Now that the Nintendo 3DS eShop closing has closed, do your best to track down physical copies of these 10 brilliant 3DS games!
Since its release in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS has been a favourite amongst Nintendo fans across the globe. With impressive glasses-free 3D visuals and innovative features like StreetPass and SpotPass for gaming on-the-go, the Nintendo 3DS offered a social gaming experience for fans of handheld gaming. Spanning six different models and over 75 million units sold, this beloved handheld was an overwhelming success during Nintendo’s challenging home console era of the Wii U (which you can find out all about here).
And naturally, a brilliant handheld is often accompanied by an impressive library of games! Featuring over 1400 titles released across the console’s lifespan, the Nintendo 3DS’ library features some of the most enjoyable and creative games we’ve seen in the last decade. With plenty to explore for players fond of role-playing and puzzle games, the Nintendo 3DS library has something to suit all tastes, spanning numerous triple-A titles and hidden gems.
When did the 3DS eShop Close?
Sadly, the success of the Nintendo Switch meant that era of the 3DS has finally come to an end, with both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop closed on the 27th of March 2023. With this closure, many brilliant games have become unaffordable or even completely unobtainable. Thankfully, Nintendo have mentioned in a Q&A that games you’ve already purchased will be re-downloadable for “the foreseeable future“.
There are still plenty of great deals, so check the eShop regularly before it closes!
So that’s exactly why we’ve put together a list of the best physical Nintendo 3DS games to add to your library, that can also be purchased digitally, now that the 3DS eShop has closed. If you want to find out more, or maybe talk about some of the digital exclusives available, be sure to join the conversation on the Official Qualbert.com Discord server. But for now, read ahead and find out about 10 brilliant physical 3DS games you should consider buying even with the eShop now shut.
10 Physical Games to Grab Now That the Nintendo 3DS eShop Has Closed
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Starting with a remake of an absolute classic, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a critically acclaimed remake that immediately earned its place among the best Nintendo 3DS games ever released. In fact, it’s the sole reason myself and many other early adopters of the console purchased a 3DS in the first place.
This timeless adventure masterpiece retells the Nintendo 64 adventure of Link, tasked with saving Hyrule from the clutches of Ganon by using his trusty time-traveling ocarina. Without any significant changes to the core gameplay, OoT 3D offers a variety of worthwhile enhancements that improve upon the original in every single way, making it the definitive Ocarina of Time experience.
The limited edition Zelda 25th Anniversary 3DS console, which launched alongside Ocarina of Time 3D.
The Nintendo 3DS version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is particularly impressive due to its improved graphics, which allow for enhanced detail and vibrant visuals that simply weren’t possible in the original Nintendo 64 release. And more than just its beautiful visuals, the improved controls and addition of “Master Quest” after finishing the main game make Ocarina of Time 3D a must-play Nintendo 3DS experience for any Zelda fan.
2. Fire Emblem Awakening
Another highly rated Nintendo 3DS title from early in the console’s lifespan is Fire Emblem Awakening, the tactical role-playing game saw the classic series finally enter the mainstream. Featuring Chrom and Lucina in the main roles, with its deep tactical combat system and engaging storyline, this entry is the perfect gateway into Fire Emblem for casual and hardcore strategy fans alike.
There’s Marth, and there’s also girl Marth.
Awakening is one of the earliest titles in the series to introduce relationships between characters as they progress through the game, which ultimately affects not only their stats, but also how their story unfolds. This emphasis on relationships creates a greater sense of individuality for each character in Awakening, further deepening the player’s connection to them as they fight alongside each other in tactical combat.
No Nintendo 3DS library is complete without Fire Emblem Awakening. It’s a must-play title for any Nintendo fan eager for an immersive tactical role-playing experience packed with exciting battles and an engaging plot that emphasises meaningful relationships between its characters. Fire Emblem Awakening is hailed as one of the finest that the 3DS has to offer, so it should be no surprise that it earns a place on our list.
