With the NX looming ever larger on that mysterious horizon, it’s time to look back on a generation of Nintendo games – starting with the 3DS (look out for our Wii U list soon).
This article lists the 10 best 3DS titles; these are the games that we think you should be looking to own in your handheld library. We have decided this list together as a site, using a rigorous process that included a lot of negotiating between different opinions! Coming out on the other side of that process, Tanuki Bridge has decided on a list that reflects different gaming tastes as well as the large quantity of amazing games on Nintendo’s 3D handheld. Of course, with the system still very much going strong, this list could be broken into by other titles!
Right, let’s get into it!
Let’s just get it out of the way – Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the superior version. Whenever you boot up the latest Super Smash Bros., that is the one people tend to gravitate towards. However, this shouldn’t take away from the technical feat of making Super Smash Bros. work on a handheld. All the characters are there, and the game is a worthy Super Smash Bros. title that has the brilliant gameplay and massive scope of content you would expect. It has been supported with the DLC, too, and can stand up as a strong edition of the game. Enjoyable variations like the version-exclusive stat-boosting Smash Run mode set it apart from its Wii U counterpart, as well. – William Robinson
With the previous entry in the series being a two-dimensional platformer for the monochrome Game Boy having launched twenty-one years earlier, the long-awaited return and re-imagining of Nintendo’s Kid Icarus brand truly embodies the phrase “better late than never”. Under the watchful eye of Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, the strong incorporation of elements from both the on-rails shooter and 3D action game genres help create a refreshingly stand-out experience that strikes a glorious home-run with its charmingly self-referential humour. – Josh Stevens
Although the role-playing game genre has seen many welcome innovations over the years, sometimes we find ourselves yearning for something a little more old-fashioned; which is why Square Enix and Silicon Studios’ Bravely Default managed to resonate with the hearts of so many gamers by taking them back to a medieval fantasy world in a story revolving around revered crystals. If you’re looking for a modern gaming experience more in-line with the classic Final Fantasy instalments, then look no further than here. – JS
Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 were the double-whammy that helped to rejuvenate the 3DS commercially, and 3D Land in particular proved what the system could do. A combination of the 2D and 3D Mario styles, the 3D is used to great effect to create interesting levels that are both open yet linear. There isn’t many large, open spaces, but the confined levels allow Nintendo EAD Tokyo to show off their design skills and the results are spectacular. – WR
With the acclaimed role-playing game developer Atlus being one of the Nintendo 3DS’ most fervent supporters this generation, it should come as no surprise that their most popular franchise would find its way to the handheld. A “crossover” in every sense of the word, the casts of Persona 3 and 4 come together in a phenomenal dungeon-crawling experience representing the best of both Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey series’. – JS
Mario & Luigi games are the highlight of my console library. I love the writing, the battle system, and the crazy characters we meet in our adventures and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. was no exception. Taken away from the Mushroom Kingdom and giving Luigi the power to let Mario enter into a ‘dream world’ the game was home to a great deal of madness and a charming tale. It’s safe to say the game is the best entry in the Mario & Luigi game in years and managed to retain everything we always loved about the series. – Demelza Ward
Pokémon X and Pokémon Y were the Pokémon games to kick off the sixth, yes sixth, generation of games. I’ve grown up alongside Pokémon and played through every generation of games but Pokémon X & Y are very important to me as they’re the games to truly pull me into the world and kept me playing for many, many hours. They were the entries in the series that brought many people back to Pokémon, introduced the Pokémon in 3D rather than as 2D sprites, and truly pushed the online side of things as far as they could at the time. X & Y are an important and perhaps the best entry in the Pokémon series so far and are well deserving in their spot in our top 10. – DW
A Link Between Worlds freshened Zelda up. In a time between major home console Zelda games, this handheld Zelda came out of nowhere to become one of the best games in the series. The item rental system was a genius way of bringing back a sense of unknown to the Zelda series – it had been a while since you could wander into the toughest dungeon first and get absolutely destroyed, and this has echoes of the original The Legend of Zelda on the NES. The story goes a bit sparse in the middle of the game, but the real focus in this game is the pure Zelda gameplay – and it is some of the best in the series. – WR
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D holds a special place in the hearts of many as the original Ocarina of Time was the first Legend of Zelda game a lot of fans of the series played. My first Zelda game was Twilight Princess, but even then Ocarina of Time is a very special adventure that none of the games released after have ever really topped. The move to a handheld and a smaller screen didn’t hurt Ocarina of Time either, in fact with the updated graphics and the length of the game it actually feels perfectly at home here. – DW
The subtitle “Awakening” couldn’t be more apt for a game that single-handedly saved its franchise from the chopping block; adding to the list of catastrophic futures prevented by Lucina and her Shephards. With the threat of extinction hanging over their heads, the developers at Intelligent Systems poured everything they could into creating the perfect Fire Emblem finale and their efforts paid off; with the phenomenal critical and commercial success breathing new life into the franchise instead; restoring the dwindling flame into a roaring fire once more. – JS
The Nintendo 3DS has an incredible library of games as it stands but among the WiiUandMii team Fire Emblem: Awakening is the game that has taken up the most of our time. With a massive selection of DLC, a lengthy storyline and a great deal of replayability the game truly deserves the top spot. It’s a game every 3DS owner should own. – DW
Before Awakening, I only really knew the Fire Emblem series through Super Smash Bros. – and I doubt I am alone in that. But Awakening put the series firmly in my mind as one of Nintendo’s best. Not only is the strategic gameplay fantastic, with a mix of medieval-style weapons and more outlandish magical attacks, but there is a dense story with plenty of memorable characters. Chrom, Tharja and more are now firm series favourites for me. – WR
That’s our list! If you agree or disagree with our choices, then let us know what your top ten would be on our various social media pages!