Best Nintendo 3DS Games 2016: 10 Best Handheld Games Of The Year

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Nintendo had a very interesting 2016. While the Wii U has officially died and gamers are looking forward to the Nintendo Switch in 2017, the Nintendo 3DS had a banner year.

There were a lot of amazing Nintendo 3DS games in 2016 from Nintendo stalwarts like Pokémon, Kirby and Mario along with third-party games continuing to make the handheld and its games the most consistent in Nintendo’s stable.

Plenty of the Nintendo 3DS titles will likely be thrown into Game of the Year categories all over, so, of course, we had to rank the top 10 best Nintendo 3DS games of 2016.

But before we go into it, these are our opinions. If you disagree, please let us know your list in the comments section below.

Also, this list includes 3DS titles that released in the U.S. in 2016. That means some of these were already released in Japan in 2015 but made the jump to the states during the next calendar year, so keep that in mind.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

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The two versions of 'Yo-Kai Watch 2' will let you choose a side. Photo: Nintendo

10. Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls/Bony Spirits

The Yo-Kai Watch craze hasn’t come close to what it was in Japan (not for lack of trying on the part of Nintendo of America), but the first game sold well enough to warrant bringing the sequel over to the states and thankfully so.

Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits takes everything good about the first Yo-Kai Watch game and refines it to make it better. And like other “monster collecting” games, the sequel adds a ton of new Yo-kai (not just different shades of the same one) and new mechanics to the fighting system and overworld functions.

The story is also more intriguing and on a grander scale, everything you want in a sequel. However, problems that plagued the first game are still there (wonky capture system), but the good outweighs the bad overall.

Our full review.

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The box art for Rhythm Heaven Megamix Photo: Nintendo

9. Rhythm Heaven Megamix

I have to be honest, when this game was given to me back in June I put it way  back on the backburner. There were other games on my docket that I had to get through and this didn’t seem like a priority.

A few months after its release, I decided to try Rhythm Heaven Megamix and, oh boy, I was missing out.

This fun little rhythm game has visuals that are pleasing to the eyes (reminds me a lot of Parappa the Rapper) and very catchy music . The mechanics are simple enough and actually makes you turn up your volume bar while playing your Nintendo 3DS.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix is an awesome game that you can enjoy in between long gaming sessions and is a great way to kill some time.

The cover to Bravely Second Photo: Square Enix

8. Bravely Second: End Layer

The sequel to Bravely Default was, admittedly, my first introduction to the series but I tried it out without playing Default to see how kind it was to newcomers and… it was sort of kind?

The mechanics and style of fighting in Bravely Second was easy enough to grasp and understand, but the story and characters are elevated if players experienced the first game beforehand.

There’s enough new material like classes and the bravely second mechanic that makes returning players to the Bravely Default series happy and should be easy enough to grasp to allow newcomers to jump right in.

You may want to try out Bravely Default first before grabbing Bravely Second.

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Here's how to defeat all the boss battles in Paper Jam Photo: Nintendo

7. Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam

The Paper Mario series has always been a way for Nintendo to change up the Mario formula by throwing the plumber into an RPG game (since I guess we won’t be getting another Mario RPG). In Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, our favorite paper plumber meets the Mario brothers for the first time in a crossover that brings the best of both worlds into one title.

Paper Jam is simple enough for anyone to play, but deep enough that RPG aficionados can enjoy and get the most out of it.

The turn-based system will be familiar to anyone who has played a Paper Mario game and the overall game is difficult enough that I’ve spent hours just grinding levels to get past  the various bosses. There’s also plenty to do outside of the main campaign.

Our full review.

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Pocket Card Jockey is coming to the Nintendo 3DS May 5 Photo: Nintendo/Game Freak

6. Pocket Card Jockey

If Rhythm Heaven Megamix was a pleasant surprise, Pocket Card Jockey was a HUGE surprise.

