30 Best Multiplayer 3DS Games (Local & Online)

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The original Game Boy made mulyiplayer fairly cumbersome, requiring two consoles, two copies of any game, and a Link Cable to physically connect

This didn’t prevent developers from coming up with some excellent multiplayer experiences, though. Pokemon Red and Blue come to mind.

If developers managed to come up with these great ideas with all those annoying limitations, it’s no surprise that things are exponentially better in the Internet-connected world of the 3DS. Gone are the days of Link Cables, in are the days of excellent local & online multiplayer!


30. Code of Princess

Code of Princess 3DS gameplay

The Final Fight and Streets of Rage days never ended.

Thugs and criminals simply became something else.

Code of Princess is a rather straightforward side-scrolling beat’em up featuring over-the-top characters, and a fantasy story that never takes itself too seriously.

Setting the game apart from other similar games is the unique addition of role-playing game mechanics.

These allow for customizations of the four main characters, with a lot of flexibility here.

And the massive local+online multiplayer features over 50 playable characters, including all the mobs you’ve defeated during the course of the story mode.

If you can’t beat em, join them!


29. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance screenshot

When your nemesis becomes more powerful than ever, the only choice you have is to become a Master.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance details Sora and Riku’s Mark of Mastery exams that allow them to prepare for the inevitable showdown with the resurrected Master Xehanort.

Like previous entries in the series, you’ll be able to explore a variety of Disney worlds as Sora and Riku, fight a lot of enemies, and enlist the help of the Dream Eaters.

These were creatures new to the Kingdom Hearts universe at the time. The Dream Eaters are the main focus of the game’s multiplayer mode called Flick Rush, which pits two teams of Dream Eaters against one another with a battle system powered by card game mechanics.

A fun diversion from the series, even if it’s not what most players expected.


28. New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros. 2 game screenshot

In New Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario has become King Midas, turning everything he touches into gold.

This game doesn’t differ much from the rest of the series. It sports a 2D platforming experience that’s fun for both experts and newcomers.

While most classic power-ups make a return, including Super Mario Bros. 3 iconic Super Leaf, it’s the new Gold Flower that takes the spotlight.

It allows Mario to turn everything around him into gold coins. Scrooge McDuck vibes over here.

Collecting 1,000,000 coins unlocks a super-duper secret, so you’ll definitely need the help of a friend in co-op to collect them as quickly as possible. Two King Midas’ are way better than one!


27. Fire Emblem Fates

Fire Emblem Fates gameplay

When an excellent single-player focused series starts taking its first steps into the multiplayer world, what be the result?

Very good results, of course.

Fire Emblem Fates is definitely among the most controversial entries in the series, mostly due to the game being split into three different titles, ala Pokemon.

The three games, however, are not entirely bad, as map design is a step up from Awakening. And many of the mechanics introduced in the previous game(such as the Pair Up system) have been refined to incredible heights.

Fire Emblem Fates is also remarkable for having introduced online multiplayer into the series, allowing players to put together a team of 5 units, then take on friends and strangers in a variety of well-designed maps.

All so you can prove that your ultra-powerful Lord is truly the hero the world needs.


26. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes gameplay

Is that the Hyrule Field theme you hear in the distance? Maybe.

Despite being part of The Legend of Zelda series, Triforce Heroes plays nothing like the main entries.

Adopting the co-op mechanics seen in of Four Swords, Trifoce Heroes presents an experience geared towards multiplayer. It just offers combat scenarios and puzzles that only make sense when played with others.

Uneven level design and lack of voice chat can make the experience frustrating, especially during online play… but if you have two more friends to join in, you definitely need to Link together in this LoZ title.


25. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 screenshot

A classic among classics in the palm of your hands.

That’s what 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 offers.

This is the same game that fans have come to love since 1992.

It features excellent level design, colorful graphics, and incredibly catchy music. Surprisingly enough, the multiplayer features of the original have been ported over to the 3DS version.

So two players can take on the main campaign as Sonic and Tails, or challenge one another in the Versus mode.

Not the deepest multiplayer experience on the 3DS, but one that deserves to be experienced at least once, no matter the console.


24. 3D Gunstar Heroes

3D Gunstar Heroes gameplay

Heroes armed to the teeth, time to move out! And start combining those weapons.

3D Gunstar Heroes is yet another excellent port of a classic SEGA Genesis game that took the run and gun mechanics made popular by Metal Slug to new heights.

It does this with innovative features like the ability to combine two weapons to create a powerful new one, and a health system that made the game more accessible without making it too easy.

These features create an amazing experience that’s even better on the 3DS, thanks mostly to the ability to cycle between all the available weapons. Plus the straight-to-the-point two-player local co-op that makes the experience even more explosive.


