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Three Cheers for the 3DS! Part 2: Physical Cartridge Games

On 08/16/2019 at 09:43 AM by Cary Woodham

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In the first part of my 3DS tribute blog, we looked at my favorite downloadable games.  Now we’re going to look at my favorite physical cartridge games.  Now of course, you could download many of these games, too, but I had them in cartridge form so they’re going here.  There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started!

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?

I have reviewed a lot of Adventure Time games over the years.  The earlier ones on the 3DS were made by WayForward, and this one played like Zelda 2.  It was fun, and had awesome music.  Seriously, look up “Party in the Clouds” and tell me what you think.

Art Academy

These drawing lesson games started on the DS, but got a few 3DS games as well.  There was the regular “Lessons for Everyone,” but they also had Art Academy games that showed you how to draw Disney and Pokémon characters.  Great educational games!  Speaking of educational games, Brain Age: Concentration Training was neat, too.

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

When the second Epic Mickey game came out, they made a 2-D spinoff game on the 3DS, and it was actually considered a sequel to the SEGA Genesis classic Castle of Illusion.  So that was kind of neat.

Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Rune Factory 4

I reviewed a couple of these games on the 3DS.  Harvest Moon: A New Beginning was fun because you could pick up whole houses and move them around, and Farmer Man Cary married Iroha the Blacksmith I believe.  The 3DS was around for so long that at one point, the Harvest Moon games changed hands and were called Story of Seasons since Natsume still owned the rights to the other name.  Story of Seasons was good, too, and Farmer Man Cary married Iris in that one.  Rune Factory 4 was also on the 3DS.  It’s like Harvest Moon except you can fight monsters in dungeons as well.  I can’t wait to see the Switch remake of it.

Kingdom Hearts 3-D: Dream Drop Distance

This spin off game tied in some events between KH 2 and 3, and had some neat worlds like a Fantasia world and one based on the TRON sequel.  And it used AR cards as well as many other 3DS capabilities.

Mario Kart 7

Another fine game in the series and many of the great elements of Mario Kart 8 started with this game.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Even though it was more of the same, I liked the added goal of collecting tons and tons of coins. 

Nintendogs + Cats

This was a 3DS launch title and adding cats to the mix made it pretty interesting, even if you couldn’t teach cats tricks!

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions

This was a good way to play handheld versions of Pac-Man: Championship Edition and Galaga Legions, two Xbox 360 favorites of mine.

Mario & Luigi Series

Even though the series started out on the GBA, thanks to remakes and things, I think all but one of the Mario & Luigi games are on the 3DS.  Dream Team was neat because it featured Luigi in the Year of Luigi and kept the 2-D area ideas from Bowser’s Inside Story.  Unfortunately it was too long and bloated so I never beat it. Paper Jam was a crossover with the Paper Mario series (which was not good on 3DS).  Nothing noteworthy about that one but I must’ve liked it somewhat because I actually beat it.  Then there were the remakes:  Superstar Saga and Bowser’s Inside Story, which were both pretty fun.  Only one we didn’t get was Partners in Time.  I wonder if they’ll continue the Mario & Luigi games on the Switch?

Pokémon Rumble Blast

This game features battles with toy Pokémon and reminds me of Gauntlet.  Just mindless fun.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure

I reviewed this one a long time ago and don’t remember much about it, but it is a story based music game with references to Space Channel 5, so it can’t be all bad.

Spirit Camera

Did you know that this is actually a Fatal Frame game?  Normally I don’t get into horror games, but I like ghosts so this series has always interested me, even if I haven’t played many of the games.  Spirit Camera uses a lot of the 3DS capabilities in unique ways.

Super Mario 3D Land

When the 3DS first came out, it actually wasn’t meeting Nintendo’s expectations at first.  That is until this game came out.  I like the fact they kept it simple and pretty easy to beat, but then you open up twice as much game with harder worlds.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy & Curtain Call

I like Final Fantasy music, even in the FF games I don’t play.  And this is a music game with nothing but FF tunes mixed with cute chibi versions of heroes and monsters.  I liked this game so much that it was my Game of the Year back when it was released.  The sequel, Curtain Call, is good, too.  Did you know there is an arcade version of this game as well?  I’ve played it!

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Due to the mission based structure of this game, I like the original better.  But this game is still tons of fun with lots of personality and Polterpup will steal your heart at the end!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

If I had to pick a number one favorite 3DS game, this would be it.  Regular readers should already know how much I like the Animal Crossing series, and I’ve already wrote about this game several times.  It’s really the first one that offers any significant improvements to the formula.  I have many memories about this game.  Some good, like buying a pink 3DS and this game for my mom for Mother’s Day, and some bittersweet, like playing this game with my cousin and her kids after our grandmother’s funeral dinner.  I can’t wait for New Horizons on the Switch!  And speaking of Animal Crossing, Happy Home Designer was on the 3DS as well and I didn’t think it was a bad game either, for what it was.

