Since its worldwide release in February 2011, Nintendo's 3DS, a revision on the original DS that boasted glasses-less 3D, found a dedicated audience thanks to its interesting features and impressive games lineup. Though much of it was made up of re-releases, or remasters of older games, there were still more than a handful of reasons to keep the system charged, and as eShop support on the 3DS comes to a close in the first few months of 2023, the service still wields plenty of experiences worth grabbing.
A game that's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced its weirdness, Tomodachi Life frequently draws comparisons to the likes of The Sims, Animal Crossing, or Tamagotchi. The truth lies somewhere in the middle of the three, as Tomodachi Life is, predictably, a life simulation game where the player takes care of their "look-alike" who completes menial tasks, forms (often quite unexpected) relationships, and strives to raise a family.
Checking in with the characters every day grants new items, events, and much like Animal Crossing, this gives the game so much replayability. The continued success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons has cemented the series as one of Nintendo's best, but the scarcity of physical Tomodachi Life copies means it's a suitable candidate for a place in the late-stage eShop spending spree.
Despite being a full-scale release in the immensely popular Pokemon series, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are also increasingly harder to find in the wild. A remake of the Game Boy Advance classics, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire offer all-new, impressive visuals and a plethora of quality of life changes that makes it the best way to experience the jaunt through the Hoenn region. With the GBA cartridges being even harder to find, Nintendo has done a wonderful job recreating the setting while also staying true to what made the original titles so beloved.
The Nintendo 3DS isn't short of Pokemon titles; from the quirky Detective Pikachu, to the Hawaii-inspired Pokémon Sun and Moon effortlessly carrying the iconic franchise through the 3DS years. It would be easy to overlook Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as merely HD remasters, but doing so would be a mistake. The Switch has been less than inclined to port 3DS games to the system, so the best chance to explore the industrial Rustboro City, or the diverse, bustling Slateport City is with either Omega Ruby, or Alpha Sapphire.
A project from HAL Laboratory, the developer behind much of the Kirby series, BoxBoy! is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer whereby the playable character Qbby can duplicate himself to create bridges, press switches, and traverse the level. The art style is deliberately minimal, and doesn't detract from the experience at all, as the level design and simple, yet intuitive mechanics offer something truly unique.
BoxBoy! spawned three sequels, with the most recent, BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! releasing in a competitive 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. While the latter is sure to be on the Switch's digital store for some time to come, the original BoxBoy! is a 3DS eShop exclusive, and never had a physical release. With the digital store's imminent closure, the time to purchase BoxBoy! is getting shorter by the day.
With 3DS cartridges only being playable on the 3DS console, the convenience of a digital software download largely overshadows the need to purchase a game in physical form. Nintendo's first party games rarely lower in price, so when a game like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D remains on the eShop throughout its life, many downloaded it as soon as it became available. There's a reason for that, though, as Link's cryptic and creepy journey though Termina is one of the few must-play titles exclusive to the 3DS, despite the original releasing on the Nintendo 64.
With updated visuals, 3D support, and refined controls that feel at home on the 3DS, Majora's Mask 3D is a necessary purchase as the eShop's end draws near, simply because of its superb quality. The improvements that the remaster brought to the game sharpened the two-decades-old presentation to a degree where it was in-keeping with most other 3DS AAA releases, and though the N64 version is coming to Switch Online this month, its 3D counterpart is the best way to play. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is a defining moment for the 3DS console, as it was some 22 years ago with the Nintendo 64.