Looking back on the 3DS (Favourite games, features, etc.)

John Doe

Ace Ice Cream Salesman...?
So it's pretty clear that, despite how many times Doug Bowser might say they're still supporting it, the 3DS has pretty much wrapped up it's lifetime, since they've basically stopped releasing games now after two years of support post-Switch release. A lot of people seem to be talking focusing on the whole 'death' aspect, and I guess that's fair enough considering that it's life sort of fizzled out, rather than going out with a bang, and nobody really cares about it anymore, but I thought it would be fun to have one last look at the good stuff of the 3DS, rather than focusing on just the negative, and seeing thoughts from everyone here about what they liked about it.

Personally, I really loved my 3DS a lot. I think I spent more time with it than any other console so far. I ended up having four different models: OG 3DS, which I got about a year after the initial 3DS release and wore down by a crazy amount (it had broken shoulder buttons, the rubber bit came off the circle pad... even the OS ended up being a little off somehow), New 3DS XL, which I got as a replacement/upgrade for my original and is probably my favourite model, OG 2DS, which I got so I could buy PAL games since I moved countries after getting my first two consoles and was tired of paying heaps to import, and then a New 2DS XL which I caved in and bought (I probably would have only gotten the New 2DS but it wasn't announced until a few months after I bought the OG one, so oh well). In terms of the console itself, I didn't really use 3D very often (I get double vision at close range so I think that might make it a bit harder for me to see the effect and puts extra strain on my eyes) and on the hardware side my favourite stuff is still things introduced in the DS (touch screen and dual screen), but I did like some of the extra software bits and bobs. My personal favourite was probably the music player. I didn't have a smartphone or MP3 player, so I've probably spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours in 3DS Sound. Another favourite is the Activity Log, since I loved seeing the stats for how much I've played each game, and how many times and seeing the trends over the years for how much I played. Stuff like Face Raiders and AR Games didn't have much staying power, but they were fun diversions for when you first get the console. I never really cared for Streetpass, since I've never been in areas where I've met people, but it's a nice enough idea, and I liked getting the gold pants Miis sent through Spotpass. I also liked the presentation of everything, like the design of the home menu and eShop (man, I miss the eShop having music), as well as the ability to sort and arrange the home menu. And I have no regret in admitting that I bought a decent number of home menu themes over the years, which is something I really loved and wish would appear more in other consoles with the same feature extent (ie custom music/sounds in addition to the wallpaper). I didn't spend any money on it, but I also liked the idea of badges as well and had fun with decorating everything on my menu on several occasions.

But that's just the hardware/UI elements... I haven't even gotten started on the games! Putting aside the fact that it has DS compatibility (some of my favourite DS games I played I didn't get to until after I had a 3DS, so I've got plenty of good memories about those, but I wanna try and keep the scope of this post a bit smaller), there's just sooooooo many good games. Including games from DSiWare and VC, I'm pretty sure I had pretty close to 100 3DS games, and there were still some relatively large profile games that I didn't even buy. I don't think I have time to list all the great games I had, but I'll give some shoutouts to my big favourites:

Fire Emblem: Awakening - By far my most played 3DS game, I loved this game sooo much when I bought it, and even though I've never beaten any other FE game I've played before or after this, I've beaten this one at least twice! Which is something special to me since I usually don't replay games. I think that's a case of right game, right time since nowadays I have a lot more trouble getting into strategy games like this, but I think it deserves a very special mention since it's still probably the 3DS game I hold dearest.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure - This is a pretty low-key game that not many people bought or care about, but I really loved this game as well. I didn't play it for as many hours as FE:A, but that's mostly just because it's a shorter game. I still beat it at least 3 or 4 times! It's kind of like a Professor Layton game, except instead of puzzles it has rhythm games. I guess there's nothing really groundbreaking about it, but I loved the characters, gameplay, music and general style of the game, so it'll always have a special spot in my heart, even if it never gets a sequel to it's cliffhangerish ending.

Animal Crossing & Tomodachi Life - These ones I'm lumping together on the basis of the fact that I was surprised by how much time I actually ended up playing them for, since I wouldn't have thought I'd play them as much as I did. They're both very cosy, non-goal oriented games that are nice to just pop in and play for an hour or so. I think Animal Crossing is by far a superior game to Tomodachi Life (there gets to be a certain point where you realise most of Tomodachi life ends up being pointless busywork and menial issues, so it loses some of it's appeal), but nevertheless, I still spent a lot of time with each of these. I'm definitely looking forward to returning to the world of AC when New Horizons launches in a month and a half.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix & WarioWare Gold - Our next lump of 'similar but also quite different' games I'm putting together for two reasons: they're both made by the same teams, and they're both "Best Of" compilation titles which take a whole bunch of minigames/microgames from across the series history, and put it all together to make some of the meatiest, most content-packed entries in either series, and full of the signature charm each is known for. And considering that they're both series which don't have many games made for them, and which I each love dearly, having both of these titles was like a dream come true.

