Best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes

Best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes
Images via Nintendo | Atlus

Written by 

Harry Boulton


21st Mar 2023 16:19

Figuring out what the best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes is essential if you want to make sure you've got all of the system's best titles. Prices will soon start to rise on physical copies if they haven't already, so if you're missing anything from your collection or have always wanted to play a 3DS game, now is your chance.

So, if you're wanting to see our choices for the best games to buy before the eShop closes, make sure to check out the rest of this guide below for the list.

Best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes

While there are plenty of fantastic games on the 3DS that we could have chosen for this list, we have specifically decided to focus on 3DS exclusive titles - or at least ones that you can't get otherwise on more modern consoles.

So, without further adieu, check out the list below for all of our picks if you were wondering what the best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes are:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Best 3DS games: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Click to enlarge

It's coming up to the ten-year anniversary for Animal Crossing: New Leaf (UK link) and it is still an utterly fantastic game to play. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons is certainly the most popular entry in the series, you could make an argument for New Leaf being the best.

It might not look anywhere near as good as New Horizons, but it has a ton of content missing in the new game and is just so relaxing to play. The Island is a particular standout, and the shopping street is a lovely convenient hub of all of your favourite stores, and even a club too for Saturday nights.

Super Mario 3D Land

Best 3DS games: Super Mario 3D Land
Click to enlarge

Arguably overshadowed by its big brother on the Wii U, Super Mario 3D Land (UK link) is still one of the strongest games from the moustached plumber's wide collection. It offers a rather unique hybrid of 3D and 2D Mario action, making particularly great use of the console's 3D functionality.

3D Land also brings back the fan favourite Tanooki Mario suit, letting you climb up most walls and approach each level in a completely different way. It isn't exactly a surprise to see a Mario game completely change how you play, but 3D Land really is one of the best adaptations of the classic formula that you must try if you've not picked it up before.

Bravely Default

Best 3DS games: Bravely Default
Click to enlarge
Square Enix

Supposedly the game that revitalised the turn-based genre in Square Enix's eyes, Bravely Default (UK link) is a brilliant Tomoya Asano-produced RPG that is perfect for Final Fantasy fans.

While the 3DS eventually turned into one of the best consoles ever for turn-based RPGs, Bravely Default was one of the first signs of this in the device's second year that remains fantastic to this day. Featuring a beautiful art style and engaging combat, you can't go wrong with Bravely Default if you're craving a grand fantasy adventure.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Best 3DS games: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Click to enlarge

If you've played Monster Hunter World or Monster Hunter Rise, then Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (UK link) on the 3DS is a fantastic next step for you to take. It is widely considered one of the best in the series and for good reason too.

It is obviously quite a dramatic graphical downgrade compared to the last two entries, but it is still one of the most enjoyable titles you can pick up on Nintendo's portable console if you love taking down tough bosses.

We could have also included Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (UK link), but that is also available on the Switch, so if you're looking for a 3DS exclusive entry then Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the one for you.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Best 3DS games: Fire Emblem: Awakening
Click to enlarge

Rightfully hailed as one of the best games on the entire system, Fire Emblem: Awakening (UK link) is the title that thrust the series into the spotlight. Acting as a proto bridge between previous Fire Emblem games and the series as we know it today, Fire Emblem: Awakening gives players an excellent tactics-based combat system with social elements.

One of the key selling points is your ability to romance various party members on the field of battle - and while this was already featured within Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, your party member's children can now also join their parents in battle through some time-bending shenanigans.

If you've already played Awakening though and want something slightly different, then you should definitely check out Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (UK link). It is a remake of the second game that is quite different from the other games, but still excellent and definitely worth playing.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Best 3DS games: Kid Icarus: Uprising
Click to enlarge

While Masahiro Sakurai is more well known for his work on Kirby and Super Smash Bros, it would be remiss to not also hail Kid Icarus: Uprising (UK link) as something also well worth playing. There is probably no other game like it on the 3DS, as it blends touch screen and analogue controls in engaging action sequences.

