3 Games That Make A Nintendo 3DS Worth Owning

Dave LeClair 31-01-2012

The Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system got off to a rocky start, but it seems to be finding its stride as time goes on. In my opinion, the reason for this is that there are finally games on the platform worth playing. The system launched with an abysmal lineup that featured gems such as Steel Driver, a rehash of Super Street Fighter IV and a terrible excuse for a Madden game. Times have changed, and Nintendo has taken things into their own hands, pushing some of their biggest first party games to the platform just in time for this past holiday shopping season.


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Nintendo platforms tend to be fueled by first party games, and it seems like the 3DS is no exception. That is not a knock against them, while they have a hard time getting many solid third-party games, having a loyal fan following that purchases anything with Mario or Zelda on the box nets Nintendo tons of money. These three games fall under that category, and the fact of the matter is, they are insanely good. They all have a Metacritic rating of over 85, with two having 90 or better. If you own a 3DS, you must play these games.

Super Mario 3D Land

It took Nintendo longer than expected to bring a proper Mario game to the 3DS, but when they did, they did it in style. Super Mario 3D Land shows exactly what the 3DS can do. You would think that after nearly 30 years the Mario formula would be tired, but you would be wrong. Nintendo consistently finds new ways to tweak and change the gameplay, keeping it fresh and exciting while still maintaining the feel that gamers expect from Mario.

nintendo 3ds games

What makes this game so special is the way it uses the 3D. Instead of just being a cheesy visual gimmick like it is for most games, it is actually integral to the gameplay. In making 3D a mechanic of the game, instead of just a visual trick, they have shown other developers what the 3DS can really do. They took what appeared to be a gimmick and made it essential for solving puzzles and navigating the world.


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The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D

What can I say about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that has not already been said? It is arguably (almost factually) the best video game ever made for any platform, and now it is available on the 3DS for gamers to bring the adventure wherever they go. The remake received universal praise, and has a Metacritic rating of 94 out of 100. Personally, if I was to review it, I would give it a 95, it really is that damn good, even all these years later.

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The controls on the 3DS work well, and while it does not do anything groundbreaking with 3D like Mario, it is still an awesome remake of the one of the best video games ever made. It looks beautiful on the 3DS screen and is just as much fun to play as it ever was. If you own a 3DS, you need to play this game. For a new generation of gamers who may not have experienced Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64, this is their chance to have the time of their life.

Mario Kart 7

It is hard to believe that Mario Kart has been around for seven games, but here we are. Essentially, Nintendo releases the same game repeatedly with Mario Kart, and yet, it is still good every time. Mario Kart 7 does not do anything to revolutionize the cart-racing genre, but the thing is, it does not need to. Nintendo has the perfect formula, and changing it too much would just make it worse. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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nintendo 3ds games


Of course, Nintendo made small tweaks that take this Mario cart to a new level. There are new tracks and items to play with. They also implemented a well-made gyro control system so you can steer your cart by tilting your 3DS. Nintendo added a gliding mechanic that can really shake up a race if used properly. They threw in some new modes to keep things fresh and fun. They did not take anything that made Mario Kart great away from the game; they just added some fun to new layers to make it even better.


If you own a 3DS, you need to play these games. They have made the system actually worth owning. They are Nintendo staple franchises and they are all done right. They remind me of why we all were so excited when the 3DS was first announced at E3 a couple of years ago. Go to your local games shop and get these games; you will not regret it.

What games made it worth owning a 3DS for you? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Milo
    January 1, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I guess James Bruce was wrong in the end.
    2015 still no mario kart on ios or android.
    The wii u has had a great year (2014)and getting even better game line up this year.
    3ds keeps going from strength to strength.
    Oh well I guess time always irons out the arguments in the end :)

  2. Conveyancing solicitors
    February 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Nintendo 3ds is really cool gaming console and I would love to buy one. Currently I am using Nintendo DS lite.

    • jo
      May 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      DS lite is BEAST!!!!

    • jo
      May 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      SOOOO BEAST!!!!

  3. Craig Snyder
    February 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Nailed it, IMO. OoT 3D is the premiere title on the console, but there's no getting away from Mario. The 3DS lacks heavy titles in general, but when's the last time you've been able to say you bought a handheld console because it has 20 games that have interested you? If you're big on RPGs, maybe the general DS, but otherwise it's been a bit shallow. Maybe the Vita will show something promising? I hope to see a few more promising titles on the 3DS though, hopefully in time for an eventual price drop, too.

