My Top 10 Nintendo 3DS RPGs: Retail Edition

…I’m sure I’m gonna need update this in a year or two but whatever. LOL.

The following are 10 RPGs released on the Nintendo 3DS or New Nintendo 3DS that I have personally played. For the purposes of this list, I omitted anything Fire Emblem AND Pokemon because they are MEGA Popular. This is more about showcasing other RPGs. Besides, all you need to do is Search Fire Emblem or Pokemon to see my reviews of every 3DS release of both series. LOL. Really though, I challenged myself to not include either series on this list to be fair to other games.

As noted by the title, eShop-Only RPGs are EXCLUDED. That will get its own list. Games available both Retail (physical) and Digital (eShop) will be on this list. It goes without saying Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS eShop titles will also be excluded. Once again: These are all games that I have played myself. If a game you think should have been here is left out, it’s very likely I haven’t played it myself.

Ok here we go.


10. RPG Maker FES

RPG Maker Fes Box Front


Now YOU make the next Classic RPG!

This game makes the list albiet barely due to the simple fact although the full game costs $40, you can download the RPG Maker FES Player free of charge from the eShop for FREE. What does this do? Oh, not much. just lets you download and play user-created games FOR FREE. If you just want to play games made from RPG Maker FES, you can download the Player and skip the full game.

To those looking to make RPGs, please keep in mind the making process is a MASSIVE time sink. The small handful of RPGs I’ve played so far have been a mixed bag in terms of quality but my biggest beef has been the poor grammar in many 5-star rated games. Games that took 30+ hours to complete tended to be of better quality. Games under 20 hours are usually presented as Demos to be tested by others for feedback while they work on it more.


9. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Box Front


It’s not every day the Shin Megami Tensei games get a direct sequel.

Yet, that’s what we got in SMTIV:A. Like the first game, there is DLC and multiple endings. The game closes out the lose ends from the first game and further explores the 3-way struggle between Humanity, Demons and Angels. Fair warning: Devout Christians may find the overt agnostic and athiestic themes of this game and its predecessor offensive.

8. Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven

Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven Box Front


Short but sweet!

The game’s token storyline is tolerable given the game has 7 different endings depending on which of the Heronines you bond with the most by the game’s climax. It’s a strategy RPG and eqipped items carry over per playthrough as do unlocked skills. It’ll certainly keep you busy for a while to say the least. I bought it physical but it is also available digitally. The game is voiced as well.

7. Rune Factory 4

Rune Factory 4 Box Front


Harvest Moon with RPG Mechanics!

The Rune Factory series began on the Nintendo DS and it’s assumed Rune Factory 4 will be the last in the series due to the brand split. All the more reason to play this gem. It’s an amazing blend of Harvest Moon Mechanics and your standard hack and slash RPG. It is available both physical and digital but the

6. Etrian Mystery Dungeon

Etrian Mystery Dungeon Box Front

It’s Etryian Oddysey Meets Mystery Dungeon!

I found this game by accident two years ago on eShop and bought it. It’s a must-have if you’re a fan of either Mystery Dungeon or the Etrian Oddyssey series.


Speaking of Etrian Oddyssey…


5. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl and Etrian Oddyssey Untold 2: The Fafnir Knight

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Box FrontEtrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight Box Front











A tie!

The EOU games are enhanced ports of their original Nintendo DS releases. The 3DS ports include an original story with VAs as well as DLC. You get the choice of playing Story Mode or Classic Mode, which is the original game with the 3DS enhancements. A nice bonus: When you clear one mode, you can carry over character process to the other one.

I bought both games digitally but you can find physical copies of both. Each game has its charm. Both have your standard silent protagonist but it’s not too overbearing if that’s not your thing.


4. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Box Front


Persona 3 and Persona 4 meets Etryian Oddyssey!

I thought this game wasn’t going to do well in the U.S. but it the fanservice actually lured folks who played Persona 3 and Persona 4 on the PS2, PS3 and Vita to buy a 3DS JUST FOR THIS GAME. I have had it for a few years and haven’t beaten it yet but I would be remiss to not give this game props. It’s available both physical and digital.

3. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor OVERCLOCKED

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked Box Front


…Yes, I’m aware this game and its sequel are both Nintendo DS Ports.

That’s exactly why I reccommend this one. Enough to put it om the Top 3. I bought it on sale Digital for $20 3 years ago but you can still find physical copies of the game. A manga series based on the game was recently released just so you know. I actually have the first 4 volumes. The 3DS version is fully voiced, has a New Game +, A Compendium (absent from the DS Version) and has an additional 8th Day Chapter with certain endings. Fair warning: Devout Christians may find the overt agnostic and athiestic themes of this game and its sequel offensive.

2. Stella Glow

Stella Glow Box Front

…Honestly, I wanted to give them #1 but I felt highlighting the game that got that spot was more important. I just revewed this game the other day so I won’t say any more than it’s a solid Strategy RPG.

