Although the Nintendo Switch is fully portable, there’s still a huge appeal to the DS handheld consoles. A key difference is the games available as many are exclusive so here we bring you the best Nintendo 3DS games for 2017.
If you thought the Nintendo Switch having a handheld mode meant the end of the DS line then you’re far from the truth. In fact, the New Nintendo 2DS XL is arriving in July and plenty of new games are coming such as Ever Oasis.
While some of Nintendo’s main console games have been ported to the DS range, many of the best DS games are ones developed specifically for the platform.
You can play all of these games on the 3DS or 2DS and we’ve not put them in any particular order, it depends what kind of game you like. We’ll also be adding more very soon.
And if you don’t have a 3DS yet, check out our 3DS buying guide to pick the right console for you.
Best Nintendo 3DS games 2017
Pokémon Sun and Moon
Although we’re keen for a Pokémon game on the Switch, the franchise has always been about the traditional handheld console.
In short, we love Pokemon Sun and Moon. Partly because it solved some of the issues we’ve had with previous games, we’re talking little things like HMs and having the PokéMart inside the PokéCenter.
As usual, the game is great for players of all ages and we enjoy the way the game is split into different islands, varied tials and the awesome new Alola versions of Pokémon such as Vulpix, Sandshrew and Raichu.
There are plenty of new features including the Poké Finder, Z Moves, Battle Royale, Poké Ride, Hyper Training, Poké Polago and the Rotem Pokédex.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes
We thoroughly enjoyed playing A Link Between Worlds and you should play that too but Tri-Force Heroes is the latest Zelda game for DS and a perfect choice for those who like adventure and puzzle games.
The story is still the same – yes, princess Zelda needs saving once again – but instead of Link being able to move around on walls like a painting, you can conjure up a total of three characters which then must work together to solve the puzzles.
Being able to control three characters provides and new way of playing and you can even stack them up like a totem when necessary. You can do this in co-op style with your friends or single player.
Ever Oasis is from the team behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and it shows. This 3DS game can be thought of as a cross between Zelda and Animal Crossing. That might sound a little strange to some but it totally works.
You get the casual gameplay of managing a town and interacting with its inhabitants like AC, but that can get a bit boring after a while so the added appeal of adventure akin to Zelda games provides oomph.
In Ever Oasis you’ll need to form a team from your villagers and work together to complete quests. You can quickly switch between characters in real-time, each with their own weapons and moves.
There are plenty of puzzles, battles and dungeons to keep you interested.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
This is the second game specifically developed for the 3DS and 2DS with the classic side-scrolling style. Who knows where number 3 is in the series but this version is worth owning.
We’re not sure we could ever get bored of side-scrolling Mario games and this has plenty to keep you entertained with, starting with over 80 levels. You get the usual amount of secret elements to uncover.
The game is largely about the coins as you can collect a whopping one million. The Gold Flower power-up means you can shoot gold fireballs at enemies and blocks turning them into coins. You can also turn 10-Coin clocks into special Gold Blocks, which Mario’s can wear head to collect coins until the power-up runs out.
It’s all classic Mario fun.
Mario Golf World Tour
Mario Golf games have been great fun since the original on the Game Boy and N64 and we can recommend World Tour.
Basically Nintendo injects the kind of fun into golf that means you don’t need to be interested in the sport to enjoy playing. You certainly won’t get bored with over 200 hole across more than 15 courses.
World Tour might not have all the features of previous titles but it introduces a number of new features. These include gyroscope support, online multiplayer and downloadable content like N64 courses.
We particularly like Item Shots, where different items can do all sorts to your shot like ignore weather, avoid hazards and collect coins.
Monster Hunter Generations
Monster Hunter Generations is without doubt the best in the series. It maintains the familiar quest-based gameplay, with progressively more tricky creatures to kill or capture. You’ll need to work on your weapon trees, armour sets, collect materials and more.
As well as the same 14 weapon types, there are four Hunting Arts to try, and each works differently with each weapon type, so you’re never going to get bored of going into battle. The new Prowler mode means you can actually play as your Felyne.
