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The Best Nintendo 3DS eShop Games

The Nintendo eShop has something of a mixed reputation. Criticised for having full price retail games for the maximum possible RRP, and for having iPhone quality games for many times what they would cost on iOS.

However, this isn’t the whole truth. Yes, there are the expensive, ‘big’ games such as Luigi’s Mansion 2, Fire Emblem and Mario Kart 7, and there are a few games that are barely more than mobile games dressed up with a big price tag, but there are also some absolute gems to be found.

These games offer a decent gameplay experience that is far, far better than anything on mobile, for a price that is fair and reasonable. Yes, you read that correctly; these are games that are sold in a Nintendo online store that are priced correctly. You don’t hear that every day.

Now, this list is composed of only 3DS exclusive, downloadable games, so not from the Virtual Console section or from the ‘download versions’ section, but mainly from the ‘download exclusives’ section on the main page.

Click the thumbnails for the full sized images.

Dillon’s Rolling WesternDillon's Rolling Western

This really is something special, and could easily have been released as a retail package. Imagine a mix of Zelda, a tower defence game and an old-fashioned western, and you might have some idea have to expect here. You have to defend villages from an onslaught by exploring massive environments, building towers, mining and fighting with a cool sliding mechanism. The Zelda overtones extend to the sounds that play when finding treasure and opening secret doors to dungeons, and it has the same sheen of pure quality running throughout. An absolute steal at £8.99, this should be the very first thing you buy from the eShop.


Another game that could easily be released as a retail product, Pullblox was created by the geniuses at Intelligent Systems, who have embedded a rich vein of quality throughout this superb platform puzzle game. The idea is to guide a hamster/sumo/thing to the top of a variety of shapes by using platforming skills and pulling and pushing blocks in and out. It sounds simple, and it starts that way, but the puzzles soon get incredibly fiendish. The outrageously cute look and snappy controls will keep you coming back to finish the many levels here, and there is even a full on level editor built-in to create whatever puerile, childish shapes you want.

Liberation MaidenLiberation Maiden 3DS

Now, this is also available on the iPhone, where it plays like I would imagine Halo would play if you played it by rubbing a 360 controller all over your own face. Tricky. It finds its real home on 3DS, which also runs the game far more smoothly. This is one of those crazy Japanese flight games where you buzz around levels, destroying giant mechs and the like, and it really is good value, with a natural replayability and just the right level of chaos that means the screen doesn’t become too cluttered. It still has ridiculous missile trails, however.

Mighty Switch ForceMighty Switch Force 3DS

Wayforward are a great little developer, and they prove it again with this top-notch platform game that looks stunning, and plays even better. If you ever look at old SNES and Megadrive games and wonder why they don’t make games like that anymore, well they do, you just need to look harder these days to separate the crap from the quality. The game lets you use switches to change-up the environment, providing rich puzzles that flow along with the old school platform combat nicely, and this is the kind of game that you can lose hours at a time to- hours you won’t want back.

3D Classics Xeviousxevious-3d-007

So, this is strictly just a 3D-enabled version of the NES classic, Xevious. I chose this over the other 3D Classics, simply because the 3D actually really works well here, and gives a real sense of vertigo, and the new, wider play area, along with the new scrolling clouds gives the game a real feeling of ‘newness’, missing from the other titles. The fact that the scores are displayed on the bottom screen, decluttering the gameplay area, really helps. The game still plays as well as ever, and looks as sharp as a tack on 3DS which makes it so much better value than the standard ROM dumps found in the Virtual Console. Loved it back in the day? Fall in love all over again, this time from thousands of feet in the air.

Check out our reviews of Fire Emblem: Awakening and Gunman Clive for 3DS!

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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One Comment

  1. If we have missed anything, let us know and we will add it to the list 🙂

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