It may have had a slow start at launch back in 2011, but Nintendo 3DS steadily went from strength to strength and amassed a huge library of quality titles — enough to rival the company’s finest. Sure, glasses-free stereoscopic 3D turned out to be a bit of a non-starter, but the best games made great use of the feature and the ‘New’ hardware variant (which arrived in 2014) improved its ease of use considerably. Streetpass provided a genuine reason to keep the console on your person at all times and backwards compatibility with original DS carts opened an avenue to another whole console’s worth of fabulous games.
If your 3DS is collecting dust in some forgotten cupboard, you owe it to yourself to get reacquainted with the little portable; if you somehow skipped it completely, it’s time to snap up some great hardware and software deals while you still can.
So, here we bring you our collection of the top 50 games for 3DS — or more accurately, your collection of the top 50 games for 3DS. As you’ve probably read in the tagline above, the order here is all down to you lovely people. The ranking of this sizeable selection is governed by the user ratings for each game on this very site. It will continually evolve to reflect your votes, and logged in users can interact and rate the titles directly on these pages by hovering over the rating.
Can’t see your favourite on the list? Feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. A game needs a minimum of fifty ratings to become eligible, so it’s entirely possible to influence the ranking and get your favourite games onto the list.
Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.
This 3DS release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate allows hunters to invest countless hours in another adventure to conquer hundreds of quests. It’s an excellent interpretation of a home console experience, although with occasional moments where its smaller home isn’t entirely optimised; the absence of online play is also a great pity. It’s an accomplished effort, though, and a must for fans of the franchise that can’t access the home console versions, or those that simply want to always be able to slay an almighty monster when on the move.
Publisher: Konami / Developer: Kojima Productions
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D may not be the definitive version of Snake’s Cold War escapades but that doesn’t stop it from being a clever, well thought-out and simply great game — frame rate hiccups aside, the impressive and intelligent use of stereoscopic 3D makes the game an absolute joy to look at as well. It’s not often that games as dense and exciting as Snake Eater see the light of day on any platform, which makes the 3DS version all the more worthwhile whether it’s your first romp through the jungle or just to see an old friend from a new perspective.
Publisher: Image & Form / Developer: Image & Form
SteamWorld Dig represents a strong coming together of concept and execution, with relatively simple mechanics impeccably layered to coax the gamer through its story. It’s demanding and perhaps too punishing for some, but the mix of basic platforming, puzzling and action works well, with a beautifully balanced levelling system underpinning everything. Beyond the initial thrill of exploration it’s questionable whether much else can draw you back, but this is a game that achieves its goals with some panache. If a challenge and a ‘thinking-person’s platformer’ appeals to you, this one should be added to your 3DS collection right away.
M2 delivers once again and its usual flourishes and extra features open up the game to newcomers while still catering to the fans. The icing on this already gorgeous retro cake is the utterly awesome and timeless soundtrack, so grab some decent headphones before you jump in. Simply put, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is Sonic at his very best and a platforming masterclass.
The most recent entry on the list, this spruce up of the DS original did more than enough to impress us and (hopefully along with the upcoming Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn) give the console a truly great swansong. With updated visuals, a brand-new side story involving Bowser Jr. and the ability to speed up gameplay, it’s the best version of arguably the best of the Mario & Luigi RPG series – of course it’s on the list! Plus, you get to root around in the intestines of a giant fire-breathing lizard. What’s not to like?
Miitopia is a special game, marrying the quirky style and interactions of Tomodachi Life with fun, addictive RPG-style gameplay and progression. It’s a fitting celebration of the Mii concept, perfect for short bursts of play, and an absolute riot with the right group of Miis — if you’ve ever wanted to take your friends on a grand adventure, complete with silly cosplay and relationship drama, this is a perfect way to do it. Its streamlined take on the genre won’t be for everyone, but for players willing to relinquish some control and trust in their Miis, Miitopia is a wonderful ride.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Game Freak
Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire seem very similar to Pokémon X & Y, as you might expect, but the story and the environments you encounter feel – despite the fact that they are remakes – very fresh and unique. They’re not an extensive upgrade from their other 3DS counterparts, but any Poké-fan who’s played one of the series remakes in the past knows not to expect radical overhauls. These titles should be considered as accompaniments to X & Y, even though they arguably surpassed those games by pushing new ideas such as the Soar ability.
Collecting many of the series’ finest rhythm-based minigames in one place, this ‘greatest hits’ manages to feel like more than a mere compilation. Rhythm Heaven Megamix’s stylish presentation and energy is more polished than ever before, and although much will be familiar for returning fans, it’s an unfettered treat for newbies. Can anyone ever truly tire of the Chorus Kids? One day we’ll get that amiibo…
The final game of the prequel trilogy which began with Professor Layton and the Last Specter on DS, Hershel Layton’s daughter took the limelight in the follow up. This capped the story of the professor and apprentice Luke’s first meeting and exploits, taking them on a globe-trotting adventure and showcasing the best elements of the series. Of course, thanks to backwards compatibility, we’d recommend starting from the beginning if its gentle form of adventure puzzling sounds appealing, but if you’ve only got time for one, you can’t go wrong with Azran Legacy.
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a top-shelf JRPG, with an engaging time-travel hook, brilliantly fun, puzzle-like combat, and a genuinely likeable cast of characters. While it’s far from the first adventure to draw on parallel timelines, it smartly integrates its world-hopping into both gameplay and narrative, and the result is a unique, beautifully-paced experience that’s a joy to play. This 3DS release doesn’t feel drastically different from the DS original, but the new additions — especially a third ‘what-if’ timeline — make for excellent replay incentive. Whether it’s your first trip through time or you’re reliving a prior playthrough, Radiant Historia is well worth a wind of the watch, and another stellar addition to the 3DS’ RPG collection.