The Best 3DS Games

Portable perfection.

When the Nintendo 3DS first launched worldwide in 2011, many feared that the new handheld wouldn't have a chance of replicating the success of its predecessor, the DS. Fast forward several years and things are looking much better for the 3DS thanks to its increasingly impressive library of great games. We've chosen our favorites and listed them out. What do you think of our choices? Sound off in the comments below.

Click below to see more screens from our top Nintendo 3DS games.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

"New Leaf is a very strange game with an appeal that seems nonexistent to outsiders. The moment-to-moment activities are so banal that it's not readily apparent just how engrossing the small-town life can be. However, the more you play, the more invested you become in the well-being of your city, and the more exciting each small success becomes." -- Read our review

Bravely Default

"Bravely Default is one of the finest RPGs Square Enix has been involved with in recent times. While it's a stretch to call its battle mechanics groundbreaking, they certainly represent a welcome level of innovation that has a palpable effect on the way you approach combat and makes Bravely Default a highly entertaining adventure." -- Read our review

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

"By offering both the classic experience and a new story-driven mode with overlapping content, this RPG is practically a two-in-one package. It's a credit to Atlus that it has managed to produce a remake that is every bit as engrossing as Etrian Odyssey IV, while preserving the positive qualities of the game that started it all." -- Read our review

Fire Emblem: Awakening

"The fun, tactical combat, the character-driven relationships, and the greater feeling of freedom combine to make Awakening the best installment of this beloved series in a long time. Anyone looking for a fantastic strategy game or a long, engaging adventure perfect for on-the-go sessions should absolutely not overlook this gaming gem." -- Read our review

Ghost hunting in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

"Making your way through the mansions is enjoyable not just because of the expertly crafted atmosphere, but also because of the wealth of objects you can interact with. Often, nudging an object or manipulating it with the force of your PolterGust 5000 vacuum cleaner/ghost-catching machine has no effect, but opening that dusty nightstand or making that rickety old merry-go-round spin rewards you often enough with coins, cash, and gold bars that you feel compelled to leave no stone unturned." -- Read our review

Mario Kart 7

"Mario Kart 7 contains the same framework that has existed in the franchise for years but has enough tweaks to the formula to stave off that stale feeling. The new additions, such as hang gliding and kart customization, should become permanent staples, and rebalanced items remove the feeling that you were unfairly robbed of victory. From a racing perspective, this is the best entry yet in the long-running series, and excellent track design pushes you to be inventive and smart in how you drive." -- Read our review

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

"Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is an enhanced port of 2010's excellent Monster Hunter Tri, refining that game's structure by adding a bunch of new content and a far more robust online component. Thwacking huge beasts with a greatsword or picking them off from afar with a bow has never been so comprehensive and satisfying." -- Read our review

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney -- Dual Destinies

"Phoenix Wright's return to the courtroom brings with it an impressive blend of comedic sensibilities and philosophical examinations that make you question how any judicial system can determine guilt when the relationships people have with the truth are so complicated." -- Read our review

Click below to see more screens from our top Nintendo 3DS games.

Pokemon X/Y

"Pokemon X/Y is a welcome evolution in this long-running franchise. It's a great-looking game whose visuals can finally match the inherent charm of its many potential pokemon protagonists, and its engrossing core has been enhanced by the new additions to its gameplay." -- Read our review

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

"How Level-5 could make Layton feel all-new is a puzzle in itself. One thing's for sure though: they've made a huge effort to improve on the existing template in every way possible. The adventures of Layton and Luke are as charming, funny, head-scratching and engrossing as they've ever been, and five games into a series which has stuck to the same structure throughout, that's an impressive achievement." -- Read our review

Project X Zone

"If you have a fondness for a fair number of the 50-plus game characters featured in Project X Zone (and there's a good chance you do), then those appealing characters, their sometimes-humorous interactions, and the locations, music, and attack animations they bring with them can make Project X Zone a worthwhile nostalgic endeavor." -- Read our review

Shin Megami Tensei IV

"Shin Megami Tensei IV is saved by the lure of the dark and mysterious world and the trials of fighting its inhabitants make Shin Megami Tensei IV a great role-playing game worth seeing through to the end. The excellent combat and the almost never-ending quest to explore the compendium of demons should keep you coming back for more, even if you have a fairly good assumption of what the other endings might entail." -- Read our review

Steamworld Dig

"Perhaps the game's brief length and unfulfilling conclusion wouldn't be issues if everything else about SteamWorld Dig weren't so good. Exploration and augmentation are a lot of fun, the setting is interesting, and the resource management adds some challenge and tension." -- Read our review

Battle Bowser--again--in Super Mario 3D Land.

