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What are the best 3DS eShop games?

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Before the grim reaper of storefront closure comes to the 3DS eShop, I'd like to bolster my 3DS download library, throw a few bucks preferably at small developers, and make sure I don't miss out on experiences that make the most of the device's 3D capabilities, which I am apparently one of the few fans of. Surprisingly, there are very, very few retrospectives about the 3DS e-shop. It may not have had as many remarkable hidden gems as the Wii U's or the DSi's, but it has a ton of content, even if you filter out the shovelware. I've bought a ton over the years, but I'm sure I haven't gotten everything worth playing.

 

What are your favorite 3DS games, especially exclusives, especially ones that take the best advantage of the 3D?

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I’d have to look at my 3DS later when I’m home, but one that comes immediately to mind is Pocket Card Jockey. It’s a super fun and addictive horse racing game that’s worth checking out.

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Here are some of my favorites:

 

Platformers/Run'n'Gun:

 

The Box Boy trilogy - very inventive puzzle platformers that rarely outstay their welcome, unlike other Nintendo efforts (ahem Pushmo)

Fluidity: Spin Cycle - the mascotified version of this game is not as appealing as the Wii original, but the motion controls arguably work better with the handheld device.

Gunman Clive 1 & 2 - pretty basic run and gun games, but very appealing visually and a lot of fun.

Gurumin 3D - Just really cute, solid little 3d platform/RPG.

Xeodrifter - FANTASTIC Metroidvania. I liked it a lot better than the outsourced 3D Metroid game, to be honest.

Mutant Mudds/Super Challenge - I don't see any point in playing this game if you're not playing the 3D version. OK, that's a little harsh, but the presentation is so good here I can't imagine playing it any other way. Super Challenge is kind of piggishly hard, more so than was fun for me, but the original is superb.

Elliot Quest - I know this is on a bunch of other platforms, but I really liked it in 3D. The 3D is subtle but effective.

Cave Story - NOT Cave Story 3D, with its weird 3D rendered blobs. No, this is just Cave Story, again, but the pixels are 3D. I like it.

Ikachan - from Studio Pixel, this is like Ecco the Dolphin except not made by sadists.

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse - I think probably my favorite Shantae game, though it's never been one of my favorite series.

 

Arcade:

 

Sega 3D Classics not included in the Sega 3D Classics Collection - the physical release is the best way to get Altered Beast, Fantasy Zone II W, Galaxy Force II, Sonic 1, and Thunderblade, plus there are five exclusive other games. But Ecco the Dolphin, Out Run, Hang On, Afterburner, Space Harrier, Sonic 2, Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage I & II, Shinobi III are all excellent if you like 3D graphics.

Nintendo 3D classics - my favorites are Kid Icarus, TwinBee, Excitebike, Kirby's Adventure. Xevious doesn't gain much, and Urban Champion... ‘nuff said.

Woah Dave - a weird cross of, I dunno, Mario Brothers and Joust, it looks great in 3D.

Love Hero - a game about sex, I guess? with unlockable photos of IV bags and I don't know what else? it's ultimately a very basic shoot-and-avoid game, but it's pretty memorable between the graphics and sound design.

Siesta Fiesta - Breakout meets Loco Roco. If you have a high tolerance for cheerfulness, this is a pretty, rewarding time waster.

Dot Runner Complete Edition - you rarely get to look at the top screen, but I had fun with this anyway.

escapeVektor - basically City Connection with vector-ish graphics and no gravity? Nice use of 3D and solid challenge.

 

Racing:

 

80's Overdrive - Overlook the generic logo and forgive the slightly rough game mechanics, and this is a gorgeous game with some significant depth and even a track creator. Some of the deepest 3D effect on the system. Outrun is better, but this is rewarding if you've had enough of that.

 

Adventure:

 

Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice games - While I prefer the more pixelated art of the original DS games, the 3D versions look pretty nice. I would not want to play this series without a stylus.

Chase Cold Case Investigations - do you miss Cing? This is the last game made in the Cing style by the remnants of the Another Code/Hotel Dusk team. It's short, but a little closer to the Hotel Dusk mood than Again for the DS (the previous post-Cing adventure). It's a must-play for fans of Cing's muted, wistful style, even if the lead detective is an asshole to an extent that nobody in any other Cing game was.

Fairune - this is almost shovelware but it has a certain spark. I kept going through the end.

Starship Damrey - a fun little point and click game that got a lot of hate for some reason. It was an interesting game I liked a lot.

 

RPG:

 

Crimson Shroud - I've never really been a tabletop RPG player, but this is a great video game approximation of one.

The Keep - Stonekeep style dungeon crawler with nice 3D. Starts slow but gets better and better.

Weapon Shop de Omasse - this crafting sim is kind of ridiculously addictive. I lost my saved game when my 3DS was stolen in 2016 and I never had the heart to play it again.

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale - such a sweet little game. Possibly one of my happiest 3DS memories.

Picdun 2: Witch's Curse - despite the very unwelcome addition of "sexy" support characters who do not look like adults, who are the ones doing all the attacking, the core mechanics of this dungeon-crawler-meets-picross are still compelling, and the art is still great. I would have played this a lot more without the loli garbage. Sigh.

Ambition of the Slimes - this is a hilarious role reversal, with slimes possessing RPG heroes and making them kill their companions. In a funny way. This is a nice little tactical RPG with pretty small playfields.

