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Time comes for all of us, and soon it comes for the beloved Nintendo 3DS eShop – Nintendo is shuttering the service at the end of March, apparently not finding the upkeep cost worth whatever value (monetary, moral, or otherwise) they get from keeping it up. It’s a sad affair all around, but we’re here to provide any and all info you’ll need in preparation.


When does the Nintendo 3DS eShop close?


The eShop officially closes on Monday, March 27th, 2023.


How to add funds to buy games on the Nintendo 3DS eShop


Currently, you can’t add funds to the eShop with 3DS prepaid cards, but you can link your 3DS account to your Switch’s Nintendo Account and add funds that way. Here’s the basic setup:


  1. On your 3DS, enable “Non-Nintendo Device Access” in the Settings app (the system doesn’t recognize the Switch as a Nintendo device)
  2. Make sure your Nintendo Network ID and Nintendo Account are linked (Check on Nintendo’s Accounts page)
  3. Add funds to your Nintendo Account either online or on the Nintendo Switch
  4. Select “Merge Funds With 3DS/Wii U” to get them onto the 3DS eShop


Important considerations


With money on the 3DS eShop now, what do you do with it? Before getting to specific games, here are some broad suggestions:


  • Check to make sure you have DLC – Have a game you want to buy DLC for? Make sure it’s purchased before March 27th. It’s now or never, whether it’s an old favorite or a new curiosity. Some games only allow you to purchase DLC through in-game menus — and some of those games require you to completely finish or reach certain milestones before you can make those purchases! That means certain games don’t have their DLC listed in the actual eShop. Double-check the games you own and make sure you own all the DLC you’re interested in.
  • Look over 3DSWare and DSiWare titles – Digital-only 3DSWare and DSiWare titles will be unavailable after the closure, and most haven’t been ported elsewhere.
  • Take a gander at Badge Arcade and paid themes for customization – It’s currently unclear how Badge Arcade and paid themes will work post-eShop closure, but without a way to complete payments it’s unlikely they’ll operate. Better safe than sorry.
  • Look for Virtual Console exclusives – While a number of Virtual Console titles are now available on Switch’s NSO emulators, there are several that remain confined to 3DS. Make sure to check for which.
  • See if the game you’re looking at is on Switch or other consoles – A number of 3DS titles have made their way to Switch by now, or even Steam. Check to see what might be on there so you don’t stress about nabbing them.
  • Check to see if any of your desired games ever had physical releases (and for how much) – While many games will still be able to be purchased physically, that doesn’t apply for them all – and some physical releases can be more expensive than the eShop price, or will increase after eShop closure due to scarcity. 


Nintendo 3DS eShop-exclusive titles to buy


With these broad guidelines in mind, here’s a full list of eShop exclusive titles, courtesy of u/youquzhiji on Reddit (thank you!). As you can tell with even a cursory glance, there’s quite a lot, so we’re going to highlight a select number of exclusives that stand out for one reason or another.


