Nintendo is in a bit of a weird place with its current flagship console. The Nintendo Switch fused its home console and handheld console business into one, but the original Switch was meant to live alongside the massively successful Nintendo 3DS.
It makes sense, since although the Switch is the most powerful handheld console in the world, it isn’t pocketable. Now however, the Switch Lite is on the horizon and it seems that the venerable 3DS is finally getting a true successor.
The Switch Lite is smaller, but still packs all the same horsepower. For 3DS users who have held off on buying a Switch because they have no interest in TV-connected play, this smaller and cheaper console signals that the time to upgrade is now.
But before you make the leap to the Switch generation, there are a few titles you should really give a chance before chucking that 3DS in a drawer. These are the perfect games to give your 3DS one last go before that Switch Lite arrives in the mail.
Fire Emblem Awakening
The Fire Emblem series is as old as Nintendo’s console business itself. Catering to a more hardcore SJRPG crowd, its tough strategic challenge and unit permadeath limited the appeal of the games. The team that made Fire Emblem Awakening thought it was probably the last FE game anyone would make. It turns out this fresh take on the FE formula created smash-hit gold.
Since then, we’ve seen three new mainline entries in the series – Fates, Echoes and Three Houses. If you somehow missed picking up a copy of Awakening, it’s the perfect introduction to the new series of games. You’ll need a good primer too, since Three Houses is cleaning up on Switch and it a must-own title for that console.
In Awakening, you play an amnesiac tactician who joins up with a bunch of royal children and many more colorful characters. The quest to defeat a dark dragon is a long one filled with a massive amount of things to do on the way. Not least of which is marrying off your troops to each other to breed superior children.
Your own character can pursue love as well, and its this dating sim slash strategic chess formula that catapulted Awakening to the top. Its successor on the 3DS, Fates, is arguably more content rich and polished, but Awakening is special in a way that Fates isn’t.
Pokemon Sun and Moon
Between excellent remakes such as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and a large selection of Virtual Console games, the 3DS might just be the ultimate Pokemon machine. Now the Switch is finally getting a mainline Pokemon entry in the form of Sword and Shield.
Undoubtedly, these will be franchise fan-pleasers, but until then, the freshest take on the Pokemon formula comes in the shape of Sun and Moon.
If you’ve been out of the Pokemon world for a while, these games will be a welcome surprise. A new take on the tournament formula, much more polish and lots of interesting Pokemon along with a unique island setting.
Before you forget all about your 3DS you need to give the island of Alola a visit.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is widely considered one of the best games ever made. It’s certainly the best 3D Zelda, but A Link to the Past is still the best 2D Zelda and arguably the top Zelda overall.
If you’re a fan of A Link to the Past, you owe it to yourself to play A Link Between Worlds. It’s both a great tribute to the SNES original and a fantastic game in its own right. It’s also one of the few games to make proper use of the 3D visuals unique to the 3DS, with depth perception playing a part in some dungeon puzzles.
XenoBlade Chronicles 3D (New 3DS Only)
The Xeno series has some real gems in its series, with the original Xenogears game on the PS1 still eminently worthy of a play-through. The stories tend to be off-the-wall with interesting characters and innovative battle mechanics.
XenoBlade Chronicles originally debuted on the Wii, but somehow the developers managed to stuff this gigantic, open-world RPG into a 3DS. This is one of the few titles that absolutely requires the extra power of the “New” 3DS, but it’s worth it.
Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon
The Switch is getting a brand new, highly-anticipated Luigi’s Mansion game. If you have a 3DS however, you can experience the unique ghost-busting gameplay right now with the excellent Dark Moon.
Mario’s poor abused brother gets to star in a very Halloween-appropriate series of games that are way tougher than the cutesy graphics suggest. Dark Moon looks fantastic on the 3DS and showcases some of the best graphics and lighting effects on the machine. A definite 3DS bucket list title.
The 3DS is weirdly lacking in quality original JRPGs, with the contemporary PS Vita seemingly the premium target for all that turn-based goodness. However, Bravely Default makes the argument for quality over quantity.
While the Switch offers quirky retro fare such as Octopath Traveller, Bravely Default brings a gorgeous art-style, unique battle mechanics and epic story to the small 3D screen.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King
While Dragon Quest VIII was originally a PS3 title, the 3DS version is without a doubt the best version of the game. It’s certainly far superior to the version we got on mobile devices, with its lack of voice acting, forced portrait mode and poor frame rate.
The 3DS version, on the other hand, has perfect performance, a wonderful musical score and great voice acting. It also has a fantastic cast of interesting characters and a sharply-written story.
This is the right game to play while we wait for Dragon Quest XI to hit the Switch later in 2019.