Project X Zone 1 & 2

Back in the PS2 days, I was sad we never got Namco X Capcom, but these are basically the sequels and we got them on the 3DS.  These strategy RPGs really aren’t THAT good, but it was neat seeing all my favorite Capcom, SEGA, and Namco characters all in one game.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

A direct sequel to A Link to the Past, one of my top favorite Zelda games?  Yes please!  This quickly became one of my top favorite Zelda titles, too, and if I were to replay one, this would be it.  Only problem I had with this game is that it was so much like the original, I was able to beat it very quickly.  If you have friends who say that Nintendo rehashes their ideas, don’t show this this game!

Yoshi’s New Island

And speaking of games that are like rehashes, this is basically that for the SNES Yoshi’s Island classic.  But it’s still a fun game, which is a testament to how good the original is.

Cooking Mama series

The Cooking Mama games started on the DS, but continued strong on the 3DS.  We got Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends, Cooking Mama 5:  Bon Appetit, and the last one which let your run a dessert and candy shop!

Tomodachi Life

This was kind of an Animal Crossing Lite with Mii characters.  You could even marry Miis!  Please don’t tell Link, but my Cary Mii married a Princess Zelda Mii.  They had a baby, too.  I named him Zelda Jr.  This game was the basis for Nintendo’s first mobile title: Miitomo.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

I was impressed they were able to cram a whole Smash game on a handheld and not sacrifice too much, and because of that I probably played this more than the Wii U version.

Chibi Robo: Zip Lash

It was kind of a generic 2-D platformer starring Chibi Robo and kind of lost some of the charm, but I beat it so I must’ve enjoyed it somewhat anyway.

Gravity Falls

I LOVED the Gravity Falls cartoon.  So much so that I rank it as high as DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, and Animaniacs.  So that’s high!  So I was glad I got to review this game.  Sure it’s a generic 2-D licensed platformer, but it was made by the same Ubisoft team who did Child of Light and some of the later Rayman games, so it was still pretty good.

Yo-Kai Watch

This was a Pokémon clone featuring characters from Japanese folklore and myths, mostly on the paranormal side.  I didn’t like the game as much, but it was fun to learn about these characters from Japanese folklore and the characters certainly were charming.  The game was HUGE in Japan, too.

Kirby Series

Most of you readers know I’m a huge Kirby fan, and there were LOTS of games on the 3DS!  Two of them ended up being some of the best single player Kirby games out there: Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot.  Other games like Kirby Battle Royale and the port of Extra Epic Yarn, eh, not so much.  But the 3DS was a great system to have if you were a Kirby fan!

Metroid: Samus Returns

This was a remake of the Game Boy Metroid game, which I was glad to get since I never played the original much.  This was a very good game!

River City: Tokyo Rumble

This was less of a remake and more of a reimagining of River City Ransom, but it turned out better because of it.  There are tons of these Kunio-Kun games in Japan!

Detective Pikachu

This was a really weird point and click adventure that I described it as “Phoenix Wright for kids.”  But it is really charming and a must play for Pokémon fans.  Heck, it must’ve been charming enough, as they did make a movie about it!  And it was pretty good, too!

WarioWare Gold

This was kind of a ‘best of’ WarioWare game.  I still enjoyed it, though, as I’m a big fan of the series.

Mega Man Legacy Collection

OK I mainly got this one for the gold Mega Man amiibo.  After it was on sale, I did get the PS4 version of this as I prefer playing it on the big screen.  I guess it’s a good collection of the NES titles, even though back on the PS2, there was a collection that had more on it!

Ultimate NES Remix

Speaking of WarioWare, this was kind of like that except with NES games.  I wish they’d do it again with SNES titles!

Hey! Pikmin

Surprisingly I’m not much of a Pikmin fan.  But when I heard about this game being a 2-D platformer that played similarly to Kirby Mass Attack, I decided to give it a try.  And even though most Pikmin fans didn’t like this one, I enjoyed it!


And that’s all the games!  I had a few more things to say about the 3DS that I forgot to earlier that I’ll conclude with.  First, even though the 3DS was GREAT, I think I like the DS a tiny bit more.  Not sure why.  Maybe because it didn’t have the 3D gimmick, and since I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth, I can’t see the 3D effects anyway.  Or maybe it’s because the DS came out before cell phones were big so it had a lot of more little games that would later just be on mobile. 

I also forgot to talk about the Ambassador Program.  When the 3DS first came out, it had a little trouble, so Nintendo lowered the price fairly quickly.  To keep the early adopters happy, they gave them a bunch of free NES and GBA Virtual Console games.  So I had even more games on my main menu!  I like the fact that the 3DS Virtual Console had a lot of Game Boy games.  I even downloaded a few I never played before, like Mole Mania.

Anyway, in the comments section, tell me what you think of my list, and let me know your favorite 3DS games, too!  Later!  --Cary



Super Step Contributing Writer

08/16/2019 at 11:16 AM

I keep wanting a 3DS, but every time I see one in the wild, it's a bit too rich for my blood, cause I haven't done any handheld gaming in forever. 