Super Mario 3D Land

"Super Mario 3D Land puts the plumber though his paces with yet another search-and-rescue mission to find a missing princess. Along the way it successfully translates the classic, 2D Mario feel into a 3D setting that feels unique from the series' other 3D releases." -- Read our review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

"The heart of A Link Between Worlds is buried firmly in the pre-3D age of the early '90s, and Nintendo has produced an almost note-for-note polygonal reproduction of the original game's Hylian overworld, complete with the triumphant boom of the series' main theme charging out of the 3DS's speakers. But while many elements of this sequel are familiar, this is a fantastic standalone adventure that excels on its own individual merits." -- Read our review

Theatrhytm Final Fantasy

"it. Like all great rhythm games, Theatrhythm forces dexterity upon you. It doesn't make sense at first. It's even a little frustrating. But you learn, and learn quickly. What once was a confusing array of neon circles and blinking arrows becomes a series of addictive taps and swipes that morph themselves effortlessly into the music." -- Read our review

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars

"Learning the ins and outs of combat is very satisfying, and the great difficulty spectrum means even those who are unfamiliar with this type of game can get the hang of it. With rich environments, gratifying tactical depth, and engrossing action, Shadow Wars is not only a great value, but a whole lot of addictive fun to boot." -- Read our review

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

"As fun and challenging as the brainteasers in the room escapes are, they're merely dressing for the fantastic writing, memorable characters, and stunning plot twists that could only be presented successfully in a game format. This is an adventure that anyone who appreciates quality storytelling should not miss." -- Read our review

* GameSpot's Best Of Lists will updated periodically as new games worthy of inclusion are released on their respective platforms.

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Discussion

113 comments
biokiros
biokiros

I'm kinda lost with this new style on website, am I able to sort games by rating desc and asc ?, if so? where? really, gamespot is getting worse and worse :(

seven7swords
seven7swords

Why is Cave Story not on this list? Seriously, most fun platformer I ever downloaded from the eShop.

rushiosan
rushiosan

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is the best 3DS game I had so far. I finished it 6 times in a row but still have plenty of replay value and content to unlock. Sadly, the reviews were pretty unfair with it.


Anyway, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon deserved a mention. The GS review, in other hand, was disappoiting.

daysonguy
daysonguy

the best games are 3ds games

Kitty8472
Kitty8472

Project X Zone?


...GameSpot's own review of that game was pretty poor. And anyone who actually played it to completion understands why. Hard to understand its placement here.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

These are all really good 3DS games. However, I've been absorbed with Rune Factory 4.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

i like how GameTrailers released their top 10 Best 3DS games after this article was published.

pkcurbstomp
pkcurbstomp

That picture makes me want to pay Pokemon Y again ;.;

Yeah. Definitely agree with the ones I've played up here, though 3D World was a bit too easy/quick for my liking.

nami_the_mage
nami_the_mage

This is a good list, although I could name a few that should have made the list as well. The 3DS is my favorite gaming system because I can play great games anywhere I go. Heck, I play it even when I'm at home, when I'm not gaming on my PC.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Aaaaaaand this list is exactly why the Vita is a much better game-platform.

Really, other than a few notable games, mario, luigi's mansion, and zelda....

The only thing that the 3ds has going for itself is the no-glasses 3D.


skayj2
skayj2

Fire Emblem: Awakening is not just one of the best games on the 3DS. It's one of the best damn games I've ever played.


I never thought I'd say this about a handheld as their stories and gameplay (while being awesome in many cases) just don't match up to the quality and length you get on a console.


But FE was just phenomenal. It was also my first FE game, so now I can say with certainty that I'm hooked to the series.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

Bravely Default is favourite game on the 3DS

bassjunkee
bassjunkee

Gunman Clive is on par with Steamworld Dig.  Duck mode is a blast.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

I want to get a 3DS but there are only like 3 or 4 games I really want to play.

mkdms14
mkdms14

I am surprised you listed Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon as being a good game where according to the person who wrote that review it was terrible which I believe they must of been high when writing it because Luigi's Mansion is a great game much better than the original.

