There are tons of 3DS games out there. So many that it would be difficult to call out a handful as the best. How do you even decide that when hundreds exist? Especially when what is the best for one person clearly wouldn’t be for another and there are those still investing in the system. So for this Siliconera Speaks Up, we’re going in a slightly different direction. We’re going over our recommended 3DS games.
These recommended 3DS games might not be the best ones out there. Maybe they have a cool mechanic. Perhaps they helped pave the way for some new ideas others picked up on. They could have just left a big impression on us. The point is, we liked them enough to want to encourage all of you to try them and recommend your own games to us.
If you didn’t play Pocket Card Jockey, then I am here to arrest you. This is me serving you with a warrant. There are plenty of reasons why it is worth your time. It is a solitaire game with a fantastic mechanic that can be played for five minutes for two hours straight. It reminds us Game Freak can make great games that don’t involve Pokemon. It also brings in simulation elements, like breeding, to get you more invested in your new pastime. It is the best way to spend a day at the races. – Jenni Lada
I could write a book on my favorite 3DS games, but if I’m going to shout out just one, it should be a gem that has garnered criminally little attention: Gotta Protectors. The eShop exclusive from a mostly-solo programmer at Yuzo Koshiro’s studio, Ancient, is an action tower defense game with NES-era pixel art, designed for co-op play with some engaging character progression and loadout customization that make it more than just bite-sized fun. Oh, and there’s also a full retro soundtrack by Koshiro and his talented game music friends? Top it all off with a localization effort by Brian Gray that maintains and adapts the game’s nostalgic quirk, and it’s a can’t-miss. Which is sad, because almost everyone’s missed it. – Graham Russell
It’s hard to pick just one game out of the vast 3DS library, but I found myself coming back to one title in particular: Grasshopper Manufacture and Level-5’s Liberation Maiden. Set 100 years in the future, Liberation Maiden follows teen President Shoko Ozora and her fight against the invasive Dominion for her country’s freedom. The music is energetic and really memorable, the action sequences are quite fun, and the bullet hell sections have a good balance of being hard, but not too hard. And while the game is short, Liberation Maiden is a strong reminder that short can indeed be sweet and can make for a pretty entertaining story. I highly suggest taking a few hours on an empty Saturday and completing the game. – Mercedez Clewis
Corpse Party is one of the most chilling horror games I’ve ever played. Its compelling story, its leering attention to detail with written gore, and its sickening sound design make it utterly unforgettable. All of this seems compounded by the intimacy of a handheld console, having you pull it close to you, soaking in every frightening and disturbing detail that’s only inches from your face. It’s just some incredible horror to be able to take on the go or to curl up with in the dead of night. – Joel Couture
I really didn’t end up getting, or using, a 3DS until very late into the console’s lifespan. But when I was playing my 3DS it was almost always for Monster Hunter Generations. I had been a pretty avid fan of the series back during the time it was on the PlayStation Portable, so I was eager to get my hands on Generations once I finally had a 3DS–and I can say that I wasn’t disappointed. The inclusion of the unique styles added a certain depth to the gameplay that immediately had me hooked. – Kazuma Hashimoto
Nintendo DS was a Utopian destination for JRPGs, and while the 3DS didn’t have nearly as many it still hosts some absolute bangers. Shin Megami Tensei IV is the cream of the crop; it is one of the best overall JRPG experiences around in terms of depth, craft, and style. Persona may be the popular one, but I’ve always preferred the core SMT experience for its more ambiguous storytelling, meatier gameplay, and grungy vibe. The two games making up the SMT IV whole are a great leap forward for an intimidating series, with difficulty settings and a system for building passive abilities that make a tough game less punitive. You can take the challenge head on, or crank it down and let the oppressive cyberpunk anime aesthetic wash over you like a massive 90s OVA series. – Lucas White
Stella Glow. Oh man, Stella Glow. Initially, I didn’t expect too much from this title, but even if it’s anime as heck, it does so with conviction, so don’t let that deter you from trying it out. It’s a spiritual successor to Luminous Arc by the same producer, and features the same addicting turn-based SRPG, as well as a focus on music and songs that can provide tactical buffs in battles. Imageepoch didn’t deserve to die so early, but I’m glad they left a swan song as great as this one. – Alistair Wong
When it comes to handhelds, I’m all about the monster-collecting games. However, I felt that the 3DS lacked a bit of variety in the department. I mean, it is the system that introduced the behemoth of a franchise that is Yo-kai Watch, after all. It also had zillions of Pokemon games, too, including ports and remakes of the original games. Puzzle and Dragons Z was a nice treat, as was Shin Megami Tensei IV, but only one game really satisfied my monster-collecting craving on the 3DS. Enter Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D as my recommended 3DS game. It has almost everything from the original Game Boy game with over 600 monsters to breed and command in battle. It actually plays like the Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker games, so think of it as the first DQM remade as a DQMJ game. Unfortunately, the game never released outside of Japan, but if you’re curious, check out the English fan-translations here. – Sato
If you enjoyed reading about our recommended 3DS games and want to hear more of our opinions, check back to see games we wanted to see in 2020’s first Nintendo Direct and some of our most anticipated games of 2020.