40. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS)

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS)Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 19th Mar 2013 (USA) / 22nd Mar 2013 (UK/EU)

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.

39. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (3DS)

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (3DS)Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (3DS)
Publisher: The Pokémon Company / Developer: The Pokémon Company
Release Date: 17th Nov 2017 (USA) / 17th Nov 2017 (UK/EU)

With X/Y and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, 3DS already had some excellent Pokémons to its name, but Pokémon Sun and Moon felt like a new start for players who had perhaps fallen off the RPG collectathon bandwagon. With improved character models and customisation, plus the addition of powerful Z-moves, the return of fan-favourite Gen I pocket monsters in new Alolan forms helped enthuse the franchise faithful as well as people who can only reliably recall the first 151. Extra forms, moves and activities in these Ultra editions make them the most ‘complete’ variants. Although it’s a shame we never got to see our favourite monsters in stereoscopic 3D, this is the crème de la crème of traditional-style Pokémon on 3DS.

38. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Monster Games
Release Date: 24th May 2013 (USA) / 24th May 2013 (UK/EU)

Another of the home console games to migrate to the handheld, Retro’s Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D took us back to the sidescrolling antics of Rare’s classic SNES series, updating it with beautiful new graphics and mechanics. This version includes an extra world and the system’s stereoscopic 3D once again enhances the experience, turning those lush environments into mesmerising dioramas that have you playing about with the 3D slider like a kid. The game slots perfectly into the console’s collection of quality platformers, and that soundtrack is pretty great through headphones, too.

37. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)

Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: 16th Jul 2013 (USA) / 30th Oct 2014 (UK/EU)

A console blessed with an abundance of games, 3DS has done particularly well in the RPG department. This example offers top-shelf dungeon-crawling, a deep battle system that sees you fighting and collecting demons across the elemental spectrum and an excellently written story, not to mention the soundtrack. With so many games and so little time, there’s no shame in Easy mode, either, but Shin Megami Tensei IV is a game to savour for fans or newcomers alike.

36. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 4th Dec 2011 (USA) / 2nd Dec 2011 (UK/EU)

Mario Kart has been a staple on Nintendo handhelds since the GBA’s Mario Kart Super Circuit, and although the DS version did a marvellous job of giving players the full-blooded 3D experience, 3DS’ extra horsepower made Mario Kart 7 feel more like a home console release than ever before. Bringing back coins during races and introducing vehicle customisation and underwater driving to the series, its excellent stereoscopic 3D once again proved that, in the right hands, the feature could really add some special sauce, helping flesh out the world just that little bit more. Booting it up now makes us miss having the option – roll on Nintendo 3DSwitch! (Calm down, that’s a joke… or is it?)

35. Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS)

Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS)Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 18th Nov 2016 (USA) / 23rd Nov 2016 (UK/EU)

Simply put, Sun and Moon are some of the best Pokémon games that Game Freak has ever produced. Poké Pelago, the side quests, the absolutely stunning nature of the presentation, it's all a sheer joy from start to finish. Game Freak managed to carefully balance the inclusion of new mechanics without totally ruining things for the most hardcore fans. It's got content coming out of its ears, a much more interesting story than some previous efforts, and it rewards exploration in a way no other title in the series had to that point. Whether you're a Pokémon fan new or old, this is an absolutely essential purchase.

34. SteamWorld Dig (3DS eShop)

SteamWorld Dig (3DS eShop)SteamWorld Dig (3DS eShop)
Publisher: Image & Form / Developer: Image & Form
Release Date: 8th Aug 2013 (USA) / 7th Aug 2013 (UK/EU)

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.

33. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)
Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Atlus
Release Date: 23rd Aug 2011 (USA) / 29th Mar 2013 (UK/EU)

If you already own or played the DS version, this may not be the reboot you were hoping for. For those coming to the title fresh, however, prepare to be impressed. Even though the game doesn't offer up much of an overhaul, it still remains a stellar, stylish RPG that handily melds strategy and turn-based battle. It's definitely one of the heftier 3DS games out there too, with multiple endings and tons of content to explore.

32. Fantasy Life (3DS)

Fantasy Life (3DS)Fantasy Life (3DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Level-5
Release Date: 24th Oct 2014 (USA) / 26th Sep 2014 (UK/EU)

Given the game’s relative age, Fantasy Life isn’t the shiniest toy on the 3DS’ shelf, but it just may be the happiest. Providing quality gameplay in both its life sim and action RPG aspects, served up with more colourful wit and charm than anyone could ask for, it serves as a jewel in the crown of a games studio that helped create some of the most memorable role-playing video games ever. It may now be 1-UP Studios, but Brownie Brown hit its marks with Level 5 in this game. As a farewell for the company in its old guise, this was an excellent game for the occasion.

31. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS)

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS)Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS)
Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Atlus
Release Date: 25th Nov 2014 (USA) / 28th Nov 2014 (UK/EU)

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has something for everyone. If you’re a Persona fan, you’ll get a huge kick out of seeing your old Gekkoukan and Yasogami classmates in an all-new adventure, and Etrian Odyssey fans open to a change will love it — this is the story-driven experiment of Etrian Odyssey Untold taken to the next level, with a stylistic overhaul to match. And if you haven’t played either of its inspirations, you’re still in luck — this isn’t just a great crossover, it’s a fantastically fun RPG in its own right, with colourful characters, engaging gameplay, and a whole heap of style. Persona fans will undoubtedly get the most out of the fan-service, but even if you can’t tell Junpei from Junes, you’ll still have a blast exploring Persona Q.