23. 3D Streets of Rage 2

3D Streets of Rage 2 screenshot

These Streets are occasionally dangerous and filled with Rage, but nothing you can’t deal with your trusty 3DS.

3D Streets of Rage 2 is an amazing conversion of the original SEGA Genesis game, featuring exciting side-scrolling street-brawling and a varied playable cast that makes many playthroughs genuinely fun.

The addition of Rage Relay Mode, which allows players to use all of the playable characters in succession, and Fist of Death Mode, a one-hit kill mode that makes every fight a thrilling experience, serve only to improve an experience that is nothing short of amazing… even decades later its original release.


22. Yo-kai Watch 3

Yo-kai Watch 3 gameplay

Yo-kai Watch is what Pokemon would be if the series took a slightly bolder direction.

What Yo-kai Watch 3 does incredibly well its the setting.

Controlling different main characters, you explore multiple towns including the American-esque St. Peanutsburg. And you collect Yo-kai, spirits that roam the land.

While the story is entertaining enough, exploring the world in search of Yo-kai is what makes the game outstanding.

Mostly thanks to a lot of mini-games and side-activities.

The automated turn-based combat is also quite remarkable, as it comes with some interesting ideas that take advantage of the console’s touch screen.

The good fortune that the Yo-kai bring finally touched the multiplayer mode too, which is no longer limited to local battles only. Now your Yo-kai team can become the best in the world!


21. Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil Revelations screenshot

Resident Evil Revelations is not just a fantastic survival-horror game.

It’s also an excellent multiplayer game.

I won’t spend a lot of words on the single-player campaign that saw the return of classic Resident Evil protagonist Jill Valentine, not because it does not deserve it, but because it has to be experienced.

As never before a video game franchise made such as an excellent transition to portable format.

The local and online multiplayer experience also deserves a lot of praise here though.

Raid mode manages to take stages from the single-player campaign, and adapt them to a full-on shooter experience that requires cooperation between players. Not to mention excellent knowledge of both the maps and the arsenal.

The series debut on the 3DS truly couldn’t have been any better.


20. Final Fantasy Explorers

Final Fantasy Explorers gameplay

It’s Final Fantasy Explorers time.

Or rather, Final Monster Fantasy Hunter Explorers time.

Final Fantasy Explorers has been influenced by the Monster Hunter series so much, it’s not even funny.

The game allows you to create your own hero and customize him/her to your liking, before venturing out into the wild world to take down monsters. Most of them lifted straight from all other titles in the series.

Customization is definitely the highlight of the game, as you’re able to choose between different Jobs that will change your fighting style and mesh differently with other members of your hunting party.

While the experience is not as challenging as that of Monster Hunter, there are a lot of things that Final Fantasy Explorers does right, making it an excellent alternative spin-off in this classic JRPG series.


19. Minecraft

Minecraft game screenshot

There’s no such thing as a bad Minecraft experience, even when it’s a little lacking.

The new 3DS version of the popular game offers a decent on-the-go experience, despite being marred by some control issues and obvious graphics downgrading.

The latter is especially annoying, as the reduced draw distance makes Minecraft feel claustrophobic. Which is the exact opposite of what the game needs to be.

Still, creating worlds and crafting items is as fun as it has ever been. And the multiplayer experience has been ported over almost intact in all of its blocky glory.


18. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D screenshot

Welcome to the Jungle, we’ve got fun and games!

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is as glorious a comeback could ever be.

Being a straight port of the Wii game, it features the same over-the-top story starring Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.

Plus it offers an excellent selection of creative and challenging level designs that will put your 2D platforming skills to the test.

And by your skills, I mean yours and that of a friend’s, as the brilliant local co-op mode makes an already excellent platform game even better.


17. Terraria

Terraria game screenshot

When you have all the freedom you could ask for, it’s easy to get lost.

Terraria makes sure that you also have fun!

The 3DS port of the popular sandbox game manages to capture the spirit of the original release, giving players a massive 2D world to explore and limitless crafting and adventuring possibilities.

Touch screen controls also allowed the developers to streamline some features like inventory management and map access, giving players some customization options that are not found in the other versions.

The downside is that this version of the game only supports local multiplayer for up to four players. So you may end up exploring the world if you do not have any friends on hand nearby.



16. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call gameplay

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a musical celebration of the Final Fantasy series.

And what a celebration it is.

Expanding on pretty much every feature introduced in the original, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a great rhythm game. Really, it’s actually fun to play.

It features a huge song selection that covers not only all the main entries in the series up until Final Fantasy XV, but also spin-offs and other Square-Enix games.

