With the release of the Nintendo Switch, it looks as though the 3DS is heading into its sunset years. There are a few releases to look forward to as of this writing (another Fire Emblem, a Pikmin game), but Nintendo is probably going to put its focus behind its console/portable hybrid over a six-year-old system. But that doesn't change the fact that there has never been a better time to be a 3DS owner, thanks to the huge library of fantastic games. But which titles stand out above the rest?
We put that question to readers, and over half a million votes later, we have a super-official ranking of the best 3DS games ever. If you're angry with the ignorant masses for leaving out your favorite RPG or platformer, make sure to tell everyone how wrong they are down in the comments. Just don't hurt us.
This one barely missed the list, but I'm abusing my power to give it an honorable mention before we get started proper. If you haven't played the Ace Attorney games, well, you might be better off with the Ace Attorney Trilogy compilation. But if you're familiar with Phoenix Wright's quirky brand of anime adventure game, Spirit of Justice is a great follow-up that shakes up the series in some compelling ways. Most of the game takes place in a foreign country that has its own unique court system -- one that isn't exactly friendly to defense lawyers like Phoenix. The stakes are almost immediately raised beyond anything seen in the franchise so far, and the trademark plot twists remain as ridiculous as always. This one's only on the eshop, so you'll have to download it if you'd like to hear that killer accusation music one more time.
There's Mario, there's Zelda, and then there's Kirby. You might call the little pink blob a second or third stringer, but his track record is commendable for its consistency. Planet Robobot falls in line with the rest of the series in that it's a delightful platformer with vibrant visuals and breezy gameplay. Like most Kirby games, Robobot is a bit on the easy side, but this series has never tried for Dark Soulsian difficulty. This is definitely one of those games you pull out if you want to have a nice, relaxing time with one of gaming's most charming protagonists. The giant badass mechs don't hurt, either.
Don't let the Pokemon name fool you -- this one's a bit more hardcore than a mainline game, and definitely a bigger challenge than something like Kirby. The Mystery Dungeon games have always been grindy roguelikes, and if you don't know what that means, this game might not be for you. And that's okay! Not everyone is into tough, repetitive RPGs that take a while to get going. Those who stick with it, however, might find the game a bit more rewarding compared to some of the cakewalk Pokemon campaigns you see in games like X/Y.
In both quality and ludicrous titling, Dream Drop Distance sits around the upper-middle of the Kingdom Hearts echelon. Though it doesn't quite reach the heights of KHII, it's still sort of miraculous that a portable game can hang with the best entries in such a storied franchise. You can always check out the remastered console version of DDD in the recent Kingdom Hearts 2.8, but it's tough to beat the utility of portability.
There are plenty of other Zelda games on this list (believe me), but only one of them puts the focus squarely on fun with friends. Like Four Swords Adventures before it, Triforce Heroes allows players to control multiple links that join forces to fight, solve puzzles and most importantly throw each other off cliffs. Costuming also plays a big part, with outfits ranging from "samurai" to "a cactus." You can even dress up in Zelda's dress, which is kind of almost as good as actually playing as Zelda in a danged Zelda game.
Yes, DCKR 3D is a port of a Wii game, but it's a port of an excellent Wii game. All the fantastic visuals and tight level design made the jump to the 3DS, meaning you can fit one of the best platformers of the last decade in your pocket. The resolution is obviously bumped down for the portable screen, but you could argue that DKCR 3D has one major leg up over the Wii version: a complete lack of motion control. See, unless you mess around with mods and own a Classic Controller, the Wii version makes you shake the controller for simple moves like ground pounding and the roll -- the latter of which is absolutely vital for precision play. On 3DS however, you can just press a button to do the exact same thing. Isn't technology great?