While the Nintendo 3DS had a rocky launch, the handheld system recovered gracefully and ended up having one of the best game lineups of any Nintendo system. Many of these 3DS games, like Super Mario 3D Land and Fire Emblem Awakening, were very popular and well known. Still, the 3DS had a lot of fantastic games that not as many people know about.
The recent announcement of the 3DS eShop closure in March 2023 has us reflecting on the system’s vast library and all of the fantastic games fans will no longer be able to buy digitally. From games that we think will skyrocket even further in price after the store shuts down to some enjoyable hidden gems that didn’t get the attention they deserve, you might want to snag these 3DS games before the store shuts down next year.
Grezzo is one of Nintendo’s most underrated developers. It’s delivered top-notch The Legend of Zelda remakes like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Link’s Awakening. So what if I told you that it used that experience to make an original IP for 3DS that’s one of the best-looking and expansive games on the system?
Ever Oasis, a 2017 3DS game, follows a young kid as they help a water spirit named Esna build an oasis and try to save their brother from Chaos. The result is a mix of 3D The Legend of Zelda and city management games. Players can venture out into surprisingly large open worlds and dungeons to restock and grow the number of “bloom booths.” This mix of open-world exploration, dungeon crawling, and oasis-building will keep players engaged for dozens of hours.
Ever Oasis didn’t get much attention when it launched because the Nintendo Switch had been released a couple of months earlier. Still, it stands as one of the 3DS’ best games, so it’s a shame that more people don’t know about it. It risks being forgotten forever now the 3DS eShop is closing down, so check it out before the closure; it will surpass your expectations.
On the 3DS, Level 5’s puzzle game series Professor Layton and Capcom’s visual novel courtroom series Ace Attorney crossed over. It follows the titular characters of both franchises as they are transported to a mysterious city called Labyrinthia and must protect a woman accused of being a witch.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney combines the gameplay of both series, with players solving puzzles to find clues like a Professor Layton game before presenting and arguing with this evidence in court like an Ace Attorney game. We’d recommend it to fans of both series, but physical copies of the North American version of the game have become increasingly expensive.
This game is already a major investment for those who want to buy it physically, so make sure to knab this crossover digitally before it becomes even more pricey to acquire. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a unique kind of crossover that we don’t often see in gaming, and it’s unlikely to happen ever again.
This JRPG from Shin Megami Tensei and Persona developer Atlus harkens back to classics of the genre with a story that will have players hoping between alternate timelines to save the world of Vainqueur.
Radiant Historia was initially released for Nintendo DS in 2010 but got a full-fledged remake for the 3DS seven years later with the subtitle Perfect Chronology. It’s the same great game, but the 3DS version features fantastic new character art, voiceovers, and more. Make sure you choose “Perfect Mode” from the start to access all of the new content before beating the game.
Recently, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology has gotten quite expensive. Thankfully, it’s still available digitally on the Nintendo 3DS eShop until next March, and there’s even a free demo for those who want to test it out before buying.
In between Pokémon titles, Game Freak puts out smaller indie games that allow its developers to be more experimental. Pocket Card Jockey may very well be the weirdest of these titles. In it, players try to build up stamina and energy for a horse race by clearing the bottom screen of cards. In an enhanced version of Solitaire, players have to get rid of cards by matching them with ones in their deck or on the bottom screen that are either one higher or lower in value.
Play well, and one’s horse will get an opportunity for a massive speed boost in the final stretch of the race. It’s a weird combo, but it works surprisingly well. Pocket Card Jockey makes excellent use of the 3DS’ dual screens, features a deep horse breeding system to keep players engaged, and has a consistent element of randomness that always spices the game up.
Casual gamers and puzzle game fans will find a lot to appreciate about Pocket Card Jockey. Sure, all of the classic Game Boy Pokémon games on Virtual Console will be stuck on 3DS as well, but when is Game Freak ever going to make another card-based game about racing horses?
One of the last 3DS games released by Nintendo itself was a WarioWare game that basically served as the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate of this series. WarioWare Gold brings most of the series’ best microgames back and makes them work on 3DS. As such, it’s a greatest hits collection for WarioWare that any fan of the series will get a kick out of. The game also lets players redub all of its cutscenes themselves, which can have hilarious results.
Because it came out on the 3DS almost a year and a half after the Nintendo Switch’s launch, it didn’t get much attention. That’s a shame because it’s the best game in the WarioWare series and one of the best titles on 3DS. While WarioWare: Get it Together is good fun, those yearning for a more traditional WarioWare experience should check out WarioWare if they had previously abandoned their 3DS by 2018.
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