10 Best 3DS Games for Kids Reviewed in 2023
The Nintendo 3DS took the world by storm in 2011, and children have been enjoying it ever since. Users love the longer battery life, ease of use, and most importantly the 3D top screen. Parents love how Nintendo designs the games to be kid and family friendly. Allowing your child to play videogames, in moderation of course, will increase their social skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration skills. Keep reading to see our list of the ten best 3DS games on the market. All of the games on our list are not only appropriate for all ages but they are also highly entertaining.
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Promotes social Play
Updated battle & training techniques
Alolan forms of the previous Pokemon
Graphics are improved and not as pixelated as previous Pokemon sequels.
10 Best 3DS Games for Kids Reviewed
1. Pokémon Sun
Promotes social Play
Updated battle & training techniques
Alolan forms of the previous Pokemon
Graphics are improved and not as pixelated as previous Pokemon sequels.
Pokemon veterans may miss training in Gyms
Catch, train, and befriend Pokemon from the new Alola Islands region. With brand new attacks to learn and utilize in battle (the z moves), the ability to ride Pokemon across uncharted territory, and three new partner Pokemon, you won’t want to miss this epic adventure! Stop Team Skull from disrupting the beautiful island life and become a Pokemaster against the beautiful backdrop of a region based on Hawaii. Pokemon Sun is rated E for Everyone.Read more
Pokemon Sun allows your little trainer to catch the new Alolan forms of previous generations of Pokemon. The game also introduces new moves called Z moves, which are more intense battle attacks. With Poke Ride, your child’s character can ride pokemon and discover new areas on the map. As the gameplay begins your child can choose one of three new Pokemon to be accompanied by as they take on the task of stopping Team Skull.
It encourages social play as your child can use their pokemon to battle other trainers. An online mode is offered as well. The overhead perspective and 3D graphics provide a more intense viewing of the Pokemon battles.
The Developers added a variety of techniques and mechanics to ensure that Pokémon Sun is not solely focused on battling and training. These new tasks add an extra challenge and level of fun to being a pokemon trainer. Children of all ages can enjoy this new added challenge.
2. Super Smash Bros
Encourages Social Play
Can customize your favorite characters
Never the same battle twice, keeping the gameplay fun & interesting
Downloadable Content can be expensive.
The grind to unlock moves can be seen as too difficult.
Super Smash Brothers seems to be something of a rite of passage for video game fans and now you can hold it in the palm of your hand with Super Smash Bros for the 3DS! This game pits Nintendo’s most popular characters against one another in a free-for-all battle. Master mini games to find fun extras and customize your character via the Smash Run maze! You can play as one of your favorite heroes, villains, or even a Mii character. Super Smash Brothers is rated E for Everyone.Read more
Mario, Link, Pikachu! Super Smash Bros is complete with all of your child’s favorite characters. This game allows your child's favorite heroes and villains battle against each other. Unlike other fighting games, the objective is to knock your opponent off of the stage rather than end them by depleting their health bar. It offers a single and multiplayer option. Since this is a fighting game and not an adventure game, your child won’t get bored with it. Every friend they face off against brings their own sense of skills and offers new challenges. Essentially there is never the same battle twice!
The Super Smash Bros. promotes social play as it’s multiplayer option allows you to play against your friends or online against other gamers. Your child will develop a healthy sense of competition as they battle against other gamers.
While this is a fighting game, Nintendo keeps the words clean and does not include blood or gore which makes it great for children of all ages.
3. Mario Kart 7
Allows players to customize their vehicles
Designed with 16 old tracks and 16 new tracks
Equipped with several different game modes
Players can compete in local wireless matches or in an online community
Waluigi is not included as a playable character
Who among us does not know someone that’s gone careening off the rainbow bridge? Mario Kart has been around for years and still remains a fan favorite to this day. In this updated version, players can compete online in wireless matches or over a broadband internet connection. Customize your vehicle with special advantages and utilize them wisely based on which course you choose. Race as one of your favorite Mario characters or as a Mii character! Mario Kart 7 is rated E for Everyone.Read more
While this game does include 16 tracks that were in previous games, it also has 16 new tracks. During the race, players can drive into boxes to collect power-up items. Banana peels and Koopa shells are two examples of power-up items that can be collected and used against their opponents. Your child can choose between sixteen different characters to be their driver. Once their character and car are chosen, they can compete in local wireless matches or online.
Before the race begins, players can customize their vehicles. They can choose from a selection of vehicle bodies, tires, and a retractable hang-glider. All of the decisions that they make when customizing their car will affect them in the race, thus helping them develop a sense of strategy and improving their problem-solving skills.
