SB Recommends Nintendo 3DS Games

3ds_pet.jpgIt's sort of a portable Wii equivalent, without the motion controls, a no-glasses-required 3-D screen, and some new hardware gimmicks. Of course there is a later, larger version: The 3DSXL, and there is soon to be a cheaper, non-hinged 2DS.

After the system wasn't as much of an instant blockbuster as Nintendo had anticipated, they gave it a sizable price drop. As a way of apologizing to early adopters, Nintendo created the “Ambassador Program”, allowing people who had purchased the system before a certain date to download 20 free pre-selected Virtual Console games: 10 NES games, and 10 GBA games, the latter of which Nintendo claims are Ambassador-exclusive.

The 3DS has an eShop from which users can download a variety of games and apps, including most DSiWare games. The system's Virtual Console thus far includes Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear and NES games (the latter of which, infuriatingly, must be re-purchased even if you've already bought them on Wii). As noted above, the system is capable of emulating GBA games, but for some reason Nintendo seems to have no interest in releasing any to the general public. This is also the first system for which Nintendo has decided to make retail games simultaneously available as digital downloads, so most games on this page are also available via the eShop.

In the tradition of the Game Boy Color and DSi before it, the 3DS will be receiving a substantial mid-life upgrade in the form of the imaginatively titled “New 3DS”. This version will feature a stronger CPU, a revised design including a much-requested second analog stick, redesigned home menu software, and exclusive games.