Kirby: Planet Robobot (+ Triple Deluxe) - This one is mostly just for Robobot, but Triple Deluxe gets a shoutout for being pretty good too. I think Planet Robobot is probably one of my favourite Kirby games, and definitely my favourite of the current era/style (RtDL onward). The signature 'gimmick' for the game, which has become a staple in recent games, is the most fleshed out we've seen, and more importantly, is actually fun, engaging and builds on what is already established rather than being a glorified "Press button to make thing happen" feature. It's also got a great setting/theme, as well as everything in the presentation being top notch. Definitely a top-tier first party entry and one of the greats.

Etrian Odyssey IV - This is partially just nostalgia, but despite me nowadays never being able to play a turn-based RPG ever, I still really look back at this game (and Untold) with fond memories, even though I still haven't come close to finishing it. I just love the whole concept: creating and naming my own party, then taking on quests and exploring dungeons while actually mapping it out. It's also got a really jamming soundtrack There's many games that exist on the DS and 3DS which don't really need the dual screen, but this is one game series which totally justifies its existence. I don't know what the series' future holds, but hopefully they'll be able to find a way to make it work on other hardware so that people can still enjoy the series.

Stretchmo (+ Pushmo/Crashmo) - Same deal with the Kirby games here, mostly gonna talk Stretchmo but shoutouts to the other games in the series. The original Pushmo was a really fun puzzle game, and I had a lot of fun with it, and then Crashmo was technically a sequel, but mechanically played pretty different from the first game. Stretchmo is what I would consider a true sequel and expansion of the original games content. It takes the original games idea and then expands it to work better in the 3D space the game takes place in by letting you push and pull blocks out from all sides instead of just one. The purchasing scheme was a little weird with the whole separate level packs thing, but whether you got an individual pack of levels or just bought the whole set outright (basically the equivalent of buying the game normally), it was definitely worth the money. Out of everything I'd like to see make the jump to Switch, another entry in this series, and especially to Stretchmo in particular, is at the top of my list.

There's a whole bunch of other stuff I could put in (Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX, Pocket Card Jockey, Ace Attorney games, BoxBoy, just to name a few), but I'll leave it off there for the sake of time.

So those are my excruciatingly detailed thoughts on the 3DS (I really didn't expect this to be as long as it was...). I'd love to hear what other people have to say, even if it's just a short sentence or two about what you like about it.
 

Starfire

Alien superhero princess
I've only owned my 3DS for like 5 months lol
3D Land is dope tho
As is being able to play BIS on a bigger screen and with fully working controls again
 

Alex95

NIWA Nut
Wiki Administrator
Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario Party: Star Rush, Mario Sports Superstars, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Zelda: Link Between Worlds, Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, Metroid: Samus Returns, Fire Emblem Awakening, Kid Icarus Uprising, Pokemon Y, Pokemon Omega Ruby, Detective Pikachu, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Project X Zone 2.

These are the 3DS game I have, and they all range from "pretty cool" to "incredible".
But I also have Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, so they can't all be winners 🤷‍♂️

Overall, the 3DS has one of my favorite library of games, along with the GameCube and Wii. Aside from the Switch being a handheld-console hybrid, the 3DS has had an impressive line-up of games that feel like full-fledged home console titles (including some that were brought over from home console).

The features are also fun to mess with, but the novelty of them kinda wore off over time. Face Raiders and AR Games are enjoyable for a few hours, and the basic 3DS applications like 3DS Sound and Camera are hardly used by me nowadays. I like the AR Cards feature, and how it was utilized in Kid Icarus Uprising; I'd honestly like to see more of that than amiibo, because they don't cost as much and take up less room, though they certainly don't have the "cool" factor to them :P

And, of course, the 3D itself. I always have this thing on. Sometimes I like playing without my glasses on, because it gives me that feeling of clear depth even though I'm near-sighted. Yeah, it kind of slows down the system at times (skill activation in Fire Emblem Awakening is a little laggy with it on), but it is pretty darn cool and we're not going to see that sort of thing on the Switch without some kind of console overhaul.

9/10 system, thanks for being fun 👏

EDIT: And then there's the improved versions of the console that just add even more. Better framerates and battery life, the little nub of a circle pad, additional shoulder buttons, amiibo integration... You can tell they put their all into this system line.
 

