides free wireless connectivity to its customers for the sole purpose of browsing and purchasing content from the Kindle Store.[33]

Nintendo had expressed interest in motion-sensing capabilities since the development of the original Nintendo DS,[34] and an alleged comment by Satoru Iwata from a 2010 interview with Asahi Shimbun implied that the successor to the Nintendo DS would incorporate a motion sensor. The claim led to a minor dispute between the publication and Nintendo over its accuracy.[35] In February 2010, video gaming website Computer and Video Games reported that a select "handful" of Japanese developers were in possession of software development kits for the Nintendo DS successor, with The Pokémon Company given special priority. According to their insider at an unspecified third-party development studio, the hardware features a "tilt" function that is similar to that of the iPhone, "but does a lot more".[36]

Announcement[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS E3 2010unveiling involved an elaborate stage with moving set pieces.
A prototype Aqua BlueNintendo 3DS shown at E3 2010; the circle pad was originally colored alongside the console.

On March 23, 2010, Nintendo officially announced the Nintendo 3DS handheld console, the successor to the Nintendo DS family.[10] According to industry analysts, the timing of Nintendo's original announcement, which had drawn attention away from the launch of the company's still-new Nintendo DSi XL handheld, was likely intended to preempt impending news leaks about the product by the Japanese press.[37] In April 2010, a picture of a possible development build of the internal components of the 3DS was released as part of a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing by Mitsumi.[38] An analysis of the image showed that it was likely genuine as it featured components known to be used in the Nintendo DS line along with features of the 3DS that had not been announced like a 5:3 top screen and a control nub similar to those used in Sony's PlayStation Portable systems.[39]

In June 2010, video gaming website IGN reported that according to "several developers who have experienced 3DS in its current form," the system possesses processing power that "far exceed[s] the Nintendo Wii" and with 3D shaders, they could make games that "look close to current generation visuals on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3". IGN also cited "several developer sources" as saying that the system does not use the Nvidia Tegra mobile chipset.[40]

The system was fully revealed at Nintendo's conference at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010. The first game revealed was Kid Icarus: Uprising, and several other titles from third parties were also announced, including Square Enix with Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, Konami with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D, Warner Bros. Interactive with a Batman title, Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy, Capcom with Resident Evil: Revelations and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, and Activision with DJ Hero. Other Nintendo titles were later revealed after the conference, such as Mario Kart 7, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and remakes of Star Fox 64[41] and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.[42] Nintendo also demoed 3D trailers for DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon, Warner Bros' Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, and Disney's film Tangled on the 3DS.[43][44] The 3DS design shown at E3 was almost final, but subject to minor changes.[45]

On September 29, 2010, Nintendo announced that the Nintendo 3DS would be released in Japan on February 26, 2011. Furthermore, several additional features were announced: the inclusion of a Mii Maker (similar to the Mii Channel on the Wii), Virtual Console (including Game Boy and Game Boy Color), 3D Classics, a cradle for recharging the system's battery, multitasking, several included augmented reality games, an included 2 GB SD card, and stored game data, as well as the final names for the 3DS tag modes, StreetPass and SpotPass collectively. Nintendo further revealed that the system would be available at launch in two colors, Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black, and that its launch price in Japan would be ¥25,000.[46] The final physical design was also revealed at this event.[47]

Pre-launch events[edit]

On January 19, 2011, Nintendo held two simultaneous press conferences in Amsterdam and New York City, where it revealed all of the features of the Nintendo 3DS.[48] In North America, the release date was confirmed as March 27, 2011, with a retail price of $249.99. In Europe, the release date was announced as March 25, 2011, though Nintendo said that pricing would be up to retailers. Most retailers priced the handheld between £219.99 and £229.99,[49] though some retailers, such as Amazon, lowered the price following Sony's announcement of the PSP's successor on January 26, 2011,[50] with some retailers pricing the handheld at around £200 in February.[51]

In February 2011, Nintendo held four hands-on events in the UK named "Believe Your Eyes". February 5 and 6 saw simultaneous events in London and Manchester, while the 12th and 13th saw events in Glasgow and Bristol. Invitations to the events were offered first to Club Nintendo members, then later to members of the public via an online registration form.[52] Guests watched two brief performances and trailers, then were given time to play a selection of games on 3DS devices. Attendees were then allowed into a second room, containing further games to play (mainly augmented reality-based) and in-device videos.[53] In March, Nintendo held a few events in Australia at selected Westfield stores for people to try out the console, with a number of demos available.

Launch[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan on February 26, 2011, priced at ¥25,000. On March 25, 2011, the system launched in Europe, with pricing set by individual retailers. On March 27, 2011, the Nintendo 3DS launched in North America, priced at US$249.99. On March 31, 2011, the system launched in Australia and New Zealand, priced at A$349.95. The system was originally launched in all regions in both Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black color variations.

On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced the Nintendo 3DS would be getting a price cut of almost a third of the console's original price, from $249.99 to $169.99 in North America, 25,000¥ to 15,000¥ in Japan, and $349.95 to $249.95 in Australia. Although in Europe, pricing is up to retailers, the system also received a substantial price cut.[54] In an effort to compensate those who had paid the original price, the company introduced the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program, through which existing 3DS owners were eligible (conditional that they must have accessed the Nintendo eShop at least once prior to August 21) to download ten Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten Game Boy Advance games at no extra cost.[55][56] Nintendo further stated that the NES Ambassador titles would see future release to the general public on the Nintendo eShop, while there were no plans to make the Game Boy Advance Ambassador titles available.[57] The ten NES games were released in North America on August 31 and in Europe on September 1, 2011. These include: Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climber, Metroid, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Wrecking Crew, Yoshi (North America) / Mario & Yoshi (Europe & Australia), and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.[58][59] The ten Game Boy Advance games were released in North America on December 16, 2011. These include: F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Metroid Fusion, Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Wario Land 4, and WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames![60]

On April 28, 2012, the Nintendo 3DS launched in South Korea, in Cosmos Black, Misty Pink, and Cobalt Blue color variations.[61] On September 28, 2012, the system launched in two other regions, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in Cerulean Blue and Shimmer Pink.[62][63]

Larger model[edit]

A Nintendo 3DS XL in the open position

Rumors of a larger model of the Nintendo 3DS being in production appeared during June 2012, when Japanese publication Nikkei wrote an article stating that the system was initially scheduled to be unveiled at E3 2012. However, Nintendo responded that these rumors were false and that the article was "entire speculation", but refrained from further commenting on the subject.[64] Finally, on June 21, 2012, the system was announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation. Featuring 90% larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS, the system was set to launch on all major regions during the middle of the year.[65]

The Nintendo 3DS XL (Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan) was released on July 28, 2012, in Japan, priced at ¥18,900, and was available in Silver + Black, Red + Black and White color variations.[66] In Europe, the system launched on the same day but in Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black color variations.[66] On August 19, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in North America, priced at US$199.99, and available in Red + Black and Blue + Black.[67] On August 23, 2012, Australia and New Zealand saw the launch of the new handheld, priced at AU$249.95, and available in the same color variations as in Europe, Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black.[68] The launch of the Nintendo 3DS XL coincided with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, the first Nintendo 3DS game to be available in both retail and downloadable versions.

On September 20, 2012, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in South Korea, in Silver + Black, Red + Black, and White color variations.[69] On September 28, 2012, the system launched in two other regions, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in Blue + Black and White color variations.[70] In December 2012, Nintendo Chinese distribution partner, iQue, launched the iQue 3DS XL in three special editions, one featuring a Mario decal while the other two feature both Mario and Luigi.[71]

Later years[edit]

Nintendo officially announced their next console, the Nintendo Switch, in October 2016 and with worldwide release in March 2017. The Switch is a hybrid video game console that can be used both as a home console docked to a television or taken on-the-go to be used as a handheld system. While the Switch displaced the Wii U as Nintendo's primary home console in terms of production and distribution,[72] Nintendo executives affirmed that the company would continue to support the 3DS with more first-party and third-party games in the immediate future. Fils-Aimé assured that the 3DS "has a long life in front of it", and that Nintendo intends for it to co-exist with the Switch,[73] while Kimishima considered the 3DS as an entry-level product for younger players.[74] In June 2017, Fils-Aimé said they would be supporting Nintendo 3DS beyond 2018.[75] In July 2017, production of the New Nintendo 3DS had ended in Europe and Japan leaving the New Nintendo 3DS XL and then-recently released New Nintendo 2DS XL as the only 3DS models still in production worldwide.[76][77] In June 2018, Nintendo said it was considering some possibilities for a successor to the Nintendo 3DS.[78]

In June 2019, Nintendo confirmed that first-party game development had ceased, but that the system would continue to be supported through the near future.[79] With the unveiling of the Nintendo Switch Lite—a lower-end version of the Switch console—Nintendo of America CEO Doug Bowser stated that the company still planned to continue supporting the 3DS family as long as there was still demand.[80] In November 2019, Bowser reaffirmed that Nintendo would continue to support the 3DS into 2020.[81] On September 16, 2020, Nintendo confirmed that production of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems had ended.[82][83][84] On July 20, 2021, Nintendo's Japanese website announced that the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops would no longer accept credit cards. This change is set to be put in place on January 18, 2022. The Internet Browser's filter function will also not be able to be turn off for Japanese 3DS devices after this date.[85]

Hardware[edit]

See also: List of Nintendo 3DS colors and styles

The following explicitly refers to the original Nintendo 3DS model. Some technical details do not apply to later Nintendo 2DS and New Nintendo 3DS models.

