Top 10 3DS Games of 2018

As of December 18, 2018

The Nintendo 3DS is at the end of its lifecycle and with no replacement announced yet, the future of dedicated handheld console isn't looking so good. This year, there were only 49 games released on the 3DS, 11 of which received their playscore®. Presenting below the top ten.

YO KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps

#10 YO KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps

Developed by Level-5
Released on Sep 7, 2018
7.57
playscore

There is nothing stopping this Yokai infestation from spreading on the 3DS. Part of a mixed-media franchise ranging from toys, movies, and role playing games, Yo-Kai Watch has evolved into something that could now rival Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise.

Also following Pokemon’s footsteps, the game is divided into two unique versions: White Dog Squad and Red Cat Corps. Each version of the game contains exclusive content not present on the other. Players join the Blasters team in an effort to take down enemy Yokais with up to 3 other friends.

The franchise has come a long way, with Yo Kai Blasters, it’s inventive new approach to its Yokai collection and multiplayer paves way to a better future for the series. Although its repetitiveness kinda wears down the charm.

Detective Pikachu

#9 Detective Pikachu

Developed by The Pokemon Company
Released on Mar 23, 2018
7.60
playscore

Before players gets to see Ryan Reynolds’ version of Pikachu in the upcoming film, this spin-off to Nintendo’s record-breaking Pokemon franchise is enough to keep you distracted. Players follow the story of Tim Goodman and a very inquisitive Pikachu in their quest to solve unanswered questions.

A nice change of pace from its previous games, Detective Pikachu isn’t wasting people’s time with turn-based combat and Pokemon-collecting. Gameplay involves solving puzzles and playing mini-games. For a Pokemon title without catching Pokemon, it surprisingly works. However, some players aren’t happy about the mediocrity of the puzzles, making the game too easy for some.

Nonetheless, it was commended for its kid-friendly presentation, witty writing, and storytelling, Detective Pikachu is a fantastic spin-off that stands out on its own. Now I can’t wait to watch the movie.

YO KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad

#8 YO KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad

Developed by Level-5
Released on Sep 7, 2018
7.71
playscore

A counterpart of Red Cat Corps. The only difference is the amount of exclusive content including special Yo-Kais. Continuing the discussion, this is a spin-off based on the Blasters mini-game from Yo Kai Watch 2. Yes, it’s gotten even deeper already.

Level-5 Entertainment dazzles you with a massive collection of fan-favorite Yo-Kais and even new ones in an enjoyable multiplayer and single-player experience. White Dog Squad offers the same gameplay and also the same issues plaguing the other version. It’s fun when it showcases its Yo-Kai befriending charm, but fails to keep the excitement from pumping at long hours due to its repetitiveness.

Nonetheless, with its passionate young (and old) audience, it’s still an enjoyable alternative to Pokemon.

The Alliance Alive

#7 The Alliance Alive

Developed by Cattle Call
Released on Mar 27, 2018
7.91
playscore

From the makers of The Legend of Legacy, FuRyu experiences a huge-world with the intertwining stories of 9 major characters. Developers bring themselves to the roots of JRPG as it recreates the classic style RPGs with the added touch of modern game technology. With 9 different characters to explore and test out, Alliance Alive pumps up the narrative, bringing more hours to the JRPG experience.

Aside from the nostalgic appeal, Alliance Alive also excels at the level of detail that their world offers. Characters seem fully alive, responding dynamically to interactions, and each corner is rife with new surprises. Modeling itself after classic titles, it's a pleasant throwback for fans of genre. Although, occasionally, it falls prey to repetitive gameplay and some frustrating design quirks. A JRPG title that's seemingly comfortable in the shadow of the classics.

Luigi’s Mansion

#6 Luigi’s Mansion

Developed by Nintendo
Released on Oct 12, 2018
8.09
playscore

Announced alongside the third installment coming to the Switch, the Gamecube favorite from seventeen years prior was welcomed into the new generation with open arms. A title that finally put the Green Mario brother in center stage, it follows Luigi's brave ghost-hunting expeditions 'round haunted houses. A technical marvel on the Gamecube, it's not as impressive on the 3DS. Its controls often feel clunky and awkward on the portable console.

