4 Nintendo 3DS Games That Make Incredible Use Of The 3D Tech

Dave LeClair 29-01-2014

If you follow the world the of video game news, you’ve probably heard that Nintendo is struggling Video Game Hub Episode 2 - Nintendo Woes, Shady Dealings, Titans are Falling Welcome to MakeUseOf's Video Game Hub episode 2, the weekly news show where we count top the top five news stories from the busy world of video games. A new episode airs each and every... Read More . They slashed their predictions for sales of the Wii U, and even lowered the projections for sales of the Nintendo 3DS. However, the 3DS is still the best-selling console overall, and for good reason, because it’s a downright fantastic piece of hardware.


The 3D in the 3DS isn’t just there for show. It’s actually a key part of the console that just isn’t used by enough games. However, there are some games that take the 3D technology from the console and use it in a good way. Whether it’s using it to actually alter the gameplay or just make a world more beautiful, the games that follow make the 3DS hardware all the more worthwhile, and they remind us that 3D can be more than just a sales gimmick.

Super Mario 3D Land

Mario games always seem to be Nintendo’s chance to really justify its strange hardware choices. Super Mario 3D Land is certainly no exception, as it shows us what can really be done with the 3D technology featured in the 3DS. It’s not reinventing the Mario formula in any way. In fact, you could argue that it’s more of the same in terms of the way the platforming series usually plays.

So why is this game on the list? It’s simple, it uses the 3D to alter the perspective and make you play in a way that would not be possible if the 3D was not there. I generally turn the 3D off in most games, and you could totally get through this game without it, but you would be missing out on a great deal of the game’s charm. As with any console, I am just looking for a reason that a certain piece of technology there, and Super Mario 3D Land reminds me of why Nintendo released the console with the 3D in the first place.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

No matter how many dimensions you live in, this is just a fantastic game. It does everything right. It makes just enough changes to the Zelda formula to be exciting, and it does it while revisiting A Link to the Past, one of the most beloved games in the Zelda franchise.

In this game, the 3D looks absolutely beautiful. In most cases, it’s subtle enough that it just enhances the look and feel of the game, and it does it perfectly. However, there is more to it than that. The 3D is actually used as a critical mechanic in some of the puzzles. It’s possible to complete the puzzles without the 3D, so 2DS owners Nintendo 2DS Review & Giveaway We're giving this Nintendo 2DS with a copy of Pokemon X away to one lucky reader! But first, here's what we think of Nintendo's latest portable gaming console. Read More are not completely left out in the cold, but it’s clear that Nintendo built certain parts of the game around using the 3D. When the mechanics justify the hardware, I am a happy gamer, and Zelda delivers there.


Fire Emblem Awakening

When I set out the make this list, I swore that all of the games on it would be here because of how it uses the 3D to directly influence the gameplay. However, I was lying to myself, because I just had to mention Fire Emblem Awakening, even though the 3D is only really used to make the game look beautiful.

Aside from looking really good in 3D, this is also a really solid tactical turn-based strategy game. It has a real old-school feel, and it’s perfectly suited to play on a mobile console. Add that with the absolutely gorgeous 3D visuals, and this is a game that every 3DS owner should play.


This is the only game on the list that you won’t find by walking into your local video game store. Instead, it’s only available as a digital game on Nintendo’s eShop. This means it can also be had for much cheaper than the other games on the list. Sadly, this game didn’t get the respect it deserved when it came out, as Nintendo has never been good at featuring the games it released on the eShop, and this game kind of got left behind.

This is a simple platform puzzle game that is made far more enjoyable by the 3D effect. Because the puzzles are based largely on depth, the 3D actually allows you to distinguish the puzzles Polarity vs. Portal: Is This First-Person Puzzle Game For Android Any Good? Using the laws of physics, you need to activate the right triggers and switches to collect all the data fragments in a level and reach the exit. Read More in a way that you couldn’t before. It’s one of the few games that are borderline unplayable without 3D, and that’s just awesome to see.



While the 3D on the Nitnendo 3DS is largely just a gimmick, every now and then a game comes along that reminds us that the 3D can actually add a lot to the experience. These games prove that when done right, the 3DS can do things that no other console can.

What games do you think make the most of the 3D tech on the 3DS? Hit the comments section below and let us know!

Related topics: Nintendo, Strategy Games.

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  1. Vipul J
    January 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I obviously don't expect this of James, but when I saw you wrote this article, I did a ctrl+f and typed Pokemon, but no text matched.
    A 3DS article without Pokemon being even mentioned? :/

    • Dave L
      January 29, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Pokemon, while awesome, doesn't really use the 3D in any way that is too special, and a large part of the game isn't even 3D at all.