7 Best Nintendo 3DS Platformers that are solid good

Platformers are the bread-and-butter of Nintendo consoles. On the 3DS, that stereotype remains true. Here are seven of the best platformers on the handheld console with stereoscopic 3D gimmicks.

Best nintendo 3DS platformers

7. Super Mario 3D Land

Super Mario 3D Land raised a few eyebrows when the game departed from the traditional star-collecting approach of 3D Mario titles. Those doubters upon actually playing the game, found themselves pleasantly surprised by the engaging gameplay, impressive 3D effects, and vibrant graphics, which gradually won them over as they progressed through the game's various worlds and stages.

The game's music, power-ups, and replay value are also praiseworthy, particularly the innovative use of the Tanooki suit and the abundance of content that kept the experience fresh and enjoyable. While the initial difficulty level seemed relatively easy, especially compared to previous Mario titles, the challenge gradually increased, particularly in the special worlds unlocked after completing the main game. The difficulty curve was deemed well-balanced on the get-go.

With its blend of familiar Mario elements and innovative gameplay mechanics, it earned one of the best platforming games on the 3DS. Despite being a handheld game, its quality and entertainment value rivaled that of console releases, offering a delightful and memorable gaming experience that captured the essence of fun and excitement synonymous with the revered Mario franchise.

6. Yoshi’s Woolly World

Yoshi's Woolly World by Good-Feel brings the charming world of Yoshi to life with its stitched-up and quilted environments. Released first for the Wii U in 2015 and later ported to the 3DS. The game follows Yoshi's quest to restore his fellow Yoshis, who have been turned into yarn bundles by Kamek under Baby Bowser's orders. With its adorable design and engaging gameplay, the portable version maintains the appeal of its predecessor while adding new features like time attack stages with Poochy and Yoshi Theater.

In terms of gameplay, Woolly World offers a familiar platforming experience reminiscent of previous Yoshi titles. Players navigate through intricately designed levels, collecting flowers, Wonder Wool, and stamp patches along the way. The game introduces yarn balls as a replacement for eggs, allowing Yoshi to interact with the environment by creating platforms and tunnels. While the game is generally forgiving, offering multiple chances to collect missed items, it also presents challenges through boss levels and bonus stages.

Despite the 3DS version’s graphical limitations compared to its Wii U counterpart, Yoshi's Woolly World offers ample replayability with over 60 unlockable Yoshis and bonus content. While some may find the game easier than previous Yoshi titles, its colorful visuals, catchy soundtrack, and delightful gameplay make it a standout entry in the series. Whether played on the Wii U or the 3DS, Yoshi's Woolly World delivers a charming and enjoyable experience for fans of platforming adventures.

5. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse marks a triumphant return for the series, offering a thrilling adventure that captivates from start to finish. Set after the events of Risky's Revenge, Shantae must navigate through challenging dungeons and battle formidable foes without her genie powers. The game seamlessly blends elements from 2D Metroid and Castlevania games, resulting in an exhilarating experience reminiscent of classic platformers.

The game's controls are responsive and intuitive.  The story, while not overly complex, remains engaging throughout, thanks to witty dialogue, interesting characters, and surprising depth in subplots.

The Pirate’s Curse utilizes the 3D effect effectively , enhancing immersion and highlighting hidden secrets. The soundtrack further elevates the experience, offering a diverse range of tracks that complement each environment perfectly.

Despite its higher price point, the game delivers substantial content, with a longer playtime compared to its predecessor. Replayability is encouraged through various challenges and unlockable modes, including Pirate Mode for speedrun enthusiasts. Overall, "Shantae and the Pirate's Curse" is a must-play for fans of the series and newcomers alike, offering a rewarding experience that justifies the lengthy development and anticipation.

4. Cave Story 3D

Cave Story may not have received widespread attention, but it has garnered a dedicated following among indie gamers, fostering a small yet passionate community. The game follows the Metroidvania format, blending side-scrolling action with shooting and jumping mechanics. Exploration is key, as players collect Power Shards to level up their weapons and uncover hidden upgrades scattered throughout the game world.