Cary Woodham

08/16/2019 at 09:19 PM

Yeah consoles are way too expensive.  I mainly only get them so I can review more games.  And even then sometimes I'll wait for a sale, like I did with my PS4.


08/16/2019 at 02:43 PM

My favorite games on 3DS were Zelda, the Fire Emblem games, Bravely Default (which played a lot like Final Fantasy V), and The 7th Dragon III, which was a neat little overhead view dungeon crawler from Sega. And the 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII was pretty good, it took out a lot of things people didn't like about the original. I overall enjoyed the 3DS more than the DS, although so many of its games were ones I wished could have been on Wii U instead. So you can imagine that I'm all in with the Switch.

I really like how River City Girls looks and am thinking about getting that when it comes out.

Cary Woodham

08/16/2019 at 09:19 PM

I hope I get to review River City Girls!  I get press releases about the game anyway.


08/16/2019 at 05:38 PM

Who did you marry in Animal Crossing? 

I loved Mario & Luigi Partners in Time. Somehow I managed to miss the ones on 3DS, though. 

There are so many good 3DS games. I'd like to get another 3DS and play a ton of games for it.There's so much I still haven't tried out. 

Cary Woodham

08/16/2019 at 09:21 PM

You don't get married in Animal Crossing games, thank goodness!

I liked Partners in Time as well.  Those babies were adorable.  But it was still probably the weakest of the M&L games.


08/17/2019 at 06:30 PM

I figured you didn't but I had to ask. I think I only married in one game, Fable III. 

I remember renting Partners in Time from Gamefly and getting really hooked on it. Maybe it was just the right game at the right time. I still need to play Bowser's Inside Story. 

Cary Woodham

08/18/2019 at 09:36 AM

Yeah sometimes timing is important on whether or not you play a game.

In my opinion, Bowser's Inside Story is the best of the Mario & Luigi games.  Although, when I played the remake on the 3DS, it didn't seem as good as I remember it on the DS.  But I still say ti's the best of them.  Not too bloated, and probably the closest thing we'll get to Bowser getting his own game.


08/18/2019 at 12:39 AM

I absolutely loved Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons. Im glad SoS and Rune Factory are continuing on Switch. RF 5 hopefully next year with the remake of 4 this year. SOS getting a spin off this year in Oct with a remake of an older game under the new name next year. 

I also enjoyed Yokai Watch. I played 1 and 2 but havent picked up the 3rd game yet. Im also glad its continuing on Switch. 

I have the pikachu 2DS XL. I wont be selling mine but I will be shelving it one day. I still dont wanna just yet so it stays in a usable state. 

Cary Woodham

08/18/2019 at 09:37 AM

So what are your opinions on the Story of Seasons game coming up that mixes Doraemon characters in it?  I've read that some people hate it, but I think it's hilarious.  I'm totally getting it!

If you get a chance, please do be sure and read my part 1 3DS blog as well!


08/18/2019 at 12:39 PM

I noticed a lot of the hate is because its another spin off and not a main line game. Im excited and Im not even that knowledgeable about Doraemon! 

Definitely will read the first part!

Cary Woodham

08/18/2019 at 09:58 PM

Doraemon is a cute little anime and is an important part of anime history, too.  Some have even said Doraemon is Japan's Mickey Mouse!  


08/18/2019 at 10:21 AM

SM3DL really did save the system for me. Before that, I really didn't play my 3DS. I also played SSB 4 the most out of all my games for the system. Since it came out first, and I didn't have a Wii U at the time, I put a lot of hours into it. Smash run was the best, and I still haven't gotten all of the special moves for all the characters.

If this one really is the last of the handheld line, then they did a great job of it in the end. I don't think I'll get a Switch Lite. Since I'm older now, it strains my eyes to have console versions of games on a portable screen. There's just too much tiny stuff on the screen to keep track of, so I usually play with it docked. I also liked the DS Lite more as well, because it had so many good games you could play on it. I was a big fan of the GBA too, and if they would have had a cartridge slot to play those games instead of making you pay for them again on the eshop, then the 3DS would have been the best portable.

Cary Woodham

08/18/2019 at 10:01 PM

I'm not going to get a Switch Lite either.  I like being able to play on my TV.  I'm with you, with a handheld game system or a cell phone, I have to put on reading glasses to see without straining too much.  I hate it when some companies make a game on the Switch and the font letters are teeny tiny.  They could change that easily.  Because of that, there are a few Switch games I can't play in handheld mode.

I really liked the GBA, too.  It was like a portable SNES!

The Last Ninja

08/18/2019 at 10:07 PM

I'm surprised you left out Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, which was excellent! Also, I think Paper Jam was very good, the story and characters were charming, and the papercraft battles were super fun. 

Cary Woodham

08/18/2019 at 10:11 PM

I talked about Prof. Layton vs. Phoenix Wright in the first part of my blog, so I decided not to repeat it here.  If you get a chance, I'd like to please encourage you to read Part 1 as well!

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