Nintendo is shutting down the 3DS and Wii U eShops at the end of the month. It feels premature and idiotic, but such is the world we live in. Nintendo’s 3D handheld will always live in the shadow of its more popular predecessor, but damn if the 3DS didn’t have a bunch of great and special games. Now is your last chance to buy ’em.
Between the dual-screen display and 3D technology, I doubt many 3DS games will ever get ported to future Nintendo consoles, let alone appear in new iterations of the virtual console or Switch Online libraries. Such a shame too, considering that, while not quite as spectacular as the original DS, the 3DS (and 2DS) still had a tremendous run of games, many of which were, and remain, platform exclusives. Whole generations of Pokémon are about to go extinct.
When is the 3DS eShop shutting down?
The lights go out on March 27. That will be just over a decade since the Wii U came out and less than four years since the 3DS received its last physical retail release, 2019’s Persona Q2. Don’t worry though, Nintendo claims even after this month players will still be able to re-download content they already own “for the foreseeable future.” (Well, worry a little.)
Why is Nintendo closing the eShop? “This is part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time,” the company wrote on its support website. This didn’t go ever well with fans last February, when the eShop shutdown was originally announced. Nintendo made matters even worse by initially implying that players should be more than satisfied with the barely over 100 classic games available through its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. Gamers were not, and the company quickly deleted that addendum.
Here are some of the 3DS games you should buy
While the eShop stopped accepting credit card payments and even eShop gift cards last year, you can still add funds to your 3DS account by linking your Nintendo Network ID wallet and Nintendo Account wallets on Nintendo’s website and then sharing funds between them. From there you just go to the store page for the game you want, either on Nintendo’s website or your 3DS, and hit purchase. There’s a ton of stuff you could get, and I’ve split them up into three groups.
This first group consists of the 3DS’ best blockbusters. They have physical releases but those will no doubt also become painfully pricy and harder to track down in the future. Many are pulled from Kotaku’s list of the best 3DS games. Some, like 7th Dragon, are personal favorites that are already impossible to find:
- Super Mario 3D Land – $20
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – $20
- Fire Emblem Awakening – $40
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – $20
- Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy – $40
- Bravely Default – $40
- 7th Dragon III Code: VFD – $30
- Rhythm Heaven Megamix – $30
- Pokémon X & Y – $40
- Pokémon Sun & Moon – $40
This second group features unique digital 3DS games, some big, some small, that you simply can’t buy anywhere else. You can find even more of games like this on our list of the best eShop digital exclusives. I still can’t believe Nintedo is condemning the original BoxBoy trilogy to the phantom zone:
- Pushmo – $7
- Crashmo – $9
- BoxBoy! – $5
- BoxBoxBoy! – $5
- Bye-Bye BoxBoy! – $5
- Crimson Shroud – $8
- Dillon’s Rolling Western – $10
- Gotta Protectors – $12
- HarmoKnight – $15
Finally, this third and final group contains games that are currently on sale for dirt cheap. Sega and Atlus did this last year shortly after Nintendo announced the eShop’s shutdown, but haven’t announced anything this month. It’s a shame more publishers aren’t joining in the current fire sale. For now it’s mainly Capcom:
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – $3
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – $3
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice – $3
- Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse – $10
- Beyblade Evolution – $4
- SteamWorld Dig – $2
- SteamWorld Dig 2 – $4
- SteamWorld Heist – $3
- Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – $4.50
3DS owners are already clamoring for more publishers to slash eShop prices and give the handheld a proper digital send-off. We’ll keep you updated if we hear of any other games going on clearance before the eShop’s doors finally close.