The 12 Biggest Nintendo 3DS Online Store Exclusive Games
On March 27, 2023, Nintendo closes the 3DS eShop. After this date, you will no longer be able to purchase digital 3DS games. It’s not too surprising, considering the 3DS launched over a decade ago, but it’s still sad to see the final nail in the coffin of this great portable system.
Closing the 3DS eShop is terrible for game preservation, especially because it’s home to so many great games that you can’t physically buy. This means that there will be no legal way to obtain and play these games if you did not purchase them before March 2023.
As such, we’ve put together a list of the best games only available on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Get them before it’s too late.
Gaming’s biggest advocate would certainly argue against shutting down the 3DS eShop, especially when two of its games are exclusive to the store. You can’t go wrong with Dual Destinies or Spirit of Justice. These two visual novel adventures blend the series’ courtroom and investigative gameplay with fantasy and brand wit.
If you have time, grab the original trilogy on the Switch first and play the series in order.
A spin-off entry in this long-running puzzle series; this time, Donkey Kong teams up with Mario and Pauline, rather than battling them.
Your goal is to make paths to guide the Mini toys to the goal, through 180 challenging and charming levels. There’s even a simple level builder, ensuring the fun continues for endless hours.
In this tower defense game, Dillon is an armadillo ranger who protects villages from rock monster invaders alongside his squirrel sidekick Russ. With a cool Wild West setting and a mix of playstyles, you gather resources and build defenses, then fight through the night.
If Rolling Western entertains you, there are two even better suites.
If you like Japanese culture or if you like narrative games, you owe it to yourself to play Attack of the Friday Monsters.
The episodic story is led by Sohta, a young boy who lives in a town that sees a giant monster appear at the end of each week; he pursues quests, participates in card battles and learns friendship.
Nintendo has never been a company to shy away from innovation or weirdness. These two elements combine perfectly in Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, a free-to-play baseball game made up of purchasable mini-games.
You have to haggle with Rusty to lower the cost of these games, using weird items like donuts and hair clippers. The games are surprisingly enjoyable (shoot down the UFOs!) and the dialogue is a hoot.
Don’t let BoxBoy’s basic visual style turn you away. Take control of Qbby and create boxes to help them navigate through levels and past obstacles.
Give this puzzle-platformer a chance and you’ll find an inventive game that has unexpected depth. There are also challenge modes to keep you hooked, as well as a handful of sequels.
Developer Game Freak is primarily known for making Pokémon games, so HarmoKnight provides a welcome change of pace.
This fast-paced rhythm game has you racing through levels, your actions working to the beat of the music, and teaming up with a warrior, archer, and monkey to use their unique abilities. It’s fun to tap your feet.
Just watch a Pushmo trailer and you’ll immediately be wowed by its charming round Mallo character, colorful graphics, and upbeat music.
In Pushmo, you move blocks to climb through increasingly complex levels and rescue trapped creatures. There are over 250 levels to crack, plus a tool to design your own.
Using the 3DS’ augmented reality feature, the Denpa Men RPG lets you scan your surroundings to find funky characters that you use to throw a party and explore dungeons. The Denpa Men have unique personalities and skills, so deploy them carefully as you roam and fight.
It’s a bit silly, but a neat application of VR technology nonetheless.
You probably played some version of Breakout in your day. Siesta Fiesta takes classic arcade gameplay and applies the kitchen sink: power-ups, goofy items, and boss bottles all come into play as you bounce through eight colorful regions.
Perhaps all you need to know to appreciate Siesta Fiesta’s appeal is that you’re using the titular character’s bed as a paddle. Made the feast !
There are plenty of Picross games to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with Picross 3D: Round 2, where you solve 3D puzzles to reveal the hidden objects inside. You can also select the difficulty level, making it ideal for all ages.
Although this game was released physically in Europe and Australia, it is digital only in North America. Since the 3DS is region locked, the eShop is the only way to get it.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix is another game that was only released digitally in North America. It offers a wealth of rhythm-based games to play, mixing new ones with the greatest hits from previous entries in the series.
Don’t let the bright visuals fool you; it’s not as easy to keep up the pace as you might think, but it’s still a good time.
Emulating 3DS games just isn’t the same
Some of the best-known games on this list may eventually be available through other means, like porting to the Nintendo Switch, or you can play them on another platform through emulation. But it doesn’t provide the true 3DS experience, like 3D, dual screens, and touch functionality.
For now, stock up on the wide variety of 3DS eShop exclusive games while you can.