The Best 3DS Games of 2015

The best of 2015 in the palm of your hand.

By Andy Hoover. Posted 01/05/2016 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

Considering the last few years, 2015 had a heck of a lot to live up to. 3DS has been on a roll and while that trend definitely continued, I don’t think anyone can be blamed for saying that 2015 wasn’t quite as strong as a year. That being said, there were still plenty of great games to keep handheld gamers satisfied, especially if said gamer is a fan of some much deserved remakes. Here are 2015’s best reasons to game on the go.


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

Majora’s Mask has an interesting history; it followed close in the footsteps of Ocarina of Time and while it garnered good reviews, Ocarina spent years getting all the love. Fifteen years later and things have changed, as more and more fans have started to recognize Majora for its darker themes, compelling world, and innovative three day structure, and Nintendo was kind enough to give a new era of gamers the opportunity to see what plenty of folks missed. Like the Ocarina remake, Majora’s Mask 3D features quite a few tweaks that add up to make an all around better feeling, more modern game along with some great visual improvements that make great use of the system’s 3D effects. Some might say it’s an easy way out to select a remake as one of best games of the year, but this award is truly a testament to how good the original was, and how well the developers updated the experience.


The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

The Legend of Zelda makes its second appearance on the list, ironically enough in a game that doesn’t actually feature Zelda, or Link for that matter. Tri Force Heroes was an interesting gamble, a second crack at turning one of the greatest single player franchises into a multiplayer experience. Plenty of people have pointed out the faults in this particular experiment, but to dwell on the game’s single player short comings is to ignore quite possibly the best cooperative experience of the year. Nintendo took the great puzzles and memorable boss fights the franchise is known for and worked its magic to make them work for three players in some shockingly brilliant ways. Topping off the package is some fantastic replay value, thanks to a slew of creative, game-altering costumes and even updates featuring significant amounts of new content.

Yo-kai Watch

At first glance, Yo-kai Watch could be confused for a cynical Pokémon clone, but the fact that this franchise has grown to a genuine global powerhouse should be your first clue that there’s more going on here. First of all, Level-5 knows how to make great JRPGs and the studio’s talent is on display throughout Yo-kai Watch, adding great twists to the formula of collecting monsters and engaging them in turn-based battles. But no praise for Yo-kai Watch would be complete without a round of applause for the localization team, who took a charming and creative world filled with idiosyncrasies from Japanese culture and folklore and managed to capture all of the intent while still making everything feel relevant to non-Japanese audiences.


Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

If Majora’s Mask 3D is a shining example of how to remake a much older game for more advanced hardware, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D shows how you squeeze a massive, epic of game into a handheld. Xenoblade earned immense praise as one of the best JRPGs in decades upon its release on Wii thanks to its beautiful, creative world, memorable characters, and fantastic plot, and every single ounce of that has been crammed into a 3DS cartridge. Yes, the fact that it’s only available on New 3DS might limit the market, but the fact that it’s on there isn’t just a great example of what the new hardware is capable of– it’s also a fantastic argument in and of itself for picking one up for yourself. If you’ve never played the original, then you owe it to yourself to pick it up, and if you already have played, then you already know that you want it.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

With each passing entry, Monster Hunter has grown, both in terms of popularity and in quality, so it should come as no surprise that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the zenith of an already acclaimed franchise and one of the best games of the year. Though the sheer volume of content and systems might put off some gamers, Monster Hunter 4 is a treasure trove for gamers who want to sink their teeth into something thick and meaty. And even if what’s there isn’t enough, there is still the great free content that Capcom gave gamers. Beyond the voluminous size of the package, MH4 also offers great mechanics, challenging gameplay that rewards your investment, and one of the best co-op experiences of the year, regardless of platform.


These are our picks for 2015’s best reasons to pick up your 3DS, but what do you think? Please, let us know below and if something else comes to mind, choose “Other” and then sound off in the comments.

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