  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy / Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble (JP)
    • Schwere Viper: The Ace Combat for 3DS, despite carrying the Assault Horizon branding, is pretty enjoyable! It has some annoying automatic manoeuvring feature with a meter involved, but it's not nearly as obnoxious and insulting than Dog Fight Mode. It's also a fleshed-out remake of Ace Combat 2, which I can totally get behind!
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: My frame of reference for Ace Combat, or flight games in general for that matter, is extremely narrow, but this is I guess a decent fighter pilot game where the English voice of Batou from Ghost in the Shell yells at you over the intercom every 30 seconds or so to tell you how awesome you are and what a great job you're doing. The difficulty level is way too lax though, even on Hard mode it's absurdly easy.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Honestly, I think my favorite thing about this game is how the title screen just plays a sentimental piano ballad with lyrics about being a bird with over an image of a blue sky. It's not subtle, but I can't think of a video game that better casts a sheen of Oshii-esque melancholy over the mayhem to follow.
  • Bravely Default: Where the Fairy Flies / Bravely Default: For the Sequel (JP)
    • Isfet: The game really feels like what a modern Final Fantasy game would be if there had never been FFVII. Or, hell, maybe even a VI. but mainly VII.
    • remote: Yeah, it's kind of like imagining FF9 had set the tone for the direction of the series and FF10 never happened.
      Instead, we get a really polished RPG hearkening back to FF5.
    • CONSUME_PRODUCTS: Bravely Default is essentially Four Heroes of Light + FFV.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Disappointing relative to its potential. The adjustable encounter-rate slider initially seems like a brilliant innovation, but turns out to be mostly there to paper over a general lack of thoughtful dungeon design or balance and a shameful excess of padding. The script, for which a scenario writer from the respected visual novel developer 5pb was brought on, ranges from forgettably generic to creepily sexist, and is overwrought (and dubiously acted out in both Japanese and English) regardless. All this is a shame, because the game features the best interpretation of the Final Fantasy Job system since FF Tactics, a neat and strategic new battle system to go with it, and a very pretty art style that looks wondrous in 3D and recalls FF IX in the very best of ways. Square Enix's good-faith (albeit outsourced) effort is noted, but the already-announced sequel has its work cut out for it if it means to reach the level of the classic games it's sort-of attempting to emulate.
  • Bust-a-Move Universe (NA) / Puzzle Bobble Universe (PAL) / Tobidasu! Puzzle Bobble 3D (JP)
    • colour_thief: While Puzzle Bobble is by no means obscure, the fact that the 3DS installment is actually fun is virtually unknown. If people are curious I uploaded a little demonstration showing the new scoring system. There are definitely worse ways to spend $13 in my opinion.
  • Crush 3D (also on: PSP)
  • Dragon Quest VII (original version on PS1, mobile)
  • Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Yup, it's Fire Emblem! More specifically, it's a new, sleeker, sexier Fire Emblem, aimed at drawing in today's anime-watching, Persona-loving, non-hardcore-strategy-RPG-playing kids, while reassuring veterans that the steadfast mechanism beneath that slick new makeover is running just as strong as ever. And hey, it works pretty well! The age-old formula is comfortably streamlined, and the new additions all add new layers of strategy rather than distracting gimmickry. In fact, the support and team-up mechanics literally change how you play the game. In a good way! Although, if you take advantage of the ridiculously overabundant grinding opportunities presented to you this can become far and away the easiest Fire Emblem game, even on Hard Mode.
    • Isfet: i'll put it this way: i have put in over 26 hours into FE so far and i have no intention of stopping. it just continues to be fun. i haven't had an experience like this with a game in YEARS. it's just so, so good.
    • remote: Intelligent Systems' Advance Wars: Dual Strike was the first game to make me really like my DS, and it seems they've done the same thing here for my new 3DS. I'm around 20 hours in and (though I am new to Fire Emblem) would say this is among the best tactical strategy games I've played. The pairing up and support mechanics really make it stand out, as do the class system and character marriage (which produces class hybrid children). The 3D stuff looks great, too, with particle effects and rays of sunlight that pop out. Along with Super Mario 3D Land this is one of the no-brainer games to get when you buy a 3DS.
    • ste: Agree that FE:A is one of the no-brainer games to buy for 3DS. It's accessible, beautifully presented & one of the best introductions to the genre. It's not without issues: the story is particularly bad JRPG nonsense & on normal/hard any illusion of challenge totally evaporates after the first half dozen maps even without any grinding; yet man I still got 40 good hours out of it.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: The story is inoffensively stupid fluff, just like any other game in the series (okay, maybe a little stupider thanks to all that time-traveling nonsense) but the script, at least, is consistently amusing enough to make it all palatable, with plenty of personality and even a few laugh-out-loud moments. Meanwhile, the difficulty does pick up again at a certain point, after which it seems to spend the rest of the game fluctuating wildly between one mission and the next. For better or worse.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Also: Like past Fire Emblems, the prominence and fickle power of the random number generator can be absolutely maddening, to the point that your tolerance for the possibility of getting completely fucked by, say, a 1-in-50 critical hit, or two consecutive misses at 85% accuracy, may totally make or break the game for you. It's worth putting serious consideration into taking advantage of the Casual Mode option, which saves you a whole hell of a lot of restarts, wasted time, system abuse and damaged vocal cords by getting rid of permadeath regardless of the game's difficulty level.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising / New Myth of Light: The Mirror of Palutena (JP)
    • RadRad: A GREAT game, but the controls will mess up your hand. If ONLY they could have made it work with the joystick and did away with the “land” levels. All the sky sequences are just mind-blowingly awesome. Your best fix for a new Star Fox game in those levels. And graphics are stellar. But those controls. I was even playing on a small 3DS. I had cramps for weeks, and almost thought I permanently damaged my hand. Still think I do. But all kind of worth it. Its almost one of the best 3DS games that I can't
