The pick of the 3DS
For a system initially floundering for great games, the Nintendo 3DS has caught up with aplomb. Now, it's at a stage where it's tricky to narrow things down to a mere 10 best games but fortunately, that's almost exactly what we've managed to do (with a cheeky 11th thrown in for good measure). All of these titles are guaranteed to entertain you for many hours to come and remind you of just how exciting gaming is.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
On the surface, the Animal Crossing series really shouldn't work. Who wants to spend their gaming time pulling up weeds and fishing? Human nature means, however, that such small moments of gratification can go a long way. With an addiction factor akin to The Sims or working on one's professions in an MMO, Animal Crossing: New Leaf grabs on and refuses to let go. Each day in your village is a different experience with special events littering the social calendar and giving you a reason to work towards perfection. You haven't lived till you've lost two hours of time bug hunting, all so you can buy a new piece of furniture for your home.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
A conversion of the Wii hit, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a return to form for everyone's favourite gorilla. Effortlessly demonstrating what works so well for the platformer, it's a silky smooth game that can be rushed through or savoured, collecting up every single bonus out there. Being able to bounce from the foreground to the background works particularly well with the 3D effect and the lack of gimmicky Wii controls arguably ensures this is the definitive version.
Fire Emblem Awakening
Strategy RPGs aren't as common as perhaps they should be. Great strategy RPGs even less so. Fire Emblem Awakening combines strong storytelling, great character interaction, and compelling combat to be one of the all time greats. Those wary of failure can choose to stick the difficulty level down, but sadists can revel in the perms-death mode meaning that every move could be a matter of life or death for your team member. It's surprisingly emotional stuff.
Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon
Luigi's spent his life hanging around behind Mario, and even a year all of his own in 2013 hasn't entirely helped matters. Still, while his games aren't as frequent as his brother's, they are no less great. The sequel to the Gamecube title, Luigi's Mansion 2 is a gripping affair all about sucking up ghosts and clearing a mansion full of them. It's a more cerebral title than you'd expect with some appealing puzzle solving within.
Mario Kart 7
No Nintendo system can happily exist without a Mario Kart game. Mario Kart 7 is a fine example of the series offering the racing spills we all adore and the great addition of underwater driving and hand gliding. It's arguably more of the same elsewhere but that potent mix of multiplayer, Grand Prixs, time trials, and battles means it's a comfortable level of familiarity. Mario Kart 7 is just the kind of reason why one should buy a 3DS.
Pokemon X & Y
The latest in the series, Pokemon X & Y is arguably the best yet. Rather than a rehash of past events, this title offers 74 new Pokemon species, a new Fairy type and the prospect of Mega Evolution. Players can finally customise their trainer's appearances too, adding a much more personal touch than before. Plus, it's the first title in the series to offer full 3D polygonal graphics, which adds to the interactivity. Understandably though, it's those Mega Evolutions and moments such as mid-air Sky Battles that truly bring a glint to any Pokemon fan's eyes.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
The last in the series to feature Professor Layton, the Azran Legacy ends on a very high note. It's a familiar ride for those who played earlier titles on the DS, with cerebral puzzles galore, but the addition of 3D effects do help matters. This time round, there are over 500 new puzzles as well as the ability to zoom into areas with a magnifying glass to get a closer look at things. Various mini games open up also as Layton travels across the world to numerous different countries. It's a fitting end to a fantastic character, and one that's easily dipped into from time to time.
Super Mario 3D Land/New Super Mario Bros 2
Near impossible to separate these two in terms of what they've accomplished, Mario games are always essential inclusions. Super Mario 3D Land is perhaps the truest 3DS title, being the first to combine 2D elements with the 3D free-roaming elements of newer Mario games, Super Mario 3D Land uses the 3DS's gyroscope subtly allowing for the control of cannons and binoculars while retaining the magic of more traditional Mario fare. New Super Mario Bros 2 focuses more on coin collecting than earlier instalments with new items gained through such acquisition. Both titles complement each other exquisitely.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The 3DS is lucky enough to have two fantastic Zelda games with the most recent, A Link Between Worlds, capturing the magic of A Link To The Past. Using a 2D, top-down perspective, A Link Between Worlds offers up a plethora of new dungeons to explore with Link being able to turn into a drawing and enter walls in order to negotiate various areas. Numerous items from A Link To The Past also return to add to the puzzling elements within, with such tools purchasable with rupees. It's a little on the easy side for experienced Zelda gamers but it's no less fun for it.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
A conversion of the Nintendo 64 classic, Ocarina of Time has hardly aged. It's perhaps a little cumbersome to control on the small screen rather than with a fully fledged controller, but the magic is still there. This version is the definitive version given its inclusion of rearranged dungeons from the Master Quest edition and its updated graphics and 3D effects further boost the grandeur. Players will still get to savour learning new tunes for the Ocarina as well as the unbridled joy that comes from exploring the fields with Link's trusty horse, Epona.