Cave Story 3D shines, even on the Nintendo 3DS' subpar screen, with its impressive graphics and visual effects. While there have been remakes of the game, the original version stands out as the definitive experience.

The story, while straightforward, offers multiple endings based on player choices and exploration. With three possible endings—Bad, Good, and Best—players are encouraged to revisit previous areas and collect missing items to unlock the optimal outcome. The game's characters are memorable, and the final boss battle is both challenging and satisfying, accompanied by an exceptional soundtrack that amps up the experience.

Cave Story is a standout indie game that offers engaging gameplay, lovable characters, and memorable music. Completionists aiming for 100% completion will love this platformer. Those who are simply seeking a quality indie title, Cave Story comes highly recommended for its rewarding gameplay experience that can be completed in just a few hours.

3. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D 

In Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, players embark on a challenging journey across the island, liberating it one themed section at a time. The game features well-crafted platforming challenges and creative level design, with each area presenting unique obstacles and secrets to discover.

The game still shines with stunning visuals and a captivating soundtrack, showcasing memorable moments and intense action throughout the adventure despite all of its performance issues. While Diddy Kong's role is somewhat diminished compared to previous iterations, the core gameplay remains solid and engaging.

Players can expect a wealth of collectibles, hidden areas, and unlockable extras to discover, ensuring plenty of replay value for completionists. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D delivers a nostalgic yet challenging experience reminiscent of classic game design, making it a must-play for fans of the series and platforming enthusiasts alike.

2. Kirby Planet: Robobot 

The Kirby series has long adhered to the consistency of its core gameplay and for good reason. Each installment offers players the joy of controlling a pink puffball with a knack for absorbing and utilizing enemy abilities. However, Kirby: Planet Robobot breaks from tradition by introducing a new twist to the familiar formula. As Kirby sets out to thwart the invading Haltmann Works Company and their mechanization of Planet Popstar, players embark on a straightforward yet engaging adventure filled with charming characters and a satisfying narrative.

While the story may be simplistic, it serves its purpose in providing players with a reason to venture through the game's six areas. As Kirby confronts the invading forces, the gameplay remains true to the series' side-scrolling platformer roots. With Kirby's signature ability to absorb and utilize enemy powers, players navigate through various obstacles and foes, utilizing a diverse array of abilities to overcome challenges. The introduction of the Robobot Armor adds a new layer of gameplay, allowing Kirby to transform and access different abilities.

Kirby: Planet Robobot offers a wealth of additional content to keep players engaged. From challenging boss fights to unlockable sub-games and modes, such as Metaknightmare Returns and the Arena, there's plenty to enjoy even after completing the main campaign. The game's soundtrack, featuring catchy tunes and techno beats are a blast to listen to. With its blend of familiar gameplay mechanics and new features, Kirby: Planet Robobot delivers a satisfying experience for players of all ages, making it a worthwhile addition to any 3DS library especially for those who love platforming games.

1. Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight defies expectations by blending modern game design with retro aesthetics, creating a nostalgic yet accessible experience. Despite adhering to retro conventions, it subverts traditional tropes, offering a fresh take on classic themes. In terms of gameplay, Shovel Knight excels with its challenging yet fair difficulty and versatile mechanics.

The protagonist's shovel blade adds charm to combat, while upgrades and relics enhance gameplay depth. The inclusion of checkpoints and gold retrieval mechanics balances challenge with accessibility, reminiscent of modern game design principles.

Shovel Knight’s stunning pixel art and fluid animations, captures the essence of the NES era while showcasing modern polish. Although some NPCs may appear quirky, the overall graphical presentation is exceptional. Complemented by a stellar chiptune soundtrack by Jake "Virt" Kaufman, the game's audiovisual experience is exemplary.

Shovel Knight is the top platformer not only on the 3DS but across all of the platforms it is available, proving that even with limited resources, a small team can create a standout title. Its success highlights the importance of gameplay innovation and emotive storytelling over flashy graphics or convoluted plots.