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: If its dedication to exhuming and fetishistically polishing the corpse of a 22-year-old game is a little unnerving, ALBW's host of rediscovered strengths (true open world, non-sequential dungeons) and genuine improvements (radically different approach to item acquisition) to the stubborn old series formula at least make a convincing case the long-stagnant franchise is finally moving forward again.
    • isfet: I thought it was really, really fun! It's cute and magical and enchanting the way that a Zelda game should be/used to feel to me. Like, it has the right amount of light and dark (ha ha ha puns) in it to make compelling. Also, not a whole lot of bullshit, either. I dunno; it plays better than any other Zelda game I've played in over a decade, but I won't prattle on as the consensus around these parts was pretty favorable.
    • Bacon&Onions: New Zelda is such a cool thing. Certainly the best Zelda title ever produced.
    • RadRad: This is my pick for GOTY 2013, and it just made it into my “Best of All Time” list as well.
    • Toups: There has been zero crate pushing in this Zelda. It's actually one of the most refreshing things I've played in a long time.
      • Hell, I prefer this shit to Ocarina of Time. This might be the most non-linear Zelda since the original. Like, the dungeons themselves are actually pretty open ended in the same way that NES Zelda dungeons were. You just need to figure out how to find all the keys to finally get to the boss room. You can usually find them in any order. There's a much greater sense of “we're just gonna drop you in here and let you figure it out”. Also the combat is MUCH more satisfying and difficult. I think aonuma not being director has made a big difference.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (original version on N64, GC, Wii/Wii U VC)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: At first I didn't like this version because it screws with some of the aesthetics of the original game - in particular the colors and lighting - but after playing it on a N3DS XL with bigger, brighter screens, functioning 3D, and more comfortably positioned shoulder buttons, it started to grow on me. Some mechanical tweaks are unmistakable improvements: the reassignment of boots from (auto) equipment to (manual) items transforms the Water and Shadow Temples. The remixed, more challenging Master Quest version is also included in its entirety, though frustratingly it can only be unlocked after completing the standard game. The overall experience is still surprisingly enjoyable in 2015, especially if you've forgotten some of the secrets over the years.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D (original version on N64, GC, Wii VC)
    • RobotRocker: Nearly everything awful about Mario Kart Wii has been consigned to the bin and the game just feels amazing to play. The glider mechanic is a heck of a lot of fun and while the underwater sections don't really hit the spot, they are still better implemented than most games. The track design is actually rather fun and takes advantage of the mechanics instead of dumb “Stunt here” parts of MK Wii.
      All the items seem better balanced and it only seems to give out lightning and blue shells when the pack really separates out. Retro Studios also did a really good job of messing with the retro cup tracks to play better with the game mechanics instead of Nintendo just plonking them in and expect them to work with whatever mechanics they had in DS/Wii.
      On top of that, Nintendo had the sheer gall to put in an amazing online mode. You don't even need friend codes, you just set up a community, post it on your forum of choice and then just join the community like a PC server when people are online.
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (also on: Wii U)
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star - forum thread
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: How do I describe this? If you're looking for a sequel to the first two Paper Mario games, Sticker Star is a disappointment. If you take it on its own merits, though, devoid of any expectations, it's a pretty neat and surprisingly fun genre-hybrid (RPG + adventure game + Mario World-style level progression) with an unconventional but fairly inspired game economy driven by the constant acquisition and expenditure of stickers - your currency for interacting with the game world. It's also one of the nicest looking and sounding games on the system. There are a couple of unfairly hard puzzles that involve finding invisible blocks (that the game doesn't tell you you need to find).
  • Pokémon Picross
    • The Blueberry Hill: Free Picross! The Pokémony part is a bit gimicky (you can equip pokémon and use their abilities to do things like freeze the timer and reveal squares, but the free-yo-play stuff doesn't get in the way, just limites how much you can play in a day :)
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Basically a shrunken-down version of the Mercenaries mode from RE5 (with some RE4 stages and enemies thrown in), with some different “missions” and a skill/XP mechanic added in for longevity. What it lacks in imagination, it makes up for in the fact that, well, it's a faithful recreation of Mercenaries mode, and that's really all it needs to be addictive as hell. The score-driven, timer-controlled zombieslaughter lends itself particularly well to the brief play sessions and ability to dip in and out characteristic of a handheld format.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: My favorite game on the 3DS. Gets off to a slow and kind of lukewarm start, but after a dozen hours or so the game opens up in an immensely satisfying way that merits comparisons to Final Fantasy VII's “leaving Midgar” moment, and in doing so elevates itself to one of the most fun and engrossing JRPGs in recent memory.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (also on: DS)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Basically a straight port of the DS Devil Survivor - most of the game doesn't even utilize 3D - but with the addition of new demons, a new postgame scenario, and a bunch of unnecessary and largely unremarkable voice acting. Personally, Devil Survivor is the only SMT game I've played so far that pretty much fell flat with me, but evidently at least a few SBers feel differently.
  • Super Mario 3D Land - forum thread
    • 108: It is easily — in my opinion — the best game Nintendo has made in ten years.
    • Spiffyness: This is the first game in years that is good enough to get my family around the TV, passing the controller, over Thanksgiving holiday, and it's a damn shame that that can't happen. The 3D is… actually really necessary to play well, and if this was a console game I would seriously consider buying a 3D TV.
    • Vikram Ray: I knew this would be a Real Mario Game when in the very first level, I climbed up a tree just to do it and then jumped and stumbled onto some music-note-blocks which led to a 'secret' area, and I got that little twinge of electric happiness and discovery that I haven't felt in a Mario game since World.