  • 3D Classics [Various Prices] Nintendo and Sega both released a number of retro titles on 3DS with added stereoscopic 3D (you know, the whole selling point of the system in the first place). While almost all of them are available in some form on other consoles, you won’t get that added feature elsewhere. There are fantastic classics here like Kirby’s Adventure, Kid Icarus, Gunstar Heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog, and more, so don’t miss out. 
  • Ace Attorney (Apollo Justice, Dual Destinies, Spirit of Justice) [$19.99, $29.99, $29.99] Lawyer up as Apollo Justice, Athena Cykes, and Phoenix Wright himself in the second trilogy of Ace Attorney games, which has somehow still not made it off 3DS after several years (and despite dozens of ports of the original trilogy). While you can snag a DS copy of Apollo Justice instead of its graphically updated port if you need it, DD and SoJ will be gone forever by the end of March, so buy them now without Objection.
  • Aero Porter [$4.99]  – One of several games from Level-5’s “Guild collection” of smaller, more artistic and experimental games, this puzzler will have you handling airport operations and sorting colorful luggage in what is to date the latest from Yoot Saito, creator of Seaman and Odama. The $5 title is easy to learn but hard to master!
  • Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale [$7.99]Another Level-5 Guild title, which comes from Boku no Natsuyasumi designer Kaz Ayabe (if you’re unfamiliar with the name, I hope you have six hours). It follows a young Japanese boy named Sohta who encounters a monster of the week every Friday, learning about friendship and strength in his pastoral 70’s youth. If you love historical slice of life, check this one out. 
  • Boxboy! & Boxboxboy! & Bye-Bye BoxBoy! [$4.99 each]A delightful trio of games from HAL Laboratories of Kirby fame, these puzzle platformers involve expanding the lovely little Qbby into a variety of tiled shapes to progress. True to their cutesy minimalist style, they’re pretty cheap too. Much cheaper than the Japan-exclusive physical release, that’s for sure.
  • Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder [$9.99]A quirky entry in the beloved cult classic Chibi Robo series. Help open up a museum by cleaning up your surroundings, disposing of litter, and interacting with a charming cast. The game also sports a unique functionality of the 3DS’ AR camera, where you take pictures of your surroundings to put up in the Museum. 
  • Crimson Shroud [$7.99]Another title from Level-5’s Guild lineup, this one is an RPG set far in the past from Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story brain Yasumi Matsuno. Unlike most video game RPGs, this one mimics tabletop counterparts with transparent dice rolls in a tribute to the forebearers of the past. 
  • Fluidity: Spin Cycle [$10.99]Tilt your 3DS in real life to move a puddle named Eddy through mazes and levels and find secrets. This sequel to the original WiiWare Fluidity can be a bit awkward to handle due to the unique control scheme, but the tight design and magnificent creativity on display lend to a highly dynamic and fun adventure. In one word, fluid. 
  • Gotta Protectors [$12.99]An 8-bit take on tower defense and action (of a different flavor than Dillon), this retro anime-styled game has you use one of six unique classes to clear out waves upon waves of baddies. It comes from the developers of ActRaiser and Streets of Rage 2, so you know its retro credentials are legit. It even has local and download play for up to four friends with only one copy!
  • HarmoKnight [$14.99]Game Freak doesn’t just do Pokémon! Created by James Turner, this action-rhythm game has you commanding a little guy named Tempo as he jumps, bobs, and smashes his way through several colorful worlds. Like any rhythm game, its toe tapping has an almost hypnotic lull when you get far enough into it, so don’t miss out.  
  • Inazuma Eleven [$19.99]Love over the top sports anime? This soccer RPG – the only entry in Level-5’s series to come out in North America (though the football-loving EU got the second and third games as well). Find recruits, train your team, and take to the field in a story of youthful passion and competition.
  • Kirby’s Blowout Blast & Kirby Fighters Deluxe [$6.99 each]Love the little sub-games you get in bigger Kirby adventures like Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot? These standalone releases expand on those in creative fashion for a good price. Blowout Blast is a fun isometric action game (his REAL 3D debut) while Fighters Deluxe brings Smash Bros.-esque fighting with copy abilities to the small screen. Now you’re puffing with power!
  • Liberation Maiden [$7.99]Another Level-5 Guild game… except this is an action title from Suda51 and Grasshopper. Yes, that Suda51. It’s about Shoko Ozara, teenage girl President of New Japan, who fights mechanical invaders in her mecha Liberator, Kamui. That sentence either baffled you beyond words or made you enthralled like little else in this world. I’m the latter. 
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong Tipping Stars [$19.99]The last entry in the once sizable Mario vs. Donkey Kong series continues its traditional puzzle-arrangement gameplay, filled with 80 stages to solve your way through, full of girders, gizmos, gadgets, and more. You can even make your own levels to keep the fun going forever.
  • Nano Assault EX [$9.99]A smaller title from Shin’en Entertainment (who would go on to make Fast RMX and more), Nano Assault EX is a fast paced shmup with a unique cellular aesthetic. It’s a quite reasonable price and contains a Survival Mode, Circle Pad Pro support, and more.
