The 7 Absolute Best Nintendo 3DS Survival Games of All Time

nintendo 3ds

The 7 Absolute Best Nintendo 3DS Survival Games of All Time

Most people fondly look back at the Nintendo 3DS for its great platformers. The number of 3DS survival games is limited, but there were some notable titles that you should definitely give a try. Besides the traditional survival/horror games like Resident Evil, it also had some indie titles that were only available on the eShop.

Love it or hate it, the 3D capabilities of the 3DS added a unique capability that was never seen before. Although a bit gimmicky, there were some games that really benefitted from the ability to add depth. In survival games, it adds depth to a room which is good for exploring and puzzle-solving. It also makes the games feel bigger than they are, which is really needed on the small screen of the 3DS.

Let’s jump into the best survival games on Nintendo 3DS!

Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Classic survival horror gameplay returns - Explore the dark, sinister areas of the cruise ship. There's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide with evil creeping out of the shadows
  • All new Resident Evil - New storyline featuring series favorites Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield
  • Utilizes the unique 3DS features - Make use of the touch screen to solve puzzles and switch between weapons
  • The first full-fledged Resident Evil game for 3DS, Revelation's all-new storyline features series favorites Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and others, diverse locations, and a brand-new viral threat
  • Make use of the 3DS touch screen to solve puzzles and switch between weapons with ease
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09/20/2023 04:48 pm GMT

emResident Evil Revelations/em was a 3DS exclusive at launch, but a year later received an HD edition that went to home consoles.

This portable Resident Evil doesn’t feel like a haphazard handheld game and instead is a well-made game. It also does a very good job of keeping the scary tone of previous games, despite being on a small screen.

The gameplay is still a mix of killing zombies and solving puzzles as you explore the world. The story is also well-thought-out and explained with various cutscenes. Some characters even return from Resident Evil 5. Although, the game actually takes place between the fourth and fifth games, in the setting of a high-tech city on an island.

emResident Evil Revelations/em is different than other games in the series since it relies on an episodic format. Each level plays out like a TV show episode. Throughout the game, you play as one of the two protagonists, mainly searching for each other. emRevelations/em still feels and plays like a traditional Resident Evil game, and you methodically make your way through various locales.

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#6: emSpirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir/em

Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir - Nintendo 3DS
  • The included "diary of faces" is a gateway into the game's absorbing Story Mode. When viewed through the lenses of the Nintendo 3DS camera, each page of the book displays a variety of...
  • Some pages of the book come to life in the form of video segments that reveal past events and shed light on the game's central mysterious soryline. Others appear to send spirits floating into players'...
  • Additional modes let players use the system's camera in spooky ways. In Spirit Photography, they can take photos at their leisure and watch as haunting visions appear within the pictures.
  • Players can also use the notebook with their Nintendo 3DS system to face other challenges involving a mix of memory, hide-and-seek and other game play elements all with a supernatural twist.
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09/20/2023 07:08 pm GMT

emSpirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir/em is a spinoff of the popular Fatal Frame series; however, there are some major differences from the main series.

The original games saw the protagonist use a camera as their primary weapon for battling the undead. In emThe Cursed Memoir/em, the gameplay still largely revolves around a camera, with one big caveat.

emSpirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir/em uses the camera of your 3DS to take your picture and literally make you the game’s protagonist. It also uses the 3DS camera to find ghosts in your surroundings. The idea is that the game utilizes basic augmented reality to overlay various elements over the camera’s video. It isn’t very compelling, but it is nice to see a developer using the 3DS hardware for something useful.

emThe Cursed Memoir/em‘s gameplay is set up like a rail shooter where you hunt ghosts with your camera. The story is relatively short, but it is unique and worth playing. It definitely has a level of creepiness to it, but it isn’t on the same level as more intense horror games. The biggest problem is that it is hard to get immersed since you need to have some light for the camera to work.

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#5: Corpse Party

Corpse Party is an anime-style survival/horror game and is a successor to the PC game of the same name that was released in 1996.

This 3DS game uses a similar top-down style of gameplay but with much-improved graphics. You primarily play as a schoolchild, and the game starts with the students sitting around telling ghost stories by candlelight.

A portal then opens up and sucks in some of the characters, you must then find out what happened and explain the disappearance. Corpse Party is not a super graphic title like some of the more popular hack-and-slash titles that see you killing zombies. Instead, it is very methodical and does cover some rather graphic tones.

There are various corpses lying around that you must explore to find out what killed these people. Each of the game’s characters has their own backstories, which you can learn about by talking to them. Most of the game’s horror nature comes from its story, which is rather intense. Overall, Corpse Party breaks the mold of what a survival title is and brings in some originality.

Nintendo 3DS
The Nintendo 3DS has tons of great survival games, from zombies to exploring around environments.


#4: Creeping Terror

Creeping Terror is a 2D Japanese horror game that received little notoriety in the United States.

While it did get some praise from critics, the game has still failed to gain much traction, even amongst fans of survival/horror games. It does a decent enough job of packing in legitimate jump scares in a compact device.

