The 15 Most Played Nintendo 3DS Games

Nintendo 3DS is a handheld console that many gamers – both hardcore and casual players alike – have fallen in love with. It had a ten-year run, and its popularity continues to grow. 

Given its huge community, it is no surprise that there’s a lot of resistance to the console platform that replaced it: the Nintendo Switch. 

If you are curious about Nintendo 3DS or are already a user and would like some ideas on which titles to get next, here is a shortlist of the most-played Nintendo 3DS games. 

Now, please understand that just because a game is popular doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good. At the end of the day, what makes a game excellent, good, passable, or flat-out mediocre truly depends on what your expectations and preferences are. 

But there is a lot to consider when a game title has reached a certain level of popularity. After all, those games don’t sell themselves without reason. 

There’s something about these games that have continued to attract quite a bit of following from a wide range of people from all over the world. These games are not free, and the fact that people are ponying up their hard-earned dollars to play these games means that there’s something about them that you should at least look into. 

So without any further adieu, here are the 15 most-played Nintendo 3DS games that gamers have simply fallen in love with over the years. 

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Originally released in June 2011, one of the things that turned a lot of heads about this game title is that it got almost a universal positive rating. That’s right. Even the most hardcore and jaded games review websites gave this title a two thumbs up. 

It’s easy to see why. Its 3D graphics experience is just mind-blowing – both at the time it was released and even up to now. That’s saying a lot. 

If you love The Legend of Zelda and want to play a video game adventure that follows the story of Hyrule, Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, get this title. You won’t be disappointed. 

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Originally released in February 2013, this battle or strategy game is a great pick. If you like to play with a team and develop a playing relationship with your team members, this game will definitely get you hooked. 

It has a wide variety of characters from different nations and backgrounds and makes for a long playing experience. 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 

This title was released in November of 2013. It came from the tried and proven Legend of Zelda franchise. 

What made this distinctive is that its new storyline is set in the world of The Legend of Zelda. Its new storyline connects many different players from existing lore without degrading the gameplay and everything that has made the Legend of Zelda franchise such a tried and proven brand in the hypercompetitive gaming market. 

Shovel Knight 

This is an action-adventure game with a retro 8-bit look. Don’t let its appearance fool you, though. When you play as the Shovel Knight in a bid to defeat the Evil Enchantress and save your beloved, you go through a lot of different stages, and it’s very easy to get hooked. 

It is very simple to play but makes for hours of fun. 

Super Mario 3D Land 

Originally released in November 2011, this title offers a new spin on the Super Mario classic. You can play in 3D without having to put on special 3D glasses. 

This new sense of depth really makes for a truly immersive and enjoyable experience. You get to experience depth, distance, and speed in a completely different way. 

Also, when it comes to Mario characters, you can’t help but fall in love with Tanooki Mario. 


This is a puzzle action game. On the surface, it might look pretty standard and basic. But these pull-and-push blocks can be quite addictive. 

Released in December 2011, it has led many unwitting gamers to spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours trying to unlock all the different puzzle stages in it. It has a lot to offer despite its simplistic appearance. 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D 

Released in the middle of the Nintendo 3DS run in February 2015, this Legend of Zelda franchise member has a storyline where a Skull Kid personifies mischief and mystery in the lost woods. The mask morphs into something terrifying. 

But there is something that is quite familiar with this game because a lot of the challenges actually came from the Hero of Time installment. 

3D Gunstar Heroes 

Released in August 2015, this game features Colonel Red, who kidnapped Gunstar’s twin older brother and disrupted the peace in Gunstar Planet 9. It’s a very simple storyline, but when you battle the enemies and bosses all the way to stopping the dictator, it makes for a lot of thrills, chills, and spills. 

3D Streets of Rage 2 

If you’re into fighting games, this game has a lot to offer. First, you get new characters like Axel and Blaze Max Thunder, as well as other amazing new characters. 

It also features a two-player head-to-head mode, so you can show off your fighting skills mano a mano. 

Colors! 3D 

This painting application makes a powerful painting tool: quick, easy-to-use, and quite practical. This was released in 2012 and is still useful to this very day. 

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward 

The second installment in the Zero Escape series, this 2012 release features two types of gameplay: novel and escape. If you’re into story-based gameplay, try the novel option. But if you just want a free-form experience so that you can get a good look and feel for this game, try the escape option. 

Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition 

This game includes all three versions in one cartridge: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. Released in 2016, this war strategy and conquest game proved quite addicting. You can easily pick it up, but I can’t guarantee you will be able to put it down, especially if you’re big into games like Risk and similar type games. 

Pokemon Y 

This is one of the first mainline Pokemon games that were ported to the 3DS platform. You roleplay with adventure elements. This features a 3D person perspective with an overhead. Such an angle enables more dynamic battles and allows the user an interesting perspective. 

Fire Emblem Fates Revelation 

The downside to this tactical roleplaying game is that it requires a full version of the game Fire Emblem Fates Conquest or Fire Emblem Fates Birthright. With that out of the way, though, this makes for a very addictive game, especially if you like tactical games where you’re thinking on your feet. 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf 

There’s just something about Animal Crossing that makes you either hate it or love it. If you’re a big Animal Crossing fan, as well as a Nintendo 3DS community member, you might want to pick this up. 

It’s a real-life simulation video game. You explore the sights, sounds, places, and activities as the villager you control explores different towns, talks to residents, and participates in activities.