Nearly 10 years after its release, Nintendo has officially discontinued the production of the 3DS. To honor the console’s successful run, we sort through more than 1000 games to present our final ranking of the 25 Best 3DS Games of All Time, all arranged by playscore.
A powerhouse treat of Nintendo’s sleuthing superstars. It combined Ace Attorney's court trials and Professor Layton's investigations into one medieval slash wiccan storyline. Players will get the best of both worlds with each game’s style which somehow complemented each other. It provided the 3DS an adorable puzzle solving visual novel adventure during its time, and it received a playscore of 8.87.
Before we reject one more god in the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei V, it’s always nice to look back into the doom and gloom from this previous chapter of ATLUS’ renowned JRPG. IV’s defining feature is the perfection of its Demon customization. Players can freely adapt to the brutal turn-based combat using a variety of unique Demon synergies and quality of life changes that was absent during its older titles. A playscore of 8.90.
A reimagining of the 1991 Game Boy classic. Samus Aran makes a return and she’s putting the 3DS’ dual screen to her advantage. It’s one of the first 3DS titles to fully showcase its 3D effect without having to wear those geeky glasses. It perfectly made use of both displays, significantly improving this side-scrolling gem. COGConnected’s Grady Penna stated in his review that “Samus Returns takes nearly everything about its predecessors that made them great and introduces new elements that make gameplay feel fresh and exciting.” A playscore of 8.91.
Anyone with a knack for JRPGs would know how universally loved this series is. Ported from the PlayStation 2 to the Nintendo’s 3DS, reliving one of the best Dragon Quest titles deserves a double dib from veteran fans. Like the rest of the titles in this family-friendly fantasy series, it was heavily praised for its JRPG elements, story, characters, and power for a game on a portable platform. A playscore of 8.92.
An enhanced remake of 2002’s iconic RPG for the 3DS system. Travelling to the Hoenn Region and beating Gym Leaders for your collection looked incredible (and colorful) on the 3DS’ screen. It comes alongside Alpha Sapphire, which gained a Playscore of 8.91. Omega Ruby’s charm was that it didn’t stray away much from their usual formula, and that’s considered A-okay during the 3DS’ era. It borrowed elements from X & Y, while tweaking some of its requested features. A playscore of 8.93.
20. SteamWorld Heist
Set in a steampunk world populated by sentient automatons, journey across the seven galaxies as a band of do-gooding buccaneers. SteamWorld Heist introduced players into a life of sci-fi piracy where they invade a collection of randomly generated ships filled with conniving villains and their clueless minions. It’s a side scrolling battlefield where players shoot it out in dynamic turn-based combat. It receives a PlayScore of 8.96.
The 3DS was once the system for players to play and enjoy this crossover fighting game. Before there was Ultimate on the Switch, Nintendo released their long-awaited Smash game for this console, alongside the Wii U. It shares all the good things Smash has to offer including knocking your opponents outside the arena, choosing from a wide variety of iconic Nintendo and third-party characters and the joy simply brawling your way to victory. It has a playscore of 8.96.
With the success of its 999 title, Spike Chunsoft developed this second installment in their sadistic visual novel series. Like 999, Virtue’s Last Reward’s gameplay is a mix of visual novel sequences with escape the room elements. IGN scored the game a 9.5, citing that. “This sequel is more twisted, more brutal and more memorable than that first volume.” It’s a thrilling puzzle game that decides the fate of its characters with powerful storylines and 24 different endings, it's a highly replayable game that will satisfy every playthrough. It has a PlayScore of 8.97.
A revival of a 1991 game took us into an enchanting tale of Greek mythology. Pits third outing is as engaging as ever with even more dangerous lands to explore and challenges to encounter. As a shooter, there’s a disparity with its control scheme compared to the modern titles in 2020, but during its time it was heavily praised by most reviewers, including Eurogamer, saying it is a “...strong, pretty game turned into an essential one by way of its surrounding infrastructure.” It has a PlayScore of 8.98.
It’s a good year for Sonic fans, but let's rewind 5 years ago on the 3DS, Sonic looked dashing in the third dimension in this enhanced 3D port for Sonic The Hedgehog 2. This spiky blue Hedgehog is still in its perpetual quest to thwart Dr. Eggman’s plans. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2 captures both Sonic and Sega at its best.” It's the same old SEGA classic made better to suit the tastes of the modern generation, and as a service to the older ones. It receives a playscore of 9.01.
It’s honestly heartwarming to see Nintendo care about the second Mario brother. Prior to his third paranormal adventure on the Nintendo Switch, Luigi carried his massive vacuum cleaner for some ghostbustin’ for the 3DS. Dark Moon is a huge improvement from the first game, on which most reviewers cited as a great sequel. Including Videogamer’s Sam White, saying that “Luigi's Mansion 2 is a joy, showcasing a love for characterisation and wonderful attention to detail that gives the game an inimitable personality.” It has a playscore of 9.05.
Straight from the remnants of the Wii, this port surprisingly performs well on Nintendo’s portable system. It did have some issues here and there, but to quote Nintendo World Report’s Neal Ronaghan, “... it might not be the best version of this modern-day classic, but it’s a satisfactory way to play one of the boldest, biggest games in recent memory.” Its well-loved cast of characters coupled with a living and breathing world to explore proved that this first chapter of the Xenoblade series is a must-buy for JRPG enthusiasts. A playscore of 9.07.