The ability to deliver a horror game in a small package is no easy feat, primarily because of the limitations with graphics and, more specifically, video. It is also obvious that some real thought went into the story, as well as the characters. However, the game was only available on the 3DS eShop, which is likely a contributing factor to the game’s poor performance.

Nonetheless, Creeping Terror is definitely worth playing if you enjoy survival/horror games. Particularly, if you enjoyed playing older side-scrolling survival games from the SNES and Genesis era. Creeping Terror is essentially an homage to that generation, but with improved graphics and character models.

#3: Dementium Remastered

Dementium Remastered is another 3DS eShop exclusive that never saw a physical release; likewise, it also never received much notice either, despite being a very well-made horror game.

The game is a remaster of the original Dementium game that was released on the DS. It uses similar touch controls but also adds 3D functionality for the top screen.

The game is also much more polished as the developers took time to go back and fix some of the problems with the original. You start out in an asylum armed only with a flashlight. You pick up more weapons as you progress through the game. Combat consists of different types, such as melee to fighting with guns, and even some crazy stuff like saws.

The gameplay is pretty good, as you can use a variety of combat styles to kill several varieties of the undead. The graphics also look good, and the 3D aspect adds a bit of depth without looking gimmicky. The bottom screen has a heart rate monitor to show you how scared your character is. You also use the bottom screen with a stylus to aim and move around.

#2: emResident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D/em

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Resident Evil Revelations demo included.
  • 1 or 2 players - Ad Hoc and Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.
  • 30 missions of intense Mercenaries action.
  • In depth skill and abilities unlock system that encourages and rewards replaying.
  • Choose from legendary past and present Resident Evil characters, including for the first time in Mercenaries, Claire Redfield
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09/20/2023 04:48 pm GMT

emResident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D/em take inspiration from a minigame that is part of Resident Evil 4 and 5.

The mini-game was referred to as Mercenary Mode, and it saw you try to kill as many zombies as possible in a given amount of time. The idea was to expand this into a full-blown game by tying together some light story and level elements.

What ended up coming out was more akin to an arcade game, which isn’t inherently bad, but the game just isn’t what most expect from a Resident Evil title. However, if you look past the franchise name and beyond the expectations that go with it, the game is decent. It also adds various hidden objects that you can try to collect.

There are eight characters to choose from, including some well-known names. Each character also has some of their own special abilities. The maps are relatively small, which is expected since you have a timeframe. However, the maps may look familiar since they are pulled from past games. The graphics look pretty good for a 3DS game, although some background objects do look obscured.

Check it out on Amazon here.

#1: emLuigi's Mansion: Dark Moon/em

Nintendo Selects: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - Nintendo 3DS
  • Mario's clumsy brother takes center stage in this spooky ghost-hunting and puzzle-solving adventure game
  • Five massive mansions to explore, complete with puzzling challenges you'll need to solve to access new corridors and hidden secrets
  • Use the Poltergust 5000, a powerful ghost-catching vaccum cleaner, to capture a host of clever ghosts and creatures
  • New gadgets like the Strobulb and Dark Light Device add depth to the ghost hunting and puzzle action
  • “E”, Everyone with Crude Humor and Mild Cartoon Violence
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09/20/2023 02:48 pm GMT

emLuigi's Mansion: Dark Moon/em is a sequel to the first game that was released on Gamecube.

It keeps the same fun spirit, and E-Gad is even back. Luigi‘s mannerisms are also on full display as he scaredly explores the mansion. While this may not be the horror title you expect, it is still loads of fun and arguably one of the best survival titles on the 3DS.

Even though it is on a handheld, emDark Moon/em feels very similar to its predecessor. The graphics are great, and it uses 3D technology to the fullest without being annoying. The gameplay involves controlling Luigi as he goes around with a flashlight and vacuum cleaner, sucking up ghosts. The two tools have a lot of abilities that really add to the game.

Putting Luigi into a survival game sounds much harder than Nintendo makes it look. emLuigi's Mansion: Dark Moon/em does a great job of creating the feeling of a survival game without being too intense for younger audiences. Still, it manages to attract adults as well with its super fun gameplay. Regardless of whether you played the original Luigi’s Mansion, you are sure to be impressed with emDark Moon/em‘s puzzles and survival nature.

You can find it on Amazon here.

The 7 Absolute Best Nintendo 3DS Survival Games of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a survival game?

The main premise of a survival game is simply staying alive while defeating enemies who are trying to kill you.

Are survival games the same as horror games?

While many survival games are also horror games, they do not need to have a horror aspect to qualify as a survival game.

Can you play 3DS games without 3D?

Yes, you can turn the 3D off completely on the 3DS using the slider on the side of the console. You can also play 3DS games on a 2DS, which does not have 3D capabilities.

Do 3DS games work on the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is not backward compatible with 3DS games. However, some titles previously on the 3DS are now available on the Switch through the eShop.

What is the Circle Pad Pro for the 3DS?

The Circle Pad Pro is an accessory from Nintendo that adds a directional pad to the 3DS for certain games, several of which are in the survival/horror genre.

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