Connect with us


10 3DS eShop Games You Really Should Play

Our pick of the ten best Nintendo 3DS eShop games.



Shovel Knight

Our pick of the ten best Nintendo 3DS eShop games.

With Nintendo now swimming in the murky waters of mobile you could be forgiven for thinking that the 3DS is a system bereft of great downloadable games.

Although the 3DS eShop was missing at the system’s 2011 launch, it has continually evolved and is a huge improvement over the Nintendo’s previous forays on the DSi and Wii. It’s well designed, and although the purchasing process is needlessly long, it does an above average job making games findable. No small task.


The eShop has also built up an impressive library of downloadable titles, even offering a smattering of free-to-play games that are no doubt informing Nintendo’s mobile strategy. While eShop pricing is not quite at mobile levels, it’s easy to assemble an extremely decent 3DS library without spending a fortune.

To help you do that we’ve selected our ten best Nintendo 3DS eShop games:

Zen Pinball

Marvel Pinball

Zen Pinball is available on every format known to man. I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover that there’s a version for the Speak and Spell in the works. That it’s a great pinball game, is a given. The 3DS version gets our nod due to the sense of solidity provided by impressive use of the system’s oft-derided 3D capabilities. These flourishes more than compensate for the sub-HD graphics, and the game’s physical controls are preferable to any touch screen input. Three versions are available and at a push we’d would recommend the Marvel edition.



It was tough to pick between Pushmo and its sequel Fallblox. Whilst Fallblox expands on the format, the original gets our pick due to its purity of concept. It’s one of those designs that’s so simple it’s remarkable no one ever did it before (the same applies to BoxBoy!). Pushmo is not a game that needs 3D but it’s certainly one that’s enhanced by it, using the effect to draw the player into the game’s toy box of puzzles. Pushmo can frustrate in its later levels but it’s always enjoyable and the level creation suite (with QR code sharing) ensures longevity. The Wii U edition is also recommended.




Terry Cavanagh’s ode to 8-bit computer gaming was originally released on PC in 2010 but it feels perfectly at home on the 3DS. The 3D effect is negligible but the lower screen map is a genuine help as you guide Captain Viridian through a series of intricate rooms in search of his crew. VVVVVV is as cunning as it is simple. It can be cruelly challenging but it’s never unfair. Every death (of which there will be many) can always be blamed on your lack of skill, timing, but more often than not, patience. Once the main game is complete the variety of remixed guest star levels ensure VVVVVV will be a game you return to.

SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig is the follow up to DSiWare’s SteamWorld Tower Defence but the only commonality is its fictional universe. Dig is a affection nod to the past evoking Super Metroid, Dig-Dug and Super Mario Bros 2. If that doesn’t sell it to you, the well-judged length, endearing visuals and satisfyingly crunchy digging mechanics definitely should. This was welcome surprise when it released in 2013 and it’s since made the moved to PS4, Vita and Wii U – a sure sign of its quality. It comes recommended on all platforms.

Gunman Clive

Gunman Clive

Gunman Clive is the cheapest game on our list, costing a paltry £2. The game’s sketchy looks are charming and platforming clean but challenging. A small game, then, but one more that is more than worth its modest price.

Want more neat stuff?

If you want to keep abreast of the latest news, features, reviews, guides, and sales, we can send all our latest articles and great content straight to your inbox. You know, collated together, once or twice a week, in a newsletter. We wouldn't send them one at a time – that would be weird and annoying!

Recommended for you

Pages: 1 2

Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Paper Mario: The Origami King, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe.


Latest from Thumbsticks

Star Wars Vader Immortal - PS VR Star Wars Vader Immortal - PS VR
News1 hour ago

Star Wars: Vader Immortal physical edition is out now on PSVR with exclusive extras

The Vader Immortal special retail edition includes all three episodes and a bundle of exclusive extras.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania
News14 hours ago

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania 20th Anniversary Edition detailed

Sega has confirmed details of the Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania 20th Anniversary Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition.

New Nintendo Switch eShop releases New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
News21 hours ago

New Nintendo Switch releases (June 21-25, 2021)

Mario Golf: Super Rush and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 top this week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch eShop releases.

New Xbox One game releases New Xbox One game releases
News2 days ago

New Xbox Series X|S releases (June 21-25, 2021)

Bandai Namco’s Scarlet Nexus headlines next week's lineup of new Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S releases.

New PlayStation Store releases - PS4 - PS5 New PlayStation Store releases - PS4 - PS5
News3 days ago

New PlayStation Store releases (June 21-25, 2021)

Next week's lineup of new PlayStation Store releases sees some old favourites get a new lease of life.

News3 days ago

You can now design custom Xbox Series X|S controllers

Let your imagination run wild – the Xbox Design Lab has re-opened, and you can now design custom Xbox Series...

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Isabelle Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Isabelle
News4 days ago

Nintendo’s Doug Bowser clarifies the future of Animal Crossing after E3 absence

Fans hoping for an update on Animal Crossing: New Horizons at E3 came away disappointed. Worry not, says Doug Bowser.

Bethesda Starfield Bethesda Starfield
News4 days ago

Bethesda’s Pete Hines ‘sorry’ for frustration that Starfield won’t come to PlayStation 5

In an interview, Bethesda's senior vice president of marketing, Pete Hines, spoke to PlayStation fans, apologising for the frustration that...