3. Shin Megami Tensei IV
Long before the rise to fame of the Persona series, its predecessor, Shin Megami Tensei, reigned supreme among JRPG fans. Released in 2013, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a gritty post-apocalyptic JRPG that takes players on an epic journey through Tokyo, as you control a warrior chosen by fate to fight against powerful demons and save the world from destruction. In keeping with the SMT series, its story features many depressing themes and unexpected plot twists, while the dynamic demon-summoning combat keeps players engaged as they battle through the rubble of Tokyo.
Even despite the technical limitations of the console, the visuals in Shin Megami Tensei IV are stunning – from the beautifully detailed character models to the vibrant 3D environments and dungeons that make up the world of Tokyo. Every enemy encounter feels intense and exciting thanks to the impressive soundtrack, which features electrifying music and sound effects that help bring each encounter to life. Just take a listen!
For fans who are looking for the definitive RPG experience on the Nintendo 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei IV is absolutely essential to add to your library. With its melancholy storyline, dynamic and challenging combat, this dark JRPG offers hours of dungeon-crawling for those of you who don’t mind a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, the game never released physically in PAL regions, so with the eShop closing shortly, be sure to pick up a digital copy for cheap. Its sequel, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, is also worth your attention, but has become increasingly difficult to find.
And if you’d rather explore the most recent entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series, check out our review for Shin Megami Tensei V on Nintendo Switch.
4. Virtue’s Last Reward
The sequel and follow-up to the cult classic 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors on Nintendo DS, Virtue’s Last Reward is yet another thrilling and suspenseful puzzle-filled mystery. In this visual novel, players take control of Sigma who has been kidnapped and forced to participate in the mysterious “Nonary Game.” Confined together with nine strangers, the players must solve gruelling puzzles in order to escape the facility with their lives. Virtue’s Last Reward explores multiple branching storylines, countless intriguing plot twists and requires players to keep their wits about them at every single moment.
It can often be picked up for cheap, so keep an eye on the eShop specials!
The Nintendo 3DS version of Virtue’s Last Reward features 3D visuals, giving the game a more immersive feel and creating a more visually-engaging experience while the story unravels. It feels perfectly suited to handheld play and the touch screen is effortlessly incorporated into many of the game’s puzzles. Also exclusive to the 3DS (though completely unintentional) is a game-breaking bug! So avoid saving your game in either the “Crew’s Quarters” or “PEC” rooms unless you want your save data corrupted.
The cast of Virtue’s Last Reward, trapped together within the Nonary Game.
With a compelling branching storyline, detailed characters and challenging puzzles, it’s no surprise why this Zero Escape entry has become so loved by fans of the visual novel genre. So if you’re looking for a gripping story that will keep you hooked to your console for hours on end; Virtue’s Last Reward is an unforgettable Nintendo 3DS narrative. And if you can’t grab the 3DS version, Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is available on PC and PlayStation 4, which includes enhanced ports of both 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward.
5. Bravely Default
This brand new Square Enix IP that originated on the 3DS is another must-have, popular enough to earn itself multiple sequels and spin-offs since its initial release. I also happened to write a Bravely Default review almost a decade ago, long before I started Qualbert.com! Featuring beautiful water colour visuals, challenging and engaging combat, and a loveable cast of characters, Bravely Default offers a charming and delightful standalone RPG on the 3DS.
The visual design of Bravely Default is one of its main strengths, with adorable chibi character designs and each location being exquisitely detailed. Vibrant colours and stunning art-styles help bring the world to life, creating a visually-appealing experience even on the small screen. Additionally, the titular “Brave” system adds a unique twist on traditional turn-based combat, allowing players to save up their turns and unleash them all at once in powerful combos or defensive tactics.
The original Bravely Default and its follow-up, Bravely Second.
Furthermore, Bravely Default brings back the “Job System” seen in Final Fantasy titles; each with their own special abilities that can be combined for devastating results in battle. Players can customise their party by learning and combining new skills through mastering various jobs. With so many options available; there’s plenty of replay value offered by Bravely Default, which makes it yet another essential RPG to add to your 3DS library!
