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Top Five Best Nintendo 3DS Games 2012

Updated on July 27, 2017

The Very Best Games on the Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS wasn't one of the most anticipated releases Nintendo has ever put out, but it turns out that it really has some amazing games that have raised the bar for handheld gaming. If you're into old school games like Super Mario Bros, or if you're into first person shoooters like Resident Evil, the system has a nice mix of many different types of games. It also boasts a little bit of a more mature level of gaming, which the original DS did not have. Sure, there are still lots of kids games on the 3DS, but you'll find plenty of stuff to keep the grown-ups entertained, too.

Read on to find my personal five favorite 3DS games, with a few other fun games thrown in that I've liked so far. The future of the 3DS is looking bright!

They did such an amazing job with this game. Well done, Nintendo! It's also very difficult, so you won't be able to beat it without hours and hours of gameplay.
They did such an amazing job with this game. Well done, Nintendo! It's also very difficult, so you won't be able to beat it without hours and hours of gameplay.

Super Mario 3D Land

The first game that I played on the 3DS was Super Mario 3D Land. When I saw the ad on TV that the Tanooki suit was making a comeback in this game, I was instantly sucked in. This was a clever little marketing move on Nintendo's part to drag in the old school gamer, and it worked. You can't tell me you didn't fall in love with Super Mario Bros 3 and wasted countless hours of your youth playing that game again and again while sipping on Ecto Coolers, now can you?

If you couldn't already tell, the game is a throwback to the days of Super Mario Bros 3 in some ways, which is sure to please those that grew up in the 80's like myself. Don't let that one aspect of the game fool you, because there's more to it than just a side-scrolling rehash of other Mario platforming games. This game has real depth.

The 3D slider really makes this game much more enjoyable. The manuevarability of Mario in this game is with the circular touch pad, which controls the direction Mario is facing, walking, or jumping. Since the entire game is in 3D and not 2D side scrolling, this led me to be a bit apprehensive about this game. I've always found three dimensional Mario games a little bit hard to control where Mario jumps. This game has completely eradicated that issue, and it's thanks to the 3D slider. With the slider, especially when it's pulled up all the way to maximize the 3D effect, will help you gauge where Mario is going to land. I loved this feature.

The difficulty factor is stepped way, way up on this game, too. I felt that New Super Mario Bros Wii was a little bit on the easy side, so it was refreshing that this game held so much of a higher level of challenge. It also introduced some new formidable enemies, and brought back the Airship levels. Those were always difficult and yet oh-so-fun. Other power-ups like the Boomerang Bros. suit and the classic Fire Flower make enemy killing a lot more interesting.

The plot? Do you really have to ask? Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, blah blah blah. There is one twist after level 8 that will add to the replayability factor. Actually, you'll be pretty surprised at how much of the game is still left! This may be the longest Super Mario Bros. game to date.

Buy this game, and you really will not be disappointed. This is the best Super Mario Bros handheld game since the days of Game Boy, and probably one of the top five best Mario games ever. It's really that good. If I gave it a rating, I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's impossible to think of one thing they could have changed to improve this. Kudos to Nintendo on this masterpiece!

If You Only Get One Game, Get: Super Mario 3D Land on Amazon

Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land

Amazon is usually the cheapest place to buy 3DS games, and they ship super fast. Shipping is also free, when you spend over $25. Not too shabby.

This is a really long game, and the replayability factor is high. It's insanely cheap, too.
This is a really long game, and the replayability factor is high. It's insanely cheap, too.

Asphalt 3D

I haven't really found that many racing games I've liked since the 90's, but Asphalt 3D delivers on this racing game masterpiece. Before I go into the details of this game, there is another 3DS racing game called Ridge Racer which also has great reviews. Online reviewers have been torn as to which game is better, but from my personal experience, though I haven't played Ridge Racer, I can tell you without comparing them that this game is a lot of fun and will keep you entertained for a LONG time.

Asphalt 3D is based on prior Asphalt racing games, which apparently were mobile games. This time, the graphics have been improved and optimized for the Nintendo 3DS. 3D driving is a lot cooler than regular old two dimensional gaming. I can tell you that while I love the fact that there is a 3D racing game available on the 3DS, and they did a great job with it, they may not have totally utilized the 3D technology to its full advantage. That would be my biggest gripe about this game. That gripe, however, wouldn't discourage me from buying or recommending this game for someone else.

