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10 3DS eShop Games Worth Checking Out

by Wayne Stainrook on Aug 08, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Three years ago, the Nintendo 3DS had just hit the market. With the smartphone revolution in full swing, many wondered if dedicated portable-gaming consoles still even stood a chance in today’s tech landscape.

Flash forward to present day, and the 3DS serves as the home to several hit titles, including Animal Crossing: New Leaf, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Fire Emblem Awakening. Though 3D didn’t quite prove to be the game-changer it set out to be, fans still have plenty to be excited for with Code Name S.T.E.A.M. and Super Smash Bros.

And even if it’s not as robust as many would like, the eShop still offers some games to keep things fresh in between the blockbuster titles. Whether you’re looking for something new, running on a tight budget, or just delving into 3DS, here are our choices for eShop titles that are worth checking out.

Hey! Listen: All titles listed here are original 3DS titles, so classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Mega Man series won’t make an appearance. Also, you already know how much we love Shovel Knight, so we think it’s only fair to let some other titles into the spotlight.

Picross e
Remember Picross? It’s back, in downloadable form. Wonderfully suited for on-the-go rounds and stylus touch controls, Picross still stands tall as a rewarding, numbers-based puzzle game. Plus, there are four different versions to choose from, so prepare to sink your teeth in deep.

Mighty Switch Force!
From WayForward, the same folks who brought you Shantae, comes another side-scrolling gem. Though a bit on the short side, Mighty Switch Force (and its sequel) has you rotate blocks between the foreground and background to reach the end of each stage, with some running and gunning thrown in for good measure. 

Take an original idea for a mind-bending puzzle game, wrap it up in a cutesy sumo aesthetic, incorporate the 3DS’ signature feature, and you’ve got two games that we can recommend without reservation. If you could pick only one game from this list, make it a ‘Mo game (though we do prefer Crashmo a bit more than the original).

Dillon’s Rolling Western
A blend of touchscreen controls, tower defense, and resource management, Dillon’s Rolling Western puts you in the shoes of an armadillo who rolls into invading rock people. We like both the original and its sequel, The Last Ranger, well enough, so you can’t go wrong with either (though playing both might prove too repetitive for some).

Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball
Yes, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball adheres to the oft-maligned free-to-play model, but we’ve never seen it quite like this. Although it’s a mini-game collection, the real game is getting to know Rusty through direct interaction with him and his family, trying to learn just the right buttons to push to haggle your way into paying as little real-world money as possible for his collection of distractions.

From the folks who brought you Pokemon, HarmoKnight is a musical runner featuring a boy named Tempo. Jumping around and swinging his eighth-note staff through colorful stages and cheerful melodies, Tempo’s adventure offers plenty of charm. 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies
A bit more mainstream than most titles on this list, the eShop is the only way to play the latest in Capcom’s murder mystery series (for now, at least). With fully realized 3D visuals and overflowing with personality, Dual Destinies continues the series’ legacy of tense courtroom verbal volleys and lots of reading (which, depending on your tastes, could be a deal-breaker).

1001 Spikes
A game that takes the frustrating difficulty of 8-bit games and strains it to its limits, 1001 Spikes (a revamp of 2011’s Aban Hawkins & The 1000 Spikes) demands the utmost concentration. With a high jump and short jump each dedicated to their own respective buttons, it’s almost like a rhythm-based platformer, except you often won’t know what the next note is until after it’s too late.

Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword
Punch-Out!! is available on the eShop, but, if you’re looking for a variation on the precision dueling archetype, Sakura Samurai is your best bet. With graphics reminiscent of the N64 era, upgradeable sword skills, and a healthy variety of enemies to keep things fresh, Sakura Samurai is a quick little game that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
Though it has a simple card game and the standard exploration you’d come to expect from a video game, these elements aren’t Friday Monsters’s main draw. Tokyo Tale is about the story of a boy and his imagination, a vignette of a slice of time, and cool-looking kaiju, and, frankly, that’s awesome.