On the other hand, it does keep alive the charm of the original's engaging puzzles, scary bosses, and, of course, Luigi's iconic Mario call. Aside from the change in difficulty in their Hidden Mansion, there's really not a lot of changes in this edition. Being more accessible on the 3DS though, it's a perfect way for old fans to replay the Gamecube classic with new eyes and for newcomers to experience it for the first time ever.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

#5 Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

Developed by Inti Creates
Released on May 24, 2018
8.10
playscore

A retro style 8-bit platformer from Inti Creates, Bloodstained may well be the most convincing title in the same style--at least on the 3DS. Coming out of their work on the Blaster Master Zero remake, the developers pour all their retro heart to this love letter to Castlevania. Though these graphics aren't the marvels of our age, the rich details of their 2D environments are still capable of wowing any of today's gamers.

It nails not just the gothic looks of the classic title but also their effective platforming. Capturing the essence and aesthetics of Castlevania as well as many of today's comforts, Bloodstained will appeal to those with an itch for old-school challenge without the frustration. That, along with its increasing difficulty, also makes it a highly replayable experience. It might still be paving its way through the market as a Castlevania tribute, for now it serves its purpose well as a veritable nostalgia punch for fans of the genre.

WarioWare Gold

#4 WarioWare Gold

Developed by Nintendo
Released on Aug 3, 2018
8.26
playscore

When you're getting sick of seeing Mario win everything, Wario's World is definitely a fun place to muck around in. For this ninth installment in the Warioware series, Intelligent Games--the makers of your favorite Fire Emblem Games--have gathered all your favorite into one Wario-tastic venue. Marking the return of some favorites from previous Warioware titles, this Gold edition boasts a grand array of 300 different minigames to enjoy.

Though these aren't all entirely new games, this collection happens to have everything that made the series great. Their newest additions are also one of the best in the Warioware saga so far. Lacking in terms of multiplayer experience and the redundancy of some of their games has taken a toll on the score. A fully voiced experience with the best bits of the old and new generation, it's still a good start for newcomers to the series.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux

#3 Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux

Developed by Atlus
Released on May 15, 2018
8.30
playscore

Before there was Persona, ATLUS’ pioneer in Demon-talking is found in their hit or miss Shin Megami Tensei series. A series of strange JRPG’s set in a demon-populated Earth. It mixes real life characters with the subversive effects of fantasy.

This time, a mysterious anomaly has caused an uproar in Antarctica. This spatial distortion releases demons that could engulf the human race. In celebration of Shin Megami Tensei’s 25th Anniversary, this reimagined port of the DS original takes players to the strange world of SMT once again.

Donning the Demonica, this expanded port comes with a new story content, additional endings, dungeons, and more. Although this Redux edition doesn’t offer much except for its mysterious new character, most of this entry’s best feature lie in its pure JRPG elements. It’s still the familiar SMT players loved and it continues to challenge hardcore fans of the genre with balanced combat and slightly reworked visuals.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

#2 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Developed by Nintendo EAD
Released on Jul 13, 2018
8.33
playscore

A game that shined the spotlight on one of the most interesting secondary characters in the whole of mushroom kingdom. Originally released for the Wii U in 2014, Captain Toad made his entrance to the 3DS in July 2018 with new levels straight from the newest Mario Odyssey. Simultaneously released with the Switch version, the 3DS' enhanced port is an interesting exhibition of Nintendo's ingenuity.

Adapting Wii U visuals into a more outdated console might have resulted in some graphical compromises, it's no doubt a fitting gaming experience for the title, especially with the 3DS’ touch screen capabilities. Though the hybrid to handheld translation isn't all that smooth, the charm and fun of Captain Toad's planar puzzles and minigames stays fully intact. As one of the many Wii U titles getting a new lease on life on more long lasting consoles, this many not be a new title but it's well worth checking out.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

#1 Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Developed by Atlus
Released on Feb 13, 2018
8.47
playscore

The 2011 game from the Nintendo DS returns with an expanded port to the 3DS. Rewrite history once more as players possess the White Chronicle. Experience a JRPG where time is a means of achieving victory and uncovering the deeper mysteries of the world.

A reimagining of the original packed with a magical world, redesigned character art, new character voice overs, brand new opening animations, illustrations and musical tracks from the legendary Yoko Shimomura. Just like most JRPG’s the cast of characters return especially its main character Stocke as players go on an epic quest filled with friendships, betrayal, and the occasional JRPG humor.

But the path is never easy. The game’s main selling point is its multitude of difficult decisions. As players affix their choices, they create a ripple in time, and ultimately leads to the birth of a mysterious new character.

Critics praised its consistency with its retained gameplay elements. Its positioning-based battle system and unique time-travelling mechanics still stands out to this day as an excellent benchmark for the future of the genre.

To view the complete, updated ranking of this year's releases, visit our list of the best 3DS Games of 2018.

Written by and
Presented by Claire Codilla