Regular Nintendo 3DS button and features layout.

The Nintendo 3DS has custom components co-developed by the Nintendo Research & Engineering department and other manufacturers, all combined into a unified system on chip. Its main central processing unit (CPU) is a dual-core ARM11 MPCore-based processor manufactured at 45 nm and clocked at 266 MHz.[86] One processor core is dedicated to games and applications, while the other core is exclusive to the operating system, enabling multitasking and background tasks. These tasks are handled seamlessly in the background during gameplay or while the system is in sleep mode. The system also contains a single-core ARM9-based processor, enabling backward compatibility with both Nintendo DS and DSi titles. The graphics processor (GPU) is a PICA200 developed by Digital Media Professionals, running at 133 MHz.[86][87][88] The system contains 128 MB of random-access memory (RAM) consisting of 128 MB of FCRAM developed by Fujitsu, with a peak bandwidth of 3.2 GB/s.[89][90]

The console contains two separate screens. The top screen is a 15:9 (5:3) autostereoscopicliquid-crystal display (LCD) with a resolution of 800×240 pixels (effectively 400×240 pixels per eye, or WQVGA).[91] On the original 3DS, the screen measures 3.53 in (90 mm), while on the 3DS XL it measures 4.88 in (124 mm). It is autostereoscopic; it uses a parallax barrier to produce a three-dimensional effect without requiring special glasses. There is a 3D Depth Slider next to the screen for adjusting the 3D effect or turning it off altogether. The bottom screen is a 4:3 resistive touchscreen with a display resolution of 320×240 pixels (QVGA). On the original Nintendo 3DS, the screen measures 77 mm (3.02 in), while on the 3DS XL it measures 106 mm (4.18 in).[92][93]

The system features three camera sensors: two cameras on the outside of the device, capable of taking 3D photos and capturing 3D video; and one camera facing the user positioned above the top screen. All camera sensors have a maximum resolution of 640×480 pixels (0.3 megapixels, VGA) with one-point focus and can only achieve digital zoom. There is also a microphone in the bottom of the system.[92]

The system includes 2 GB of eMMCflash memory manufactured by either Toshiba or Samsung.[94] The system's memory can be expanded via an SD memory card slot, which supports SD and SDHC memory cards. All the Nintendo 3DS systems come packaged with a 2 GB SD card while Nintendo 3DS XL systems include a 4 GBSDHC card.[89] The system uses 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/gwireless network connectivity with enhanced WPA2 security. There is also an infrared port on the back of the console, which allows the system to connect with certain peripherals such as the Circle Pad Pro and the amiibo reader/writer.[95]

The Nintendo 3DS comes with a 3.7 V1300 mAh5 Whlithium ion battery.[89] Its longevity fluctuates between 3 and 5 hours while playing Nintendo 3DS games and between 5 and 8 hours while playing Nintendo DS games, depending on brightness, volume and wireless settings. The Nintendo 3DS XL, however, comes with a 1750 mAh, 3.7 V lithium-ion battery capable of lasting between 3.5 and 6.5 hours playing 3DS games and 6 to 10 hours playing DS games. While the original 3DS weighs approximately 230 grams (8.1 oz), the larger XL version weighs approximately 336 grams (11.9 oz). When opened, the original 3DS is 134 mm (5.3 in) wide, 74 mm (2.9 in) broad, and 21 mm (0.83 in) thick. The XL version however, is 156 mm (6.1 in) wide, 93 mm (3.7 in) broad, and 22 mm (0.87 in) thick. The 3DS also come with a telescoping stylus, extendable to up to 100 mm (3.9 in) long, while the 3DS XL come with a regular 93 mm (3.7 in) stylus.[92]

All systems in the Nintendo 3DS family use the same AC adapter used with the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL. In order to reduce production costs, certain console bundles, such as Japanese and European releases of the Nintendo 3DS XL and the New Nintendo 3DS, were not bundled with an AC adapter, requiring players to either use one from an older system they may own or purchase one separately. Along with plugging the adapter directly into the system, the standard Nintendo 3DS comes with a charging cradle, which players place their system in to charge. Charging cradles for the Nintendo 3DS XL and New Nintendo 3DS systems are sold separately from their respective systems, and there is no cradle for the Nintendo 2DS.[96]

Input[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS input controls include the following: a round nub analog input called the Circle Pad, a D-pad, four face buttons (A, B, X, Y), bumper buttons (L, R), a Home button, Start and Select buttons, and a Power button. It also features a dedicated volume slider and a wireless switch, which turns on or off wireless communications. The touchscreen can be interacted with either the user's finger or a stylus bundled with the handheld. There is also a six-axis motion sensor, which includes a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. Through the Circle Pad Pro accessory the system has access to a second Circle Pad and trigger buttons (ZL, ZR).[97]

Game card[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS Game Card is a media format used to physically distribute video games for Nintendo 3DS systems. The 3DS Game Card is similar in design to the Nintendo DS Game Card, but includes a small tab on the top left of the card that prevents 3DS Game Cards from being inserted into a Nintendo DS.[98] These Game Cards can hold up to either 1 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB of game data depending on the game, which is 2, 4, and 8 times more storage, respectively, than the biggest Nintendo DS Game Card's capacity (512 MB). Some sources claim that an 8 GB version could be produced should a game ever require it.[99]

Accessories[edit]

Circle Pad Pro[edit]

The Circle Pad Pro accessory for the original Nintendo 3DS

The Circle Pad Pro is an accessory/add-on which connects to a Nintendo 3DS system through infrared, adding support for a second Circle Pad, a substitute R button input (as the original one becomes difficult to reach), and an extra set of trigger buttons (ZL / ZR).[97] The device was first released in Japan on December 10, 2011, coinciding with the release of Monster Hunter 3G in the region.[100] It was subsequently released in Europe on January 27, 2012, in Australia on February 2, 2012, and in North America on February 7, 2012, coinciding with the release of Resident Evil: Revelations in those regions.[101]

Images of the device first appeared in September 2011 in Famitsu[102][103] The first titles confirmed to compatible with the add-on were Monster Hunter 3G, Resident Evil: Revelations, Ace Combat 3D Cross Rumble(Japanese version only), Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and Shin Sangoku Musou VS.[104]

The Nintendo 3DS XL version of the device, called the Circle Pad Pro XL, was released in Japan on November 15, 2012, Europe on March 22, 2013, and North America on April 17, 2013.[105][106][107][108]

The C-Stick and ZL / ZR buttons on the New Nintendo 3DS are backward compatible with Circle Pad Pro-compatible titles.[109][110]

Stand[edit]

This accessory came bundled exclusively with every retail copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising.[122] The stand made the game, and other games with similar controls such as Liberation Maiden, easier to play for various users, as it helped free the tension of suspending the console with one hand since the other hand would be using the stylus on the touch screen for longer periods than usual.

NFC Reader/Writer[edit]

See also: Amiibo

A Nintendo 3DS NFC Reader/Writer, which enabled Amiibofor the 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS

A near-field communication (NFC) reader and writer was released on September 25, 2015, in North America at US$19.99 and on October 2 in Europe, alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. This peripheral enables Amiibo support for the Nintendo 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS, a feature already built-in to New Nintendo 3DS systems. The accessory is powered by two AA batteries.[123]

Other models[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS family consists of six models. Apart from the regular-sized Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo 3DS XL is a larger model of the console which was released on July 28, 2012, and features 90% larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS.[18] The Nintendo 2DS is a complete redesign of the handheld which was released on October 12, 2013, and is described as an "entry level" version of the 3DS. This console, while still capable of playing Nintendo DS and 3DS games, removes the 3D functionality and changes the form factor to a fixed, "slate" design.[19] The New Nintendo 3DS, which also has an XL variant, adds additional controls and improved functionality, and is able to play certain games not compatible with the previous models. A cheaper alternative, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, incorporates some of the features from the New Nintendo 3DS with elements from the 2DS such as the lack of stereoscopic 3D functionality; it also shifts from the slate form factor of the original 2DS model to a clamshell design.