All songs, which can be played through with different control styles including the stylus control style, come with multiple difficulty levels. This will help you hone your skills when you are ready to take on other players in the game’s online multiplayer mode.

Time to start tapping and swiping, these Marlboros aren’t going away by themselves.


15. Star Fox 64 3D

Star Fox 64 3D gameplay

The God of gaming said you shall have no other space adventure beside Star Fox 64 3D. Because it is bloody good!

Despite being a simple on-rails 3D shooter, Star Fox 64 3D is as engaging as it was when it was released on the Nintendo 64.

This 3DS version can mostly thank the varied single-player campaign featuring air, land, and underwater sequences, and the great controls. Which are augmented in the 3DS release with gyroscopic settings that work amazingly well.

The buttery-smooth shooting gameplay shines even brighter in the local multiplayer Battle Mode that offers three arena battles with multiple objectives.

This makes shooting your friends incredibly satisfying. Satisfying for you, not for them.


14. Mario Party Star Rush

Mario Party Star Rush gameplay

Ready your virtual dices, it’s Mario Party time!

Mario Party has always been a very fun multiplayer series. But some issues here and there prevented the games from becoming massive successes.

These issues have been fixed in Mario Party Star Rush, as the game moves at a much faster pace and grants each player a lot more movement freedom.

These enhanced mechanics, however, would mean very little if the mini-games weren’t fun… and thankfully the game fully delivers on this front with a solid selection.

All these options will make your local multiplayer sessions an enjoyable mayhem of taunts and goading. It simply wouldn’t be Mario Party without them.


13. Mario Tennis Open

Mario Tennis Open screenshot

When tennis is so intense, is it really the right hobby for a stressed-out hero?

This odd Mario sports-themed title is an interesting take on the portable Mario Tennis formula.

It bridges the gap between the multiplayer focus of the home console versions with the solo-oriented experience of the handheld releases.

By placing greater focus on skill, Mario Tennis Open is an intense tennis experience that feels extremely balanced. Especially in the local and online multiplayer modes.

The realism here gives the whole game a depth that was unprecedented to the series up to this point.


12. Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Metroid Prime: Federation Force gameplay

Metroid Prime: Federation Force took the series in a bold, yet divisive direction.

Doing away with the iconic Samus Aran was a brave choice, but what truly put off many players is the co-op focus of the game.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force features an extensive main campaign that up to four players can enjoy together. And with a mission design that favors co-op and makes everything extremely fun if you have a squad of space adventurers always on hand.

If you’re a lone wolf like Samus, however, don’t bother.

Unless you want to know the true meaning of frustration.


11. Tetris Axis

Tetris Axis screenshot

Tetris Axis and the 3DS continue the tradition that began with the original Tetris and the glorious Game Boy in the best possible of ways.

Tetris Axis features over 20 different variations of the classic experience, ranging from the standard Marathon Mode to the crazy Fever Mode, Stage Racer, which turns Tetris into a maze-exploring game. And a tower climber.

While some of the game modes pale in comparison to others, they manage to be incredibly fun in the local and online multiplayer modes.

Up to eight players can join in the fun so there’s plenty of room to party.

Remember the old days of when 2-players Tetris was revolutionary? They’re long gone now.


10. Kid Icarus: Uprising

Kid Icarus: Uprising gameplay

A comeback has hardly ever been as stylish as Pit’s comeback for Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is among the most unique games ever released on Nintendo 3DS.

It’s a game that could only be possible on the console, thanks to its unique control scheme that requires both traditional and touch controls.

But the fun doesn’t stop with the end of the massive story mode, as Kid Icarus: Uprising features two local and online multiplayer modes: a simple free for all mode, and Light vs Dark, an engaging team event that also hands out rewards for the single-player mode.

Not a simple diversion, but an integral part of an amazing experience that all 3DS owners should experience.


9. Rhythm Heaven Megamix

Rhythm Heaven Megamix game screenshot

If you’re looking for something crazy to enjoy on the go, look no further.

Surreal is the best adjective for Rhythm Heaven Megamix.

Feeling more like a compilation of the best the series ever offered, rather than a brand new game, Rhythm Heaven Megamix features a variety of incredibly catchy songs. They require players to tap the A button, and occasionally the B button and the directional pad, in time with the music.

Easy right?

The beauty of Rhythm Heaven Megamix shines even brighter in the local multiplayer mode Challenge Train, which has up to 4 players complete different courses that group together songs from the Story Mode.

I do need to warn you, though: since the game is so addicting, you won’t be getting off this train anytime soon.


8. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon gameplay

It has been some time since Luigi stopped being “just” Mario’s brother.

His ghost hunting skills, after all, are second to none.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon doesn’t just feature an excellent single-player campaign, but also a separate multiplayer mode that can be enjoyed both locally and online by up to four players.