What I liked best about this game from the beginning was that the tracks were based off of real destinations, like San Francisco, Milan, and Aspen. It's fun to see some of the sites you recognize in the game. I was particularly impressed with some of the things they included on the San Francisco track, like the Palace of Fine Arts (aka the Exploratorium, which is a hidden shortcut on the track that you can drive through - unlike in real life).

I didn't find this out until after playing the game a few times, but there are dollar signs sometimes scattered on the track. Collecting these plus finishing well in the race and finishing certain challenges will earn you money, which can buy you better parts to upgrade your vehicle, or you can buy an entirely new vehicle. I can't wait to unlock some of the vehicles that are featured later on in the game, like the Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ferrari.

Would I recommend this game? Yes! It's loads of fun, and has a huge replayability factor - which seems to be a common element among games released on the 3DS. I'd give it 4/5 stars.

This is not your old NES Kid Icarus game. See the difference?
This is not your old NES Kid Icarus game. See the difference?

Kid Icarus: Uprising

The graphics and the packaging for this game, just like Super Mario 3D Land's commercials, really won me over for this game. I wasn't such a fan of the original Kid Icarus game back on the NES back in the day. I rented the game for long stretches (it was a pretty popular thing to rent Nintendo games from your local video store, back when those existed... ah, those were the days!), and the game was just incredibly difficult and not all that fun. The graphics were also pretty lame, but the premise of the game really had potential. Pit was a cool character, and the concept seemed like it could have been expanded upon for future game titles.

However, the game really never was franchised the way it should have been. Twenty years after one Game Boy sequel, Kid Icarus: Uprising was released. Part of Kid Icaurs' claim to fame is owed to a few different things:

  1. It was a classic NES game. It's nostalgia partially, but this game is much, much different than any of its predecessors.
  2. Pit from Kid Icarus was featured in Captain N: The Game Master, a popular cartoon from the late 80's/early 90's.
  3. Pit has been featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, therefore continuing his legacy and adding to rumors that a new Kid Icarus game was in development.

I'd give this game 5/5 stars. It's so great to see Kid Icarus again, and the gameplay is really addictive.

Play as all of the favorite characters you've used in past games, plus take advantage of new Kart options, all while enjoying the new beautiful 3D format.
Play as all of the favorite characters you've used in past games, plus take advantage of new Kart options, all while enjoying the new beautiful 3D format.

Mario Kart 7

You're probably thinking, "hey, this game is so overdone, what can they possibly offer on the 3DS version that I can't get in previous titles?"

In part, that is true. The game is much like other Mario Kart games, but this time, there really are some changes.

  • There's a new cockpit view which will give you a different perspective on Mario and the gang.
  • There are more Kart options to choose from. And one of those is the Raccoon tail which can be used to whip enemies!
  • It's very detailed. The graphics on this game are excellent, and the 3D enhances the entire experience. It's great to be able to play a Mario Kart game with such incredibly colorful, vibrant, graphics while still enjoying the same old classic Mario Kart style.

So is this game the best of the Mario Kart games? It's one of the best, a very close competitor to the Wii Mario Kart. It's a good indicator of what is to come on the 3DS, and what it's capable of. If you love Mario Kart, you'll love this game. If you've never played Mario Kart, you will probably love this game even more.

A solid 4/5 rating from me on this game. It's one of the best for the 3DS so far.

Race to Get Mario Kart 7 on Amazon

Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 7

With free shipping, it's a no-brainer to buy this game from Amazon. That, and returns are no hassle. The best price can also 9 times out of 10 be found on

Explosions, flying, talking animals. Prepare to get obsessed with Star Fox 64 3D.
Explosions, flying, talking animals. Prepare to get obsessed with Star Fox 64 3D.

Star Fox 64 3DS

I loved the original Star Fox 64 on the Nintendo 64 back in the day. I was so enamored with the characters, the rumbling controller, the dialogue, and the fun of flying through different worlds it was hard for me to stop playing. I have to admit, I played the game for almost an entire weekend once, and I'm not ashamed of it!

If you've played the Nintendo 64 version of this game, it's an almost exact port to the 3DS. The major difference is the technology is upgraded big time. Graphics can really make a game an entirely new experience, and while I remember a lot from that old Star Fox game, this one was much, much better. The voices were in higher definition. The graphics were stunningly clear. And the three dimensional quality just makes it a must-have. And when I say this is a port, it's actually not. It's a complete remake. If you compare the original game to the 3DS version, you'll see how vastly different the graphics are. There's also a multiplayer mode which you can challenge your friends to, and upload your own picture into the game. Cool feature!

4.5 out of 5 on this game. Yes, prepare to ruin your entire nights and weekends if you buy this game!

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