The Best Games To Play On Your New 3DS

With Nintendo having just launched the New 3DS in Europe and America, there will be plenty of gamers out there looking to cram their libraries with the best hits the handheld has to offer. Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to hand-pick a small selection of 3DS essentials you should consider playing with Nintendo’s new piece of kit.


Super Mario 3D Land


Super Mario 3D Land takes the 3D platformer gameplay of Mario and marries it with mechanics straight from the 2D Mario Bros. series. Like any other mainline Super Mario entry, it’s an addictive 3D platformer which changes from level-to-level, introducing mechanics and throwing them away with aplomb. There’s absolutely tons to do here, and the short, timed levels are perfect for a handheld outing.


Bravely Default

Nintendo’s 3DS is no stranger when it come to Japanese role-playing games. However, in recent years, the genre has continued to suffer from stagnation as developers regurgitate the same old turn-based template. In truth, Bravely Default is guilty of the same crimes yet managed to work in enough nuance to keep it floating above the tide of repetition. Developed by Silicon Games, the same studio that brought us 3D Dot Game Heroes, it features a expansive job system and a refreshing risk-reward combat system. Having released at the very end of 2013, Bravely Default was largely overlooked but is an essential purchase for any JRPG fan who has access to a 3DS.


Mario Kart 7

Having sold close to ten million copies, Mario Kart 7 is rightly viewed as a 3DS flagship. If you’ve had the privilege of playing the series’ latest outing on Wii U you may feel somewhat underwhelmed, yet Mario Kart 7 holds up regardless. Aside from introducing customisable karts, this stellar instalment also features flight and underwater navigation, paving the way for some great track designs. What’s more, it allows players to take their favourite kart and racer combo online, challenging others across the world.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

To put it simply, Ocarina of Time is among the greatest games ever made. Although not quite as changed as the Majora’s Mask remake – also worth getting, and releasing alongside the console today – it is a smoother experience, which truly feels at home on the 3DS, using the lower screen for item select brilliantly. Even if you have played this before on N64, you’ll really love revisiting the title, and then there’s a Master Quest to give you an excuse to play it again.


Fire Emblem: Awakening

Created by Intelligent Systems, the Fire Emblem series has remained at the forefront of the strategic RPG genre for many years. Awakening is really the zenith for the franchise, featuring incredible anime cutscenes, graphics that push the 3DS to its limits, and deep strategic gameplay that rewards intelligent thought. Tie that in with an emotionally resonant story, and the merciless option of character perma-death, and every single mission becomes integral, vital and essential.


Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

The Monster Hunter games are known as being amongst the most involving action-RPG titles ever created. The latest version, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, arrives alongside the New 3DS, and is the most refined entry yet. You take your fledgling hunter out on quests, very often against huge creatures, and then use parts from the monsters to craft stronger armour and weapons. Add in 4-player online questing, and the potential for hundreds of hours of gameplay, and you have a fantastic title, though its difficulty level could be unwelcoming for newcomers.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing is, at first glance, a relatively benign game where you look after a village full of animals. However, it’s more than capable of stealing hours of your life away, as you collect fruit, plant trees and search for fossils to put in the museum, all whilst falling into ever-increasing debt to a mortgage-lending racoon. It’s one of those titles that will make you feel absolutely rotten for not playing every day, as your village deteriorates when you leave it, becoming overgrown with weeds while animals move away never to be seen again. Prepare to be addicted.


Inazuma Eleven Go Light/Shadow

The Inazuma Eleven series lives up to it’s ‘Pokémon meets Japanese anime footballers’ elevator pitch exceedingly well. The game owes a lot to Game Freak’s franchise, with an open world hub filled with footballers to recruit to your team, and football games playing out in an action/turn-based hybrid system where outlandish RPG moves dazzle in spectacular 3D. Coupled with an enjoyable story and memorable characters it’s definitely worth a look, even if you’re not remotely into football.


Luigi’s Mansion 2

Here’s a sequel which only serves to improve on the original, with a mansion full of secrets, puzzles and, of course, ghosts. It’s just something totally different from the usual Mario fare, and Luigi could easily be the fifth ghostbuster with his impressive array of ghoul hunting skills. It’s worth experiencing for Luigi’s brilliant array of animations which are really impressive for a handheld game, and it’s truly one of the most polished games on the system.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

While Ocarina of Time may be the best 3D Zelda title, A Link Between Worlds is perhaps the finest top-down game in the series. It shares a lot of DNA with A Link To The Past, naturally, as it’s set in the same world, but the unprecedented freedom you have to explore the temples in any order, with the new item renting system is superb. It’s a great looking game too, with some rather unique mechanics including the core “become a painting” feature which blurs the lines between top-down and 3D adventure.


Pokémon X And Y

Pokémon is a series which has stuck to its gameplay roots more so than most other game franchises. While X and Y hardly shake up the formula, they do introduce new mechanics – and Pokémon types – into the series for the first time. You’ll find an extremely deep RPG here, with over 600 critters now in existence, and whether you’ve played a Pokémon title before or not, it’s definitely worth experiencing. Fair warning though, many sections aren’t in 3D and when it is, the frame rate is less than stellar, so while the game is superb, it might not be the best one to show off your new system.



Out of the leftfield is Pullblox – an eShop game which really uses the 3D of the system to its advantage, as you push and pull blocks in and out of an object in attempt to climb to the top. It’s a simple, charming puzzler which will eat away at your time. There’s also a sequel named Fallblox available.


Tomodachi Life

Compared to some of the games on this list, Tomodachi Life is somewhat of outlier. No, it doesn’t have the same tight platforming mechanics as Mario, nor does it have the sheer scope of Fire Emblem or Monster Hunter’s addictive factor. Still, it remains one of the handheld’s most talked about games of all time for reasons both good and bad. One thing everyone can agree on is just how bonkers Nintendo’s cutesy life simulation is. With no strict goals, players were able to create a number of awkward and bizarre scenarios in which to drop their ragtag group of custom characters. It will never qualify as hardcore yet stands its ground as one of the 3DS’s most capable palette cleansers.

Written by Jim Hargreaves, Blair Inglis & Dom Leighton.



  1. I’d give an honourable mention to Smash Bros, which requires a New 3DS for using Miiverse and the browser simultaneously. It also loads and exits much faster, since it doesn’t need to reboot the system into a “OS-lite” mode, thanks to the added RAM.

  2. You’re much better off with Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire actually, with the absence of a stealth mechanic for Pokemon catching, and features like re-battling players and easy/free travel XY really feels obsolete.

    • Also, does it really lag just as much in 3D on the new system despite of the new CPU?

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