Nintendo 2DS[edit]

Main article: Nintendo 2DS

A Black + BlueNintendo 2DS

The Nintendo 2DS (abbreviated to 2DS) was announced on August 28, 2013, as a new entry-level model of the Nintendo 3DS family. While its hardware and software are relatively similar to the Nintendo 3DS (and still offers compatibility with Nintendo DS and 3DS games), it lacks the 3DS's signature 3D screen, does not have internal stereo speakers (only using a mono speaker), and uses a slate-like form factor as opposed to the clamshell design used by its Nintendo DS and 3DS predecessors. The Nintendo 2DS was released in North America and Europe on October 12, 2013, coinciding with the launch of Pokémon X & Y and is being sold alongside the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL at a relatively lower price point.[124]

As a cheaper model of the Nintendo 3DS family that plays both Nintendo DS and 3DS games, the Nintendo 2DS is seen as a market strategy to broaden the overall Nintendo handheld gaming market. As such, the 2DS is a handheld console targeted at a different audience than that of the regular Nintendo 3DS models, particularly younger users. Despite concerns from critics who felt that the company was trying to de-emphasize the 3D functionality by releasing the 2DS, Nintendo maintains that 3D is still part of their future plans.[125]

New Nintendo 3DS[edit]

Main article: New Nintendo 3DS

A Metallic BlackNew Nintendo 3DS XL

The New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL (known as New Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan) are updated revisions of the 3DS and 3DS XL that were first unveiled during a Japanese Nintendo Direct presentation on August 29, 2014. The new models feature a more powerful processor, face tracking for improved 3D viewing angles, additional ZL/ZR shoulder buttons and a new "C-Stick" pointing stick that are comparable to and backward compatible with games that support the Circle Pad Pro, colored face buttons inspired by those of Super NES controllers, automatic brightness adjustment, microSD storage, larger batteries, and integrated near-field communications support for use with Amiibo products. The regular-sized New Nintendo 3DS also has slightly larger screens than the prior model, and a suite of interchangeable faceplates.[126][127]

As with its predecessors, the New Nintendo 3DS is compatible with existing DS and 3DS titles. Some software titles, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games released for Virtual Console, are specifically optimized for the device and its upgraded processor and are incompatible with the earlier 3DS and 2DS models.[128][129][130]

The systems were released in Japan on October 11, 2014, in Australia and New Zealand on November 21, 2014,[131][132] and at retail in Europe and North America on February 13, 2015. Only the XL version was made available in North America at launch,[128][129] though the smaller model was later released in a series of limited edition bundles.[133]

New Nintendo 2DS XL[edit]

Main article: New Nintendo 2DS XL

A Black x TurquoiseNew Nintendo 2DS XL

On April 27, 2017, Nintendo unveiled the New Nintendo 2DS XL (known as New Nintendo 2DS LL in Japan), which was released in North America and Europe on July 28, 2017[134] and Japan on July 29, 2017.[135] The system is a variation of the New Nintendo 3DS line, featuring the additional hardware features and software compatibility of the New Nintendo 3DS, albeit without the stereoscopic 3D functionality, and a foldable form factor.[136] The system did not receive a non-XL variant.

Software[edit]

See also: Nintendo 3DS system software

Operating system[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS Home Menuas of system version 9.3.0-21. The upper screen displays a 3D animated logo for each individual app, while the bottom screen displays application icons.

The Home Menu is a graphical user interface similar to the Nintendo DSi Menu and Wii U Menu for Nintendo 3DS systems. It is used to launch software stored on Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS Game Cards, applications installed on a SD card, and DSiWare titles installed in the system's internal memory. Application icons are set in a customizable grid navigable on the lower screen. On the upper screen, a special 3D animated logo is displayed for each individual app, as well as system information such as wireless signal strength, date and time, and battery life. Using the Home button, users can suspend the current software that is running and bring up the Home Menu, allowing the user to launch certain multitasking applications, such as the Internet Browser and Miiverse.

Similarly to the Nintendo DSi, the menu has updateable firmware. On April 25, 2012, a system update brought the introduction of a folder system, which allows users to put applications inside folders.[138] On June 20, 2013, a system update brought the introduction of the Save Data Backup feature, which allows the user to back up save data from downloadable Nintendo 3DS software and most Virtual Console games.[139] An update was released on October 30, 2014, to enable players to download custom themes for the Home Menu, based on various Nintendo titles.[140]

Camera[edit]

Nintendo 3DS Camera is a built-in photo and video recorder with an integrated media gallery and photo editing functionality. The app uses the system's two front-facing cameras to take 3D photos, and the user-facing camera to take regular 2D photos. All photographs are taken at a resolution of 640 x 480 px (VGA), or 0.3 megapixels. The two perspectives of 3D photographs are stored into two separate files, with JPG and MPO extensions.[141]

There are various options and filters available when taking photos or recording video. There is also a Low-Light option, which is useful when taking photos and recording video in low lighting conditions.[142]

On December 7, 2011, a system update added the ability to record 3D video along special recording options, such as the ability to make stop motion animations.[143] All recording modes only allow a single video to be up to 10 minutes long.[144]

Sound[edit]

Nintendo 3DS Sound is a built-in music player and sound recorder. Supported filename extensions include MP3 audio with .mp3 and AAC audio with .mp4, .m4a, or .3GP. Audio files can be played from an SD card, with visualizations displayed on the upper screen. Music can be played while the console is closed, using the system's headphone jack. A set of sound manipulation options are available, as well as several audio filters. Ten-second voice recordings can also be recorded and edited.[145] These can then be shared throughout other applications such as Swapnote.[citation needed] There is also a StreetPass function built-into the app, where users exchange song data to make a compatibility chart between them.[145]

Nintendo eShop[edit]

Main article: Nintendo eShop

Nintendo eShop is the Nintendo 3DS's online software distribution service. Launched in June 2011, the eShop provides downloadable retail and download-only Nintendo 3DS titles, Virtual Console titles, and various applications and videos. It also allows users to purchase downloadable content (DLC) and automatically download patches for both physical and downloadable games. All content obtained from Nintendo eShop is attached to a Nintendo Network ID but can only be used in one system. Background downloading is possible via SpotPass, while playing games or in sleep mode. Up to ten downloads can be queued at a time and their status can be checked on the Home Menu.[146] The Nintendo eShop supports simple user software reviews. Users can submit a review with "stars" ranging from one to five, representing its quality in a crescent order, and categorize software by whether it is suitable for hardcore or more casual players. User reviews can only be submitted after using the software for at least one hour.[citation needed]

Certain Latin American and Caribbean countries, which feature a more limited eShop, had their systems closed in July 2020. Countries in the region with the full eShop and the rest of the world are currently unaffected.[147]

Miiverse[edit]

Main article: Miiverse

Miiverse was an integrated social networking service, which allowed players to interact and share their gaming experiences through their personal Mii characters. It was originally launched on Wii U and was launched on the Nintendo 3DS on December 11, 2013, via a firmware update.[148] Its functionality was similar to the Wii U version albeit without the private messaging feature, and required a Nintendo Network ID.

Miiverse allowed users to seamlessly share accomplishments, comments, hand written notes, and game screenshots with other players on various communities specific to their games and applications. It was possible to access Wii U communities on the Nintendo 3DS and vice versa. It was also possible to access Miiverse on any internet enabled smartphone, tablet and PC.[149] The service was moderated through software filtering as well as a human resource team in order to ensure that the content shared by users was appropriate and that no spoilers were shared.[150] It was also possible to post screenshots from certain games to social networking websites such as Twitter, Tumblr and/or Facebook via the Nintendo 3DS Image Share service.[151]

On November 7, 2017, the Miiverse servers closed down for the 3DS and the Wii U.

Internet browser[edit]

Main article: Internet Browser (Nintendo 3DS)

The Nintendo 3DS's internet browser was released via a firmware update on June 6, 2011, in North America and June 7, 2011, in Europe and Japan.[152] It functions as a multitasking system application and can be used while another application is suspended in the background. The browser contains a text wrap option to automatically wrap text to the width of the screen at different zoom levels, and is mainly controlled with the stylus or the Circle Pad and the D-pad to cycle through links on the page. The browser supports HTML, CSS, JavaScript and some HTML5 elements but does not support Flash, video or music.[153] It can also download and show 3D images with the .mpo file extension and allows users to save images on an SD card. Additionally the browser supports JPEG and MPO image uploads from the system's photo gallery. The user can also choose between the Google and the Yahoo! search engines, and can also create bookmarks. The 3DS also shipped with the Nintendo Zone Viewer. The Nintendo Zone Viewer was a 3D enabled browser that was developed by Nintendo to support location-based Nintendo Zone interaction.[154]

Video services[edit]

Nintendo Video launched in Australia, Europe, and Japan on July 13, 2011, and in North America on July 21, 2011, along with a tutorial video.[155][156][157] The service periodically updates its video content availability through SpotPass, automatically adding and deleting content from the console. Up to four videos can be available through the app at the same time. Nintendo Video content include: established series such as Oscar's Oasis and Shaun the Sheep (with fifteen exclusive episodes);[158] original series such as Dinosaur Office and BearShark by CollegeHumor; short films; movie trailers; and sports videos by Redbull and BSkyB. The Nintendo Video app was discontinued in the Japanese, European and Oceania regions by April 2014, and in North America by July 2015. In North America at least, the "Nintendo Video" name continues to exist via a permanent Nintendo eShop category for all hosted videos that previously featured on the former app, as well as potential new content. The permanently hosted online "Nintendo Video" eShop videos can be viewed on-demand at any time without additional costs.