Gargus
Gargus

Surprise surprise. A list of the best of games on a Nintendo console and 99% of them are from franchises with 1% actually being new games.

That's precisely one of the reasons why I give up on my Nintendo systems is because everything on them is either #1 just pure throw away garbage shovelware or #2 the 87th sequel in some franchises that's been whored out so much it can barely walk.

num1assassin
num1assassin

That is an awesome list!

Props for mentioning VLR!!!!!

HaughtyMoose
HaughtyMoose

1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf = Awesome game

2. Fire Emblem: Awakening= Best 3ds game hands down, can't wait for the next installment.  

3. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl= Great game

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV = It is a massive disappointment compare to Nocturne 

5. Bravely default = I will pick it up after I finished A Link between the world


PS: Rune factory 4 and kid lcarus: Uprising should be on the list. 

faizanhd
faizanhd

That Ghost Recon game is overlooked way too much.

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

I was one of the few who bought it at launch, it's a great system and AC New Leaf and Zelda OOT 3D are some of the best games I've ever played. Pokemon X was pretty good but the online was pretty poor because everyone just spams all of the legendaries.

19James89
19James89

The 3DS is a brilliant series of handheld consoles and I cannot fathom why it hasn't sold more units than it has so far. It deserves to be Nintendo's best selling console of all time ahead of the DS, it's that good. 


If you haven't bought a 3DS and have contemplated getting one, I say go for it. Some of the games are getting price cuts, so now is a best time to pick one up.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

You give luigi's mansion a 6 then nominate for 3DS goty? You guys need to get your act together or review it again.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

Own most of these games along with many more. The 3DS easily has my favorite library so far of any console (mind you I started getting REALLY into gaming around 2010). Just finished Dual Destinies and man, that final twist gave me shivers. Loving how the 3DS is flourishing with games that are either perfect for on the go or close to home console quality type games. 

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Kitty8472  

While it is a bit confusing why they'd include it after their 6/10 review, remember that Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon is also on here, despite getting a 6.5/10. Either way, as someone who spent nearly 60 hours in order to beat it the first time, I had an absolute blast. I do feel like it's one of those games that got pushed under the rug due to expectations. Sure it's not a Fire Emblem: Awakening or Street Fighter or whatever you were comparing this game to, but if you took it as a different take on the strategy RPG genre utilizing worlds from various franchises, then you'll get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. 

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@Kitty8472  I personally find the game addicting, but it is pretty easy for a strategy RPG.


I'm also not sure how a 6/10 is a poor score. That's a game that "isn't good, but isn't bad either" as far as I'm concerned.  A person may find more enjoyment out of it based on the genre and whatever else the game features.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@VenkmanPHD  
"These games aren't what I prefer, therefore it sucks and I'm totally just going to ignore all the reasons why the system has been super appealing." 


"The only thing that the 3ds has going for itself is the no-glasses 3D." Honestly, ANYONE saying this statement now is just telling everyone that they're an ignorant moron. MAYBE if you said this like June 2011, you could get away with it, but clearly the system has been proven to be far more than just a "glasses free 3D upgrade to the DS" from the strong library, StreetPass (Sony even attempted to put something similar into the Vita), amazing Indie support, MiiVerse integration. Just because YOU don't prefer it doesn't mean you have to be ignorant to what makes it appealing. 

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@skayj2 I hated this game.

I have always been a big fan of Fire Emblem, ever since I discovered it's existence post-melee and found some translated roms.

Awakening though, was so hard that I almost threw my 3ds against a wall.
Something I have never ever even considered doing with a controller or otherwise.

I played the same level over and over and over again, over 3 weeks.

Finally I just traded it in at Gamestop.

I have better **** to worry about than trying to get past level 5 or whatever it was.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@assertiveuser_  

Definitely, considering that the final entry is currently on hold due to lack of funds T_T

snxx
snxx

@Gargus 4 out 18 is 22% of new IPs. Not bad at all. Looks like someone here failed at math. 


Latiran
Latiran

@Gargus It's because of morons like you i don't really come on here or any other social media type site that much now. You speak as if Nintendo are the only ones that keep making sequels to existing franchises when they don't, this is happening across all platforms and i agree with Xgalacticax.

If you don't like these games don't play them but quit with your damn moaning and whining because we don't want to hear it anymore.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

@Gargus  Another cry baby. A good sequel is worth a thousand rubbish new IPs. The only thing that should matter to you as a gamer is whether a game is great to play or not.