Both beginner and Mario Kart pros will enjoy this game as it is equipped with 16 old tracks and 16 new tracks. In other words, it is great for children of all ages and skill levels,
4. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Offers over 70 levels of fun
Challenges players to defeat the enemy to retrieve the stolen bananas
Amazing 3D effects
Rated “E”, with some mild violence (carton)
Promotes improved coordination skills
Stages or levels can be repetitive
Level with the flying barrels is very challenging
Donkey and Diddy Kong are ready to take on 70 whole new levels with players in Donkey Kong Country Returns. Work to defeat your enemies and the many obstacles surrounding them so you can reclaim Donkey Kong’s banana stash. This game features a fun throwback style of side-scrolling with classic characters and beautiful 3D graphics. It’s rated E for Everyone due to mild cartoon violence.Read more
The levels feature more bananas hoarding fun than ever before. Players must run through the levels, jump over the obstacles, and battle the enemy to the end. Each of the environments offers diverse courses that challenge the players as they fight to retrieve the stolen hoard of bananas. The 3D effects are amazing with their lush and layered design featuring side-scrolling that really brings everything to life. The game has been redesigned and optimized for the best playing option for the 3D systems.
Playing video games can offer more than meets the ‘eyes.’ Video games that offer a challenge of conquering levels are a great way to develop and improve coordination. When a child plays a video game it not only viewing the screen they are using their audial, visual, and performing a physical hand movement. These combined are a great way to improve coordination skills.
It is rated ‘E’ for everyone but does feature some mild cartoon violence.
5. Sonic Lost World
Has 2D & 3D levels
Storyline with humor
Some may feel that Sonic Lost World resembles too closely to Mario
Sonic is not as fast as he is in other games
With a new Sonic the Hedgehog movie looming, the franchise is getting increased media attention. Whether you’re a newcomer or a long time fan, you’re bound to enjoy Sonic Lost World. He moves in completely new ways, free-running up walls and diving from great heights to travel quickly between islands. New color powers and a variety of challenging courses also pepper this new take on a classic character and game. It’s rated E for Everyone.Read more
Sonic must defeat the deadly six before they destroy his world. Luckily he is equipped with several new moves that will help him come out with the win. The Spin Dash is back and now Sonic is able to Skydive at high speed, free run along walls, and vault over obstacles. Furthermore, Sonic can now explode into enemies. It offers both 2D and 3D modes.
This game encourages social play as includes a multiplayer mode where children can engage in high-speed races. If your child struggled with Sonic’s speed in past games, then this is perfect for them. In this game, Sonic has the ability to free roam and when he runs he doesn’t run as fast as he does in other games.
The levels are lengthy, which will definitely keep your child’s attention and motivated to win. With lengthy levels, this game is great for children of all ages
6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Can Swap Items easily on the DS screen
Does not require you to have played the other Zelda games first
The link is equipped with new moves.
Promotes creativity through role play.
Zelda veterans may find the sequel to be too easy
Items now have to be rented rather than earned
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is an all-new adventure with tons of familiar faces and well-loved characters. Morph into a living painting to dive between worlds at war. This beautiful world comes to life at 60 FPS. Help Link save a world parallel to Hyrule. This game is rated E for Everyone.Read more
While it is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, it does not matter if your child has never played it because each sequel offers their own adventures. Your child will play as Link with the objective to beat Yuga, the franchises' primary villain. In this game, Link has the ability to transform into a painting which will prove to be beneficial to your child’s quest. The 3D aspect enhances the visuals of each top-down world. With more action packed in and a faster pace, your child will enjoy the journey to conquer Yuga.
Your child will increase their critical thinking skills as they are motivated to solve puzzles to beat each level. Imagination is crucial for your child’s development. Through role play, this game will increase your child’s creativity and stimulate their imagination. It also promotes reading as your child will be introduced to the storyline. The vibrant visuals of each map will stimulate your child’s sensory development
Children as young as seven can easily understand the objective and navigate their way through the game.