The Netflix streaming video service was released in North America on July 14, 2011.[159] Netflix users are able to pause streaming video on the Nintendo 3DS and resume it on other Netflix-enabled devices. Only 2D content is available through the service.[160] The Netflix app was discontinued on June 30, 2021.[161] Nintendo announced on October 21, 2011, that Hulu Plus would be released on the Nintendo 3DS by the end of the year.[162] On February 16, 2012, following the debut of Hulu on the Wii, Nintendo reiterated the announcement this time claiming it would be available on the 3DS sometime in 2012.[163] Finally, on August 6, 2013, the Hulu application became available in Japan and on October 17, 2013, the Hulu Plus application was launched in North America, along with a one-week free trial.[164][165] On November 29, 2013, the YouTube application was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Europe and North America.[166] It was discontinued in August 2019.[167]

Discontinued video services[edit]

The SpotPass TV service launched in Japan on June 19, 2011. The service was a joint service between Nippon TV and Fuji TV that brought free 3D video content to Nintendo 3DS users in Japan. Types of content included programming teaching the user how to do magic tricks, Japanese idol sumo wrestling, sports, and 3D dating, among others. The service was terminated on June 20, 2012, a year after its inception.[168] A Eurosport app launched in Europe and Australia on December 15, 2011, and worked similarly to the Nintendo Video app. It featured weekly episodes of Watts Zap and other compilation videos containing Eurosport content.[169] The service was terminated on December 31, 2012, a year after its inception.[170]

Swapnote[edit]

Main article: Swapnote

Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe and Australia) is a messaging application for the Nintendo 3DS. Swapnote was released on December 21, 2011, in Japan and on December 22 in Europe, Australia and North America, via the Nintendo eShop. The application is free and is pre-installed on newer systems. It allows users to send hand-written/drawn messages to registered friends via SpotPass either or other users via StreetPass.[171] The app also allows users to freely embed pictures and sounds into their messages.

On October 31, 2013, Nintendo abruptly suspended the Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box SpotPass functionality after discovering minors were sharing Friend Codes with strangers who had exploited the messaging service to allegedly exchange pornographic imagery.[172][173]

Mii Maker[edit]

Mii Maker is a system application that allows users to create Mii characters through either a selection of facial and body features, such as the nose, mouth, eyes, hair, among other, or by taking a photo using the system's cameras and auto-generate a personal Mii. Mii characters can also be added and shared by reading special QR codes with one of the cameras.[174] It is also possible to import Mii characters from a Wii or a Wii U system. However, Mii created on Nintendo 3DS systems cannot be exported back to a Wii due to the addition of character parts in Mii Maker not present on the Wii's Mii Channel.[175] This restriction, however, is not applied when exporting a Mii from a Nintendo 3DS to a Wii U system.

Activity Log[edit]

Activity Log is a system application that tracks game-play and keeps a record of which games have been played and for how long, as well as physical activity, such as counting every step taken while carrying a Nintendo 3DS using its built in pedometer. The feature encourages walking every day with the system in order to earn Play Coins, at a maximum of 10 each day at a rate of one per 100 steps, to a total of 300 coins. Play Coins can then be used with compatible games and applications to acquire special content and a variety of other benefits.[176]

Other network features[edit]

Other network features of the Nintendo 3DS include the Nintendo Network, SpotPass and StreetPass. StreetPass Mii Plaza is a StreetPass application which comes pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS system, while Nintendo Zone Viewer is a built-in application that detects and makes use of certified SpotPass hotspots. The service has since been discontinued.[citation needed]

PictoChat, the decentralized wireless messaging software introduced with the Nintendo DS and supported by Nintendo DSi for exchanging text and drawings, is not present on 3DS.[177]

Games[edit]

Further information: List of Nintendo 3DS games, List of best-selling Nintendo 3DS games, and List of cancelled Nintendo 3DS games

Retail copies of games are supplied on proprietary cartridges called Nintendo 3DS Game Cards, which are packaged in keep cases with simple instructions. In Europe, the boxes have a triangle at the bottom corner of the paper sleeve-insert side. The triangle is color-coded to identify the region for which the title is intended and which manual languages are included. Unlike with previous Nintendo consoles, the complete software manual is only available digitally via the system's Home Menu. Software published by Nintendo and by some third parties come packaged with Club Nintendo points, which can be redeemed for special rewards.[178] Retail and download-only games are also available for download in the Nintendo eShop. All Nintendo 3DS consoles are region locked (software purchased in a region can be only played on that region's hardware).[179]

A total of 386.48 million Nintendo 3DS games have been sold worldwide as of March 31, 2021[update],[180] with 49 titles surpassing the million-unit mark. The most successful game, Mario Kart 7, has sold 18.94 million units worldwide.[7]

Launch titles[edit]

The Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan with 8 games,[181] in North America with 15 games[182] and in Europe with 14 games.[183] An additional thirty games were announced for release during the system's "launch window", which includes the three months after the system's launch date.

Augmented reality[edit]

AR Games is a compilation of several augmented reality mini-games and simple tools, which is pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS, along with 6 paper cards that interact with certain games. Five of the six cards have a picture of a character on them, consisting of Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikmin, and Samus. The sixth one is a question mark box from the Super Mario Bros. series. Nintendo has also published downloadable versions of this card in larger sizes.[184] By scanning the cards, real time graphics are augmented onto live footage. It is also possible to take 3D photos of Nintendo characters, using any to all 6 AR Cards, as well as their Miis.

Some AR cards are also compatible with other Nintendo 3DS games including Nintendogs + Cats, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Pokédex 3D Pro, Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!, and Tetris: Axis.[185][186]

Face Raiders is another augmented reality application pre-installed on every Nintendo 3DS system. In order to start playing, the user must take pictures of peoples' faces. These faces then turn into enemies and attack the player, who must shoot them using the system's gyroscope. The background of the game is the rear camera's viewpoint.[187] As people walk by in the background, the game takes their pictures from their faces, also adding them as enemies. It is also possible to collect faces from the system's image gallery, which is searched automatically for faces.[188]

There are other Nintendo 3DS applications that similarly use the system's AR capabilities, such as Photos with Mario, Photos with Animal Crossing, Pokémon Dream Radar, and Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir.[189][190]

Download Play[edit]

Download Play allows users to play local multiplayer games with other Nintendo 3DS systems using only one Game Card. Players must have their systems within wireless range (up to approximately 65 feet) of each other for the guest system to download the necessary data from the host system. Download Play on Nintendo 3DS systems is also backward compatible, meaning that it is also available for Nintendo DS games. Unlike Download Play on Nintendo DS, game data is stored on the system's SD card once downloaded to the guest system, no longer requiring a re-download for a future game session.[191] Nintendo 3DS games can only transfer a maximum of 32 MB of data to other systems while in download play.[192] Other forms of local multiplayer modes require each player to own the software that is currently being used.

Backward compatibility[edit]

See also: List of Nintendo DS games and List of DSiWare games and applications

In addition to its own software, the Nintendo 3DS is backward compatible with all Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi software. Like the DSi and DSi XL, the Nintendo 3DS is incompatible with DS software that requires use of the Game Boy Advance port. Nintendo DS and DSi software cannot be played with 3D visuals on the 3DS. The original DS display resolutions are displayed in a scaled and stretched fashion due to the increased resolution of the 3DS's screens. If the user holds down the START or SELECT buttons upon launching Nintendo DS software, the emulated screens will be displayed in the Nintendo DS's native resolution, albeit smaller with black borders. On the Nintendo 3DS XL, this method yields a viewing size for DS games similar to their native sizes (due to the larger screen size of the XL), unlike on the original 3DS models, where the games appear to be shrunk.[193][194]

Virtual Console[edit]

Main article: Virtual Console

The Virtual Console service allows Nintendo 3DS owners to download and play games originally released for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System, and exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS models, Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Virtual Console games are distributed over broadband Internet via the Nintendo eShop, and are saved to a removable SD card. Once downloaded, Virtual Console games can be accessed from the Home Menu as individual apps. The service was launched on June 6 in North America and June 7, 2011, in Japan and Europe[citation needed] as part of a system update.[195]

Nintendo and Sega also launched the 3D Classics

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_3DS
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The 25 best 3DS games that helped make the mini machine great

The best 3DS games show just what a little powerhouse the Nintendo handheld was, and why it is still the gaming machine of choice for many, despite being officially discontinued in 2020. Whether you like to lose yourself in complex RPGs, bash your brain in with puzzles or want to kick back with an old Nintendo classic, the 3DS has a game for you. 

While the Nintendo 3DS might have been replaced by the Nintendo Switch, there's still a booming trade in refurbished machines and pre-owned games, so it's not too late to grab yourself a slice of Nintendo history with any of the games below. Or just scroll through and bask in the nostalgia. 

If you're a true Nintendo fanatic, you'll want to check out the contenders on our best Wii U games list as well, and if you're all about Nintendo Switch these days check out all the upcoming Nintendo Switch games.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read ouraffiliate policyfor more info.

25. Pocket Card Jockey

Release date: May 5, 2016

Let’s not lie: Pocket Card Jockey is a hard sell. It’s a game about horse racing and solitaire, which sounds more like two gambling machines mated to create a mule child than a conscious design decision. Resist that urge to click onto the next slide, though: this is one of the best titles Game Freak has made that isn’t about locking monsters in balls. 

It’s the sort of game that belongs on a Nintendo system: initially odd, but with the sway to engage you for two minutes or ten hours. It’s also wonderfully, endearingly weird, featuring a canonical explanation for why solitaire prowess translates into skilled horse racing. Best of all, it provides you the opportunity to engage with the most important aspect of equestrian sports: giving your pony a truly ridiculous name. Simply put, Pocket Card Jockey is the best game about horse racing and cards for people who care about neither. 

24. Shin Megami Tensei 4

Release date: July 16, 2013

Shin Megami Tensei arrives at its fourth numbered entry after numerous spin-offs, and developer Atlus makes the new release count by adapting the series to feel current without abandoning its roots. Once more you guide precocious teens tasked with saving the inhabitants of a post-apocalyptic world, but key areas like exploration, combat, and item management have been smartly streamlined.

The standard gameplay satisfies without ignoring its past, and the twisting story of the blurring lines between good and evil is surprisingly deep. For all the changes, Shin Megami Tensei 4's storied monster collection and fusion is as addicting as ever. Building the perfect team of beasts is as engrossing as Pokmon, only with satanic imagery sprinkled on top.

23. BoxBoy!

Release date: January 14, 2015

Is it painful for Qbby to extrude series of interconnected boxes from his very being? Who knows. But man oh man, does it make for some really clever puzzle-solving. Everything about BoxBoy! is cute, minimal, and focused on making you feel as dumb-then-brilliant as possible. The game's central premise is simple: you squeeze out cubes in a series of formations, then either toss, drop, or retract yourself into them to get past hazardous obstacles.

Then, like a four-cornered Mario, you move from one themed "world" full of levels to another, and everything you thought you knew about extrusion changes. Suddenly you're using your cubes like armor to defend against deadly lasers, or carefully timing when to drop them onto conveyor belts. BoxBoy's sequels BoxBoxBoy and Bye-Bye BoxBoy are little miracles too, but nothing can replicate that initial charm of the original.

22. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies

Release date: October 24, 2013

After sitting on the sidelines for a few iterations of this courtroom drama, Phoenix Wright is finally back in the limelight, doling out legal justice like it's his job (which it is). And it isn't just the defense attorney protagonist that's pleasantly familiar - Dual Destinies recaptures the cheerful, humorous tone that made us fall in love with the Ace Attorney series in the first place.

Of course, there's still plenty of drama to the proceedings, with tense cross-examinations of witnesses and bitter rivalries against opposing prosecutors. The mysterious circumstances of each crime will keep you guessing till the end, and when you finally trip up a liar with your OBJECTION! you'll be smiling from ear to ear. It's all presented in gorgeous 3D, with some awesome anime cutscenes to boot.

21. Shovel Knight

Release date: June 26, 2014

Nintendo's library is home to platforming titans like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country - who would've guessed we'd be bringing up the fantastic Shovel Knight in the same breath? Shovel Knight is a Megazord of old-school platformers - a beast made of great parts.

Like Mega Man, it's packed with totally unique stages based on elements like water, air, and darkness, and each stage ends with a duel against a knight from the Order of No Quarter - a team just as varied and intriguing as the stages they rule. You can slash your shovel at quirky enemies and explore villages populated with all manner of bards, wizards, and frog-squires. There's a lot to see here, and it can all be covered in a cool "stacked" look thanks to the handheld's fancy 3D tech.

20. Bravely Default

Release date: February 7, 2014

There's a reason Square-Enix specifically cited Bravely Default as its motivation for moving away from globalized titles and back towards specialized, core games - it's an excellent RPG, and that appeal translates everywhere. Traditional and Japan-centric though it is, its expert design and terrific story make it a welcome and necessary 3DS game - and, oddly enough, the best Final Fantasy game in some time.

Make no mistake; in design and execution, Bravely Default is proudly a JRPG. But don't let that hardcore pedigree scare you away - the story is absolutely worth seeing, and the design is as tightly tuned as any game in the genre. The sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, made welcome tweaks to the combat, but in terms of narrative scale, Bravely Default is still the one to go for. 

19. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Release date: February 28, 2014

It has all been leading up to this. After five core games and a number of spin-offs, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is the finale to Prof. Hershel Layton's globetrotting adventures (for now), and developer Level-5 goes all out with the fan service. The plot ties together the stories from many of the previous games and is packed with references to earlier adventures. But the title's best tribute to the franchise is its consistently rewarding puzzles.

As before, most of the gameplay involves solving increasingly difficult brain teasers as the story unspools, and the conundrums meet Layton's high standard of quality. Even better, the visuals support the puzzles brilliantly. While Layton tries to find the connection between a lost civilization and an amnesiac young lady, the stereoscopic 3D visuals continue to impress until the last puzzle is solved. If this is Layton's legacy, then he handled it like a true gentleman.

18. Kid Icarus: Uprising

Release date: March 23, 2012

Pit and the rest of the Kid Icarus crew were a big deal on the NES, but Nintendo ignored the characters for almost two decades before Uprising. Made by many of the developers behind the Smash Bros. games, Kid Icarus: Uprising reimagines Pit, Palutena, and the rest of the angelic cast for an intriguing hybrid on the 3DS. Part on-rails shooter and part action-adventure, Uprising feels particularly fresh for a 20-year-old series.

Made to show off the 3DS' stereoscopic 3D, Uprising is at its best in the visually brilliant shooter stages, which use a novel approach to shooting that combines the touch screen and shoulder buttons. That interface isn't as great on foot, but there's a surprising amount of subtlety to the controls if you're looking for them. Yes, it can be a little painful after playing for long stretches, but this 3DS original is worth the hand cramps.

17. New Super Mario Bros. 2

Release date: August 19, 2012

2D Mario games stepped into the present with the blockbuster New Super Mario Bros., so it's expected that the series would continue on the 3DS. Some may have feared that the gameplay would've gotten a little rote by the time this entry rolled around, but it found new life by pushing you to collect as much cold, hard cash as you could get your grubby fingers on.

Gold is the theme (and the most prevalent color) in New Super Mario Bros. 2, and the game pushes you to collect as many coins as possible in its many platforming stages. NSMB2 transforms the game into a high-score challenge against friends and strangers over Wi-Fi, making this one of the most wonderfully taxing Mario games in a long time.

16. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

Release date: October 3, 2014

We shouldn't have to pitch you on Super Smash Bros. by now. Where else can you find all of Nintendo's biggest mascots brought together for one big sloppy kiss for fans everywhere? Link fighting Luigi, Bowser flung across the screen by Olimar, and King Dedede, sovereign ruler of all that is Dreamland, chasing down a little boy with psychic powers and a baseball bat - it's all here, and by golly is it beautiful.

While Super Smash Bros. for 3DS may not have all the bells and whistles you would find in the Wii U equivalent, there's still something to be said about having one of the best multiplayer games around in your pocket. It may be the smaller package, but it's easy to see that it's got just as much love in its code as any game could.

Click 'Next Page' to see titles 15-6 in our countdown of the best 3DS games. 

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The 25 best Nintendo 3DS games

If you’re looking for the best Nintendo 3DS games, there’s no shortage of titles to choose from, thanks to the console’s long life cycle.

The 3DS has enjoyed several updates over the years, but each was compatible with its predecessor, and that translates to a large and diverse library. It’s getting increasingly tough to find a 3DS, especially since Nintendo has officially discontinued the console and no longer supports it to focus on releasing Switch games. Even so, the legacy of the 3DS lives on with a long list of excellent, pocket-sized adventures. Here are our favorite ones.

See more

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

In many ways, there are two types of Zelda games. There are 3D adventures, beginning with Ocarina of Time, a game type that has gone on to become the standard for subsequent home console Zelda adventures. The other type is the classic 2D adventure games like the original TheLegend of Zelda and its SNES follow-up, A Link to the Past, the latter of which is often cited as the best Zelda game in the series.

Serving as a sequel to A Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds returns players not only to the 2D perspective but to A Link To The Past’s map of Hyrule. The kingdom has been relatively peaceful in the decades since the previous game. That peace is threatened when a dark sorcerer, Yuga, traps the young Princess Zelda — a descendant of the princess from A Link to the Past — in a magical painting.

Link, a young apprentice swordsmith with no relation to the previous game’s hero, then embarks on a quest to save the princess. Fans of A Link to the Past will enjoy the familiarity, but A Link Between Worlds also turns the Zelda formula on its ear, opening up the entire world from the outset and offering all items through a rental shop. This allows players to choose their own path through the game’s numerous dungeons and challenges.

Read our A Link Between Worlds review

Super Mario 3D Land

Super Mario 3D Land.

Synonymous with every single Nintendo console are a host of games boasting the brand’s lovable, mustachioed hero, Mario. While nearly all are bonafide hits, Super Mario 3D Land takes the cake as the 3DS’ best Mario game, providing endless amounts of platforming fun. The game was released to critical acclaim in 2011, with many citing its addictive gameplay, fantastic 3D capabilities, and impressive level design as reasons for its greatness.

Moreover, newcomers to the series — if those indeed exist — won’t have any trouble picking up the title and understanding the basics right away. There’s a reason Mario remains the popular face of Nintendo, and Super Mario 3D Land continues his reign of platform dominance.

Read our Super Mario 3D Land review

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Fire Emblem: Awakening on Nintendo 3DS.