    • Felix: I was skeptical when I bought a 3DS knowing I'd only have this one game to play unless and until something else came out that I was interested in, I was skeptical after hearing Mario and Peach's audio samples, and I kept right on being skeptical until six hours later when I'd cleared the whole thing, solidly-challenging “second quest” and all. My patience, interest, and respect for Nintendo had dwindled to almost nothing, and this game, by virtue of being consistently varied and inventive (n.b.: it's clearly riffing on SMB3 most of all), earned its welcome. It's still a platformer, and an overly gentle one at that — not as satisfying as Meat Boy and not as inventive as Mario 64 — but it absolutely is the linear 3D platformer that everyone's wanted Nintendo to make for a decade, and it did not fail to impress me.
    • analogos: Super Mario 3D Land—especially by the (real) end—is pretty easily the (best,) tightest, leanest, most player-respecting Mario in ages, but you have to like getting star coins (to get to the best endgame stages) and accept that every Mario is going to be pretty nonconfrontational for the first hour or so.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: The standard campaign plays like Baby's First 3D Mario, with insultingly easy levels and even a failsafe auto-invincibility mechanic introduced if you die more than a couple times in a row. Only after clearing the game do you gain access to the Real Super Mario 3D Land, where the levels are (moderately) challenging, the handholding is rescinded, and switching off between Mario and Luigi becomes an available and tactical decision. At that point, it becomes pretty much the best 3D action game on the handheld.
  • Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (also on: Vita)
  • Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale (part of Guild 02 in Japan)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Really cute, classy little adventure game from the creator of the Boku no Natsuyasumi series. Though, be forewarned that there's barely any “gameplay” - the whole game is literally just running back and forth talking to NPCs, with a FF VIII-style card-based minigame thrown in.
  • Crimson Shroud (part of Guild 01 in Japan) - forum thread
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It ain't the Second Coming of Vagrant Story, but as a modestly-budgeted experimental mini-RPG from Matsuno it's about as imaginative, intriguing and bafflingly complex as you might imagine. A couple extremely crappy design decisions hold it back from true two-thumbs-up status, but if the words “Matsuno” and/or “experimental mini-RPG” sound at all appealing to you it's well worth checking out - certainly at the price point and time commitment required (i.e. small).
    • Felix: Pretty claustrophobic. I get that Matsuno wanted to make a “small” game but this one feels too much like it's at odds with itself. Rather just play FFT another hundred times.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: It's a game about exploring a ruined palace in search of a forbidden artifact, like a medieval-fantasy Indiana Jones, while also trying to emulate the feel of playing a tabletop RPG dungeon-crawling campaign. The claustrophobia is the point.
  • Gunman Clive (also on: Android, iOS, PC)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Very fun, very short and very very affordable ($2) neo-retro shooter-platformer with a really nice aesthetic - one of the loveliest uses of 3D on the system.
    • muteaid: Can feel short, but the way the levels are designed for different characters makes multiple play-throughs feel fresh and enjoyable. The graphics, sound, and gameplay are all well done. This is one of the best neu-retro games to capture the old NES Capcom platformers. Suck a duck WayForward.
  • Kokuga
    • alansmithee: Kokuga is brilliant elegance.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: This is the Treasurest game that is decidedly (literally) not a Treasure game. And I like it like that.
    • Vikram Ray: Kokuga is fucking brutal. struggling mightily in stage E. hurt so good though.
    • Bacon&Onions: When I first played Kokuga I was confused by their choice of art style, why was everything so crudely blocky with simple plain textures? It looked like the game was put under serious size constraints for reasons I couldn't understand until last week, when I tried playing the game with my girlfriend's 9 year old brother. The entire game(27mbs?) downloaded wirelessly to his cart in a few seconds and we tackled every stage together. It was amazing. I now think Kokuga has the best multiplayer co-op of any smup. The sharing of cards and the deliberate slow shots means we were communicating and working together constantly splitting up enemies. Using your sole revival card to bring your teammate back to life so you can fight the boss together is awesome. I'm convinced the game was designed around co-op and much of the design choices were made to make a better co-op smup.
    • Isfet: […] This game is pretty much the very definition of slow burn. it feels like it's always teetering on the edge of becoming “boring” but it never reaches that point and so it's consistently brilliant.
      hard as hell, though! it requires a part of my brain/game-playing abilities that most developers don't really aim for any more.
  • Liberation Maiden (part of Guild 01 in Japan; also on: iOS)
    • Loki Laufeyson: I recommend Liberation Maiden, even if no-one else does. I love it, and even though I am of the sinister persuasion, I have had not problems controlling it at all.
    • Swimmy: Liberation Maiden is pretty good and is worth buying if you have a steady income such that $7 or whatever isn't a big deal, and is probably something you should hold off on otherwise. It's actually got a LOT of damn good ideas, it just doesn't quite hit the sweet spot with any of them.
    • RadRad: Liberation Maiden was neat.
      Felt like a PSone game that never came out and was finally released from the vaults.
      Like a better version of the Ghost In The Shell game from back in the day.
      The last level/final boss is where the game finally started to take off.
      I definitely think it could benefit from a sequel.
      • Loki Laufeyson (RE: a better version of the Ghost In The Shell): I'd say it's more like a free-roaming animu Panzer Dragoon.
        • remote: That makes it sound great, but it's more frantic and shoot-'em-uppy than Panzer Dragoon, and I don't think it works very well as a handheld game.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: This game's script is so disappointing. The premise (anime schoolgirl mecha pilot = president of Neo Japan) sounds like a natural fit for Metal Wolf Chaos-style insanity, but for some godforsaken reason it tries to play the whole thing almost entirely straight. Even a Castle Shikigami 2-style non-localization would've been a huge step up in terms of entertainment value. As for the gameplay, it throws out a bunch of intriguing concepts and mechanics that, similarly, never really cohere in a satisfying way.
  • Pushmo / Pullblox (PAL)
    • Swimmy: So, for those of you who have a 3DS and are sad about the lack of games, IF YOU HAVEN'T BOUGHT PUSHMO DO IT RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.
      You will have to get through some handholding at the beginning, but it is amazingly worth it. I haven't been stuck so badly, so often in a puzzle game for a long time. This game regularly makes me feel like an idiot. I love it.