ScareScraper comes with a variety of different modes too, that take advantage of Luigi’s unique abilities in very clever ways.

Like Hunter mode, where players must take down all of the ghosts while exploring randomly generated location.

OrChaser Mode, where players use the Poltergust 5000 to track down hidden ghosts.

Starting to feel like a ghostbuster yet?


7. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition screenshot

Another Super Street Fighter IV port?

Yes, and you will love it.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition doesn’t offer anything substantially different over the other versions of the game in terms of content, as it features the same character selection and gameplay seen on other consoles.

What truly sets the 3DS version apart from all the others are touch screen controls.

These let you unleash special moves without having to input them, opening up some very interesting combo possibilities that are not normally available.

Ever wanted to unrelentingly Sonic Boom your opponents to death online?

3D Edition is your only chance!


6. Kirby: Planet Robobot

Kirby: Planet Robobot gameplay

Kirby is back on the 3DS, together with a giant mech that will shake the foundation of the world!

Kirby: Planet Robobot is an excellent entry in the series. And the best on the 3DS for sure, presenting a classic 2D platforming experience enhanced by excellent level design, buttery-smooth controls, and some new mechanics too.

Stuff like the giant mech that Kirby can control at times to defeat the mechanized enemies that are threatening the world.

While the single-player campaign is, by itself, more than enough reason to get the game… the multiplayer mode called Team Kirby Clash adds more to the whole experience.

It allows up to three players to team up and take on powerful bosses, all while powering up their abilities after each encounter.

Not quite a role-playing game, but fun nonetheless.


5. Pokemon X & Y

Pokemon X & Y gameplay

If Pokemon X & Y were actual Pokemon, they would be the Mega Evolution forms of older entries in the series.

Very few entries feel as innovative as Pokemon X & Y.

Mostly thanks to the huge changes in the multiplayer and social aspects of the experience.

While the main story and game progression haven’t seen any big changes, the online multiplayer has been expanded tenfold with players always being a button press away from trading, battling, and showing off their customized character.

It’s still not the Pokemon MMO we’ve been waiting decades for, but it is a step in the right direction.


4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf screenshot

Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t just a game.

It’s a ritual, and a very addictive one at that.

For the first time ever in the series, you’ll become the mayor of your town.

You’re free to decide how to develop it from scratch!

The plethora of activities makes for an incredibly addictive gameplay loop that begins with town creation and customization, and continues with the online mode.

In multiplayer you can show off your creation, receive visitors both locally and online, explore dream versions of other players’ towns, and enjoy a variety of mini-games with players all over the globe.

All these features make Animal Crossing: New Lead one of the best multiplayer experiences on the 3DS, giving a new meaning to “turning over a new leaf”.


3. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate gameplay

Monster hunting in portable factor has never been as demanding as in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

If you were expecting to see an easier experience in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, you will be disappointed.

Once again, it will demand hours upon hours of dedication to start to feel rewards.

But these hours will always be filled with fun.

The series’ usual gameplay loop that sees you go after gargantuan beasts, has been enhanced here with improved area designs and environmental variations of unique monsters.

And these new monsters can unleash special abilities that are designed specifically around the location they’re found. Neat!

So danger will be in higher supply than ever, always around the corner.

But your squad will just have to keep going. Just for one more hunt. Just for one more armor set to craft.


2. Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 screenshot

One word: fun.

There’s just no other way to describe Mario Kart 7.

In a series full of standouts, it’s no small feat being among the best entries ever released.

Mario Kart 7 brought a lot of new features to the table, including gliding and underwater racing mechanics, kart customization, immersive gyroscopic controls and amazing track designs that rival other great titles.

The best thing about Mario Kart 7, however, is the online multiplayer mode.

Not for its features, but for the fact that it works as intended… unlike Mario Kart Wii’s online modes.

The addition of two different Battle Modes is just the icing on the cake for a game that’s a must-have for any 3DS owner.


1. Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS

Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS gameplay

Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS was both a blessing and a curse.

One that deserves to be experienced nonetheless.

Being able to play this excellent fighting game on the go was a dream come true for many fans.

But the fact that it held back the Wii U version is something that disgruntled some, as it forced the developers to make some cuts.

Sorry Ice Climbers, you were way too much.

Still, the game is extremely enjoyable. Mostly thanks to the hectic gameplay experience that’s simple to understand, but way harder to master.

Not to mention the huge character roster, the varied play modes, and the gameplay mechanics that are a huge step up from the disappointing Brawl.

Why is Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS a curse, then?

Because having such an addictive experience in the palm of your hands will leave you oblivious to the world around you!

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