1. Tales of the Abyss

Tales of the Abyss Box Front



As of right now it is (still) the only “Tales of” game to get released on the 3DS. Sure, it’s a port but it IS the full game. Unlike the Vita release of Tales of Hearts R, nothing was added to the 3DS version aside from slight control scheme tweaking to fit the console. Fans like to complain about the audio quality in the 3DS version but if you use headphones or even better, a portable speaker that problem is solved. That and the game not getting a digital release are literally the only complaints folks have about TotA 3DS.

Abyss, like the Xbox 360’s Vesperia is one of the Black Sheep of the series: Really good but under appreciated. Atlus may have put both Square Enix and Namco to shame in regards to 3DS RPG releases but it’s all the more reason for both companies to show the 3DS some love. A New 3DS port of Vesperia could work.


0. Honorable Mentions


…Let’s get the obvious out the way, shall we?


  • Pokemon X and Pokemon Y: The first 3DS entrants for the main Pokemon series and half of the 6th Gen. Mega Evolution was introduced and as a bonus, we got Pokemon Bank (WOOT!).
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: At the time Awakening was in development Intelligent Systems got an ultimatum from Nintendo: If Awakening bombed, the Fire Emblem series was done. Not just in the U.S. but in Japan as well. As well all know, Awakening is the highest-grossing game in the series EVER. The game-changing pair up mechanics (nerfed in Fates) added an additional layer of strategy. The various references to past games in the series for Fire Emblem fans was like icing on the cake. Nevermind being able to recruit guest units for all of the past Fire Emblem games! Robin and Lucina are both playable characters in Super Smash Bros.
  • Pokemon OmegaRuby and Pokemon AlphaSapphire: The Ruby and Sapphire remakes served as a kind of bridge between the 6th and 7th gen in a few ways. More Mega Evolutions as well as Kyogre and Groudon’s Primal Reversions are introduced.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest and Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations: As a sort of “Reward” to Fire Emblem fans, Intelligent Systems released not one game but 3 this time. Conquest follows the story from the side of Nohr, Birthright follows the story from the side of Hoshido and Revelations focuses on the story of the Lost Kingdom of Valla. Corrin, the main Lord of Fates is a DLC Character in Super Smash Bros.
  • Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon: The lastest entrant in the Pokemon series introduces Z-Power, which allows Pokemon to launch a Super Move once during battles. Sun and Moon are highly acclaimed for the Evil Team, Team Skull. Why? Because being bad has never been as cool as they make it look and feel. They’re not about world conquest or stealing Pokemon. They’re about being HARD. As was announced a few months ago, Sun and Moon are getting enhanced remakes in UltraSun and UltraMoon later this year.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia: The simple fact that this game was released worldwide renews hope we may see Fire Emblem: Binding Blade starring Roy (the game released before GBA Fire Emblem but is actually its sequel) and possibly Geneology of the Holy War (starring Sigurd and Seliph). Shadows of Valentia is a remake of the series’ black sheep Fire Emblem Gaiden. It takes place between the events of the first two Fire Emblem games was the first Fire Emblem game to have both a traversable map (brought back in Sacred Stones and Awakening) and two Protagonists (brought back in Sacred Stones and Radiant Dawn). The game was rebuilt using Gaiden as a base but also has the honor of being the first Fire Emblem game to be fully voiced. If you consider yourself a fan of the Fire Emblem series, you owe it to yourself to buy this piece of history.


I’ll be honest: The REAL reason I excluded the above 11 games is so folks can’t say “Oh, he just had to give Pokemon/Fire Emblem the top spots like there aren’t other RPGs on the 3DS.” Pfft. Wait ’till you see my list of Top 10 RPGs that are eShop exclusive. That isn’t to say the above 11 games are unworthy of making the list. There’s also the fact a trifecta of RPGs is getting released next March: Radiant Historia, Etrian Odyssey 5 and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux. Let’s not also forget Fire Emblem Warriors, which is also being released on the Nintendo Switch.

This year, the last few years and obviously next year should be more than enoughto  shut up people who like to say “There are no decient RPGs on the 3DS other than Pokemon and Fire Emblem”. The 3DS has been doing far better than the Vita in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I have almost all the RPGs released on the Vita worth playing–The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 1 and 2 are most-owns on that note–but they simply don’t hold a candle to what the 3DS offers.

You also have those who have been saying since the Switch was unveiled last year that the 3DS is being phased out. That simply isn’t true. The release of Pokemon UltraSun and Pokemon UltraMoon in a few months say hi. Yes, Nintendo is phasing out older 3DS and 2DS models but one shouldn’t take that to mean the 3DS is done. As Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime firmly stated at E3 last year, the 3DS is far from done.

…Look forward to my list for eShop-exclusive games when it’s posted^_^


This entry was posted in Atlus, Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Fire Emblem, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Pokemon, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, Shin Megami Tensei, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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