The Best Nintendo 3DS Games of 2017

Nintendojo celebrates the best 3DS games of the year!

By Kyle England. Posted 01/04/2018 19:30 Comment on this     ShareThis

The Nintendo 3DS continued to be the gift that kept on giving in 2017. Despite all expectations that Nintendo Switch would eclipse the aging machine, it shows no signs of stopping just yet. We are in the seventh year of support, and there has never been a better (or cheaper) time to enjoy the deep library of content available on the 3DS family. And don’t forget that we can still play our DS games 13 years later, as well!

Many high-profile releases graced the 3DS at a steady pace throughout 2017; returns, remakes, reimaginings, and smaller, more experimental games graced the handheld. Nintendo even released a brand-new hardware revision— the New Nintendo 2DS XL— that is one the best machines yet.

Still, all eyes are turning to Nintendo Switch in the future. Will 3DS be the last dedicated portable we ever see? 2018 has several Nintendo 3DS titles on the docket, but will it finally be the year that the device sunsets?

For now, here are the best Nintendo 3DS games of 2017, as voted on by Nintendojo’s writers.


Metroid: Samus Returns

It was absolutely worth the wait. One of the biggest surprises of 2017 came when Nintendo announced not one, but two new Metroid games at E3. Just a few months later we were graced with Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS, which was one of the best games of the year.

This key piece of the Metroid saga was totally reimagined and retold for a new generation. Developer MercurySteam reinvigorated 2D Metroid gameplay with evolutions that streamline traversal, intensify the action, and reward exploration. Beautiful graphics, atmospheric set pieces, and fluid motion set the stage for a game that surprised and delighted us at every turn. What could have been a simple remake went so much further.

Metroid: Samus Returns was the most compelling reason to bring out the 3DS in 2017. It’s a landmark title that blew away expectations and managed to eke even more magic out of the 3DS hardware. Samus Returns is one of the best 2D action games in years, and points to a bright future for Metroid.


Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

As it usually goes, Game Freak saved the best for last in Pokémon Generation VII. The enhanced versions of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon give trainers one last chance to battle, trade, and explore in Alola on 3DS. Ride that wave, cousin!

Just when you finished filling out your old Pokédex, you get a wealth of surprising features to explore anew. An alternate storyline, a new Alola Pokédex, new Ultra Beasts, new Z-Moves, new Pokémon forms, new places to go, and new foes to battle are packed into the games.

They fall just short of our best 3DS game of the year because it’s only been a year since we last explored Alola– but they’re still some of the best games in 2017. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon comprise the definitive experience for Pokémon on Nintendo 3DS, and we’re excited to see where the series goes on Switch.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

Let’s a-go! The Mario & Luigi series has done incredibly well for itself since 2003. AlphaDream decided to return to where it all began for one last hurrah on 3DS with a full remake of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It’s one of the best RPGs ever made, and this version has enough tweaks and upgrades to stand as a great new experience.

For one, there is a whole new quest! The sidestory Bowser’s Minions is an amusing new quest that focuses on the efforts of Bowser’s often overlooked henchmen. You can recruit armies of minions for large scale battles, including Goombas, Shy Guys, Lakitu, and more.

The gorgeous graphics, trademark gameplay, and hilarious writing of Superstar Saga are not to be missed. Plus, with this release you can now enjoy the entire catalog of the Mario & Luigi series on your 3DS!


Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

The Fire Emblem series has gotten a lot of love on Nintendo 3DS, and in 2017 we got two new games! Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a huge remake of the 1992 Famicom game Fire Emblem Gaiden, which means this adventure is entirely new to us players outside of Japan. While certainly not as ambitious in scope as Fates from 2016, Echoes is a unique game that introduces conventions brought back from Gaiden.

The overworld, towns, and dungeons are now open to explore. And the rock/paper/scissors mechanic of weapons you’ve memorized from past games is nowhere to be found. This makes Echoes a breath of fresh air for those who logged dozens of hours into the trio of games in 2016. All in all, Echoes is a great Fire Emblem title that caps off what has been a great platform.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

The eighth Dragon Quest game marked the franchise’s first step into true 3D in 2005, and it still stands as one of the best traditional Japanese RPGs of all time. A whopping two years after its Japanese release, we were finally treated to the 3DS version in 2017.

The colorful cast, timeless gameplay, and excellent presentation shine on 3DS. The game is not an overhauled remake like Dragon Quest VII, but it introduces a host of new quality-of-life features and some new content to discover. Dragon Quest VIII is a must for fans of classic JRPGs, and its localization proves how 3DS will be remembered as the absolute best platform for the genre.

Other notable 2017 3DS releases that didn’t quite make the cut: Monster Hunter Stories, Ever Oasis, Mario Party: The Top 100, Layton’s Mystery Journey, Etrian Odyssey V. Stay tuned for more of our Best of 2017 articles later this week!

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