ByMichael Mitchell, writer at
Former Staff Writer for Now Loading. Currently tweeting things here:
Michael Mitchell

Pokémon Sun & Moon continues to throw new and exciting Pokémon our way. But the excitement can only be contained for so long before fans begin to lose themselves to the hype. Thankfully, the 3DS offers a huge library of great games that will help distract you in the months leading up to November's Sun & Moon release on November 18th, 2016.

"Plethora of games, you say?" Yes! So many that it might be easy to get lost in deciding which ones to actually buy. Thankfully, we have you covered! Below are my picks for the quintessential 3DS games that will surely keep you busy while you wait for that fateful moment when you can finally capture your first ridiculously long-necked Eggecutor.

Let's dive into the list!

1. 'Fire Emblem: Awakening'

Fire Emblem: Awakening is, arguably, the best entry in the Fire Emblem series for the 3DS. The game is fun and addicting, and the missions' pacing makes it perfect for short bursts of gaming if you can't dedicate hours at a time.

Awakening has a refreshing and surprising story, as well as tons of side missions and DLC to keep you occupied or help you level up. The game is also pretty newbie friendly — the difficulty ramps up slowly at first, allowing players to get used to the combat system as well as slowly introducing new mechanics over the course of several battles.

Fire Emblem Fates was more recently released, and features two main games and one DLC — Conquest, Birthright, and Revelation, respectively — that all tell their own story from a different side of a major conflict. Any one of these games would be a great follow-up if you liked Awakening. Be warned, though, Conquest can be a bit more brutal than Birthright.

2. 'Animal Crossing: New Leaf'

Ahh, Animal Crossing. Not only did the original give us some classically weird Nintendo commercials, it also gave me my first real taste of a game that doesn't really "end."

If you ever played the original, you'll probably already know whether you want this or not. If you're new to Animal Crossing, New Leaf is a fun, surprisingly addictive game that actively encourages you to play regularly. Whether that be through collecting items for your home, filling up your museum with season-specific fauna, or just trying to pay off your debts (yup), there's just enough there to make you want to keep playing.

3. 'Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds'

This one makes the list because it's frankly an amazing game that all 3DS owners need to play...though, it loses points because of how short it is. Not that it doesn't hit all the right narrative beats, but I still found myself wanting more at the end.

Wanting more is a sign of a good experience, though, and A Link Between Worlds offers that consistently. Definitely check this one out.

4. 'Pokémon X and Y'

Technically, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are the most recent Pokémon additions for the 3DS, but X and Y make the list because they're original entries and not enhanced remakes. And, really, how could they not make the list?

If you're holding all your Pokémon excitement for Sun and Moon, that's understandable. But if you haven't played X and Y for whatever reason and you want a refresher, now is the perfect time to give them a spin.

5. 'Monster Hunter Generations'

Okay, this one is a little different. The Monster Hunter games are admittedly not everyone's cup of tea, but Generations is the most recent in the franchise and will definitely keep you busy if it winds up being your style.

The game can take a second to get used to, as it doesn't really offer much in the way of directions — though we do have a few articles to help you out. But once you get the hang of things, it's easy to get sucked into the grind of killing monsters to get better gear to kill bigger monsters.

6. 'Kirby: Planet Robobot'

Kirby is a weird dude. Er..thing. Dude-thing. Kirby is an oddball. In fact, we've even celebrated his oddballness here! But despite being odd, the Kirby games often end up being immensely fun — albeit short-lived — experiences. The newest installment is no exception. If you want a game that's going to be a blast to play but not necessarily take up all your time, Robobot is the game for you.

And if you like what you get, it's actually one of several Kirby games released for the 3DS, all of which have been similarly solid game experiences.

7. 'Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon'

Here's another title with that classic Nintendo feel. Put simply: If you liked the original Luigi's Mansion, you'll like this one. The big spin this time is that Luigi must explore five haunted mansions which each feature their own theme, as opposed to the single haunted mansion of the original.

If you're new to the two-game series, what you need to know is that Luigi's primary weapon is every ghost-busters weapon of choice: a vacuum! Combined with his trust flashlight, Luigi goes for the one-two punch of stunning and hoovering up all the ghosts he finds. But he also uses his vacuum to manipulate objects in the environment, which makes this a (slightly spooky) but delightful little puzzle game.

8. 'Bravely Default'

This one is a must-have for any JRPG fans. The turn-based game comes from the ashes of a cancelled Final Fantasy title and the gameplay shows it. It's a very solid JRPG that many compared to classic Final Fantasy games, and the praise was universal upon its release.

Bonus: If you really like this game, a sequel recently game out. Rather fittingly, it is titled Bravely Second.

9. 'The Legend of Zelda: Major's Mask' or 'Ocarina of Time'

Ocarina of Time is often heralded as the best game in history. Meanwhile, Majora's Mask surprised the world with a darker, tougher, and totally brand-new take on Zelda games. Both of the games are among the series' best, and both have been remade for the 3DS if you've never played them, what are you doing with your life? Go get them now!

In all seriousness, they're very good games worth purchasing on the 3DS. Ocarina of Time is likely going to be longer, but easier (Water Temple aside) while Majora's Mask will be shorter, but harder overall. In both cases, they'll keep you busy and you won't regret your purchase(s).

Did I leave any must-have games off this list? Let me know in the comments!


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