Ranking The Very Best Nintendo 3DS Video Games

The Nintendo 3DS was another widely popular video game handheld from the company which was a successor to the Nintendo DS. Building on the dual screen approach, the Nintendo 3DS brings out a number of improvements. However, outside of just offering gamers a new visual enhancement over the previous iteration handheld, Nintendo opted to deliver gamers a brand new feature. Glasses-free 3D through the top display. With the use of a slider mechanic, players could control just how much 3D the handheld would deliver though most likely kept the function off to preserve battery life.

The handheld has received a number of upgrades over the years with slightly differencing components. Released back in 2011, the handheld line is still going strong with Nintendo support. We have decided to rank some of the best 3DS video games available on the system which you can view down below.


#10 Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

  • Developer: Monolith Soft
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS (New 3DS)
  • Release: April 10, 2015

Xenoblade Chronicles became an instant hit when it launched. This complex JRPG offered gamers a beautiful world to explore, a cast of characters that you can customize along with a narrative driven story. Within the game, players will be following two factions that are in perpetual war. It’s within this war that our main protagonist, Shulk, discovers his ability to control the Monado faction where he sets off on a revenge journey over the death of his best friend.

This game originally came out exclusively on the Nintendo Wii, but has since found its way on the Nintendo 3DS. Unfortunately, the sequel, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, is only available on the Nintendo Switch platform.

#9 Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

  • Developer: Next Level Games, Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: March 24, 2013

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is an action-adventure video game that was developed by Next Level Games. Similar to Luigi’s Mansion that launched in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube, this title acts as a sequel where players once again step into the shoes of Luigi.

Players will find that Luigi is set with the task of finding all of the Dark Moon pieces that have shattered from King Boo. However, because the Dark Moon has shattered, all of the once friendly ghosts have become hostile, forcing Luigi to use his specialized vacuum cleaner to capture the ghosts.

Just as before with Luigi’s Mansion, not only will Luigi have to fight normal ghosts but a series of bosses and collect a number of items. Furthermore, there are a few puzzles to solve during your journey.

#8 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: February 13, 2015

Monster Hunter 4 is the last main installment outside of the most current release, Monster Hunter: World. This is an action-RPG series that we’re sure you’re familiar with already. Overall, the game tosses players into a world where you must take on contracts and hunt down massive monsters. Each may have their own attributes that will call for certain gear and weaponry before you set off on your quest. As a result, gathering resources and going on hunts is not only beneficial for the rewards you’ll earn for completing the mission but for the items you’ll acquire during your the quest.

This particular title was aimed at western audiences. Capcom researched the differences between eastern and western gamers of the franchise to further release a new installment that would appeal to both markets.

#7 Pokemon Sun & Moon

  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Publisher: The Pokemon Company, Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: 2016

Pokemon Sun & Moon is slightly different when compared to the other main installments to the franchise. Players will still be training and capturing Pokemon, however, the game does replace the gym system which has been a staple feature for the franchise. There is also a bit more of an emphasis on taking care of your Pokemon outside of just using the Pokemon Center when needed which may not cater to the more old school Pokemon fans. Regardless, critics and fans alike enjoyed the new approach to the Pokemon franchise.

#6 Pokemon X&Y

  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Publisher: The Pokemon Company, Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: 2013

The Pokemon franchise is going strong and showing no signs of slowing down. There’s been a few titles released for the series on the Nintendo 3DS these past few years. While we could list out a bunch of great games on this list, we decided to toss in two main installment releases together. Pokemon X & Y is the sixth generation of the Pokemon series which follows the traditional format. Players will be capturing Pokemon, training them, exploring the world and defeating Gym leaders.

The latter on our picks, Pokemon Sun & Moon is slightly different, players will still be training and capturing Pokemon. However, the game does replace the gym system which has been a staple feature for the franchise. Regardless, critics and fans alike enjoyed the new approach to the Pokemon franchise.

#5 Bravely Default

  • Developer: Silicon Studio
  • Publisher: Nintendo, Square Enix
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: February 7, 2014

Bravely Default was a massive hit and showed that classic JRPG titles are still something well worth developing and bringing over into other markets. Chances are if you’re a fan of classic JRPG video game titles then you’ve already played Bravely Default and possibly even purchased a 3DS just to play the title. The game overall follows a shepherd by the name of Tiz who manages to survive a cataclysmic event. With no other survivors of his village, Tiz sets out on a grand journey to fight off evil forces from causing more harm on the world.

#4 Shovel Knight

  • Developer: Yacht Club Games
  • Publisher: Yacht Club Games
  • Platforms: PC, 3DS, NS, PS4, PS4, PSV, Wii U, XBO
  • Release: April 21, 2015

Shovel Knight is a side-scrolling 2D hit that looks as if it belongs as a classic hit for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s clear that the developers created this game after the love and joy from those early 2D side-scrolling platformers along with beat ‘em up video game titles.

The retro feel and vibe works perfectly along with tight controls, this is one game that you will not be able to put down easily. This title has been out for a number of years now with there being a few additional campaigns to enjoy.

Even if you didn’t enjoy the early years of Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis, this is still very much a must-play video game.

#3 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: November 22, 2013

It didn’t come to much surprise that Nintendo was going to push out a few The Legend of Zelda installments on the Nintendo 3DS. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is just one of the installments released for the portable handheld in which players will once again step into the role of Link. This time around Princess Zelda is captured by the evil sorcerer Yuga who is able to maneuver around the world by opening rifts.

With the end goal of resurrecting the Demon King Ganon, Link finds himself having to save Hyrule once again and rescue the princess. Outside of the rift system that allows Link to walk around gaps with ease, developers did make a few changes to the mechanics system that Zelda fans were familiar with. For instance, Nintendo opted to allow gamers to complete dungeons in any order they wished while still giving players an entertaining but tough gameplay experience.

#2 Fire Emblem: Awakening

  • Developer: Intelligent Systems
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: February 4, 2013

The thirteenth installment to the Fire Emblem franchise, Fire Emblem: Awakening proved to be a video game well worth purchasing. Gamers will find that the story takes place thousands of years after the events of the first Fire Emblem video game. Overall, players will create a character who suffers from amnesia where our protagonist attempts to remember past events while aiding the prince of Ylisse’s defense army from an onslaught attacks by monsters.

This is at turn-based tactical RPG where players control a variety of characters on a map. You’ll get access to make improvements over the various characters in your team though the game series still holds the permadeath feature it’s known for. Luckily, if you’re not wanting too much of a challenge, developers Intelligent Systems has included an option to turn off permadeath.

#1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

  • Developer: Grezzo, Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platforms: 3DS
  • Release: June 19, 2011

An iconic video game title that can stand on its own for years to come, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the biggest releases Nintendo had with their Nintendo 64 console. Within this 3D adventure, players once again take on the role of Link as he saves the day by stopping Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce, a relic that would grant wishes.

This is an epic adventure where players will travel throughout the lands, meeting new characters, completing quests, fighting off enemies, and of course solving puzzles. Likewise, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time saw new features to the franchise such as the introduction to the target-lock system.

It’s not surprising that this video game is still receiving new ports and remakes for the latest Nintendo platform such as the one for the Nintendo 3DS. There are several gamers and critics who continue to see Ocarina of Time as not only one of the best The Legend of Zelda games available in the market, but one of the best video games to launch of all time.