Top 8 Best Nintendo 3DS Games Ever Made

When Nintendo made the surprising announcement that they would be shutting down the Nintendo 3DS e-shop by the end of March 2023, they likely didn’t anticipate the overwhelming response it would receive. It seemed unlikely that the Nintendo 3DS, after so many years, would still attract such a dedicated following. However, the truth is that the 3DS boasts a vast and impressive library of games, some of which were even part of its launch lineup.

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The sheer volume of titles available on this beloved handheld can make it challenging to determine which games are truly worth diving into. It’s important to note that we will only be covering games originally released for the 3DS, excluding any ports.

8. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 2 million
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team trailer teaches kids to hit their brothers with a  hammer - Polygon

The fourth installment in the Mario & Luigi series offers a unique gameplay experience. It seamlessly transitions between the real world, where you control Mario and Luigi from a top-down perspective, and the dream world, where the game becomes a side-scrolling adventure. Mario & Luigi games are known for their deep mechanics, and Dream Team is no exception. It features an RPG-like turn-based combat system with new moves and techniques to discover as you progress. This whimsical and lighthearted RPG is a perfect fit for the 3DS.

7. Bravely Default

  • Release Year: 2012 (Japan), 2013 (North America & Europe)
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 1 million
Bravely Default Review (Nintendo 3DS) | Qualbert

Bravely Default breathed new life into the JRPG genre on the 3DS. While it draws inspiration from classic titles in the genre, it brings its unique twist to the table. The game introduces the “Brave” mechanic, allowing players to take extra turns in battle at the cost of vulnerability afterward. This risk-reward system, combined with a captivating cast of characters and a rich story, makes Bravely Default one of the most beloved modern RPGs.

6. Pokemon Sun & Moon

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 16 million
Pokémon Sun and Moon bring big, welcome changes to the series on 3DS |  TechCrunch

Pokemon Sun & Moon took a bold step by introducing the Alola region, inspired by Hawaii, which provided a fresh and unique setting for the franchise. The removal of traditional Gyms in favor of Island Challenges added variety to gameplay and tested players’ skills both in and out of battles. With its sunny landscapes and quaint cities, the Alola region is a standout in the Pokemon series.

5. Super Mario Bros 3D Land

  • Release Year: 2011 (Japan), 2011 (North America & Europe)
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 12 million
Mario History: Super Mario 3D Land - 2011 | Nintendo Life

Despite being a launch title, Super Mario Bros 3D Land remains one of the 3DS’s finest platformers. It fully utilizes the 3DS hardware, offering the best 3D experience and incorporating the gyroscope for interactive elements like binoculars. The game seamlessly blends open 3D environments with classic 2D side-scrolling sections, introducing the Tanooki suit for exciting gliding mechanics.

4. Fire Emblem Awakening

  • Release Year: 2012 (Japan), 2013 (North America & Europe)
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 2 million
Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS) : PC & Video Games

Fire Emblem Awakening revived the classic RPG strategy series and became one of the 3DS’s best strategy games. It serves as an excellent entry point for newcomers, gradually introducing them to the game’s deep mechanics and lore. The option to disable permanent character deaths made it more accessible. With a diverse cast, vibrant visuals, and a compelling progression system, Fire Emblem Awakening captivates players from start to finish.

3. Super Smash Bros 3DS

  • Release Year: 2014 (Japan & North America), 2014 (Europe & Australia)
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 9 million
Super Smash Bros. 3DS Introduction Video - YouTube

Super Smash Bros for the 3DS defied expectations by delivering a fantastic portable experience. The cel-shaded art style ensured clear visuals even on the smaller screen. With 58 playable characters and additional DLC fighters, it offers a wide range of enjoyable matchups. Various game modes, including Classic, Home-Run Contest, and Trophy Rush, add diversity to the gameplay.

2. Kid Icarus: Uprising

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 1 million
Kid Icarus: Uprising | Nintendo 3DS games | Games | Nintendo

Kid Icarus: Uprising breathed new life into a once-niche series. It maintained complexity while being accessible, combining challenging difficulty with high-speed gameplay. The game’s deep characters and engaging story set it apart, earning praise as one of Nintendo’s best stories.

1. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Estimated Copies Sold: Over 4 million
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - 3DS Review

As a spiritual successor to A Link To The Past, A Link Between Worlds had big expectations to meet. It introduced innovative mechanics, such as Link’s ability to merge with walls as a 2D painting. This fresh gameplay, combined with a top-down perspective reminiscent of classic Zelda titles, created a captivating adventure.

With a vast array of tools, unique environments, and engaging dungeons, A Link Between Worlds stands as one of the best Zelda games and a standout title for the Nintendo 3DS.

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