You will miss out on the free stand that came bundled with every physical copy of the game, and your cramped hand might not forgive you for that. However, it is still very much worth picking up and is likely a game you won't forget for a long while after playing.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Best 3DS games: Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
Click to enlarge

Flying relatively under the radar compared to Atlus' other higher-profile titles (we'll get to them in a bit), Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (UK link) is easily one of the best games on the entire system.

Following veteran swordsman Stocke, Radiant Historia offers players a complex hybrid of turn-based and SRPG combat that has a heavy emphasis on combos. Fights are consistently engaging due to this, as you move your foes around a 3x3 grid to hit them all in a single-turn stack.

The game's narrative also revolved around time manipulation as you attempt to carve and find the true history. While there is an abundance of other great RPGs on the system, there are few better to pick up than Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

Best 3DS games: Shin Megami Tensei IV
Click to enlarge

Speaking of Atlus, Shin Megami Tensei IV (UK link) is also a top-tier turn-based game that you can (and should!) pick up on the 3DS. Featuring a grandiose narrative typical of the MegaTen series filled with Gods, demons, monsters, and samurai, Shin Megami Tensei IV is perfect if you're wanting a complex RPG to delve deep into.

Don't shy away if you found Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne too hard either, as IV is comparatively less punishing and potentially the best entry into the series for newcomers.

If you've already played SMT: IV and want more MegaTen goodness though, you should definitely pick up Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (UK link). This particular title provides players with tactics combat instead of turn-based, bringing a new flavour to the series if that tickles your fancy.

Tomodachi Life

Best 3DS games: Tomodachi Life
Click to enlarge

There really is no game quite like Tomodachi Life (UK link). While definitely not for everyone, it is a unique experience that you should absolutely consider picking up. Based entirely on your own Mii creations, Tomodachi Life lets you do… pretty much anything?

You can explore the island that they're on, make friends, have a family, and build a life - all with a Mii that looks like Sans from Undertale.

You can even sing in stage performances, complete with your own handwritten lyrics, letting your creative (or comedic) juices flow to the max. It really is quite amazing how much fun you can have with Tomodachi Life.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D/Majora's Mask 3D

Best 3DS games: Majoras Mask / Ocarina of Time
Click to enlarge

This is breaking the rules a little bit, as we've included two games in one, and they exist outside of the DS ecosystem, but you can't really say no to Ocarina of Time (UK link) or Majora's Mask (UK link) can you?

There's little to be said about these two games that haven't already been spoken, but they are both very much worthy of their status among the greatest games of all time, and both look and play excellently on the 3DS.

If you're wanting an original Zelda title, or are more of a 2D fan, then you should also definitely pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (UK link). Acting as a spiritual successor to A Link to the Past, Link Between Worlds is a fantastic game that is secretly one of the best entries in the series.

So, that wraps up this list of the best 3DS games to buy before the eShop closes, giving you some excellent choices that you will most certainly enjoy if you've not played them before. Make sure to let us know if you pick any up, and stay tuned to GGRecon for all of your gaming news, guides, and content.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
Why trust GGRecon?

Established in 2019, we don’t just cover games - we live them. Our expert team is full of dedicated gamers, qualified journalists, and industry insiders who collectively boast decades of experience covering gaming and esports. This deep-rooted expertise allows us to provide authoritative and nuanced perspectives first-hand from a team who are playing, and researching every game covered on our website. 

Our foundation is built on a profound commitment to editorial independence, ensuring our content remains free from external influence and advertising pressures and is held to the highest level of editorial conduct, integrity, and quality. 

Every article on GGRecon comes from rigorous research, informed analysis, and a passion for gaming that resonates with our readers. We uphold these standards through a transparent editorial policy, accessible here, which governs our processes and maintains our accountability.

Is Tales of Kenzera: ZAU on PlayStation Plus?
All Tales of Kenzera: ZAU release times for all timezones
Ghost of Tsushima minimum & recommended PC system requirements
Here's how you can sign up to play Hades 2 early
Manor Lords coming to Xbox Game Pass, here's when