With so many gamers getting their first taste of 3DS gaming with the recent release of the 3DS XL, it’s about time we started ranking our favorites to help guide the newcomers towards to best games the platform has to offer.
In this article, we’ll look at 3DS’s e-shop games, excluding Virtual Console games (which we’ll cover in another article) and retail downloadable games, which made their debut alongside the launch of 3DS XL with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, available in both physical and downloadable versions.
Let’s get started!
10.) Fun! Fun! Minigolf Touch!
With nine courses and addictive unlockables, this game offers a nice $5 taste of a fantastic touch minigolf experience that would make a terrific full-retail game if it were a bit deeper and offered more courses. Even so, chasing every unlockable will provide plenty of game time from this title and the controls are fun and intuitive.
9.) Bomb Monkey
A colored-block puzzle game in the vein of Tetris, but with it’s own unique gameplay elements, Bomb Monkey is a fun time sink from respected developer Renegade Kid. There’s no 3D to be had here since the game is played by holding the 3DS in “book” style, but given the genre and gameplay style the game was clearly never meant to be about visuals. If you love puzzle games, give this $5 game a try.
A gravity-based platformer with a Commodore 64 inspired art style, VVVVVV is a challenging game with some fantastic level design that will keep you guessing. A little pricey at $8, but it’s one of the more memorable game experiences in the e-shop and offers tons of gameplay for the price of admission.
7.) Order Up!!
Although we’re not including retail downloadable games in this list, Order Up!! makes the cut despite starting it’s development as a game that was intended to be released as a retail gamecard. But since in the end, not physical version of the game was released, this $10 downloadable game offers full retail content at a downloadable price. Similar to the Wii game, Order Up!! is a cross between Cooking Mama and Diner Dash, challenging you to not only cook the dishes but manage the restaurant. Multitasking is the key to success here, and you can delegate the minutia to your assistants or micro-manage away by performing every task yourself. If the genre interests you, you won’t be disappointed!
6.) Mighty Switch Force!
Another high-pedigree e-shop game, Mighty Switch Force comes from a developer that is no stranger to Nintendo handhelds. WayForward delivers their usual polished art direction in this puzzle-platformer that uses a fun switch mechanic to activate/deactivate the blocks and platforms you’ll use to navigate the game world. $6 gets you one of WayForward’s best games.
5.) Zen Pinball 3D / Marvel Pinball 3D
The 3DS version of Zen Studio’s acclaimed pinball simulator is as fun as it is impressive. And although it’s a step or two behind in visual quality from the higher resolution versions available on tablets and smartphones, the physical buttons and 3D effect offer a lot to make up for that gap. Choose between Zen Pinball 3D’s unique tables or Marvel Pinball 3D’s superhero-themed tables (or why not both?), each collection offers four tables–$7 for Zen Pinball and $8 for Marvel Pinball (I guess Stan Lee has to get his cut). Challenge your friends from your 3DS friends list with native leaderboard support, these pinball collections offer practically infinite replay value.
4.) Dillon’s Rolling Wester
As a Nintendo first-party published game, you’ll get all the polish and fun you’d expect from a game with that kind of pedigree. Dillon’s is actually a surprisingly deep game with 20+ hours of gameplay just to complete the experience but much more in terms of replay value. It’s a third-person perspective twist on the tower defense genre with some unique twists that offer a fresh take. The controls take a little getting used to, but overall this $10 game is a satisfying experience and one of the deepest games available in the e-shop.
3.) Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword
Another Nintendo published gem, Sakura Samurai combines Punchout!!-style dodge-and-hit combat with a fun exploration element in a fun (if somewhat repetitive) package. The art direction is reminiscent of Okami’s with gorgeous texture work to make up for the relatively low poly-count models. Exploring the towns actually has a Zelda feel to it as well. $7 well spent.
2.) Mutant Mudds
Renegade Kids’s breakout 3DS games, Mutant Mudds is a puzzle-based 2D platformer that utilizes the 3D effect to offer a measure of depth, allowing the player to zap to the background and foreground of levels using warp pads. The 16-bit inspired art direction will appeal to retro gamers, but overall the game will appeal to anyone who enjoys side-scrolling platformers. A little pricey at $9, but highly recommended.
The undisputed signature game of the 3DS e-shop, Pushmo offers a unique puzzle experience that serves as a model for third parties on exactly how to make a great game that takes advantage of the 3DS’s stereoscopic 3D effect. This $7 game is not only feature rich, but offers literally endless replay value by including the ability to import new puzzles via QR code. If you own a 3DS and want to try out a game from the e-shop, this should be your first stop.
A terrific 3D solitaire game from Zen Studios, 3D Solitaire is a steal at $2. The only reason I didn’t include it in the top 10 is that if you’re not into solitaire, you probably won’t want this despite its’ low price and high quality.
Here’s another fantastic e-shop title that’s only limited by whether or not you like to draw. I’ve seen drawings created with Colors! 3D that range from simple doodles to works of art, so if the idea of drawing on your 3DS with the stylus appeals to you you’ll find no shortage of features and tools with this $7 e-shop gem.
Here’s another “your mileage may vary” title. On the bright side, it’s completely free, so you may want to check it out even if you’re not into Pokemon. But for the Pokemon fan this is a godsend that offers beautiful 3D models of every Pokemon along with all the information you could ever ask for on each one.
Did I miss a favorite of yours? Hit the comments or post on the MonroeWorld.com forums and let me know!