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.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask achieves its goal of making a successful franchise transition to 3DS, retaining the charm of its predecessors and making subtle changes to improve the series standards. While solving wonderfully engineered puzzles is the meat of the gaming experience, moments of variety and a few new ideas ensure that the franchise maintains its freshness. Its greatest strength, that takes it from a top-notch puzzle collection to something more, is its story-telling. The broad range of characters, the emotional tone of the storyline and the teasing promise of more makes for an utterly engrossing experience. The question is whether this is worth your money; if you enjoy puzzles and charming tales of adventure, then you should already know the answer.
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.
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.
47. Miitopia (3DS)
Miitopia is a special game, marrying the quirky style and interactions of Tomodachi Life with fun, addictive RPG-style gameplay and progression. It’s a fitting celebration of the Mii concept, perfect for short bursts of play, and an absolute riot with the right group of Miis — if you’ve ever wanted to take your friends on a grand adventure, complete with silly cosplay and relationship drama, this is a perfect way to do it. Its streamlined take on the genre won’t be for everyone, but for players willing to relinquish some control and trust in their Miis, Miitopia is a wonderful ride.
46. 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.
The most recent entry on the list, this spruce up of the DS original did more than enough to impress us and (hopefully along with the upcoming Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn) give the console a truly great swansong. With updated visuals, a brand-new side story involving Bowser Jr. and the ability to speed up gameplay, it’s the best version of arguably the best of the Mario & Luigi RPG series – of course it’s on the list! Plus, you get to root around in the intestines of a giant fire-breathing lizard. What’s not to like?
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.
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.
M2 delivers once again and its usual flourishes and extra features open up the game to newcomers while still catering to the fans. The icing on this already gorgeous retro cake is the utterly awesome and timeless soundtrack, so grab some decent headphones before you jump in. Simply put, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is Sonic at his very best and a platforming masterclass.
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.