  4. Revo
    February 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    @muo_jamesbruce:disqus  If you are thinking it's all about graphics, you are soo wrong. Why do you think the wii has become such a popular console, because everyone has retro love for Nintendo? 
    Mario has been around for almost 30 years and he is not slacking down. 

    The graphics of this game are beautful for handheld games. No 90s graphics at all, you definitely dont know how games looked back then. 

    Not a single iOS game can stand in the shadow of one of these three games...

    • James Bruce
      February 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I've never been a Mario fan myself. I'm not a huge fan of platformers, but really that game is far overrated. IMHO. I realise there are hardcore fans, of course, and slap Mario on anything it will sell nicely. Zelda too - pretty much the WORST rpg I have ever had the misfortune to play - and I'm a big rpg fan generally. It's a series of kiddies puzzles, and lame ones at that. 

      I know how games looked, I was exagerrating to make a point. The graphics of the DS suck so much in comparison to iOS (and Android). 

      Oh FYI, Angry birds (a game I enthusiastically hate)  500 million downloads. Mario 3DS = 2 million. Bit difficult to see the shadow of that game, let alone stand in it. (New super mario brother ds, 6 million; mario 64, 11 million).

      • The Rock
        February 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        You sir ... You're comparing a FREE game to a $40 game. That's like saying "Geo Metro sold 70,000 units and Mclaren F1 only sold 60, so the Metro is such a better car!)

        ... And look at Resident Evil Revelations if you want to compare graphical fidelity. On another note, to buy a android or apple phone outright you're looking at $480-$650. The 3DS is $169.99 which I feel more than compensates for its ability to only play games, take 3d video and pictures, watch netflix, listen to music, and use 3D content without glasses.

        Also, Zelda is not an RPG, it's an action adventure game. Which if you've been around videogames more than 10years(I doubt) you'd know something about. And metascores are not about "hardcore fans" it's about comparing a game to all other games on a certain system or in a certain genre. Zelda OoT is #1 of ALL TIME in ratings. You can't argue with that. I still go back and play King's Quest and Quest for Glory and all the other point and click adventure/rpg games. The games that started their genres in videogames. ...

        • James Bruce
          February 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

          Looks like someone edited out your colourful language. 

          Fair point about free games vs paid. Would comparing to modern warfare 3 be fair then? 6.5 million sold on launch day alone, compared to 3ds mario 2 million?

          Your point about price is moot considering the price of games more than makes up for it. The 3ds has a tiny screen for watching netflix, and mobiles can do that too anyway; and a pretty bad 3d camera, so you cant really count those as core functions. the 3d technology is pathetic to anyone who has a 3d tv or pc set up. It's a gimmick, a toy at best. An iPhone or android is more like a mini computer, so that alone justifies the price. Add in $40 per game compared to at most, $5 per game on mobiles; and then throw in the fact that consumers *already* have a mobile - they dont need a single function gaming device anymore, and therfore the DS will die out soon. Its not hard to see that. 

          I'm 30 years old, and have been gaming since the Amstrad. Do you know what that is? Regardless, action-adventure is subgenre of RPG, so thats a weak argument. You play the role of Link, it's a roleplaying game. Google battle it :
          … nearly 3 times as many results for RPG mentions. It's a minor point on definition of a word though, why are we even arguing about it?

          Anyway, you're a nintendo fan. I get that. I'm impartial about my gaming systems, personally. PC, Xbox, ps3, ds - I really dont care. A good game is a good game. Simply putting Zelda in the title doesnt make it a good game - and in my opinion - everytime I've fallen for the hype and tried to get into Zelda, I've been disappoitned again. It's a personal opinion though, there's no need to disagree with it on that level. Argue about the system by all means, but don't bother arguing a subjective point about whether I think a game is good or not.

  5. James Bruce
    February 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Would it have killed you to do 3d screenshots? Also, how does nintendo get away with having such crappy looking games in a world where every other console, even mobile phones, moved far beyond these kind of 90's gfx quality? Nintendo are so obviously going to die soon. The next generation will grow up without the retro love of nintendo and it's fanboy base, and all they will see are these lame single purpose DS machines with expensive cartridges, and laugh. Let's not even talk about the Wii U. In 2 years -> first Mariokart for iOS will be released.