The 15 Best 3DS Games

As selected by the GamePro staff, here's a comprehensive look at 15 of the best video games available for the Nintendo 3DS.

Games for Your New 3DS

Got a new Nintendo 3DS system and want to know which games you should buy first? Over the last month, everyone on GamePro’s editorial team has been playing all of the 3DS launch titles, and have picked their favorites. Here's how they stack up - listed from the least-picked to the most-picked.

15: Madden NFL 3DS

Sizing down the Madden experience for the 3DS, Madden NFL Football is the big sports fix for fans of the franchise. Packing specialized 11-on-11 and 5-on-5 modes, this 3DS title is a shade of Madden NFL Arcade. Although it doesn’t feature multiplayer, Madden NFL Football still comes with a dedicated season mode, so you can relive Super Bowl XLV all over again.

14: Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D

If you’ve missed Primal Rage, this entry in Ubisoft’s long-running “Combat of Giants” series should satisfy that peculiar hole in your 3DS lineup. Dinosaurs 3D not only throws a bunch of pre-Ice Age facts your way, but it also pits various types (Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops, to name a few) of the monstrous beasts against each other in combat. Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D also has a Street Pass feature that lets you battle friends, as well as wireless loot trading.

13: Asphalt 3D: Nitro Racing

Taking a page from the Burnout racing book, Asphalt 3D: Nitro Racing tasks you with making it to the finish line in various race types while smashing the competition off the road. Of the eight different games modes, the main career requires the most attention, although you can always take a break to smash up some police cruisers in the High Speed Chase mode. If you need a break from the huge amount of nitrous flames pouring out of your 3DS screen, you can also take advantage of the 3D visuals in Garage Mode and admire your ride.

12: The Sims 3

Ported to the 3DS, this version of The Sims 3 is (naturally) the first game in the series that can be played in 3D. Visually, it adds some depth to the overall feel of the game while retaining several features from the bigger console versions. Unlike the other games, The Sims 3 on 3DS uses an all-new creation mechanic that lets you take a picture of yourself with the handheld system’s cameras, molding it into your own Sim -- much like what the Mii Maker does.

11: Rayman 3D

Rayman 3D, a handheld remake of Rayman 2: The Great Escape, re-introduces the titular character with old-school graphics that make use of the 3DS engine. Each visual bit of flair in the game takes the 3D effect seriously, with a variety of eye-catching moments that make this older title look like an original 3D game instead of a port. Along with a vast, staggering amount of collectibles and secrets, the long single-player reproduction of the original Nintendo 64 game remains a challenge despite its age.

10: Super Monkey Ball 3D

Packing gyroscopic motion controls and 3D graphics, Super Monkey Ball 3DS is Sega’s addition to the 3DS launch lineup. Of course, the level design gets some notable depth added with the new visuals, making the series’ main goal of guiding the simian characters around levels more intriguing. Along with the standard “Monkey Ball” mode, this title also has a Mario Kart-like “Monkey Race” mode and a “Monkey Fight” battle mode for added gameplay.

9: Samurai Warriors Chronicles

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles joins the lead-off pack for 3DS games with some new features exclusive to this title. Moving from the Wii to the 3DS, this Feudal Era hack-n-slash game lets you create all new characters, as well as customizing your items, clothes, and armor. Additionally, the 3DS’ gameplay allows players to track their mission progress on the bottom screen, along with the ability to switch among four combatants at once.

8: Bust-a-Move Universe

Bust-a-Move Universe also joins the 3D launch crew with Puzzle, Challenge and Nonstop modes, in which you match three (or more) colors of bubbles before the ever-increasing onslaught of puzzle pieces crashes down on you. Always the colorful series, Bust-a-Move Universe also has its own subtle 3D effects. Traveling with main characters Bub and Bob, the theme of this new title sees them going from planet to planet in a large handful of progressively difficult levels.

7: Pilotwings Resort

Although the Pilotwings series has been in the shop since the Nintendo 64 days, Pilotwings Resort releases on the 3DS with 40 new challenges that require you to put your piloting skills to the test. Bringing back the rocket belt, plane, and hang glider gameplay, the name of this adventure through the skies is speed, precision, and solid landings, as you’ll have to perform a variety of tricky aerial maneuvers to succeed. If you haven’t been to Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort’s Wuhu Island in a while, take it on the go with this.

6: Ridge Racer 3D

Although Ridge Racer is the best racing game on the 3DS by nature of being the first out on the track, the impressive visuals can’t be ignored. Boasting a smooth frame-rate and small touches like confetti plastering itself in the foreground, Ridge Racer 3D looks like one of the undisputed pack leaders in the 3DS library so far. While the large number of tracks is something to be expected, a new drift button helps tackle the toughest corners in tight races, plus an innovative Street Pass feature lets you take to the road against another player’s best performance in a “ghost” race.

5: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Since the Star Wars prequels released in theaters, one of the lone bright spots in the franchise have been the LEGO Star Wars games. And with the 3DS port of the game, there’s plenty of everything: weapons, puzzles, collectibles, mini-games, characters, and 3D visuals. By far, the coolest part of the 3D experience here was seeing the opening crawl seem to jump out of the screen at us.

4: Steel Diver

Many GamePro editors haven’t been able to resist crooning this game’s name in their best heavy metal voice, but Steel Diver proves to be one of the dark horses in the 3DS launch. Using the “3D” part of the 3DS engine literally, this submarine combat game has a “Periscope” mode, where you can swivel in place, taking out enemy ships as you spot them in your targeting view. Along with the local wireless gameplay that comes with a hint of “Battleship,” Steel Diver is an experience that rewards the curious.

3: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

One of the deeper titles in the 3DS lineup, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars has the benefit of being directed by X-Com creator Julian Gollop. Taking the action into an overhead perspective, you command a squad of six Ghosts of different classes -- commando, medic, heavy gunner, sniper, engineer, and recon -- through various combat missions in a wide range of tactical situations. Getting the mission is done is essential to keeping your team alive. Thinking on your feet is critical, as your squad members fill very specific roles in eliminating enemies. Despite the shift in genre, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars remains a true thinking man’s game.

2: Nintendogs + Cats

GamePro’s office has been taken over by the adorable new Nintendogs + Cats games, which most of the staff recognize as some of the most adorable and addicting things we’ve seen yet from the 3DS launch lineup. With seven brand new breeds to play with -- French Bulldog, Cocker Spainel, Great Dane, Maltese, Basset Hound, Bull Terrier and Pomerainian -- there’s a bunch of tricks you can teach each pet, along with the 3DS features that you can use to play with them. We get a kick out of putting silly hats on our Nintendogs with the help of the augmented reality (AR) cards, as well as interacting with the digital pooches via the 3DS cameras.

1: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

As the most versatile, fully featured, and graphically impressive game of the 3DS lineup, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is pound-for-pound the best of the 3DS games right now. Not only does Capcom's 3D fighter show off the graphical power of the 3DS incredibly well, but the wireless online gameplay is a nice bonus. With Street Pass trophy combat features and all 35 fighters in the roster, the interesting control scheme rounds out a unique package, letting even casual players pull of crucial moves via "hot buttons" on the 3DS touchpad. If you buy a 3DS, this game absolutely must come with your system.

Didn't see the 3DS game you were looking for? Take a look at GamePro's coverage of these other upcoming titles in the Nintendo 3DS library: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Cave Story 3D, and Mega Man Legends 3.

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