Nintendo 3DS is finally picking up steam thanks to an insane price cut this year, but there remains one crucial check mark Nintendo has yet to uncheck: a poor library of games. The device can play DS titles, but most of the games have yet to really wow. None have set themselves apart as games that make you want to rush out and buy a 3DS.
But there is hope.
There are a handful of excellent games out there, and more are coming. In fact, the last few weeks have seen the release of two of the best games for the handheld system, and you can expect more soon. So far, Nintendo itself still has the best titles (which makes sense), but third-party developers are working hard to cash in on the handheld system’s newfound popularity too, so the road to abundant high-quality games is already being paved.
Looking to pick up a new 3DS title to tide yourself over in the mean time? Here’s our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games that 2011 had to offer.
One of the biggest advantages that Nintendo has over its rivals is its history. Not just the nostalgia that it can tap (although that is an undeniable plus), but the actual library of incredible games that still hold up. A perfect example of that is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game that many consider to be among one of the best games ever made. With a fresh new coat of HD paint, an adjustment to the controls, and a new slant on 3D, OoT holds up, and is now one of the best games on the 3DS — possibly the best.
If you haven’t given TT Games’ Lego titles a shot, you are missing out. The developer has made a name for itself by taking famous franchises, then Lego-ifying them. Adding elements of the Lego world makes them seem whimsical and fun, which the action then builds on. In the 3DS Pirates offering, all of the humor and solid gameplay the Lego games are known for is there, plus it manages to effectively utilize the 3D on the handheld system. TT Games knew what it wanted, and it delivered in spades. Don’t let the seemingly childish nature of the game fool you, this is one of the best titles for gamers of any age.
It may strike some as alarming that the majority of the games on this list (as well as the best-selling 3DS titles) are dominated by games that Nintendo itself created. It’s something that Nintendo should keep an eye on — as any system needs the support of third-party developers — but then again, Nintendo knows its stuff and has created some of the most memorable and enduring franchises of all time. One of those is the Mario Kart series, and the 3DS outing for the franchise is another hit for the property. Whether you are playing alone or against friends, the game is another solid win for Nintendo.
Since it was released last month, and thanks in part to Black Friday, Super Mario 3D Land has gone on to become the fastest-selling Mario title in the history of the Mario brand. And that is saying something after more than 25 years of best-selling games on multiple platforms. Besides just being an entertaining game, Mario’s latest offering is also a great glimpse at what the 3DS can do when a game is designed with 3D in mind. Super Mario 3D Land may not make people rush out and buy a 3DS, but it is a must own for those who already own one.
Check out our full Super Mario 3D Land Review.
One of the few (perhaps the only) 3DS launch titles that has a shot at keeping people coming back to it is Capcom’s handheld version of Street Fighter IV. The thing that Capcom did so well was to not do much at all. The game looks and plays a lot like the console version. The touchpad gets a bit of use as a combo button, and the 3D is solid, but unnecessary — which is a good thing in this case. For fight fans, and fans of the Street Fighter series in general, this is not just a decent handheld version of the game, it is a solid version of the game, period.
Check out our full Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Review.
What do you think of our list of the best Nintendo 3DS games? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.