The eShop is full of gems
Nintendo recently revealed a deal for the 3DS eShop that made a lot of people perk up in anticipation: buy Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem: Awakening, and get $30 back in eShop credit. But how could you also ignore the unparalleled charm of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which has caused many people to pick up a 3DS XL regardless?
As a result of these two recent events and many requests, I've rounded up a selection of solid games to spend your cash on -- because with the 3DS, there's lots of ways you can do that.
Although the DSi storefront was rather paltry on its own, there are a number of gems in there that augment the 3DS eShop quite nicely. Before WayForward created Mighty Switch Force!, there was Mighty Flip Champs! and it just happens to be not only one of my favorite WayForward games to date, but one of my top picks of the entire eShop.
But don't forget the incredible Shantae: Risky's Revenge (also by WayForward), which is probably the clear-cut favorite of the entire DSiWare store. The surprisingly good Dark Void Zero is also far better than its console counterpart, and a must-play for any old-school platforming fan.
Other recommendations include Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, Art Style: PiCTOBiTS, Starship Defense, Trajectile, Kubos, and Soul of Darkness -- a shameless but briefly enjoyable Gameloft Castlevania clone. You may be tempted by the DSi version of Cave Story, but there are a number of other superior versions out at this point.
I assume if you're the owner of a newly minted 3DS XL, you've missed out on the amazing Ambassador Program, and thus, 10 free NES games and 10 free GBA games. But fear not, as the Virtual Console for the 3DS currently supports Game Boy, Game Boy Color, NES, and Sega Game Gear titles, as well as revamped 3D Classics.
There are a number of classics on the eShop, but my standout choices include Super Mario Land (Game Boy), Super Mario Land 2 (Game Boy), Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (Game Boy), Wario Land II (Game Boy Color), Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (NES), Kirby's Dream Land (Game Boy), Kirby's Adventure (3D Classics), The Legend of Zelda (NES), Link's Awakening DX (Game Boy Color), Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons (Game Boy Color), and Mario's Picross (Game Boy).
Of course, Mega Man 1-6 (NES) are always going to get a solid recommendation from yours truly.
I picked up a 3DS near launch, and honestly, I wasn't all that pumped for the eShop. After a pretty hyped release of a free 3D Classics version of Excitebike, there really wasn't a whole lot on offer.
Then Nintendo started facilitating the releases itself with surprisingly solid initial first-party releases like Pushmo and Sakura Samurai. Third-party indies also started pouring in, including one of my all-time favorites VVVVVV, and new classics like Gunman Clive, NightSky, Mighty Switch Force!, and Mutant Mudds.
Pushmo was also followed up by the incredible Crashmo, Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move and HarmoKnight stormed the eShop, and both of Level-5's Guild collections made it overseas in the form of the individual releases Liberation Maiden, Crimson Shroud, Aero Porter, BUGS vs. TANKS!, The Starship Damrey, and the upcoming Attack of the Friday Monsters.
No matter what your genre of choice is, odds are the eShop has it covered, and then some.
Other than Pokemon, I don't think any game personifies the portable experience quite like Animal Crossing: New Leaf. There's something about constantly working to better your town on the go and sharing it with friends that really speaks to a lot of people. But Animal Crossing isn't the only "must have," as the 3DS is a powerhouse of deep, exclusive experiences.
Right off the bat, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and Kid Icarus: Uprising come to mind as solid recommendations that no 3DS owner should be without.
Other recommendations include Soul Hackers, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Project X Zone, Rhythm Thief, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Ocarina of Time 3D, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Code of Princess, Resident Evil Revelations, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Etrian Odyssey IV, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, and Star Fox 64 3D.
Also, don't forget that you have the massive pre-existing library of the DS at your disposal. It's due to all of the above reasons and more that the 3DS is currently my favorite gaming system of choice.