After the relatively muted reception to both Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Nintendo’s tactical role-playing Fire Emblem games were on the verge of being killed off for good. Fire Emblem: Awakening, the series’ 2013 3DS debut, single-handedly revitalized the series, which now stands tall among Nintendo’s pantheon of popular franchises, with 3 Houses being one of the best yet. With a straightforward story and more accessible mechanics, including multiple difficulty modes and the ability to turn off permadeath, the compelling gameplay is inviting for genre fans and newcomers alike.

Read our Fire Emblem: Awakening review

Metroid: Samus Returns

Metroid: Samus Returns trailers

A reimagining of the 1991 Game Boy classic Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid: Samus Returns manages to be both an authentic nostalgia trip and a well-oiled modern platformer. The game takes place directly after the events of the game that kicked off the storied franchise. Samus Aran is sent by the Galactic Federation to the Metroid homeworld to investigate the power and threat of the titular aliens. Keeping with the identity of 2D Metroid titles, Samus collects power-ups along the way that help her traverse to previously hard-to-reach sections in the winding game world.

There is a great balance of sticking to the original in terms of world layout and exploration while also including new features like a map scanner to make the game more modernized. With the power of the 3DS, set pieces are vibrant and detailed, and combat mechanics feel more precise and free-flowing. As the first 2D Metroid in 14 years, Metroid: Samus Returns makes you wonder why Samus has been vacant in the 2D space for so long. One of the last AAA titles to grace the 3DS, Samus Returns feels like a wonderful swan song.

Read our Metroid: Samus Returns review

Bravely Default

Bravely Default on Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS has no shortage of great role-playing games. We likely could have filled this list exclusively with the highest-rated RPGs on the system and would still have to make some difficult cuts. But when it comes to the best of the best, Bravely Default is it. Bravely Default was created by many of the minds behind Final Fantasy, and it’s a classic JRPG through and through.

Players take control of a party of characters, customizing their appearance and abilities through the game’s intricate and deep job system — a feature likely familiar to fans of Final Fantasy. Like classic JRPGs, Bravely Default’s combat encounters play out in turn-based fashion, giving players control of each character’s actions.

Bravely Default offers its own twist on combat, however, with a host of unique gameplay mechanics like combo meters and auto-battle. Bravely Default released to rave reviews and surprising commercial success, prompting Square Enix to release a sequel, Bravely Second. Bravely Default 2 has also released on the Nintendo Switch and further builds on this game’s successful formula.

Read our Bravely Default review

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

Although several different ports of this game exist, the 3DS version of Shovel Knight consistently receives the highest scores. Indie game developer Yacht Club Games designed Shovel Knight to closely resemble the gameplay and graphics of platformers designed for the original NES. Playing as the titular Shovel Knight, you must navigate a 2D environment while collecting treasure and fighting off hordes of bad guys affiliated with the Order of No Quarter. Each stage features largely the same formula, however, requiring you to battle through various terrain, grab as much treasure as possible, and defeat a final boss in order to move on. Though it seems rather simple and straightforward, Shovel Knight’s captivating gameplay makes it a damn hard game to put down, making it one of the best indie games on Nintendo Switch to play.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Few games command the longevity and reverence that has defined The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s legacy as one of the best N64 games. When the game originally launched on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998, it was heralded as one of the greatest — perhaps even the greatest — games ever made. The title has gone on to frequent many best-of lists, but going back to the N64 title can be, admittedly, a bit difficult given the outdated visuals and presentation.

Ocarina of Time 3D, however, addresses many of these shortcomings with updated visuals, a sleeker and simpler interface, and even subtle mechanical changes that improve some of the game’s more tedious moments, including a hint system and dedicated quick-access buttons for certain items.

Perhaps the best part about these changes, though, is how well they mold into the existing framework of the game. It’s hard to find a fair spot for Ocarina of Time on this list, as it’s both arguably the best game on the platform and a port.

Mario Golf: World Tour

Mario Golf: World Tour

Like Mario Tennis Open before it, Mario Golf: World Tour takes a particularly mundane sport and puts a zany spin on it. Playing as Mario, Luigi, or a number of other iconic characters from the franchise, players have the option to compete online against human opponents or take on bots in any of the game’s numerous tournaments.

The handheld’s 3D capabilities shine with World Tour, given the game animates each shot, chip, or putt with gorgeous visuals and an amazing amount of depth. Though the 3DS boasts a small number of sports titles, World Tour remains one of the brightest in the console’s lineup while we wait for Mario Golf Super Rush to hit the Switch.

Pokémon Sun and Moon

Pokémon Sun and Moon on Nintendo 3DS.

Pokémon X and Y brought 3D textures to the series of Pokémon games with fantastic results. The gameplay was streamlined, the online component was robust, and it felt like the kick in the pants that the Pokémon franchise needed in order to stay on top. With PokémonSun and Moon, developer Game Freak wasn’t content with simply copying and pasting their previous work onto a new area. The new Alola region ushers in new forms of classic Pokémon that sport different strengths, weaknesses, and appearances, and the game even tackles issues like the consumption of Pokémon by humans.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Pokémon Sun and Moon also bring back Mega Evolutions and introduce new Z-moves, which are powerful attacks that are capable of changing the course of a battle in just a few seconds. If your Pokémon Go-obsessed sibling is looking to get another fix, Sun and Moon are the perfect companion gifts. Given that there are Pokémon exclusive to each version, as well as different day-night cycles, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to pick up both versions, either.

Read our Pokémon Sun and Moon review

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing games aren’t like other video games, especially since you’re not engaging in tense combat or undertaking epic quests. You won’t be scratching your head trying to complete complex puzzles either, nor sweating against stiff racing competition. Instead, Animal Crossing: New Leaf functions as a relaxing town-management sim, one where you slowly build your tiny town and engage in various upkeep activities.

With New Leaf, you might find yourself furnishing homes and visiting with neighbors, or spending some quality alone time gardening, fishing, or partaking in numerous other activities. This doesn’t mean the game is boring, however, because it’s that same leisurely pace that makes the title so deceptively addictive.

From the moment you assume mayorship of your town, you’ll be busy maintaining the quaint village, keeping your villagers happy, preparing for holidays, and unlocking new activities to enjoy. The franchise recently struck gold again with Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch.

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

Believe it or not, Mario and Luigi do a lot more than jump on Goombas and devour mushrooms in their free time. Though Mario and Luigi: Dream Team may not be the most recent of the fraternal plumber duo’s RPG adventures, it is one of their best and the best one available on 3DS. Dream Team takes place simultaneously on the Island of Pi’illo (pronounced “pillow”) and inside Luigi’s surreal dream world.

While playing in Pi’ill0, players explore the island and control Mario and Luigi in turn-based combat. When in Luigi’s dream world, however, Mario must team up with Luigi’s dream avatar, Dreamy Luigi, to engage in a mix of 2D side-scrolling and RPG battling. Dream Team is a great hybrid that will scratch your itch for both a platformer and an RPG while still retaining a keen sense of charm.

12. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D on Nintendo 3DS.

Majora’s Mask is somewhat of a misfit within The Legend of Zelda series. It’s both incredibly dark for a Nintendo game and also features one of the riskiest mechanics in the series. Taking place in Termina, a parallel to Hyrule, Majora’s Mask sees Link search for his fairy Navi following the conclusion of Ocarina of Time. He quickly finds himself in a weird predicament: He has three days to save the world before the moon crashes down and destroys everything.

The three-day cycle mechanic, representing about one hour in real time, turns the exploration and progression on its head. If the moon hits, you lose all the progress you made since the last collision. You can avoid this by playing songs on the ocarina to manipulate time. But minor progression will always be lost, as well as characters’ knowledge of Link. The mask system is inventive, expanding on the feature in Ocarina of Time in surprising and fun ways. What makes Majora’s Mask stand out, besides the constant stress of beating the clock, is the world itself.

Out of all of the alternate worlds in the Zelda series, Termina still feels the most real. The N64 port plays brilliantly on the 3DS. Keep in mind, though, it plays best on New Nintendo 3DS hardware due to the C stick and increased processing power. If you missed the lesser-known N64 Zelda the first time around, do yourself a favor and play it on 3DS.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

As the long-awaited sequel to Luigi’s Mansion, Dark Moon capitalizes on what made the original so great while adding a few fun additions of its own. The game tasks players with investigating five haunted mansions in search of the shattered pieces of a ghost-quelling object called the Dark Moon.

Like so many of Nintendo’s exclusive titles, Dark Moon is an inventive adventure title, one that’s packed to the brim with amusing and entertaining gameplay. Nintendo hit another home run with this Luigi-centered franchise and followed it up with a sequel on Switch in 2019.

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Fighting games on the 3DS are few and far between, but as luck would have it, one of the best fighting games in recent years is available on the handheld device. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS brings together a massive roster of fighters from Nintendo’s franchises and pits them in frenetic combat that spans multiple arenas taken from different games. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Nintendo character absent from the game at this point. Gaming icons like Samus and Fox McCloud share the stage with lesser-known brawlers such as Ike, Paulina, Shulk, and others. There have even been several new characters added via DLC, including Bayonetta, Street Fighter’s Ryu, and Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife.