 

FPS:

 

Moon Chronicles - Moon was very impressive on the DS. It is less impressive on the 3DS, but it's also 3D. I liked this version better.

 

Puzzle:

 

Picross 3D Round 2 - Picross 3D, but in 3D this time.

Pushmo series - The first game is great, the second didn't do it for me, the third is better than the second but not as good as the first. At least download the first.

Tokyo Crash Mobs - OK, it's just Puzz Loop (better known as the Popcap ripoff Zuma) again, but with crazy FMV graphics. It's not a great game, but boy, is it visually memorable.

My Nintendo Zelda Twilight Princess Picross - Picross is a lot better if you care about the objects you're uncovering in puzzles, and this is a great demonstration of that. I don't know if it's available anymore, but this was great. Only available free from My Nintendo.

Puzzler World 2013 - so many puzzles.

 

Shmups:

 

Futuridium EP Deluxe - I don't know if this is officially sanctioned, but let me clarify: FutURIDIUM. It's pretty much trying to be Uridium in 3D from a behind the ship perspective. Not quite that good, but if you like Uridium, it's great.

Karou: The Beast of Re:Eden - kind of brute force and grey, but the gun vs. sword dynamic and the fact you're constantly making progress even if you suck is fun. It looks like it was supposed to be 3D but it isn't. If you can get past that disappointment, it's pretty fun.

Liberation Maiden - Not the best shmup, but for a game by non-experts in the genre it's pretty entertaining.

Steel Empire - this would have done better as 3dified pixel art from the Genesis version than these dumbed-down 3d renders, but, heck, it's still Steel Empire.

 

Other:

 

Ultimate NES Remix - the individual Wii U compilations were better, but this is so stuffed with content that it's a must-have.

Rhythm Thief - okay, this was released physically, but the price that it commands on cart means you're better off downloading. This rhythm game isn't a patch on the Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents series, which is the core inspiration of its gameplay, but in a game world more akin to Professor Layton crossed with Dan Brown. Weeeeeeeeird stuff from Sega.

Rusty's Real Deal Baseball - This collection of baseball-themed minigames sold to you by a depressed dog in a midlife crisis is possibly one of the most memorable gaming experiences on the 3DS. Microtransactions have never felt more... pity-induced before.

 

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IronFall Invasion is a impressive TPS, even though I didn't play it much. I think it's free-to-play or something.

Cursed Castilla is the best version of the game imho.

Ishi-Sengoku-Den Sadame was very disappointing to me (as 80's Overdrive was) but features one of the most gorgeous 2D pixelart.

 

But I think you've named the best ones already. I hope you got Phoenix Wright (not sure if it's 5 or 6) DLC, it's a great whole new case - one of the most generous DLC I've ever seen with Mario Kart 8's. Apparently I didn't miss a lot, but I run out of space anyway. 😅

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11 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

Cursed Castilla is the best version of the game imho.

High on my list of games to buy before the lights go out, even if I am one of the worst G&G players on earth.

 

I got 80’s Overdrive for $2 and really enjoyed the over the top 3D and the music. I don’t think I would buy it on Switch or other platforms without the ludicrously deep 3D.

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I hope you got Phoenix Wright (not sure if it's 5 or 6) DLC, it's a great whole new case - one of the most generous DLC I've ever seen with Mario Kart 8's.

I am almost certain I bought and completed any scrap of Ace Attorneyiania I could find and read (alas, no Ace Attorney vs Layton 2 until I learn Japanese), but I will double double check.

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There was a Ace Attorney vs Layton 2?? Don't you mean the Great Ace Attorney games instead? They're rumored to arrive on Switch, but I feel heartbroken to play them in 2D. 😔

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Depending on your region, Shin Megami Tensei IV may be eshop only... which means it counts and you should get it! It's only probably the best game released in the past decade.

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I know it's a bit of a cheat, but, Pokemon Crystal is emulated on the eshop and it's like the definitive version of 8bit Pokemon given it's the 1.5v of Gold/Silver and then after that's over, the back end basically is the original Yellow kind of with the full map, spread of pokemon, gym leaders, etc.  It's like having 2 generations rolled into one definitive adventure.

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7 minutes ago, Tanooki said:

I know it's a bit of a cheat, but, Pokemon Crystal is emulated on the eshop and it's like the definitive version of 8bit Pokemon given it's the 1.5v of Gold/Silver and then after that's over, the back end basically is the original Yellow kind of with the full map, spread of pokemon, gym leaders, etc.  It's like having 2 generations rolled into one definitive adventure.

And it sells for $100 cart only. Sheesh. I guess I will pick that up, even if Blue was the only true Pokemon game I ever really played.

 

There are a lot of cases where eShop Virtual Console prices are way under the going rate: Tails Adventures is probably my favorite game among them, but also Recca Summer Carnival ‘92, Vampire Master of Darkness, Shining Force Sword of Hajya, Trip World (EU only), Shantae, Sword of Hope II, and so on.

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Yeah Pokemon turned into hard core poke-crack addiction as far as rampant prices and demand in the last year or so.  That game had sat for awhile around about $50 now it's double.  Glad I got it like 5 years ago about now with a few other nice ones in a local lot with a GBC I got for my kid as her first handheld.  She got yellow, I kept Crystal. :D

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