6. Super Mario 3D Land
Even as Nintendo’s flagship character and one of their most popular franchises, everyone’s favorite plumber is often overlooked when it comes to his 3DS outing. I’m of course talking about Super Mario 3D Land, which I can confidently say is one of the most polished and enjoyable platformers ever created. Offering the best use of 3D visuals and creative levels that set the standard for 3D platforming, this game is sure to please any Mario fan.
With vibrant colours and level designs that legitimately pop in 3D, every part of 3D Land has been crafted with precision platforming in mind, cleverly incorporating the console’s 3D visuals into the gameplay. and contains hidden secrets throughout. The game also re-introduced the fan favourite “Tanooki Suit,” allowing players to hover and take out enemies with ease, or easily glide over hazardous areas.
One of few games on the 3DS to make impressive use of the console’s 3D functionality.
Ultimately, Super Mario 3D Land offers one of the most impressive 3D platformers to date, eventually paving the way for its successor, Super Mario 3D World. And while this title may be easy to overlook, it’s easily one of the best Mario games to date, so be sure to grab a copy for cheap before the 3DS eShop closes and everyone wants to check out 3D Land.
7. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Think Super Smash Bros. is the most ambitious Nintendo crossover of all-time? Think again. Because Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the unlikely crossover that fans of either series have only ever dreamed of. For those who’ve experienced both series on the Nintendo DS, this delightful fanservice-filled crossover brings together the charming characters, humour, and gameplay of both into a mysterious adventure packed with perplexing puzzles and plentiful pointing.
Two iconic Nintendo DS franchises collide in this creative crossover.
While many fans were critical of PL vs. AA’s storyline and plot holes, there’s still plenty to love in this character-driven crossover outside of its narrative. The visual style looks brilliant on the 3DS, combining the character designs from each universe flawlessly into a medieval setting that blends together surprisingly well. This is further enhanced by the brilliant soundtrack, which draws upon classic tunes from across both Layton and Phoenix’s worlds, giving them a grand, orchestral score never heard in previous games.
It’s also worth noting that this is quickly becoming one of the most expensive and highly sought after games on the console, with physical copies now easily reaching over $100. So with the eShop closing, I’m certain that values will continue to skyrocket! If you’re a fan of either series, I highly recommend picking up a physical copy of Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney if possible, as it’s not just a great game, but also a valuable investment into any collection.
8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The 19th instalment in the Zelda series and the only main Zelda game designed entirely with the 3DS in mind, A Link Between Worlds is a near flawless Zelda experience that pays homage to one of the most influential games of all-time: A Link to the Past. Players return to a familiar world as Link, a courageous hero who embarks on an epic journey in order to save both Hyrule and Lorule from the evil sorcerer, Yuga.
Revisit a familiar Hyrule with fresh and vibrant visuals!
The visuals in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds are perfect for the console – drawing inspiration from the design of A Link to the Past while injecting beautiful cel-shaded graphics and a sense of depth that truly brings the game world to life. Additionally, the game features many creative dungeon designs designed entirely around the use of 3D in order to add further depth to the adventure. Players are given the ability to flatten themselves and merge into walls, traversing obstacles and reaching new areas that were otherwise inaccessible.
There’s not much depth to Link’s character in this game.
Link Between Worlds sees the return of many familiar faces, but also introduces a variety of charming new characters, including Ravio – your trusty companion – who helps guide Link through his quest while offering helpful advice along the way. With its unique blend of exploration, 3D puzzle-solving and polished combat, all Zelda fans simply must have a copy of Link Between Worlds in their 3DS library.
9. Rhythm Heaven Megamix
Do you constantly find yourself tapping your foot to the beat? Can’t help but sing along with your favourite songs? Then Rhythm Heaven Megamix is the perfect way to unleash your musical prowess on the 3DS! This charming and vibrant rhythm game features over 100 adorable rhythm games, taking many from previous entries in the Rhythm Heaven series and enhancing them with updated visuals and music.
