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Announced in March 2010 and released in North America one year later on March 27, 2011, the Nintendo 3DS was the company’s latest offering in the handheld gaming market. The successor to the Nintendo DS, the 3DS was part of the eighth generation of gaming. Along with more power to run a newer set of games with better graphics, the Nintendo 3DS also differed from its handheld successor in one major way. 

As its name might suggest, the 3DS hardware included stereoscopic 3D effects without asking gamers to use any type of 3D glasses. The 3DS would receive multiple iterations over its lifecycle including the Nintendo 3DS XL, which introduced larger screens for the top and bottom. An entry-level version of the console, dubbed the Nintendo 2DS, dropped the folding form factor and 3D capabilities when it was released in 2013. 

Let’s dive into the best first-person shooter games for Nintendo 3DS!

What is a First-Person Shooter? 

Originating with now-classic games like Doom and Wolfenstein in the 1990s, first-person shooter games have grown to become one of the most popular video game genres.

Their playstyle is pretty much known by the idea that you, as the player, only see what your character sees. Your field of view is when you turn the controller left or right. With the character itself, you don’t see much beyond their arms and hands which are generally carrying weapons.

In today’s gaming world, titles like Call of Duty and Halo have popularized this genre to heightened levels by repeatedly selling millions of copies. 

Was the Nintendo 3DS Known for First-Person Shooters? 

The Nintendo 3DS would go on to sell more than 75 million units worldwide, thanks to its deep library of engaging titles for all ages. Pretty much anyone could pick up a Nintendo 3DS or its various hardware iterations and find a game title that would entertain them for hours and hours.

Even so, the 3DS wasn’t especially known for its first-person shooter titles, which is unfortunate because its predecessor, the Nintendo DS, did see a small number of excellent titles. The good news is that many DS games are backward compatible with the 3DS, thereby deepening its library of available FPS titles. 

#4: Dementium Remastered

Originally released as a Nintendo DS title, Dementium Remastered has been revamped for the Nintendo 3DS and released on Nintendo’s online e-shop in 2015. As was the case with the DS launch, you take on the role of amnesiac William Redmoor as he attempts to navigate and escape a hospital filled with monsters. While the game starts by just giving William a nightstick, he quickly finds additional handguns and more weapons as he battles his way through various levels of the hospital. 

Playback is engaging as the touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS is utilized to change weapons, interact with nearby objects, as well as move William‘s vision around so he can see what’s in a room. Challenging puzzles add to the overall fun factor and force the player to take a break every now and then from the FPS aspects.

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t incredibly well received, managing a meager 57 Metascore and an equally average 5.5 out of 10 user score. Still, on a console platform that lacks FPS depth, it ranks as one of the best ways to fill this genre niche. 

Metroid Prime: Federation Force
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories

Nintendo’s Metroid games have often been among the best ever released for the company’s various consoles. While Metroid Prime: Federation Force won’t be on any best-seller list, it does rank as one of the best first-person shooters for the 3DS handheld.

Taking place after Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the galaxy is still reeling from the effects of the destruction of Planet Phaaze

The game itself is a co-op or single-player video game released in 2015 and focuses on a team of Federation Marines instead of Samus battling for the forces of good.

Federation Force definitely carves out its own place in the Metroid lineup, thanks to a more cartoonish style of gameplay, but the controls are one of the best aspects of the game. Using the circle pad to navigate your character and the A button to shoot, it’s pretty simplified for players of all ages. 

A Metascore of 64 alongside a user score of 5.5 out of 10 doesn’t offer huge confidence that this title is a must-play but for any Metroid fan, it’s definitely trying at least once. 

Pick up a copy of Metroid Prime: Federation Force on Amazon here.

Nintendo 3DS
While the Nintendo 3DS wasn’t exactly known for FPS games, there are a few solid titles.

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#2: Metroid Prime: Blast Ball

Banking on the popularity of Rocket League to help drive sales, Metroid Prime: Blast Ball was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016.