Stocked with over 700 different clothing items and weapons
Rated E for everyone
Increase social skills
Mii characters can be based on your child’s favorite people
The interaction between the Mii’s is repetitive
Miis are a new gaming phenomenon that allow you to customize your own avatar. In Miitopia, you create and manage a kingdom full of little Miis based on your favorite people. Customize their abilities, suit them up for battle, and help to defend the kingdom! This game is full of quirky, kooky fun. The Miis have their own special interactions and humor is laced throughout, even in the midst of battle. You can unlock new classes as you go and the soundtrack is lush and highly enjoyable. Miitopia is rated E for Everyone.Read more
The dark lord has stolen everyone’s faces so your child must build and lead a team of Mii characters that are based on their favorite people. Once their team is fully assembled they will have to battle to save the kingdom and return the stolen faces. Throughout your child’s quest they can hide to dodge attacks, protect their allies, as well as fight against the enemies. When characters are created, your child can give them a personality. Each personally brings advantages and drawbacks to the characters which makes the game feel more realistic.
The game is stocked with over 700 different clothing items and weapons, thus allowing your child to customize their characters as they please. The silly antics and quirky nature of the mii characters will have your little one laughing as they play. Your child will be encouraged to socialize as the more mii’s they interact and build a relationship with the stronger they become.
The game is rated E for everyone, thus it is appropriate for small children to enjoy.
8. Kirby: Planet Robobot
Designed with upbeat music and brightly colored graphics
Children can play independently or with friends
Kirby is equipped with a new robot feature
Encourages your child to read
May be to easy for skilled gamers
In Kirby Robobot, Kirby’s homeland is in danger of being mechanized and it’s up to you to stop the evil Haltmann Works Company. Level up in a mech suit that allows you to crush tough obstacles and lift heavy objects easily. Kirby can even shapeshift by scanning enemies and morphing into new characters with special abilities. Users laud the graphics as being of higher quality than the game’s predecessors and the consensus seems to be that the increased abilities and robotic suit are intuitive and fun. Kirby Robobot is rated E for everyone with the notation of mild cartoon violence.Read more
Smash through obstacles and defeat each level in order to stop the Haltmann Works Company from mechanizing Kirby’s planet. Equipped with robot armor, Kirby has the ability to scan enemies which will transform his suit and give him new abilities. Inhaling enemies will give Kirby their abilities. Ninja moves and icy breath are just a few of the cool new moves he can obtain from his enemies.
Your child can defeat the levels independently or engage in the 4-player mode and enjoy the game with their friends. The upbeat music and brightly colored graphics will allow your child to immerse themselves into the game. With reading throughout the game, your child can increase their literary skills.
While there is some mild cartoon violence, the game is rated E so children of all ages can play.
9. Frozen: Olaf's Quest
Rated E for Everyone
Provides Positive Reinforcement
Levels could be longer
Olaf has his own adventure for your child to enjoy in Frozen: Olaf’s Quest. This game operates as a side-scrolling platformer with Olaf’s quirky humor peppered throughout. Unlock customized items, engage in side challenges, and find the hidden collections lurking in all 60 levels. This plot serves as an epilogue to the movie and is great for young children, as it’s pretty easy to figure out and the gameplay is intuitive. It’s targeted towards children ages 7 and up, but children as young as 4 have reportedly been able to complete most of it independently. It can be replayed over and over again and is rated E for Everyone.Read more
Olaf’s Quest is the perfect 3DS game for anyone who loves the adorable snowman. Your child will guide Olaf through each level with the goal of collecting snowflakes and flowers. This is a side-scrolling platform with 60 levels. Winter clothes for Olaf can be unlocked as your child beats levels and collects snowflakes.
It encourages creativity as it allows your child to customize Olaf with Winter gear! When Olaf is dressed or after he completes a level he provides a positive message.
Frozen: Olaf's Quest is great for younger children who are starting to enjoy gaming because the levels are short. Furthermore, there is no way for Olaf to “die”, thus your child will never fail a level. There are also no enemies so your child can collect snowflakes at their own pace.
10. Disney Magical World
Interaction with over 60 Disney characters
Create players on the customized player and world
Players roam through 3D game levels
Connect locally with other players
Improves problem-solving skills
Missions are time-based
Requires players to collect ‘stickers’ to unlock additional worlds
Disney Magical World combines over 60 of your favorite Disney characters with unique challenges and gameplay. Explore worlds from Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Winnie the Pooh. Manage your own cafe, hunt ghosts, and collect missing items for all your Disney faves! You can connect with other friends to show off your in-game progress, and there are hundreds of Disney-themed wardrobe options to dress up your avatar! Disney Magical World is rated E for Everyone.Read more
The game features all the characters that your children see on the screen. They are able to explore the worlds of Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, and so much more. Players also have the ability to create their own worlds as well which makes the magic of this game twice as fun. In the game, players have the joy of interacting with over 60 characters while exploring their worlds or the player's own world. They can also battle ghosts and search for hidden treasures along the way. The game has the ability to connect with other players to show off their world and also customize their player's clothes. shoes, and accessories. What better way to explore the magical world of Disney than through this fun-filled video game.
