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Top 10 Nintendo 3DS Games 2011

Updated on October 3, 2011

There are still a few months to go before Christmas. But while the weather’s starting to get cold the season for video games is heating up. This year’s new system, the Nintendo 3DS has had a rough start but has some quality games. Based on my (subjective) opinion, here are the top ten best Nintendo 3DS games of 2011.

“Wait, I don’t have a 3DS yet!”

If you don’t, this is a really good time to get one. Nintendo recently dropped the price of the 3DS over $100 and you can get a brand new one Amazon for $140.00. This is a steal as it costs Nintendo more to make the hardware than that. Yes, for the first time ever, Nintendo is producing at a loss.

Back to the Games

2011 was a fairly rough year for the 3DS but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any games coming out for it. In fact, a few high profile games have a huge splash and things should be getting even better with the new price drop.

And looking at the list below, you can see that the 3DS is home to a variety of game genres and both remakes and new releases.

Without further ado….here are my personal top ten

10. Nintendogs+ Cats 3D

The followup to the original DS bestseller, Nintendogs, decided to add Cats and 3D for a new experience. While I’m not a huge fan of either this game or the previous one, I can see how much effort was put into making caring for your dog and cat as realistic and pleasing as possible.

The 3D, though, is what really makes this game stand out for me. Calling your dog and having it jump out of the screen at you is definitely surprising and makes the whole experience that much more engaging. This is a great choice for people who want pets but can’t have them as well as kids who enjoy taking care of dolls, or virtual pets.

9. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D

Pro Evolution Soccer (or PES) is also known as Winning 11 and had been the champ of soccer games until this last year when FIFA took the crown. However, PES 2011 3D is the definitive soccer game on the 3DS and it plays well.

Smooth animations and 3D graphics make this game unique although problems with computer players can sometimes make the experience frustrating. Fortunately, these problems are fairly limited and PES is a great game overall.

8. Mario & Sonic at the 2012 London Olympic Games

Now, Olympic video games have always been about button mashing your way through simple events and this game is no different. However, this simplicity is made fun by two elements: 1) Sega and Nintendo characters work awesome together and the presentation, graphics, and gratification you get from the two groups is awesome. And 2) multiplayer makes playing with friends a blast.

7. Dead or Alive Dimensions

Dead or Alive is not for kids. Not even on the 3DS. Fortunately, the fighting mechanics from this classic series are left untouched and the 3DS does a great job of presenting this game with fluid animations and great sound.

The Dreamcast DoA was one of my favorite games and I’m glad to see that it’s back on the 3DS in all of its bouncing glory. If you’re tired of Street Fighter IV, DoA is a solid 3D fighter that plays really well on the system.

6. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Reclocked

This is by far the strangest game I’ve played on the 3DS. But, an awesome anime aesthetic and a story that, while it isn't completely different than conventional RPGs, has really great twists (how many days do you have left to live?).

It’s tough to explain the complexity of Shin Megami Tensei without knowing that you’ve played it before. But trust me that the interesting combat system (Final Fantasy Tactics-esque) + the great story makes this a very, very, addictive game.

5. Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil returns from the disappointing Resident Evil Mercenaries for the 3DS. Although it’s not released yet, having played the demo of Revelations at TGS is enough to give it a place on this list.

In the traditional Resident Evil sense you’ll get creep your way through some parts of the game while blasting your way through others. While all gamers should enjoy the quality that Capcom’s bringing to this RE, for fans of the series this game’s story and return to a more traditional RE should be more than enough reasons to make it one of the best games of the year.

4. Heroes of Ruin

Heroes of Ruin is a new series from the makers of Final Fantasy and I hope that it will continue. Both the single and multiplayer experience in this RPG game are exceptional. In Heroes of Ruin you are on a journey to cure the curse of one of the great lords of your land. As you can imagine, the quest is filled with endless peril and adventure

This is traditional RPG fare.

What makes Heroes of Ruin really great is it’s multiplayer. That is, you can join up with friends to tackle the quest together (a feature I begged for as a child). Especially if you have a group of friends who are interested in playing together, the daily challenges, and feeling of camaraderie can make this a great experience.

3. Star Fox 64 3D

Star Fox 64 was a great game for the Nintendo 64. I’m happy to say that sans-multiplayer, Star Fox 64 3D is an even better game. Not only have the graphics and controls been updated, but it almost seems like this game was made for 3D.

The game shows it age sometimes, but overall, this is a great return to Starfox and the on-rails shooting genre is still fun.

2. Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

I was excited from the announcement of this game because for the longest time I’ve been hoping to get a real street fighter experience on a Nintendo Portable. Street Fighter II Advanced back in 2001 didn’t do it for me but Street Fighter IV has. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough. The graphics look almost the same as its console big brothers and the gameplay is captured excellently on the 3DS.

Add the 3D gimmick, online play, and you have a great package.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS

If you’ve been playing games for even a little while you’ve probably heard of this game. It has a special place in many gamers’ hearts and for good reason. The adventure, music, gameplay, and world and all first class. To be honest, I was scared when I first heard it was going to be remade for the 3DS.

Fortunately, not only was it ported, but the texture were updates, the game was put into 3D, and the optional (and more difficult) Master Quest was added. This is one of the rare cases of taking an absolute classic and making it even better than the original. If you’re only going to get one 3DS game today, this is it.


Despite all of the complaints about the 3DS this year, I think the games on this list are worthy of your time. And if the releases coming up this winter and early next year are any indication, the 3DS may have a better future than many analysts are predicting.

Have fun!


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