That said, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is essentially the same as the Wii U version but with a few notable differences. The handheld version features a different graphical style and a control scheme tailored toward the 3DS hardware, as well as a handful of exclusive stages and a special gameplay mode called Smash Run. It may not be quite as full-featured as the Switch’s Smash Ultimate, but it’s still a worthy entry in the series.

Read our Super Smash Bros. for 3DS review

Kirby: Planet Robobot

Kirby: Planet Robobot on Nintendo 3DS

After taking Kirby into “2.5D” platforming, molding him into clay, and even turning him into a piece of yarn, what was developer HAL Laboratory to do next? Give him a giant robot suit, of course! The title features platforming gameplay and combat similar to the previous 3DS installment, Triple Deluxe, along with the swappable powers that have become the series’ signature feature.

Kirby: Planet Robobot isn’t designed to be particularly difficult, though, and with Kirby’s new mechanical enhancements, you’ll be able to live out your power fantasies via a pink puffball. Obstacles no longer pose a threat, and should you suck up one of your enemies while wearing the suit, you’ll alter its abilities. Both Fire mode and Sword mode look they could give Titanfall 2’s most powerful mechs a run for their money.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D on Nintendo 3DS.

Xenoblade Chronicles deserves a mention on this list. It is the biggest game on the 3DS, featuring a massive open world, giant monsters, hundreds of quests, and hours upon hours of gameplay to keep you busy. It’s a port of the Wii version, which was called one of the best modern JRPGs when it was released in 2010, and the 3DS version is one of the highest-rated games on the system. So, why is it so far down the list? Well, technically, it’s not available on all 3DS systems.

Nintendo released a new iteration of its handheld in 2015, confusingly called the New Nintendo 3DS, which included a slew of upgrades like a stronger processor, better 3D screens, better cameras, and a much-needed second thumbstick and set of shoulder buttons. These upgrades — specifically the more robust processor and second thumbstick — are what enabled a massive game like Xenoblade Chronicles to be ported to the handheld.

So, while we highly recommend the game, it comes with the aforementioned caveat of only being available on the New 3DS iteration of the software. Before you pick it up, be sure the game is compatible with your system. The game also doesn’t look great on the 3DS. The Switch port is the best looking version.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy on Nintendo 3DS.

Level-5’s Professor Layton games have long served as some of the best puzzle games for Nintendo’s handhelds, and 2013’s Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is arguably the best of the franchise. The game boasts an incredible story, attractive animation, and hundreds of clever puzzles that are sure to flummox even the sharpest of gamers.

Moreover, once you complete the game’s single-player campaign, you can partake in a daily puzzle mode that offers up to 365 additional puzzles to solve. Those who use the game’s Street Pass functionality have access to even more puzzles and games, giving the title some of the best replay value for any 3DS game. Period.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS

Kid Icarus: Uprising, an attempt to reboot one of Nintendo’s languished NES properties, feels like a fresh take on another Nintendo franchise that doesn’t get quite enough attention, Star Fox. With brilliant flight-based shooting, hilarious and cheesy dialogue from protagonist Pit, and even a genuinely well-designed online mode, Kid Icarus: Uprising feels like Star Fox in all but name.

Drawing on classic Greek mythology but with a charming, silly Nintendo spin, the game’s boss fights are intense, white-knuckled affairs unlike anything we’ve seen from the company yet or since — hopefully, the Switch will change that. If you’re left-handed, however, be warned that the game makes heavy use of both the stylus and circle pad — you’ll need a circle pad pro if you’re playing on the original 3DS — and the title’s included 3DS stand has a tendency to turn your hand into a claw within 30 minutes or so.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV on Nintendo 3DS.

Shin Megami Tensei IVshares much of the same monster-gathering appeal of games like Pokémon, but it’s far more hardcore and demanding. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Japan, which has reverted to a feudal society in the wake of several demon invasions. In this world, Samurai act as guardians who combat and control demons using remnants of technology from before the apocalypse.

The story centers on Flynn, a young Samurai who is caught in the crossfire of the war between the demons and Heaven. Shin Megami Tensei IV is part of the Megami Tensei franchise, which is an umbrella that covers several well-regarded JRPG series, including Persona and Devil Survivor.

The entire franchise is known for its hardcore dungeon crawling and capture-centric gameplay, and Shin Megami Tensei IV is no different. Players can capture enemy demons, build their skills, and even combine them to create new, stronger demons. Said demons can then be employed during combat while exploring the game’s labyrinthine dungeons.

Shin Megami Tensei IV differs from other Megami Tensei titles in that it leans heavily on moral choices, which ultimately decide the outcome of the game’s story. That said, it might require multiple playthroughs to see each ending. Bring it on, we say.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D on Nintendo 3DS.

Yet another title ripped from Nintendo’s impressive vault, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a title that reimagines the ’94 hit, Donkey Kong Country. As Donkey — or Diddy — Kong, players run, jump, cart, swing, and barrel their way through a host of well-crafted stages. The title was heralded for its challenging level design upon release, many of which render it a proper tribute to its predecessor and make it an absolute marvel on the 3DS.

Fans of the Wii version of the game shouldn’t write this release off as a simple re-release either, as Nintendo chose to include a new game mode and a slew of levels unique to the 3DS version. It’s safe to say that it’s never been more fun to play as Donkey Kong.

Read our Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D review

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Super Mario 3D Land on Nintendo 3DS.

Considered by Nintendo of Europe as the “rightful successor” to Super Mario Bros. 3, New Super Mario Bros. 2 took the franchise back to its 2D roots. With nine worlds to play through, Nintendo treated gamers to a title that felt familiar but featured its own set of unique upgrades. Understandably, the visuals received a massive uptick in quality, each of which further capitalized on a wealth of vivid colors and gorgeous 3D backgrounds.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 also featured co-op gameplay, which players unlocked after successfully completing the game’s Solo mode. With its addictive gameplay, beautiful visuals, and high level of replay value, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is no doubt one of the finest titles available on the 3DS.

Read our New Super Mario Bros. 2 review

Picross 3D: Round 2

Picross 3D: Round 2 on Nintendo 3DS.

Puzzle games have always had a home on Nintendo’s handheld systems, and with the Nintendo 3DS’s technology and dual-screen display, Picross 3D: Round 2 is a perfect fit. The game’s 3D interface offers a unique take on the number and geometry-based puzzles that make up the genre, and the rewards for completing them — which range from a virtual cat to a diorama of Mario jumping into a block — offer enough Nintendo-themed charm to keep you coming back.

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 on Nintendo 3DS.

Few gaming franchises remain as consistently fun to play as the Mario Kart franchise, and the 3DS’ Mario Kart 7 continues this impressive trend for Nintendo. With 16 playable characters and 32 total tracks — 16 unique tracks and 16 classic tracks — gamers have access to a massive amount of content directly at their fingertips.

With new additions, such as the ability to use hang gliders and special underwater sections of popular tracks, Mario Kart 7 is more than just a watered-down version of its big console brethren. Like so many of those other titles in the series, however, Mario Kart 7‘s crown jewel rests with its multiplayer modes, which allow players to participate in battles or races with up to seven different challengers through the Nintendo Network. Mario Kart 8 might overshadow this previous entry in sales and popularity, but there’s still a lot to love in this portable racer.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo 3DS.

When the worlds of the studious Professor Hershel Layton and the fiery attorney Phoenix Wright collide, the two must work together to investigate the mysterious city of Labyrinthia, which they have been transported into after discovering a magical book. You must use Layton’s clever puzzle-solving abilities and Wright’s legal expertise to discover the mysteries of the city and to defend an ally against charges of witchcraft.

Layton’s gameplay involves exploring the city of Labyrinthia, gathering clues, and solving puzzles. While playing as Wright, on the other hand, you’ll be responsible for interrogating witnesses, reviewing your findings, and, of course, yelling “Objection!” as loud as possible. Certain critics question the game’s choice of segment formatting, disapproving of the splitting up of Layton and Wright stories. However, most players ignore these critiques, overlooking any shortcomings and acclaiming the game’s graphics, length, and plot.

Monster Hunter Generations

Players battle against a massive creature in Monster Hunter Generations.

The instant success of Monster Hunter Generations for the 3DS is proof that the Monster Hunter franchise is popular on just about every platform. This game upholds the standard set by the series for its capacity for collaborative gameplay and endless opportunities for monster combat. The game’s Hunting Styles allow for customized gameplay based on user preferences, such as using more ground-based or aerial attacks. Hunter Arts expand over time and help you land particularly devastating attacks on your prey.

One additional perk is Prowler mode, in which you can play as a cat. When you take on the character of a cat, you will obtain special equipment and questlines that are exclusively kitty-specific. Taking the role of your favorite four-legged pet, you’ll get unique gear and quest lines only available to felines. 3DS users can take advantage of the built-in C-stick and extra shoulder buttons, controlling the action even more efficiently. The 3DS’ touchscreen can also work to lock onto new enemies quickly. Up until the recent Monster Hunter Rise, this was the latest game in the series to hit a Nintendo console and is still a great introduction to the formula before upgrading to the latest edition.

Editors' Recommendations

Sours: https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/best-nintendo-3ds-games/

Xl games 3ds

Pokemon X 16.

