The Nintendo Switch is all the rage these days. The iconic handheld/home console hybrid from the Japanese Super-Mario-creator company is their most popular device yet. All thanks to its long history of making portable devices as well as software that appeals to their demographic.
But what about the 3DS? The predecessor to the Switch was a small, clamshell-esque, two-screen portable that could output stereoscopic 3D without the use of any additional peripherals.
It may not be comparable to PS Vita in terms of technical grunt, but it still manages to deliver some artistically pleasing games. Nevertheless, there were several titles that pushed the 3DS hardware to its limits, delivering experiences often comparable to the Xbox 360.
Here's a look at 5 of the most visually impressive Nintendo 3DS games
5) IRONFALL: Invasion
Given a name as generic as that, it was no surprise that IRONFALL: Invasion from VD-DEV was overlooked. The Earth has been invaded by a robotic alien force from the Omega Nebula who aim to destroy humans and harness the Earth's resources for themselves. Overall, the single player was considered very forgettable.
Flaws aside, one aspect that IRONFALL can be commended for is the game itself. Not many games pull off realistic looking features successfully on the Nintendo 3DS owing to its weaker technically "PS2.5" hardware.
However, VD-DEV's 2015 third-person cover shooter does well while running at 60 FPS. It is generally touted as a Gears of War clone, which it kind of was, including the series' staple reload mechanic. Its multiplayer gameplay can accommodate up to six players.
4) Monster Hunter Stories
Capcom has always managed to bring the most out of any hardware they've worked on and the Nintendo 3DS was no different. Taking a brand new spin on their iconic Monster Hunter series, Stories was released exclusively for 3DS in 2017.
After uncovering a Rathalos egg, the protagonist and his friends discover a mysterious illness called Black Blight plaguing the monsters of this land.
Unlike the main series of games, it is a turn-based JRPG with a focus on monster taming like Nintendo's Pokemon, but with its own unique spin on the rock-paper-scissors battle system with Tech/Speed/Power.
The visuals also differ from the norm, opting for a cute chibi look. Yet at the same time, they're also some of the best in the system, highlighting clean artwork, great lighting and detailed character models. It's also got a multi-platform sequel that was released last year.
3) Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts games have always had an odd relationship with Nintendo in the sense that up until now, the Big N had always gotten spin-off entries. Furthermore, they arrived only on their handheld platforms.
Kingdom Hearts 3D was the last game of that nature. Acting as a sequel to the 2007 mobile-exclusive Kingdom Hearts Coded (which got a DS remaster called Re-Coded), Dream Drop Distance expands the series' lore.
Acting as a test to counter the villain Xehanort, Sora and Riku are sent to worlds that remain trapped in a "sleeping" state after being destroyed by the Heartless. To restore these worlds, they must battle the Nightmare Dream Eaters in each world with a counteracting Spirit Dream Eater.
The gameplay is more or less similar to previous hack & slash entries but it’s the visuals that shine the most. It looks on par if not better than Kingdom Hearts 2, with a lot of effects on screen, especially with the Dream Eaters.
The Flowmotion mechanic allows zipping around the game's colorful environment, while the impeccably modeled enemies are a joy to behold.
On a related note, a brand new mainline Kingdom Hearts game is on the horizon.
2) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker originally launched for the Nintendo Wii U in 2014. It came about as a result of making a full title out of a minigame in Super Mario 3D World.
The narrative is simple: Toadette and the Power Star have both been kidnapped by the mischievous crow Wingo, so Toad must traverse through a variety of puzzle-platformer levels to retrieve them.
It's important to note that this is a Wii U game running on 3DS without compromising content. This is a huge achievement from Nintendo, especially when the game renders the 3D game world on two screens simultaneously.
The game understandably caps at 30 FPS but is a visual maker with many of the bells and whistles retained. The levels are the same as well, with the same set pieces and mechanics.
1) Resident Evil: Revelations
Developer Capcom surprised everyone when they announced that a brand new Resident Evil game would be coming not to the PS3 or Xbox 360, but the Nintendo 3DS.
The game launched in 2012, just a year after the handheld arrived on shelves. Set after the universally acclaimed Resident Evil 4, Jill Valentine ends up on a "ghost ship" overrun by mutants made from a new strain of the T-virus.
As is the norm for the survival horror franchise, players explore various areas of the ship, scavenge for items, solve puzzles and take down deadly enemies. Looking at the footage, it could easily pass for an Xbox 360 game, what with the detailed models and fantastic animations.
While some of the compromises made are noticeable with a few bland environments and enemy textures, it's undeniably a looker. Even a decade later, Revelations is still the best-looking 3DS game ever made.
The latest entry in the series, Resident Evil Village, is one of the most successful entries yet.