It may have had a slow start at launch back in 2011, but Nintendo 3DS steadily went from strength to strength and amassed a huge library of quality titles - enough to rival the company's finest. Sure, glasses-free stereoscopic 3D turned out to be a bit of a non-starter, but the best games made great use of the feature and the ‘New’ hardware variant (which arrived in 2014) improved its ease of use considerably. Streetpass provided a genuine reason to keep the console on your person at all times and backwards compatibility with original DS carts opened an avenue to another whole console’s worth of fabulous games.
If your 3DS is collecting dust in some forgotten cupboard, you owe it to yourself to get reacquainted with the little portable; if you somehow skipped it completely, it's time to snap up some great hardware and software deals while you still can.
So, here we bring you our collection of the top 50 games for 3DS — or more accurately, your collection of the top 50 games for 3DS. As you've probably read in the tagline above, the order here is all down to you lovely people. The ranking of this sizeable selection is governed by the user ratings for each game on this very site. It will continually evolve to reflect your votes, and logged in users can interact and rate the titles directly on these pages by hovering over the rating.
Can't see your favourite on the list? Feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. A game needs a minimum of fifty ratings to become eligible, so it's entirely possible to influence the ranking and get your favourite games onto the list.
Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.
50. Ever Oasis (3DS)
After such sterling work remaking Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask for the system, developer Grecco shows that it’s got the chops for original ideas, too. A colourful action-RPG that manages to carve its own space in a crowded genre, Secret of Mana director Koichi Ishii’s fingerprints are all over this game. If you’ve played Zelda to death and some of the other RPGs on the list seem a little portentous or gloomy, Ever Oasis could be just what you’re looking for.
3D Streets of Rage 2 is wonderful version of a game which is a masterclass in its genre. In its day it was one of the most accomplished and fully featured beat-'em-ups available, with great game balance and spot-on pacing. All these years later it's still a joy to pick up and play; even more so with M2's excellent additions. If you're reliving your youth, you'll find this is one game where rose-tinted spectacles haven't pulled the wool over your eyes. It is as good as you remember. If you're coming at this fresh, we envy you; enjoy every second. Streets of Rage 2 is thoroughly deserving of your time. A true classic.
With pitch-perfect gameplay and an excellent, expansive tracklist, Project Mirai DX is a must-play for Miku and music game fans alike. Its rhythm game core is inspired and addictive, the presentation is charming and fun, and there's no shortage of activities to keep you happily busy between songs, with dress-up, interior decorating, choreography, and a full-on Puyo Puyo mode all providing enjoyable distractions from the dancefloor. As a complete package, Project Mirai DX puts on a virtuoso performance that easily stands alongside Curtain Call, HarmoKnight, and Rhythm Thief as one of the 3DS' greatest hits.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D may not be the definitive version of Snake’s Cold War escapades but that doesn’t stop it from being a clever, well thought-out and simply great game — frame rate hiccups aside, the impressive and intelligent use of stereoscopic 3D makes the game an absolute joy to look at as well. It's not often that games as dense and exciting as Snake Eater see the light of day on any platform, which makes the 3DS version all the more worthwhile whether it's your first romp through the jungle or just to see an old friend from a new perspective.
While Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS was below the standards of its original in our view (and scored as such), the same can't be said of Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. It takes fantastic original material and carefully adapts it for the portable, with extras compensating for one lost feature. In the process it becomes an elite 3DS 2D platformer, joining its Wii U predecessor in that company.
If you have the Wii U version it's a tough decision on whether to double dip; both versions deliver the same terrific core game. If you haven't played this on Wii U and like Yoshi, 2D platformers or charming games, though, then this is a must-have for the 3DS.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a pleasant platforming package that doesn’t push the envelope very far. The Story Mode is an elegant but conservative adventure that trades too greatly in familiarity and simplicity, the same type of neo-nostalgia that Nintendo courts so successfully with the Mario and Zelda franchises. Triple Deluxe is sure to scratch that Kirby itch — or create one for new players — but fails to move the franchise forward in any meaningful direction. However, the rest of the package holds its own quite well and went on birthed more than one standalone titles with Kirby Fighters and Dedede's Drum Dash. A fine introduction to Kirby's brand of adventuring, then.
Monster Hunter Stories is an excellent adventure that channels the colourful world of Capcom’s storied series into a joyous JRPG. It suffers from performance issues on non-New 3DS hardware, but it’s still full of personality, beautifully presented and fun to play, with combat that’s easy to grasp but engaging throughout. Longtime MonHun fans will appreciate Stories as a thoughtfully-made spin-off, but the gameplay template and tone are so different that you don’t need to be familiar with — or even enjoy! — mainline Monster Hunter to have a great time here. Regardless of whether you’ve been hunting Hornetaurs since the beginning or couldn’t tell a Felyne from a Fatalis, Stories is yet another charming 3DS RPG that’s well worth your time.
Fire Emblem may have found itself in a strange spot after the success of Awakening, but Intelligent Systems has found a way forward. Actually, two ways - Fire Emblem Fates does a remarkable job delivering what newcomers and long-time players both could possibly want out of this series. Fans of Awakening will dig Birthright's continuation of that style of gameplay, and Conquest's strategic demands should go over well with series veterans and those looking for more bite from their games. Extensive campaigns, online multiplayer, and spit-shine polish combine to make for some of the most well-rounded Fire Emblem experiences to date.
Each of these games is unique enough to stand on its own accord as an impressive achievement and a whole lot of fun. The writing is sharp and witty, and gameplay is as accessible or as hardcore as you could want it to be. While the story can feel like it's dragging at times, it's tough to hold too many grudges against padding since the core gameplay is so much fun.
Collecting many of the series’ finest rhythm-based minigames in one place, this ‘greatest hits’ manages to feel like more than a mere compilation. Rhythm Heaven Megamix’s stylish presentation and energy is more polished than ever before, and although much will be familiar for returning fans, it’s an unfettered treat for newbies. Can anyone ever truly tire of the Chorus Kids? One day we’ll get that amiibo…
The final game of the prequel trilogy which began with Professor Layton and the Last Specter on DS, Hershel Layton’s daughter took the limelight in the follow up. This capped the story of the professor and apprentice Luke’s first meeting and exploits, taking them on a globe-trotting adventure and showcasing the best elements of the series. Of course, thanks to backwards compatibility, we’d recommend starting from the beginning if its gentle form of adventure puzzling sounds appealing, but if you’ve only got time for one, you can’t go wrong with Azran Legacy.