The game borrows heavily from Rocket League gameplay where teams of three compete to fire a “blaster” at a ball in the hopes of driving it toward a goal. The field is very much Rocket League-like with similar fast-paced action. To call it a first-person shooter is somewhat of a mislabel considering it’s as much a sports game as an FPS, but there are still first-person shooter elements to help it find a place on this list. 

Unfortunately, there were not enough reviews of the Nintendo eShop release to give it an official Metascore. However, taking the three rankings that do appear on the site and averaging them out gives you a solid score of 66. A user score of 7.2 out of 10 does exist, which speaks to the overall enjoyment of the game, even if it’s only best enjoyed in short bursts.

At the time of its release, the gameplay was available both online and through multiplayer, though the latter has been discontinued. 

#1: Moon Chronicles: Episode 1

Remade for the Nintendo 3DS, Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 is a classic Nintendo DS first-person shooter that just works.

Something of a sequel to Dementium: Remastered, gameplay transports you to the moon sometime in the future. In this alternate Earth timeline, a moon base has been built with scientists investigating mysterious disturbances on the surface of the moon. As they disappear, your protagonist is called in to help assist with the search and, as you might expect, aliens await your arrival. 

The control scheme is a true highlight of Moon Chronicles, thanks to the touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS. Switching weapons is as easy as tapping on the weapon button, which makes it super easy to cycle through exactly what you need to defeat a particular enemy. And, should you ever need a break from the FPS battles, jump into a vehicle and drive across the surface of the moon in a warthog-like vehicle in third-person view. 

Running at 60 frames per second, Moon Chronicles is no doubt one of the best-looking FPS games on the handheld console. With a Metascore of 70, beautiful graphics, and great controls, Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 is an easy recommendation for FPS fans. 

Final Thoughts

As excellent as the Nintendo 3DS was, first-person shooter games just weren’t a video game genre that made a ton of appearances on the platform. That’s quite the change from the Nintendo DS, which saw some excellent FPS games on the console. However, for the purposes of this list, it’s important to look at native games that were made with the Nintendo 3DS in mind, and that makes Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 the easy favorite for the absolute best FPS game on the Nintendo 3DS. 

If you really want to build out a library of FPS titles for the 3DS, downloading some older Nintendo DS games like Metroid Prime: Hunters or Call of Duty: World at War will help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Last update on 2023-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The 4 Absolute Best Nintendo 3DS First-Person Shooters of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a first-person shooter game on the Nintendo 3DS?

A first-person shooter on the Nintendo 3DS is no different than any other console which puts you in the “shoes” of a protagonist where you see whatever they see. You are their eyes and control their hands which are almost always found with a weapon being held. 

When did the Nintendo 3DS launch in North America?

The Nintendo 3DS was announced in March 2010 and would release in North America on March 27, 2011, at a price tag of $249.99. Less than six months after its release, Nintendo dropped the price to $169.99 due to disappointing sales. 

How many consoles did the Nintendo 3DS sell?

The Nintendo 3DS didn’t quite live up to the popularity of its successor, but across the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS hardware versions, the console would sell more than 75 million units before being discontinued.

What is the best first-person shooter for the Nintendo 3DS?

Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 is the absolute best Nintendo 3DS first-person shooter game available made natively for the platform. If you look at backward compatibility, Metroid Prime: Hunters, made for the Nintendo DS and backward compatible with the 3DS, would be the best first-person shooter.

What is the best-selling game of all time for the Nintendo 3DS?

Selling just shy of 19 million copies, Mario Kart 7 is unsurprisingly the best-selling game of the Nintendo 3DS era. 

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  • Metacritic Available here: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/genre/metascore/first-person/3ds?view=detailed
  • Wikipedia Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_Nintendo_3DS_video_games
  • What to Play Available here: https://whatoplay.com/3ds/best/shooting/
  • Nintendo Available here: https://www.nintendo.com/