So you just got your hands on a New Nintendo 3DS? Now you need games to play. Trust me; you don’t want to be stuck with Pokémon Shuffle and Face Raiders.
Still, it can be intimidating trying to figure out what games to buy, considering the amount that are available for the handheld and the fact that you can play most releases for the original DS on it as well.
Super Smash Bros
If you’ve been in cryostasis since President Clinton’s second term, Super Smash Bros is Nintendo’s wildly popular in-house fighting game. We’re talking professional tourney-level of popularity.
The latest iteration, Super Smash Bros 4 is available for the 3DS, and the New 3DS comes with native Amiibo support, making it exceptionally easy for you to buy and use Nintendo’s new toy line.
There’s really no reason not to buy it, if only so you can train up enough to silence those of your friends who keep insisting they can beat you.
Fire Emblem Awakening
The Fire Emblem series is more well-known in the West for supplying fighters in Super Smash Bros than it is for the actual games. But if you want a place to start with this series, Awakening is the one to buy.
It’s a turn-based strategy role-playing game in which you play the lead tactician in an army of colorful warriors, leading them to victory in an epic tale that spans years.
Players who love a challenge will find one in the harder difficulty settings, and Awakening‘s story of wars against dark gods is as good as, if not better than many games for the home consoles.
There is a relatively small pool of Final Fantasy games available for the 3DS. If FF-esque JRPG games are your preferred genre, and you want one to play on your New 3DS, then Bravely Default is the game that will scratch that itch.
This is a turn-based RPG game that is a spiritual successor to old-school JRPGs and FF in particular. The cartoonish art design and complex battle system are the highlights of the game. I’d just warn you not to try and take the complicated story too seriously.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Kind of an MMO, kind of an RPG, and definitely an action game, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is almost as much of a strange beast as the actual creatures you encounter in it. The premise is fairly simple, and it’s outlined right there in the title: Hunt and kill various large, predatory monsters.
Behind this simple premise is a game that will keep you on your toes, as monsters have varied attacks and get progressively harder the longer you play. It’s a difficult but rewarding experience that offers a lot of value for your new portable system.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The Legend of Zelda series is one of those series that everyone insists gaming newcomers must play, either to experience the fun of games with a years-long consensus of excellence, or to experience the history of the medium and gain some context for the present.
Either are perfectly valid excuses to play one of the most successful and influential video games ever made, which can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop. There are other Zelda games available for the 3DS, but Ocarina of Time is as good a place to start as any.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Speaking of acclaimed classics, the Phoenix Wright series of adventure games is also available in the Nintendo eShop. This well-written visual novel series of courtroom dramas and murder mysteries is a staple of the Capcom library.
The three original games starring the series’ most popular character are available in a package, with several other games available for the original DS likely being playable on the New 3DS as well. The courtroom drama might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a must-own for any New 3DS owner who enjoys mysteries.
Resident Evil: Revelations
If there’s a common theme to all of the games on this list, it’s that none of them are what you might call “dark.” For the most part, they are all fairly light fare. But if you want a horror game, then the most acclaimed one on the 3DS is Resident Evil: Revelations.
It stands slightly outside the rest of the RE series story-wise (which could be fortunate depending on your tolerance for the tangled web that is the RE canon), but it has the same dark, claustrophobic twists and turns as the original game.
The indie darling Shovel Knight made a splash when it appeared on the market last year. Yacht Club Games’ inaugural effort is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, presented in 8-bit graphics to mimic the NES titles from which it takes inspiration. But there’s more to it than that.
The game is good enough that nostalgia isn’t the only reason anyone should buy it. The controls, the music, and the level design are all well-done. It is also one of the tougher indie games available for the New 3DS.
Are there any that I missed?
Here are a few honorable mentions that you might consider after you’ve worked your way through the list above: Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus Uprising, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Star Fox 64 3D, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, Professor Layton, and Luigi’s Mansion.
Which games do you think are the best for the New Nintendo 3DS? Which ones do you think are the most essential for the new owner? Let me know in the comments below?