Redshift

Enjoying dinners at 9:00 PM
I still remember the days when the 3DS had a very rocky start which concerned Nintendo, but sales eventually dropped down and turned it into a success. I remember its launch library not...being the best in the world but I got rewarded by having the ambassador 3DS games anyway. I say it's a pretty good handheld with a good run, and I'm glad I modded mine.
 

Dimentio

Master of Dimensions, Pleaser of Crowds
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and the two remakes still stand as the highlights of the system for me. While I sadly can't say the same for Paper Jam, the rest of the M&L games were a joy from start to finish, whether that be a brand new adventure to a new region full of new locals & returning characters galore, or just a sweet remaster of two of my favorite adventures from the past, I sadly feel this series was getting slept on more and more as time went on, leading to the company behind them going under :sad:
I hope Nintendo picks up the AlphaDream employees under their own wing so they can have the chance to bring M&L to the Switch.

Other than the M&L games, I had fun with Smash Bros. for 3DS, Mario Kart 7, and Super Mario 3D Land (though ultimately that one is still my least favorite 3D Mario game). I didn't spend much time with it due to the Wii U version being literally the same game but with more features, but Super Mario Maker was neat to see running on the system, I just wish it was the full Super Mario Maker and not a stripped down "Lite" version (I understand graphical limitations but that's not what I mean, the engine clearly worked but they removed features arbitrarily). At least I later got a full-fledged SMM experience on the go with SMM2.
 

King Dedede

King of Dream Land
Poll Committee
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - My favorite Mario game of all time and it's not even close, Dream Team was just full of magic and wonder and had even more creativity than its predecessors. But despite this, I could actually put Mario & Luigi as a series here; all five games are fantastic and all five are playable on the system, so I think that's pretty cool. Rest in peace, Mario & Luigi; you will be missed.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Kirby: Planet Robobot - Took the formula from Return to Dream Land and ran with it, adding all sorts of whimsical and wacky ideas to an arguably safe yet fantastic Wii game. Planet Robobot gets all the love but it's important not to forget Triple Deluxe either, which had its own fair share of ideas and paved the way for Planet Robobot. These two are some of the greatest Kirby games of all time (well, alongside Star Allies on Switch, of course) and both hold a special place in my heart.

Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon - The original Luigi's Mansion was good, but Luigi's Mansion 2 turned the game into a complete and absolute masterpiece. While Luigi's Mansion 3 on Switch is arguably even better, how could anyone forget the important additions the second game added to the table? All the creativity from its predecessor and successor isn't lost here, and is definitely worth playing even if you've already experienced the third game.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS - The first time Smash went portable, and it did a remarkably great job at it. Despite being overshadowed by its Wii U successor released only a few months later, and being pretty much completely replaced by Ultimate on Switch, being able to play Smash anytime and anywhere for the first time was a great experience for sure. Oh, and we can't forget Smash Run either!

Mario Kart 7 - A safe entry in the Mario Kart series, yet a fun one nevertheless. Mario Kart 7 was the perfect way to get that portable racing fix, especially as Mario Kart DS's online community faded into obscurity. Mario Kart 7 was the first time we got to actually explore underwater terrain and glide through the air in Mario Kart, and though I wish the game made deeper and more extensive use of these features, they still made for a fun and memorable experience. The roster was a bit lacking compared to previous entries, but the new drivers like Honey Queen did a lot to make up for that. While Mario Kart 8 improved on many of these ideas, and is now playable on the go itself thanks to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Kart 7 remains a fantastic and fun game that was an important step for the series.

StreetPass Mii Plaza, AR Games, and Face Raiders - These three pre-installed games were actually a lot of fun in themselves and made creative use of the new features the 3DS brought to the table. Trading collectible pieces and adventuring through an evil castle with other 3DS owners you meet, experiencing augmented reality with the included cards, and blasting those thieves who stole the faces of your friends and family were all fun and amusing experiences. The coolest part is when we see these technologies implemented in full-fledged games, such as the StreetPass Matches in Mario Tennis Open or the AR minigames in Mario Party: Island Tour. Seeing these technologies used more would have been wonderful, but at least we got what we got.

Super Mario 3D Land - And of course, who would I be not to mention the system's flagship 3D Mario platformer? While arguably a step down from the Galaxy duology on Wii, and despite the fact that most of the ideas here are improved upon in 3D World on Wii U, 3D Land is still a fun platformer in its own right and made unique and innovative use of stereoscopic 3D that few games have successfully managed to replicate.

Those were the highlights for me, but there were so many more fantastic games for the system I just didn't get around to listing. There are also the numerous entries from other Nintendo series I never got around to playing, with 3DS entries that played an important role in the series and its standing today. We all love you, 3DS, to the end of your days.
 
Top