15. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Release date: September 16, 2014
If you're the kind of Final Fantasy fan who owns at least three versions of your favorite entry or sleeps with a stuffed Moogle in hand, you owe it to yourself to check out Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call. In fact, it would baffle us if you owned a 3DS and didn't already have this bundle of fan service on your radar, in your wishlist, or buried in your jacket as you leave your favorite game shop (just kidding, please don't do that).
Curtain Call brings the series' most popular heroes together to battle/boogie like there's no tomorrow. Over 200 hundred songs from the series are enjoyed through a clean, accessible rhythm game any skill level can enjoy. What's more, bonus trading cards and classic cutscenes are the perfect rewards for hardcore fans looking to enjoy the franchise in a whole new way.
14. Monster Hunter Stories
Release date: September 8, 2017
Monster Hunter Stories is the best entry to the series you could ask for. It's the kind of game for someone who's fancied the Monster Hunter series before, but found its vastness and quirks make it inaccessible. Monster Hunter Stories isn't any of that. Yes, it's vast, but it's chunked into distinct areas that hold your hand in the best way possible.
It's feels like the game that would be made if Monster Hunter and Pokémon had a baby - or an egg. You add monsties (that's monsters x besties) to your party by finding eggs, hatching them and rearing the little beasts that pop out of them. And of course, you use them to fight off bigger monsters as you roam the lands, trying to save the world... again.
The story is great, the gameplay is simple enough to pick up thanks to its brilliant rock, paper, scissors battle style and the cutscenes are particularly amazing too - especially by 3DS standards.
13. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Release date: February 13, 2015
A beautiful remaster of N64's Majora's Mask, this is one of the great classic Zelda games and is must buy for any fan. Unlike the more standard adventure in Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask revolves around you repeating the same three days, uncovering new things each time, in order to prevent the moon from crashing into the world.
It makes for a more novel approach than anything you usually see, and antagonist Skull Kid is bizarrely horrifying. It's much darker than your average Zelda game, and your abilities revolve around using different masks to gain powers rather than finding new items. The 3DS updates make traversing time far easier to manage, with your Bombers notebook having loads more detail on what you've done so far. Bosses and Masks have also been updated to make this the ultimate Majora's Mask experience.
12. Mario Kart 7
Release date: December 4, 2011
Mario Kart, more so than any other Nintendo franchise, moves in short spurts. With each iteration of the racer come improvements to its mechanics by way of new stages, new weapons, and new karts, adding freshness without any overhauls. Mario Kart 7 didn't buck that trend - instead, it aimed to perfect the formula, honing in on the things that make the franchise great and improving them in every way.
Most elements are what you expect from the franchise, from the tight controls to the colorful cast of hat-wearing Italians. The largest technical changes come with underwater racing and the addition of gliders, both of which work to fundamentally change the way you approach even the most classic of Mario Kart situations. It all works - whether you're playing alone or with friends, online or off - to make for one of the best competitive games on the platform.
11. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
Release date: April 10, 2015
Only available on New 3DS rather than standard ones, this port of the Wii JRPG is absolutely massive and shows off just what the more powerful console is capable of. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D takes place on the bodies of two giant fighting titans (yep, you did read that right), with cities hiding behind giant knees and oceans in rib cages. One titan is home to humans and plump rabbit creatures called Nopon, while the other is home to a race of evil robots called Machina, and the two factions are constantly at war.
It's up to you, playing as hero Shulk, to use a sword that grants visions of the future, to gain the upper hand in the fight against the Machina. The story has some seriously impressive moments, the cast is hugely likable, and the score is wonderful. It you're a fan of RPGS then you definitely need to pick this up.
10. Metroid: Samus Returns
Release date: September 15, 2017
Don't dismiss Metroid: Samus Returns as a simple remake or remastering of the Game Boy Advance's Metroid 2. It's much, much more than that. The developer has cleverly brought the classic game into the 21st Century by making it a little more accessible, encouraging players to return to previous areas, giving them more powers and even adding some new moves. There's a ledge grab, 360-degree aiming and more to discover. Samus Returns makes Metroid 2 feel like a brand new game, with just that right amount of nostalgia.
And have we mentioned how glorious it looks? Well, new backgrounds have been added for new depth and context that the original game just didn't have. You just won't be able to stop exploring - or collecting stuff for that matter.
9. Super Mario 3D Land
Release date: November 13, 2011
After revolutionizing and evolving the 3D platformer on consoles, Super Mario 3D Land had a lot to live up to as the first original, handheld entry in the 3D sub-series. It needed to transition Marios well-defined gameplay onto the handheld screen, make the series more mainstream than previous entries, and sell the 3DS to consumers worldwide. As you can tell by its placement on this list, it did all that with a simple whip of its Tanooki tail.
The colorful visuals, power-ups, and enemies are all reminiscent of past Mario titles, but it plays fresher than ever thanks to some of the best level design in series history. The stages are brief enough for a portable, but pack a ton of creativity into every corner - along with some real challenging bits in the post-credits content. And the visuals use the stereoscopic 3D better than virtually any other game on the system. 3D Land proves that Mario can be just as iconic on his newest platform as he was on all his previous ones.
8. Picross 3D Round 2
Release date: October 1, 2015
The concept of creating little images by filling in or carving out blocks based on numerical clues and logic has been around forever, but Picross 3D Round 2 represents the pinnacle of nonogram puzzle design. The coffee shop veneer is inviting and comforting; the additional training puzzles teach you how to complete its trickier sections; and its scalable difficulty ensures you can complete every single challenge at your own pace and ability.
On top of all of its quality of life enhancements, it simply remains one of life's great little pleasures to start out with a giant cube and watch it slowly transform into a wooden toy penguin. Picross 3D Round 2 isn't just one of the best 3DS games ever made; it's one of the best puzzle games ever made, full stop.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Release date: June 19, 2011
It must be nice being Nintendo. Who else gets to sidestep the dry spell of a hardware launch window by simply repackaging old titles that fans will eat up? Ocarina of Time 3D, a remake of a then-13-year-old game, was one of the only things to play on the 3DS for the first six months of the platform's life. Good thing it's one of the best games of all time.
Repackaging this was hardly a cynical move by Nintendo, as the level of care that went into the remake resulted in an entirely worthwhile purchase. Far from a simple port, the graphical improvements, subtly reworked dungeons, and improved controls make for an altogether more streamlined experience. At its core, it's still the exact same, amazing game. But since that game is as close to perfect as one can expect, we'll give it a pass.
6. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Release date: February 13, 2015
Monster Hunter 4 is the kind of game that takes a few hours for you to get into step with its ideas. It's the kind of game that, with a few friends, suddenly reveals new systems, tactics and techniques. It's the kind of game that, 200 hours in, you still can't stop playing, because there's always new armour, new monster variants, new challenges to grab. It's the kind of game that will become some people's favourite game of all time.
In 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter's unfathomably deep set of action mechanics, beautiful idiosyncrasies (monsters don't have health bars, meaning you need to learn how they move, like some violent cryptozoologist) and glorious, hard-earned loot were wedded to the series best storyline, most useful tutorials and easy-to-access package. It’s an almost perfect game.
Click 'Next Page' to see the top 5 picks in our countdown of the best 3DS games.