The Nintendo Switch has one of the greatest first-party lineups of any Nintendo console. In addition to several outstanding original games, a lot of awesome Wii U games like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Mario Kart 8 finally got all the love they deserved when they were ported to the Switch. Even some 3DS games like Miitopia have made their way to Nintendo Switch. Still, that isn’t all-encompassing, so when the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops are discontinued on March 27, we will lose access to some amazing first-party Nintendo games that aren’t available elsewhere.
From black sheep in their respective series to new IP that tests out some novel ideas, four Wii U and four 3DS games that are still platform exclusives stuck out the most to us. If you’re specifically looking for Nintendo-published games to pick up before the 3DS and Wii U eShops stop allowing the purchase of new games, consider picking up one of these titles.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Considering the rest of the Xenoblade Chronicles series is on Nintendo Switch, it’s very surprising that Xenoblade Chronicles X has not made the jump over yet. This RPG stands as the black sheep of the series, with a more gritty style and tone, mech suits, and a plot about humans who crash land on an alien planet after escaping Earth, which might be why it didn’t come over before the trilogy was completed. Xenoblade Chronicles X is a great game in its own right, though, and also makes ample use of the Wii U GamePad for its detailed map and menus. As such, it’s a worthwhile Wii U pickup for those who like to play games uniquely tailored to the system and enjoy seeing what the oddball entries in game franchises have to offer.
Star Fox Zero
When Star Fox returned to consoles with this Wii U entry developed by PlatinumGames, fans were beyond excited. Alas, Star Fox Zero‘s unique gameplay, which relied on the Arwing’s cockpit perspective on the GamePad, proved to be divisive. It might not be a great game, but it still speaks to how Nintendo likes to take some risks with its game design and is an experience uniquely tailored to the Wii U. No other game will ever play quite like Star Fox Zero, and it’s a very important part of the Star Fox franchise and the Wii U’s history. For those who are fans of either, Star Fox Zero should be a must-own.
A launch title made specifically to show off the strengths of the Wii U, Nintendo Land is synonymous with the platform and likely stuck on it forever. With GamePad-driven minigames based on several first-party series, it also serves as a nice celebration of Nintendo’s history, even if it’s already a decade old. Its wide variety of minigames all use the GamePad in very distinct ways, several as fun tech demos for a device that never really reached its full potential. Nintendo Land also offers one of the best multiplayer experiences on Wii U, if that’s something you’d still like to get out of the system. Because Nintendo Land was the Wii U’s launch title, it’s only fitting that we recommend that players pick it up in the eShop’s final days.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse not only sports a beautiful Claymation style, but stands out from your standard Kirby game in how its controls work. Serving as a spiritual successor to Canvas Curse, you direct Kirby by drawing lines for him to roll across on the Wii U GamePad. It’s intuitively designed and very approachable, making this a great all-ages game for the Wii U. There’s definitely not a shortage of Kirby games to play, but fans of the series will want to make sure they don’t miss out on playing this one. Because the Switch only uses one screen, a possible port to it wouldn’t feel quite the same. As such, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse remains a distinct Wii U experience that we recommend checking out before March 27.
Moving onto 3DS games, Hey! Pikmin stands out as yet another black sheep in a critically acclaimed series. Pikmin’s typically isometric RTS format obviously wouldn’t run well on 3DS, so this is a side-scrolling adventure platformer where players explore and collect fuel for Olimar’s ship. It seems unlikely that this weird spinoff will ever be remastered for a significantly more powerful Nintendo system, but Hey! Pikmin still highlights how versatile the Pikmin franchise can be. It’s a very distinct piece of Pikmin’s history and worth checking out before Pikmin 4 launches this July.
Ever Oasis flopped when it was released, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Grezzo, whick worked on some great Nintendo Switch remasters like Link’s Awakening and Miitopia, tried its hand at creating a new franchise with Ever Oasis. It blends Zelda-like third-person exploration and combat with the town-management elements of something like Animal Crossing to create an experience that’s wholly distinct and very technically impressive for the 3DS. Because this game underperformed, it seems unlikely that Nintendo and Grezzo will ever bring Ever Oasis back. Still, it’s a personal favorite and one I urge you to pick up ahead of the 3DS eShop’s closure.
While Miitomo came to Switch, Nintendo’s other odd 3DS game utilizing Miis is still stuck on the 3DS. Tomodachi Life is a social sim game where players create Miis and then watch as they make friends, fall in love, and do all sorts of weird things on an island. This game’s odd sense of humor and emergent narrative scenarios make it a very memorable experience, and it’s something I hope a lot of people can check out and enjoy. Tomodachi Life deserves a comeback on the Nintendo Switch, but until then, it’s only something that you can play on the Nintendo 3DS.
Pokemon X and Y
This series was once synonymous with Nintendo handhelds, so it’s only fitting that we recommend a Pokémon game to cap off this list. While plenty of Pokémon games are available on 3DS, X and Y remain my favorites. Set in the France-inspired Kalos region, Pokémon X and Y are pretty easy, but that also makes them very approachable RPGs. It’s a traditionally structured Pokémon entry that contains everything players know and love about the series, and it deserves a lot of credit for being the game to shepherd one of the biggest series in gaming into 3D. No 3DS library is complete without a Pokémon game, so pick up X or Y before the eShop closes if you don’t have a Pokémon game on your 3DS yet.