Console Challenge

Console Challenge Day 25: Top 7 best Nintendo 3DS games

I think that inside every adult is the heart of a child. We just gradually convince ourselves that we have to act more like adults.
-Shigeru Miyamoto



Things have come a long way since June 1st and, likewise, things have come a long way for Nintendo and their handhelds, which are still on top of their game.

Welcome to Day 25 of our Console Challenge wherein we’re hosting the work of that wizened wizard the Valiant Vision Mage! I first encountered Lodestar_Valor in an Adventure Rules mini-game (it was a blogging event/crossover of awesomeness, actually) and I immediately thought they were a nice person. You know how you just get that feeling from some people? Turns out my gut instinct was right. VV Mage takes the dumb out of fandom and they’re a writer who treats people with respect, making them a valuable member of our magely team!

I’m happy to have VV extrapolate the best of the 3DS, this handheld console that seems like it’s never going to go away. It’s become a perennial treasure trove and not even the Switch seems like it’s putting a dent in its popularity. It just keeps going. Yet in this massive library, we’ve got to narrow things down to just seven games…

Take it away, Vision!

-The Well-Red Mage



Thanks, Red!

While I haven’t played every Nintendo 3DS game ever created, I’ve probably played more games on the 3DS than any other gaming platform. This list aims to bring the top seven games into one article, but remember that they may not be your favorite seven. On that note, within the 3DS’s GIANT library of games, there are perhaps some that should be here that I haven’t played. Finally, I will not be covering ports of any games that were on other consoles (within the same region) before reaching 3DS. Without further ado, here are my top seven games on the Nintendo 3DS:



#7. Animal Crossing New Leaf – Welcome Amiibo

While I feel the Midnight Mystic Mage did very well in explaining Animal Crossing in the context of the Gamecube and its era, there is something to be said that newer entries (leading up to and including New Leaf ) improve upon. We now have portability, multiplayer, and some online features. Specifically, in New Leaf, you become the Mayor when you create the town, putting you in charge of ordinances, making sure citizens are happy, and developing the town to a further degree than in previous games. When you exit and later re-enter the game, it uses the 3DS’s internal clock to simulate what would’ve happened in the time you were gone. I don’t think the possibilities were ever quite endless in any game, but they’re a lot closer in New Leaf than on the Gamecube!



#6. Kid Icarus Uprising

I honestly think that the only thing holding Kid Icarus Uprising back is the hardware it was on, mostly for the controls and not being in high definition. This game has a great soundtrack, voice-acting, level design, and characters. The difficulty is also very adjustable, with (technically) 91 different difficulties that you pay in-game currency to adjust, with higher difficulties giving you higher rewards. Most levels start off in a flight that plays similar to a rail-shooter, with the second half playing with grounded movement, but similar combat mechanics. Not just as an early 3DS game, but also as the revival of Kid Icarus (even if only for a time), this game was full of surprises.


#5. Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon

Although this is a set of two games, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon were released simultaneously and designed to partner with each other. For the purpose of a short review, I’m considering this set as one game. One great characteristic about these games is that they broke away from the tradition that the franchise follows more than they ever have. Pokémon is about more than just catching all the creatures you encounter –  it’s about the thrill of battling with them, and in these games’ case, interacting with whatever environment you’re in. As Pokémon games, these games (combined with their base, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon) fixed many issues, including the Poké Ride feature eliminating the need for Hidden Machines, giving the player better movement instead of being fixed to a grid, and more. The story is also more of a focus in this generation of Pokémon. Even though Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon had a slightly better story, I’d say this set of games was much better in other areas.


#4. Kirby Planet Robobot

The Kirby series is mainly well-known for two things: relatively accessible gameplay and giving the player the ability to inhale opponents in order to use abilities similar to the inhaled enemy. Kirby Planet Robobot takes both of these a step further with the Robobot armor. In terms of the quality of the game, it may be the best entry in the series aside from not being high-definition. It offers great music and graphical angles that seem to be inspired by Kirby and the Crystal Shards. Aside from arguably Kirby Super Star, this may be the best Kirby game to date!