This is without a doubt the best rhythm games on the 3DS, with plenty of new and challenging music-driven gameplay to get stuck into throughout Megamix. It’s easily enjoyed in short bursts and features a difficulty curve that will gently ease newcomers into the series before putting their skills to the test. The music composed by Tsunku is highly addictive and has a tendency to get stuck in your head, which is not necessarily a bad thing when it’s so damn catchy.
My personal favourite, Flockstep. The music lives rent-free in my head.
While there are numerous other popular rhythm games on the 3DS that deserve your attention, like Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy and Rhythm Thief, neither of these can beat the beat of Rhythm Heaven Megamix. Copies are starting to creep up in value, so with the Nintendo 3DS eShop closing, it might be a good idea to grab it digitally before the show is over.
10. Kid Icarus: Uprising
Last on our list, and certainly not the least, Kid Icarus: Uprising saw the classic series rebooted after 20 years. Players once again take on the role of loveable Pit – a young angel tasked with protecting the heavens from a variety of monsters unleashed by the evil Medusa. Throughout his adventure, Pit is aided by several characters including fan favourite Lady Palutena – goddess of light – Viridi – goddess of nature – and newcomer Magnus, who helps Pit on his quest. The game is also constantly narrated by its characters, packed full of witty one-liners and quick wit, making every single moment hilarious and entertaining.
The main gameplay of Uprising consists of levels broken into aerial sections where Pit battles enemies mid-flight ala StarFox, as well as ground-based areas featuring platforming segments with enemies and bosses along the way. Combat is exciting and varied, with an arsenal of close-combat and ranged weapons at Pit’s disposal to dispatch his devilish foes, but unfortunately marred by an awkward control scheme. In fact, the controls are so hand-crippling that the game was bundled with a stand to avoid players developing strain injuries while playing.
The stand that was bundled with copies of Uprising.
But it’s not just the single-player campaign, as several multiplayer modes are included, offering competitive battles against other Kid Icarus players both locally and around the world. Nintendo also added a unique AR card system, which allows players to collect special cards throughout their adventure, which can then be used to summon help during difficult fights. With its beautiful visuals, exciting combat and engaging characters; Kid Icarus: Uprising takes the final spot of games to grab with the eShop closing!
Best 3DS eShop Digital Exclusives
But we’re not done just yet! With the 3DS eShop now closed, we also need to highlight some of the most important digital exclusives that were among some of the best. Here are 5 of our favourites that you should still try and track down even through they’re no longer available to purchase.
Harmoknight is a charming rhythm game developed by Game Freak, the creators of Pokémon. That’s right, they make more than just monster-catching games! In HarmoKnight, you control a charming musical protagonist named Tempo as he runs, jumps, and attacks his way through various levels, all while keeping up with the beat of the music.
HarmoKnight features great selection of catchy tunes, and the levels are designed to be challenging but fair. Bonus levels also feature a variety of music from the Pokemon series, which is a nice touch to play through levels with classic tunes that most players will recognise. Even if Harmoknight is on the shorter site, it’s still a must-play for fans of rhythm games and anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted experience on their 3DS.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
One of the most laid back and intriguing narratives on the 3DS, Attack of the Friday Monsters is a unique and cosy adventure game set in a small town in 1970s Japan. The game follows a young boy named Sohta as he explores the town and interacts with its strange inhabitants. Friday Monsters is both whimsical and mysterious, and the world is filled with memorable characters and quirky humour.
As part of Level-5’s “Guild Series”, these games are simplistic, short, and stylish, but offer a handheld experience unlike anything else you’ll find in the eShop library. So if you’re eager to experience a game that’s off the beaten path and offers a refreshing change of pace from the usual 3DS fare, Attack of the Friday Monsters is definitely worth checking out.