Pokemon X

October 12, 2013
Pokemon X and Y are the first mainline Pokemon games made for the 3DS and feature a mix of Pokemon old and new as well as a trio of new starting Pokemon - a watery toad Froakie, a fiery deer Fennekin, and a grass monster Chespin.
Pokemon Sun 17.

Pokemon Sun

November 18, 2016
Using Pokemon Bank, you'll be able to transfer Pokemon you've caught in the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow into your copy of Pokemon Sun or Pokemon Moon. Pokemon from Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X, and Pokemon Y can also be brought into Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon in the same way.
Pokemon Moon 18.

Pokemon Moon

November 18, 2016
Using Pokemon Bank, you'll be able to transfer Pokemon you've caught in the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow into your copy of Pokemon Sun or Pokemon Moon. Pokemon from Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X, and Pokemon Y can also be brought into Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon in the same way.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest 19.

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest

February 19, 2016
Two kingdoms at war – the peace-loving Hoshido and the glory-seeking Nohr. It is up to the player to decide which side to fight for. As the prince/princess of Hoshido, who was raised by Nohr royal family, you will be torn between two families you love. Whichever path you take, you will face different types of challenges.
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 20.

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2

October 8, 2015
Super Speed! Sonic's back and better than ever. He's a blur in blue! A blaze of action! With his new Super Spin Dash. And a new, fabulous friend, "Tails" the Fox. You won't believe it 'til you see it. And when you play, you won't stop. Super Play! Defy gravity in hair-raising loop-de-loops. Grab Power Sneakers and race like lightning through the mazes. All at break-neck speed! Super Power! Sonic's attitude is can-do. The mad scientist Dr. Robotnik is planning a world takeover. Sonic gets tough in the fight to save his friends and squash Robotnik for good!
3D Out Run 21.

3D Out Run

March 12, 2015
The re-mastered version includes all of Out Run’s original content alongside two new songs, and runs at 60 frames per second which is twice the speed of the original game. 3D Out Run also features a built in Stage Select option that allows players to save and resume progress mid-game, has adjustable difficulty settings, and includes unlockable car customization options that allow you to equip parts to improve your car. Additionally, players are able to choose from a number of real-life arcade cabinets wherein everything from the appearance to the environmental sounds of the specific cabinet.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate 22.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

February 13, 2015
Take off on an epic journey, traversing a vast world hunting larger than life beasts as you look for the source of a mysterious virus. Travel with a caravan of fellow hunters and merchants as you make your way across multiple locations, each with its own unique look and feel.
Picross 3D: Round 2 23.

Picross 3D: Round 2

September 1, 2016
A fresh new layer of paintand strategy! Chip away at a three-dimensional block puzzle to reveal the object hidden within. Only this time, blocks can be painted with two colors of paint to mold detailed shapes. Enjoy more than 300 puzzles at the Cafe or even tap compatible amiibo figures (sold separately) to solve 10 more puzzles hiding secret Nintendo characters! In the Cafe, the more puzzles you complete, the more that open up to play. Accomplish certain objectives, like getting a high ranking on 30 puzzles, and youll earn even more. You can choose between easy, medium, and hard difficulty levels for each one, but no matter the complexity, youll always be rewarded with the hidden object. Some sets of puzzles offer additional tasks, from Timed Challenges to One-Chance Challenges. With this many brainteasing activities, there are always new risks to take and hidden objects to find! -Solve over 300 3D Picross puzzles using two colors of paint -Complete a variety of objectives to unlock even more puzzles -Scan compatible amiibo figures to unlock additional Nintendo character puzzles -Every puzzle can be completed in three difficulty levels: easy, medium, and hard -Additional challenges include timed puzzles and one-chance puzzles
Crashmo 24.

Crashmo

November 22, 2012
Also known as "Fallblox" in the UK/EU. Players can embrace the laws of gravity and challenge themselves with a whole new kind of action-puzzle play in this exciting sequel to the critically acclaimed Pushmo. New gravity mechanics and gadgets like floating blocks, doors and move switches await, testing players' skills as they push, pull and slide each puzzle's colorful blocks in order to climb to the top. Just be careful where those blocks are moved-unsupported blocks will come crashing down. Crashmo contains lots of puzzles to test your brains, and enhanced puzzle-creation and -sharing features mean that even when all the puzzles are cleared, the fun never has to stop.
SteamWorld Heist 25.

SteamWorld Heist

December 10, 2015
A game featuring space adventures and strategic shoot-outs. Assume the role of Captain Piper and recruit a team of rag-tag robots to explore and scavenge the remains of a destroyed world. Board enemy spaceships and command your crew in a unique variety of turn-based combat, where the outcome is determined purely by your own skills.
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon 26.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

March 24, 2013
(Also known as "Luigi's Mansion 2" in the UK/EU) Luigi is back on a mission to remove a bunch of stubborn ghosts from some spooky mansions. Armed with his trusty Poltergust ghost-sucking vacuum cleaner, Mario's brother takes center stage to capture these pesky phantoms.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D 27.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

April 10, 2015
Join the battle for Bionis to repel the invasion of a terrifying mechanical army and uncover the secrets of a mystical sword called the Monado in Xenoblade.
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright 28.

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

February 19, 2016
Two kingdoms at war – the peace-loving Hoshido and the glory-seeking Nohr. It is up to the player to decide which side to fight for. As the prince/princess of Hoshido, who was raised by Nohr royal family, you will be torn between two families you love. Whichever path you take, you will face different types of challenges.
Monster Hunter Generations 29.

Monster Hunter Generations

July 15, 2016
Monster Hunter Generations is the most customizable Monster Hunter experience to date, and serves as a fitting tribute to the last decade of the series with a blend of brand new areas and monsters, and returning fan-favorites that have been updated and adapted to the newest generation of gameplay. Monster Hunter Generations introduces new gameplay mechanics including Styles and Hunter Arts that can further refine a very personalized playstyle. Mount monsters from mid-air using the Aerial style or make the most out of the advantageous Hunter Arts abilities with the Striker style. Hunter Arts are visually striking, indispensable combat skills and power-ups that hunters using any style or weapon can equip. Along the hunter's journey, players must defend each of the game's four villages from new major threats—the Fated Four. With hundreds of quests in store, there are tons of challenges to tackle in a solo adventure, and also via local or online play with up to three other hunters. [Nintendo]
Metroid: Samus Returns 30.

Metroid: Samus Returns

September 15, 2017
A classic Metroid adventure returns, rebuilt from the ground up. Brave the hostile terrain of an alien planet teeming with vicious life forms as legendary bounty hunter Samus Aran. Her mission? Terminate the Metroid menace in this masterful reimagining of her 1991 Game Boy adventure. Samus Arans arsenal has been enhanced with new moves and abilities that are sure to help her face the deadly surprises that await. This intense, side-scrolling action platformer is a great entry point into the Metroid franchise and perfect for returning fans as well, and its available only on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Features: * This intense, side-scrolling action platformer has been completely remade with engaging and immersive 3D visuals and a rich, atmospheric color palette. * Classic Metroid II: Return of Samus gameplay is joined by a wealth of new content, including a set of brand new abilities that utilizes a mysterious energy resource called Aeion, a powerful melee counterattack, and 360-degree Free Aim Mode. * There are plenty of secrets to findand if you uncover enough of them, you may even start to unravel the mystery of Planet SR388s past. * Two new amiibo figures*Samus Aran and Metroidwill be released as a set alongside the game. This game is also compatible with the Zero Suit Samus and Samus amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. series. Functionality details will be revealed at a later date. * While supplies last, fans will be able to purchase a special edition of the game, which includes a physical copy of the game, a sound-selection CD featuring 25 tracks from across the Metroid franchise, and a reversible title-sheet insert for the game case.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King 31.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

January 20, 2017
Uncover the story of the Cursed King as you save the world from a twisted magician in this genre-defining role-playing game. Across the vast world you'll wage turn-based battles against more than 250 monsters designed by famed artist Akira Toriyama. As you level up, upgrade your warriors' skills to learn mighty attacks. Untold possibilities await. After setting off into the unknown, you'll find monsters roaming the field—these are no mere random encounters. There's a satisfying rhythm to traveling, fighting monsters, earning items, crafting something useful with them using an alchemy Pot, and returning to battle, stronger than ever. To some, it's pitch-perfect RPG gameplay, complete with additional content outside the main storyline. In the Monster Arena, you'll form and battle teams of monsters to climb the ranks. It's but one of many features that makes this RPG a classic among classics. [Nintendo.com]
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition 32.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

March 27, 2011
The latest version of Street Fighter makes its transition to the Nintendo 3DS with Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. The console experience is now in the palm of your hand with new features that utilize the capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS to its fullest. Packed with 35 playable characters, bonus stages and cinematic Ultra combos, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition expands the action by allowing you to fight your friends around the world using Wi-Fi. New to the franchise are the figurine mode, which utilizes the Street Pass feature to add a collectible meta-game, and the 3D over-the-shoulder camera option that takes fighting to new depths. For those new to the franchise, a simple mode has been added allowing players to pull off challenging moves with a single touch of the screen.
Sours: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/score/metascore/all/3ds/filtered
Evolution Mario Games on 3DS

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