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

@19James89 I'm pretty happy with my 2DS, I think buying games online through the Nintendo store is a bit expensive, but other then that, its not bad for something hovering around $100.  For the record, My game library is 100X better on the Vita. Comparing the actual cost of the hand held, its pretty decent for the $. 

garywood69
garywood69

@bunchanumbers  Are you under the impression that gamespot is a single conscious entity? It's not. The review was likely done by 1 person and then the game of the year would've been a vote by lots of people. If they forced everything to be consistent, it'd completely undermine the opinions of the reviewer and make it a pointless review.

Kitty8472
Kitty8472

@abHS4L88


I also spent about 55 hours to complete it, and I personally can't fathom how you maintained any amount of interest in it. Its story was incomprehensible. Its characters were flat and barely retained their own characterization from their respective games. And worst of all, it has the MOST repetitive and mindless combat system that I have ever had the misfortune of encountering. Just...bleh.

ObxChillin
ObxChillin

@abHS4L88 @VenkmanPHD  I think Nintendo games are better than sonys, i mean we still get Metal Gear solid! we also get mario games which are awesome, Kirby games etc. Nintendo is just full of classic characters and games......how can you hate on Nintendo if you were young enough to play the old games as a kid?......you simply cant

SeepraOfVienna
SeepraOfVienna

@VenkmanPHD @skayj2 Haha. You never played Radian Dawn. Because it's INSANE even on normal mode. :D Awakening is soooo easy compared to it. 

skayj2
skayj2

@VenkmanPHD @skayj2  That's a shame. 


Why don't you try turning down the difficult or playing Casual (assuming you're playing normal mode) it really is a great game and doesn't deserve to be hated because the difficulty is off-putting.


I really recommend you give it another go at an easier difficulty :)

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@xgalacticax @Gargus Samus and Mario wouldn't be the legends they are if Nintendo always replaced them with new Mike Smith and John Strongman in their new games. As cool as John Shepard and Booker Dewitt are who remembers them in few years.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@garywood69 @bunchanumbersWhats the point of reviews if one "professional" gives the game a bad score and other calls it Goty? Afterall these are supposed to be paid professionals and not like common gamers who are on each others throats about 1 number difference

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@Kitty8472

Yet you did? Who in their right mind would spend 55 hours on something they found incomprehensible with characters that were flat and out of character, as well as having THE MOST repetitive and mindless combat system that you ever had the "misfortune of encountering?" Clearly something kept you interested, unless you'd rather do something you don't enjoy rather than doing something you do enjoy.


Anyways, for me, incomprehensible? Sure some parts were a bit convoluted yet I managed to understand that the enemy (forgot his name) was basically recruiting the bad guys from each dimension in order to gain control of the portals of each world as well as launching an attack on the main characters' world to take the treasure they've been guarding. 


While I'm not personally familiar with every single character, all the ones I was familiar with (around half of them) were pretty much true to who they were, sure some parts felt off but it was mainly those who were initially enemies that allied with you.


Repetitive and mindless? Well I can understand repetitive but only once you've mastered each character as well as finding the best support character, but even then you're encouraged to mix up parties since they get rearranged frequently. As for mindless, I guess if you didn't care losing half your army but I would always fight to retain every single unit, so I made sure I properly strategized and made the most out of every attack. 

gk2012
gk2012

@skayj2 @VenkmanPHD You're too nice. Judging by his comments on this page, I was already going to assume that he was playing it on Easy+Casual.

garywood69
garywood69

@PrpleTrtleBuBum @garywood69 @bunchanumbers  Well I'm not sure what you think the point of reviews is to be honest, given that you ask that question. Their opinions AREN'T any more worthwhile than your average gamer (except they tend to have to work to certain standards e.g finish a game, be capable with language etc). They're just more visible.
If you really sit down and think about the consequences of having everyone who works for a company agreeing with each other, it's really idiotic and the only way it would really happen is through corruption of some kind.

garywood69
garywood69

@drwhoiscool @garywood69 @bunchanumbers  I also tried to explain (the second half of my rant) why it was a ridiculous thing to expect! If different people working for the same company are expected to adjust their opinions in order to create an illusion of consistency, then they weren't really giving their opinion at all. And the concept of the review becomes pointless.