Crimson Shroud is a dungeon-crawling RPG developed by Yasumi Matsuno, the creator of classic games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. One of the most influential creators in the tactical RPG genre! Though Crimson Shroud takes on a vastly different style to Matsuno’s previous creations. Another title in the “Guild” series, Crimson Shroud sees you take control of a group of adventurers exploring the ruins of an ancient kingdom.
The game has a unique tabletop RPG-inspired presentation, with dice rolls and character sheets playing a big role in the gameplay. Visuals are simple, but look engrossing on the 3DS’ small screen, like tiny dioramas that really pop when using 3D visuals. While short, the story is engaging with characters that are surprisingly well-written, and the game’s combat system is deep and strategic despite relying on simple dice rolls. If you’re a fan of classic RPGs and looking for something different on your 3DS, Crimson Shroud is a fantastic choice.
Pocket Card Jockey
Wait, how exactly can you combine horse racing with card games? Well Game Freak have done it with their addictive second entry on the 3DS eShop. Blending genres, Pocket Card Jockey is a bizarre and addictive mash-up of horse racing and solitaire. In this strange mash-up, you play as a jockey who must guide his horse to victory by playing cards in a solitaire-style game (while riding the horse? That seems difficult).
Gameplay is fast-paced and challenging, centred on horse racing but also taking into account your cards, offering a surprising amount of depth to the game’s mechanics. The game’s quirky sense of humor and charming visuals also make it a joy to play. If you’re looking for a game that’s both fun and addictive, Pocket Card Jockey is a great choice. And if you’ve got Apple Arcade, there’s now a brand new entry, Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!, for you to enjoy.
Pushmo (or Pullblox) is a delightful and vibrant puzzle game that will test your spatial reasoning skills through a series of block puzzles. In this game, you play as an adorable pudgy chap named Mallo, who must push and pull blocks to create a path to the top of each level. The game’s puzzles start off easy but quickly become more challenging, and there’s a ton of content to keep you busy. The game’s charming visuals and cute characters also make it a joy to play, also offering a level builder to create your own puzzles.
If you’re a fan of puzzle games and looking for something to keep you busy on your 3DS, Pushmo is definitely worth checking out. And if you enjoy Pushmo, be sure to grab the sequels: Crashmo, Pushmo World, and Stretchmo. These are all 3DS/Wii U exclusive, so once the eShop is gone, there’s unfortunately no way to officially add them to your library.
These are just a few of the stellar Nintendo 3DS Digital Exclusives to download before the eShop closes. And if you’re running low on credit, there’s also quite a few free games to check out too, including Pokemon Picross, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross, Pokemon Rumble World, and Ironfall: Invasion. To find out about more and what else is available, be sure to join the Qualbert Discord!
The eShop Has Closed – What Happens Next?
With the both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop now officially closed on the 27th of March 2023, you’re no longer able to purchase digital games on 3DS or Wii U. And while you can still track down physical copies that can be purchased second-hand, the closure of the eShop will almost certainly lead to the inflation of their value, making many games too valuable to purchase. So even through the 3DS eShop has closed for good, consider which of these physical 3DS games you’d like to add to your library, as for the foreseeable future they may still be affordable and available through the second-hand market.
Looking for a little 3DS fun? Check the eShop now until March for specials!
From role-playing to side-scrolling, the Nintendo 3DS is a charming handheld offers something for everyone, and we’ve only just mentioned a fraction of the best on the console. So whether you’re looking for classic Nintendo staples like Mario or Fire Emblem, or charming titles such as Bravely Default or Rhythm Heaven, the 3DS is a gem of a console with a library well which we encourage you to explore. With the eShop closing very soon, have a browse through the library, check out what’s on special, and get your library sorted with some of the deals below.
Enjoyed our article on which games to grab with the Nintendo 3DS eShop closing? Then check out our article on Nintendo DS Hidden Gems and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on any upcoming eShop deals before the store is gone for good! You can also now be part of the Official Qualbert Discord and join the 3DS discussion.
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