No one quite does handheld gaming like Nintendo. The company's portable Nintendo 3DS console hosts some of the best games you can find on any system, whether you want to beat up your buddies in Smash Bros., wage epic wars in Fire Emblem or discover the trove of indie treasures waiting in the Nintendo eShop.
Even with the portable Nintendo Switch on the horizon, Nintendo continues to support the 3DS with steady releases both big and small — though finding a 3DS can be tricky these days. But if you've managed to get your hands on a Nintendo 3DS (or the budget-friendly 2DS), here are our favorite titles for Nintendo's mighty mobile games machine.
This sequel to the beloved 1992 video game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past looks, plays and even sounds a lot like its predecessor. But A Link Between Worlds gives main character Link the unique new ability to transform from a three-dimensional boy to a two-dimensional drawing on a wall.
As a drawing, Link can slip through the cracks that connect his world with the "Dark World," and confront the menacing new enemy that threatens to destroy both realms.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is the first portable entry in Nintendo's beloved fighting game series, allowing you to beat up Mario and his pals no matter where you are. The game features the same massive roster and 4-player action as its Wii U counterpart, and packs a 3DS-exclusive Smash Run mode that lets you explore dungeons and collect cool power-ups. The game's downloadable content only adds to the fun, letting characters such as Street Fighter's Ryu and Final Fantasy's Cloud duke it out with Link, Samus, Peach and the rest of the gang.
Pokémon Sun and Moon is a significant shakeup for the beloved monster-catching series, though it never loses sight of what makes its predecessors great. You're still catching and battling monsters, but you're also tackling unorthodox Trial challenges and uncovering what is possibly the most engaging Pokémon story of them all. Sun and Moon's gorgeous tropical setting gives way to some of the coolest monster designs the series has seen, and a handful of smart gameplay tweaks make them both the most refreshing and inviting Pokémon games yet.
You're the new person in town in this charming and strangely mesmerizing game. When the anthropomorphic, cartoonish residents mistake you for mayor, you find yourself in charge of managing the town as well as your own home.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulator, meaning you'll do seemingly mundane things, such as create and decorate your house, visit neighbors, buy items and undertake projects to beautify your city. Sounds simple, but thanks to the quirky characters, satisfying rewards system and ability to visit friends' villages, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one of the most beloved 3DS games out there.
The latest game in Nintendo's beloved tactical role-playing series, Fire Emblem Fates comes in two physical releases, Birthright and Conquest, and a third, downloadable one, Revelation The gameplay builds on the chess-like combat of previous Fire Emblem games, adding new weapon mechanics as well as the ability to build up your own home castle filled with shops and arenas. But as with all Fire Emblem games, the real draw is the set of deep relationships that you can forge between your characters by having them battle together.
If Super Mario Bros. and Tetris had a child, the result would be BoxBoy. This charming puzzle-platformer has you guide your blocky protagonist through a series of 2D courses, creating patterns of boxes that let you reach new heights, avoid obstacles and slither through tight spots like a snake. Don't let its simple gameplay or monochromatic, Game Boy-style graphics fool you, though -- BoxBoy's later levels will put your brain to the test, forcing you to use all of its clever mechanics in tandem with one another. At just $5, BoxBoy might just provide the most fun-per-dollar of any game on 3DS.
The iconic Mario Kart series of racing games has been around for a while, but there's still plenty of gas in the tank. Mario Kart 7 features the famous mustachioed plumber alongside Bowser, Luigi, Princess Peach and more, as well as your own personalized "Mii" avatars that link your profile across all Nintendo consoles.
Mario Kart 7 is great for solo gaming on the go, and you can play multiplayer with nearby friends over local wireless or with anyone in the world via Nintendo Network.