CAPCOM’s best-selling Monster Hunting franchise had to start somewhere. This is the last MH game for the 3DS and it gave hours and hours of hunting for new and old players. Every aspect from its previous installments are streamlined into a crazy mix of hardcore action-RPG with endless replayability. Ultimate is considered as the best Monster Hunter Portable game. Who knows? The upcoming Monster Hunter: Rise might beat that record soon. Ultimate has a playscore of 9.07.
12. Mario Kart 7
Nintendo’s very own kart game ruined friendships and forged new ones back in 2011. It brought a handful of new friends into the arena, as well as 32 different race tracks for another bout of vicious competition. Mario Kart 7 proves that Nintendo never fails with their inventiveness, on which IGN stated in their review, saying that “MK7 still offers enough innovation to keep this old formula feeling fresh.” Now that Mario Kart 8 is now out in the wilds and it’s getting rave reviews, it’s a nice reminder that Nintendo hasn’t lost its way. It has a playscore of 9.09.
Sega's side-scrolling brawler made its way to the 3DS in the form of a polished remaster. Before we got our hands on Streets Of Rage 3, we had to relive our favorite fights with Axel, Blaze, and Max Thunder in this portable fighter. Nothing’s more satisfying than plowing through the city's vermin with your bare hands, and pummeling them with devastating attacks. A playscore of 9.09.
10. Pokemon Moon
4 years ago, we basked under the sunny skies of the Alola region. It was released alongside Pokemon Sun, which received a Playscore of 9.06. During release, both were already one of Pokemon's best sellers. Like always, players work their way to the top, becoming a Legendary Pokemon master. RPG Site gave the game a 9.00, saying that “... Pokemon Moon is a vibrant, energetic game in a manner Pokemon hasn't managed since Gold & Silver.” A playscore of 9.11.
New Horizons might be taking the world by storm right now, but 3DS’ New Leaf was also something else. Build new structures, furnitures and develop a thriving city of adorable characters. Becoming the Mayor of an anthropomorphic town is a unique undertaking, and Nintendo manages to deliver a fresh yet familiar take on the farming life genre, with new content and more convenient mechanics. A playscore 9.12.
8. Pokemon Y
Yet another Pokemon game on the list. Before the Switch dominated the portable scene, the 3DS was a great hub for Pokemon fans due to its convenience. In X & Y, we ventured to the European-themed Kalos. With their sixth generation pokemon and their stunning 3D world, Pokemon X and Y is currently the series' best selling installment during its time. It’s the same old pokemon fun in a new immersive universe. Receiving different reviews, Y ultimately achieved the superior PlayScore of 9.13, while X received a PlayScore of 9.09.
Square experimented on their tried and tested JRPG formulas and crafted a whole new IP for the 3DS system. It borrowed familiar Final Fantasy tropes, but inserted their own unique combat with the Brave and Default system. It gained GameSpot’s approval, they said “... it is one of the finest RPGs Square Enix has been involved with in recent times.” A playscore of 9.14.
A game lauded for its passionate development team and simple mechanics. Fight in the name of love as we explore a demented 8-bit castle with hallways in need of digging. It is an iconic side scrolling platformer that reinvigorated the energy from classic 8-bit games. Yacht Club Games successfully bolstered the platforming genre with an enjoyable campaign, fun DLC’s and a much needed reminder that Indie games power up with community support. It has a playscore 9.16.
When a Mario title debuts on a Nintendo platform, fans expect a revolutionary new mechanic that puts their console to the test. Super Mario 3D Land maximizes the 3DS’ 3D capabilities. The game is entirely playable with or without 3D, but it is highly recommended to remove frustrations and add immersion. It’s a treasure trove of all the things that made Mario great, encouraging creativity and resourcefulness and sharing it to its massive community. A playscore of 9.22.
One of the leading titles of strategy JRPGs. Awakening is packed with loveable characters, streamlined controls, and fluid grid-based combat, it was everything the series needed to become the household staple that it is. Destructoid gave it a 9 out of 10, saying that “... it may not turn the notch up to 11, it's everything that's right about strategy RPGs.” It receives a playscore of 9.26.
Nintendo’s crown prince of action-adventures. A Link Between Worlds is a tribute to the Super NES classic, Link to the Past. This 3DS version feels like a fresh new experience with its gorgeous 3D landscapes with smart and seamless puzzles. It received a 9.50 from Polygon’s Arthur Gries, saying that, “... it is at once accessible and incredibly deep.” It depended on player nostalgia, as it is packed with the familiar sights and soundtracks of Link and Zelda’s many quests. A playscore of 9.30.
With the ever increasing popularity of the series, Majora's Mask 3D was the 3DS remaster that allowed newcomers to the franchise a chance to discover one of the series' best. It tweaked a few of the original’s gimmicks in order to suit well into the 3DS’ screens. It was a massive success with almost perfect scores from major gaming journalists. NintendoLife even gave it a perfect 10. Stating that, “... it is a magnificent remastering of one of the finest Legend of Zelda games to date.” A playscore of 9.38.
1. And taking our #1 spot for the best 3DS game of all time is of course, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time 3D
One of gaming’s most important creations. This critically acclaimed action-adventure is reborn just for the Nintendo 3DS. It is a testament to Nintendo’s love for the franchise, ushering in a new generation of Zelda fans that were not ready for its ambitious future. It’s a fascinating story that still stands the test of time. A stark reminder that video games are interactive art pieces that can be fun, charming and full of heart. Miyamoto’s influence knows no bounds in the future of the gaming industry. It truly is an unbeatable classic with a playscore of 9.51.