  • Picross [Various Prices] Technically speaking, you can get various versions of Picross on several platforms, but there are also quite a few that you’ll only find on 3DS, including the entirety of the Picross e series by Jupiter. Special shoutouts to Picross 3D Round 2, a HAL title that utilizes the 3DS eponymous feature to great effect.
  • Pocket Card Jockey [$6.99] Another example of just what Game Freak can get up to when they aren’t forced to churn out Pokémon, Pocket Card Jockey is an incredibly interesting mashup of solitaire and horse racing. Clear cards to spur your horse on and win races, and also get involved in the breeding side of things and come up with goofy names for your new steeds. 
  • Pokémon (VC Game Boy Titles) [$9.99 each] Speaking of Pokémon, as of the writing of this guide, the first and second generation of Pokémon titles (Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal) are only available on 3DS. This may change on Pokémon Day, as the Game Boy emulator was just recently announced for Nintendo Switch Online. Stay tuned, but now might be the time to pick up these titles to relive your childhood. 
  • Pushmo, Crashmo, & Stretchmo  [$6.99, $8.99, Free with in game pack purchases] Smaller puzzle titles by Intelligent Systems, Pushmo is an incredibly simple and charming but stunningly difficult series of brainteasers based around pushing blocks in and out. Sequels Crashmo and Stretchmo add falling blocks and stretchy tiles. Keep in mind Stretchmo is a free download, but its various download packs cost money.
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix [$29.99]A greatest hits compilation for the beloved cult classic rhythm game series that mixes in some truly fresh ideas. It’s one of the most complete games on the eShop  that’s digital only (in North America), with colorful and eclectic character design alongside auditory joy. Truly heaven. 
  • Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball [Free with in game purchases]One of Nintendo’s first free-to-play offerings (and one of its most unusual), this one has you purchasing various minigames, haggling with the eponymous Rusty to lower the real world cost of the items. It also contains a company called Nontendo trying to release the 4DS. Truly bizarre, but key to company history.
  • Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword [$6.99]A skill and timing-based action game with a cartoony art style, Sakura Samurai has you travel as an eponymous bushi on a quest to rescue Princess Cherry Blossom. Dodge, duel, and devastate enemies with swift blows and a focus on finesse over button-mashing. It’s quite affordable for its length, too.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker [$19.99]Atlus’ flagship demon-summoning franchise had two remakes of its DS spinoff Devil Survivor on the 3DS, and while the first game got a physical release, not so for the sequel. With a ton of story additions of the original Devil Survivor 2, including a brand-new character, it offers over a hundred hours and a fully voiced story. Demonic.
  • Siesta Fiesta [$5.99]Surely you’re familiar with the classic Breakout or Arkanoid. Siesta Fiesta is a fresh spin on the arcade classic, with innovative power-ups like elements and different paddle shapes. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel so much as iterate on it, and Siesta Fiesta is a great example.
  • Style Savvy: Styling Star [$39.99]Unlike the piddling casual fare on the rest of this list, here’s an epic for real hardcore gamers. In Style Savvy: Styling Star, you’ll manage a boutique, style customers with clothes and makeup, and shape their stories as the budding stars try to make it in the entertainment world. The story is penned by accomplished writer Reiko Yoshida, and is regarded as a high point in the cult series, so take some time to try a real video game for once.
  • THE “DENPA” MEN [$9.99]A Miitopia-esque romp that makes core use of the 3DS’ Augmented Reality features, you’ll find little “Denpa Men” with your AR camera and then use them like party members to explore and battle. The Mii-like Denpa Men are charming as heck, and there’s some solid RPG action in here for the price. Not to mention two sequels to enjoy. 
  • The Mysterious Murasame Castle [$4.99]An NES title? The Mysterious Murasame Castle is an oft-forgotten piece of Nintendo history in the West, largely because it never left Japan – but it finally released outside of the country’s shores on the 3DS eShop. Hopefully it’ll hit NSO at some point, but for now the solid (if difficult) top-down action game is on 3DS. Get it for a subtle slice of Nintendo history.
  • The Starship Damrey [$7.99]Another Level-5 Guild title! This onesies a cold and atmospheric first-person survival horror game, with no hints or tutorials to guide the player at all and progression based purely on trial and error. Even the eShop description is laconically mysterious. Can you brave the lonely darkness of space?
  • Weapon Shop de Omasse [$7.99]Finishing up with – what else? Another Guild title. This one was dreamed up by Japanese comedian Yoshiyuki Hirai, and involves working at a weapon rental shop inside of an RPG. You’ll need to craft good weapons if you want the heroes who rent your equipment to come back alive so they can pay you, so forge to the beat of the rhythm and make a weapon for the ages.


Did we miss any essentials? Be sure to let us know. And be wary for the end of March, when the eShop closes service. If you’re looking for a guide to Wii U games to buy (as its eShop, too, is set to end on March 27th), check out our guide to Wii U exclusive games.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.