#3. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

While I know this is a remake/re-imagining of Fire Emblem: Gaiden, that game was never released outside of Japan. I generally treat it as our decades-late localization. This strategy-RPG title is the most definitive Fire Emblem game on the 3DS not because it has a few new/different gameplay elements to offer, but because it had taken out some of the features that drove away fans of the core series (marriage for example). It also features a new mechanic that provides more accessibility to newcomers to the series, being that you can gain key items that allow you a limited number of turns per battle to rewind. This is important keeping in mind that, unless you’re playing Casual mode, any unit that dies is gone forever after the battle ends. Fire Emblem has to be one of the greatest strategy-RPG series introduced outside of Japan in the Gameboy Advance days.


#2. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

I’ll be honest, I’ve given this game over 340 hours of active playtime (this isn’t even the Wii U version). For the uninitiated, Super Smash Bros. is a series of fighting games that are controlled closer to an action-platformer. It consists of a giant crossover for a roster of characters, including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and many more. This version exclusively also offers a mode called Smash Run, which took its inspiration from Kirby Air Ride‘s “City Trial” mode. I’ve never had more anticipation for a handheld game than this one, being a fan of its series since I played casual Super Smash Bros. Melee as early as kindergarten.

But what can top a game so “smashing”? Why, only a “legend”!


Image result for Link between worlds

#1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Based off of the classic game from the SNES era, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastA Link Between Worlds might just be the best game on the 3DS. It’s also the first to be part of multiple 3DS special editions of different 3DS types, being one back in 2013 (3DS XL), and one in 2018  (New 2DS XL). While the very beginning of A link to the Past is certainly better than the beginning of A Link Between Worlds, the graphics upgrade and new perspective on many things (including Link himself) doesn’t disappoint. This game is top-down, yet 3D to an extent, and has the player going through classic-Zelda style dungeons in order to save the princess and all of Hyrule. In addition to defeating monsters, opening chests, and of course acquiring new items to get through dungeons, the biggest element to the gameplay of A Link between Worlds is being able to turn into a painting, attach yourself to a wall, and move along it without gravity being a factor while doing so. And let’s just say that becoming a painting means WAY more than you may think in terms of this game.


The Valiant Vision Mage wants to be part of changing the future of gaming journalism. He enjoys more than anything the positive interactions with fellow gamers, and hopes to gain more interaction through blogging about his experiences with games. He puts the experience of a game higher than how it looks or sounds. So when it comes to talking about good experiences in gaming, you may run into the Valiant Vision Mage. Read more at



18 replies »

  1. I appreciate the sentiment! I actually have only played New Leaf out of this list but really love it and agree that it has so many great improvements when compared to the GameCube version. I really want to play all of the others you have listed as well so hopefully I will get the opportunity eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed Kid Icarus Uprising but the on ground controls actually hurt my hands, haha. The charming banter and overall fun nature of the game kept me entertained enough to overlook the control issues and finish the main story. Also, Lady Palutena is voiced by Ali Hillis, who happens to be the voice of Lightning Farron from FFXIII 😁

    Great list! I need to make more time for my 3DS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure that if they ever put a port or sequel of Kid Icarus Uprising on Switch with console and/or Splatoon-like controls, people would love it. It must also be great having the goddess of light (-ning in this case) guiding you through your adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good list! Super Smash Bros would also go high on my list, but it’s Fantasy Life that takes the top spot for me 🙂 It’s actually my favourite portable on any handheld ever (^_^)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this list because I have a Nintendo 3DS! Some favorite games I would like to add are Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Good list. Happy to see Robobot making the list. The game rocks! Here’s mine:

    1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
    2. Bravely Default
    3. Mario Golf: World Tour
    4. Metroid: Samus Returns
    5. Kirby: Planet Robobot
    6. Fire Emblem: Awakening
    7. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

    Liked by 2 people

    • While I can’t personally account for Mario Golf or Bravely Default, I have enjoyed all the other games here. I’m still playing through Samus Returns and am enjoying it so far.


  6. Great list and excellent choice at #1. The 3DS is a great system and has some of my favorite handheld games on it. My list would probably include: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Pokemon Ultra Moon/Sun, Super Mario 3D Land, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Bravely Default, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

    Liked by 2 people

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