SEGA 3D Classics

A so-far stellar selection of upgraded ports. There are some good articles about their transformation to 3D too.

  • 3D Galaxy Force II
    • Swimmy: Holy holy HOLY SHIT is Galaxy Force II 3D ever completely amazing. This is exactly the type of game that deserves a 3D translation and y'all need to buy that shit right the fuck now. It is unbelievably gorgeous and I can't freakin' wait for Afterburner 2.
  • 3D Super Hang-On
    • Persona: Guys, don't sleep on Super Hang-on. The game's sense of speed is so amazing and it's so unrelentingly hard on its default settings, but once you master it you feel like a god. It's similar to Outrun except instead of being a cool relaxing driving game, you're on a rocket that can go at light speed, blazing past the landscapes, but the slightest tap against anything will screw you up and ruin all your dreams.
      I honestly love it more than Space Harrier now when every time before I never even took a second glance at it.
      Hell, I'm going to go play it again right now.




  • SteamWorld Dig
    • Swimmy: I recommend it if the idea of digging your own levels out of a preexisting dirt configuration appeals to you. It has a lame last boss and no serious reason to replay, but it has enough gimmicks that it's a good run to the end, and it thankfully never gives you the ability to dig while jumping, so you always have to be careful not to isolate a section completely by digging carelessly.

See also

 
 sb/recommended/3ds.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/08 09:58 (external edit)
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