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.

See Also

Click below to see more screens from our top Nintendo 3DS games.
Click below to see more screens from our top Nintendo 3DS games.
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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.
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.
Click below to see more screens from our top Nintendo 3DS games.
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6

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.
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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Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the editor in chief of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds