The Nintendo Switch might be all the rage right now, but there's still plenty to love about Nintendo's 3DS family of handhelds. They host some of the best games you can find on any system, from excellent versions of Zelda, Fire Emblem and Pokémon to a trove of indie treasures and retro classics. And with big new games like Hey! Pikmin and Samus: Metroid Returns arriving in 2017, Nintendo isn't slowing support for its portable console anytime soon.
Whether you're looking for something new to play on your current 3DS or just picked up the slick New Nintendo 2DS XL, here are our favorite titles for Nintendo's mighty mobile games machine.
Image: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
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
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
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.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
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.
Fire Emblem Fates
The latest core 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. BoxBoy offers a ton of addictive puzzling for just $5, and if you need more, the game has two sequels: BoxBoxBoy, and Bye-Bye BoxBoy.
Venture forth as the Shovel Knight in this beloved indie game, in which players take control of a shovel-wielding knight on a quest to rescue his beloved comrade in arms, the Shield Knight.Players nostalgic for old-school games will love Shovel Knight's two-dimensional side-scrolling gameplay, 8-bit graphics and classic save-the-lady plot. But nostalgia aside, Shovel Knight's challenging but engaging gameplay make it fun and accessible to newer players as well.
Mario Kart 7
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.
Super Mario 3D Land
If you're looking for the best traditional Mario experience on 3DS, Super Mario 3D Land is hard to top. This colorful platformer utilizes the system's 3D functionality to the fullest, allowing you to better see the true depth of every block, platform and enemy around you. 3D Land delivers tons of fun new power ups such as the Propeller Box and Boomerang Flower, and is simply a joy to play.
Monster Hunter Generations
Monster Hunter Generations is the newest iteration of Capcom's popular action-RPG series, and it's also the most accessible. As the name suggests, you'll still be hunting down monsters with lots of crazy weapons, except now you'll be able to customize your character more deeply and utilize stylish "Hunter Arts" attacks. You can play through all of Monster Hunter Generations with up to three friends, and Capcom has offered tons of free downloadable content since launch.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Originally released for Nintendo 64 in 2000, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is simultaneously one of the most beloved and one of the most polarizing games in the legendary adventure series. The uncharacteristically dark title thrusts Link into the land of Termina, where he has only 72 hours to prevent the end of the world. This creates a gameplay flow unlike any other Zelda title, as Link must accomplish as many tasks as possible within the three-day cycle before traveling back in time right before everything crumbles. The updated 3DS version of this classic sports spruced-up graphics, gyroscope and touch-screen controls, and a save-game system that's far more forgiving than that of the original.
You have to respect Bravely Default, which features an introduction sequence that literally asks you to promise to finish the game before you've even begun. This charming pocket-size adventure maintains a balance between epic high fantasy and a lighthearted sense of humor throughout. Harkening back to classic Japanese role-playing games, Bravely Default puts players in charge of a group of young characters — two girls and two boys — on a long world-saving mission with lots of twists and turns. Battle is turn-based, allowing players to plan powerful combined attacks with multiple fighters.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
For years, Nintendo 3DS owners have loved the quirky puzzles of the Professor Layton series, as well as the courtroom drama of the Phoenix Wright series. So why not combine the two? Released in 2014 in the U.S., Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is part puzzle game, part visual novel, and a whole lot of fun.