Problem-solving skills is a something that we often think of only using when we are faced with a challenge in math class or when something goes wrong with an object. Video games never really come up in this category, but in fact, they are a great way to improve problem-solving skills. When playing this game you have to think very carefully about your next move and plan every move there forward to ensure that your character is successful plus it also provides split decision making that really aids to improving that problem-solving skills like no other source
While this game is rated E, it is specifically geared towards children over the age of 7.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
We know it may take some time for you to fully be comfortable with the idea of your child spending time playing video games. One of the main factors we took into consideration was the overall entertainment value each game held. The price of videogames can be expensive, so we wanted to make sure you would get your money's worth. Our list is composed of games with varying objectives, thus we are confident you will easily be able to find one to suit your child. In fact, many of these games feature some of your child's favorite characters.
When creating this list, we made sure each game stimulated at least one area of development for your child. With this console, your child will increase their coordination. The brightly colored graphics and an upbeat soundtrack will increase your child’s sensory development. The majority of the choices on the list will increase their problem-solving skills, as your child will have to think about ways to beat each level. Allowing your child to play with friends, or playing with your child will increase their social skills. Games with multiplayer modes will encourage social play.
In creating our list, we wanted to be sure that we included games for children of all ages. All of the games on this list are rated E for everyone, thus making them appropriate for younger children. While some of the objectives may be a little tougher for children under the age of seven, the content in the game is appropriate for them to view. There are a couple of games on this list that will cause your child to "fight" an opponent but we made sure that there was minimal gore if any at all.
The Nintendo 3DS allows your child to play in 3D without special glasses. While this does appeal to your child’s spatial awareness, the 3D mode can be switched to 2D mode at any time and can be locked with a parental PIN number.
The 3DS is equipped with an activity log which records what your child plays and for how long. This feature goes hand in hand with the safety aspect and is great for allowing parents to keep a watchful eye. It does include a messaging system to allow players to talk to each other. Don’t let this feature turn you off from the device. Players can only message each other once they exchange an identification code with each other. Parents can regulate this by being in control of the code and who it is given to. The screen is bigger than the screens on past devices, making it less of a strain for your child’s eyes. The battery life only lasts three to five hours, which makes it easier for you to regulate how much time your child spends on the device.
Other Factors to Consider
With your child’s safety being our top priority we took several factors into consideration. Many of the choices on the list do allow children to play online. We know this feature scares many parents, but there are ways to keep it under control. First, we strongly recommend keeping an eye on your child while they are playing online with strangers. Keeping the console or making them play in a central area in the house will make it easier for you to do this. You can also add parental controls to help regulate who they are playing with. When your child creates a Gamertag, never allow them to use their real name. Be mindful of the Gamertags of the other people they are playing with. Some names will be obviously inappropriate. We also strongly recommend looking at the rating on each of them. A game that is rated M for mature audiences is not appropriate for a child. These ratings are meant to protect your children from things like nudity and violence. All of the games on our list are rated E for everyone so you will be able to relax while your child enjoys their game.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How will I know which games are appropriate for my child?
On the front of every video game is a white box with a bold black letter inside. These letters serve as ratings. EC stands for early childhood. E means the game is rated for everyone. E+10 is rated for children over 10 years of age. If the game is rated T, it is for teens. M is for mature audiences age 17 and older. A is rated for adults only 18+.
q: What makes a game rated E for everyone?
When rated E, the material in the game is appropriate for all ages. There may be a small amount of mild violence included. The game may also have infrequent use of mild language. If it is rated E+10, then the content is suitable for ages 10 and up because it contains more mild violence, language and or suggestive themes.
q: I don’t want my child playing on it 24/7. What should I do?
While there are many benefits to gaming, moderation is important. We suggest setting times for your child to play. Something like once they finish their homework they can play for two hours.
q: How many hours a day should I let my child play?
It is recommended that your child only play video games one to three hours a day.
q: How do I make sure my child won’t be playing inappropriate games at friends’ houses?
The answer to this is tricky. We suggest being honest with the parents but put the emphasis on your child. You don’t want to make the other parents feel like bad parents for letting their child play a video game you deem inappropriate. Just explain that you don’t think your child is ready to be playing a game that involves stealing cars, shooting people, or whatever the case may be.
q: Will video games make my child violent?
This is a common concern. There have been countless studies on this topic, and no concrete evidence has been provided to suggest that video games make children violent. By paying attention to the rating, you can prevent your child from playing violent video games.
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