In addition to new monsters, there are now Deviant Monsters to conquer too, some of which are mutated and more powerful forms of creatures from previous games.
Monster Hunter is awesome if you’re a solo player, but even more so if you group with up to four players.
Super Mario Maker 3DS
This one is a port from the Wii U but well worth getting for the DS, especially if you haven’t played the console version.
Without even making your own courses, there are 100 Nintendo designed courses and you’ll get challenged in various ways like attempting to complete a level without letting go of right to make Mario run.
When it comes to creating your own you get all the tools from the Wii U version (aside from the Mystery Mushroom and the linked Mario costumes) and you can make a course as simple or as complex as you like. If you like you can share your masterpiece with the world and also take on other players’ homemade levels.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
We love a good virtual brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is certainly that. If you like fighting games then this is a must for your DS collection.
In simple terms, the game is a chaotic fight between characters from all over the Nintendo universe including Zelda, Pokémon, Kirby and more. You can customise aspects to suit your play style and fight against AI or friends via local or internet methods.
There are plenty of levels, support for amiibo and an exclusive Smash Run mode which gives up to four players five minutes to fight solo through a huge battlefield to see who can get the furthest.
Animal Crossing New Leaf
The Animal Crossing games aren’t for everyone but if you like casual gaming with no pressure, then give it a go.
In New Leaf you’re the mayor of the town so you can use your powers to dictate what happens and how the town shapes up. Some players may find it strange but others will love the way Animal Crossing has no goals, bosses or even an ending.
It’s sort of like Nintendo’s version of The Sims and you can roam freely and do what you like. There are tours and mini-games to play either alone or with friends. Take advantage of StreetPass and even visit other people’s towns.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
There might be a new Professor Layton game coming in July but that doesn’t make this game any less appealing.
As the name suggests this is about more than just the Professor and when Espella is kidnapped, both Layton and Wright end up in Labyrinthia. The professor and attorney must combine forces to save her.
The game combines the puzzles you’d expect but adds in the ability to defend Espella in court. You must alternate between the play styles and there are hint coins to find which will help you out. It’s another cracker from the franchise.
Kirby: Planet Robobot
Our list of best 3DS games wouldn’t be complete without Kirby. We’ve been enjoying games featuring the lovable pink ball since Dream Land on the Game Boy.
The latest escapade is Planet Robobot where Kirby travels through stages by jumping between the foreground and background and using more than 25 copy abilities to steal enemies’ powers. And yes, he can use awesome armoured suit like D.Va from Overwatch.
There’s also ammibo support and you can play the Team Kirby Clash mode with up to four people to complete quests.
Mario Kart 7
The series is in need of new version for the DS, but until that happens Mario Kart 7 is the best racing game available for the DS.
It was the Mario Kart game that introduced glider wings and underwater propellers that are now so familiar. You can also customise your kart with different wheels depending on the courses you’re going to tackle.
Other features include new courses like Wuhu Island, SpotPass and StreetPass, plus the ability to play multi-player locally or over the internet. New characters in Mario Kart 7 include Lakitu and Metal Mario. Don’t forget to check out the Balloon Battle and Coin Battle modes, too.
Luigi’s Mansion 2
It’s not all about Mario in the Nintendo universe and over the years Luigi has starred in his own games, albeit not many.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 is the most recent for the DS consoles and although the man in green is a bit scared, he’s up to the job of sorting out some ghosts with his “Poltergust” spectre-sucking vacuum cleaner.
The pace is slow, especially compared to side-scrolling Mario games, but there are good amounts of adventure and puzzles. There are secrets to discover, trickier enemies and a multi-player mode where up to four players take on a skyscraper full of creatures.
Mario Party Star Rush
Forget trading property in Monopoly, although a Switch edition is coming, because Nintendo makes great board games.
As usual, you’ll play on different boards across different worlds but you don’t have to sit around waiting for each play to take a turn in order any longer. Instead you all play simultaneously making more flowing and fun.
You can expect plenty of mini games, board bosses and now you can almost collect players from the Mario universe as you go round to create a team. You’ll no doubt have fun battling it out with up to four players over local wireless or Download Play.