A game that mixes solitaire and horse racing has no business working, let alone being as fun as it is, but Pocket Card Jockey is just that, a ton of fun for casual gamers and those looking for a bit of strategy in their gameplay.

Pocket Card Jockey is a fast-paced game of solitaire with strategy implemented based on the type of horse you use and your timing during races. On top of that, the ability to breed your own horse to fit your playstyle.

Our full review.

Dragon Quest VII
Dragon Quest VII. Photo: (c) Nintendo

5. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

Dragon Quest VII was another introduction to the franchise for me, and the 3DS port was a ton of fun with an engaging story.

Battling in Dragon Quest VII is simple and the ability to avoid fights by simply running away in the overworld helps players who want to get to the story elements faster. Although you can easily get away, if you want to level up your characters the grinding aspect of Dragon Quest VII isn’t too time-consuming and bland.

The camera angles and the very slow start to the story holds this game back from being higher on the list, but those who are patient enough to get through it will be rewarded with a great story, characters and a fun RPG.

Our full review.

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The box art for Kirby Planet Robobot Photo: Nintendo

4. Kirby: Planet Robobot

Kirby made its triumphant return to Nintendo handhelds with Planet Robobot, and this new title mixes classic elements with new mechanics to make a perfect Kirby game for old and new fans.

The visuals and controls of Planet Robobot is a Kirby fan’s dream, mixing adorable and

The Robobot armor freshens up the gameplay and there are plenty of game modes for some after campaign fun.

While the difficulty is pretty easy (it is a Kirby game, after all) the story and gameplay make it the perfect platformer for the Nintendo 3DS.

Our full review.

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The box art for 'Monster Hunter Generations' Photo: Capcom

3. Monster Hunter Generations

The Monster Hunter franchise has been one of the most consistently great to date, and Monster Hunter Generations continues the trend with another installment that lets players team up and capture some monsters.

The online mode is amazing and is worth the full price of the game on its own. Being able to go on quests with other players is the closest Nintendo has been to a Destiny-style online mode. Mastering skills and crafting some kick-ass armor lets players customize their own experiences.

While newcomers may have some difficulty understanding all of the intricacies of how Monster Hunter works, if you put in the time you will find an amazing game to play over and over. Returning players to the Monster Hunter franchise will enjoy the new Hunting Style and new ways to fight and hunter monsters.

Our full review.

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A new Fire Emblem If trailer has emerged Photo: (Photo: Nintendo)

2. Fire Emblem: Fates

Fire Emblem: Fates is easily the best Nintendo 3DS game of the first quarter of 2016.

Fates did everything right. it streamlined the combat system to make it easier for newcomers to understand and kept everything that made Fire Emblem a longstanding fan-favorite title.

But what makes Fire Emblem: Fates stand out so much is the story and the characters. While previous Fire Emblem games have never really lacked in these departments, Fates told the story of two warring families with your character stuck in the middle with a fateful choice to make.

Split into two versions, fans could easily pick up both versions to get two very different experiences and meet characters they wouldn’t have otherwise. Add the third version (Revelation) that brought everything full circle and you have a masterful Nintendo 3DS title.

Not many games make me want to replay the main campaign after completing, but I couldn’t wait to jump right back in.

Our full review.

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Pokemon Sun and Moon received a release date Photo: Pokemon Company

1. Pokémon Sun and Moon

2016 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Pokémon franchise and Nintendo/The Pokémon Company did everything right in celebrating the cherished video game franchise.

It all culminated with Pokémon Sun and Moon, a brand new game with a new region, new Pokémon and a completely new way of playing Pokémon.

After 20 years, the Pokémon formula never changed but Sun and Moon took how you’ve always played the games and turned it on its head. No more gym leaders, no more HMs: you had to traverse the Alola Region in a way that has never been done before.

Improved graphics, streamlined battling and mechanics along with an amazing story that brought the franchise full circle makes Sun and Moon the best Pokémon games of all time and the best Nintendo 3DS games of 2016.

Our full review.

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