The Best Nintendo 3DS Games Available Now

If you’re looking for the best Nintendo 3DS games there’s no shortage of titles to choose from thanks to the console’s long lifecycle. The 3DS has enjoyed several updates over the years, but each was compatible with its predecessor, and that translates to a huge library. There are options for nearly every genre, from action games like Monster Hunter to hardcore platforms like Metroid and, of course, role-playing games like Zelda. Even with 25 picks available, sorting the list down to the best 3DS games wasn’t easy — but here’s what we decided on. 1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds In many ways, there are two types of Zelda games. One type is the 3D adventure that began with Ocarina of Time, which has gone on to become the standard for a subsequent home console Zelda adventures. The other type is the classic 2D adventure of games like the original Legend of Zelda and it’s SNES follow up, A Link to The Past, the latter of which is often cited as the best game in the series. Serving as a sequel to A Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds returns players not only the 2D perspective but to A Link To The Past’s map of Hyrule as well. The kingdom has been relatively peaceful in the decades since the previous game. That peace is threatened when a dark sorcerer, Yuga, traps the young Princess Zelda — a descendant of the princess from A Link to The Past — in a magical painting. Link, a young apprentice Swordsmith with no relation to the previous game’s hero, then embarks on a quest to save the princess. Fans of A Link to the Past will enjoy the familiarity, but A Link Between Worlds also turns the Zelda formula on its ear, opening up the entire world from the outset and offering all items through a rental shop. This allows players to choose their own pathway through the game’s numerous dungeons and challenges. 2. Super Mario 3D Land Synonymous with every single Nintendo console are a host of games boasting the brand’s lovable, mustachioed hero, Mario. While nearly all are bonafide hits, Super Mario 3D Land takes the cake as the 3DS’ premier Mario title, providing endless amounts of platforming fun. The game was released to critical acclaim in 2011, with many citing its addictive gameplay, fantastic 3D capabilities, and impressive level design as reasons for its greatness. Moreover, newcomers to the series — if those indeed exist — won’t have any trouble picking the title and understanding the basics right away. There’s a reason Mario remains the popular face of Nintendo, and Super Mario 3D Land continues his reign of platform dominance. 3.  Fire Emblem: Awakening After the relatively muted reception to both Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Nintendo’s tactical role-playing series was on the verge of being killed off for good. Fire Emblem: Awakening, the series’ 2013 3DS debut, single-handedly revitalized the franchise, which now stands tall among Nintendo’s pantheon of popular franchises. With a straightforward story and more accessible mechanics, including multiple difficulty modes as well as the ability to turn off “permadeath,” its compelling gameplay can be inviting and story-driven to pick up or tactical and challenging, depending on how you choose to approach it. 4. Metroid: Samus Returns A reimagining of the 1991 Game Boy classic Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid: Samus Returns manages to be both an authentic nostalgia trip and a well-oiled modern platformer. Taking place directly after the events of the game that kicked off the storied franchise, Samus Aran is sent by the Galactic Federation to the Metroid homeworld to investigate the power and threat of aliens. Keeping with the identity of 2D Metroid titles, Samus collects power-ups along the way that help her traverse to previously hard-to-reach sections in the winding game world. There is a great balance of sticking to the original in terms of world layout and exploration while also including new features like a map scanner to make the game more modernized. With the power of the 3DS, set pieces are vibrant and detailed, and combat mechanics feel more precise and free-flowing. As the first 2D Metroid in 14 years, Metroid: Samus Returns makes you wonder why Samus has been vacant in the 2D space for so long. With the 3DS seemingly on…


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