The Absolute Best Nintendo 3DS Party Games of All Time

The Nintendo 3DS console took portable gaming to new heights when it launched in 2011. With its glasses-free 3D display, augmented reality features, touchscreen controls and internet connectivity, the 3DS was a revolutionary handheld device. It also made party games more fun and social than ever before thanks to these innovative capabilities.

In this guide, we‘ll countdown the absolute best Nintendo 3DS party games of all time. But first, what exactly makes a great party game?

Key Elements of Great Party Games

The best party video games have certain qualities that make them fun and engaging in a group setting:

  • Simple, intuitive gameplay: Easy to pick up and play, even for newcomers unfamiliar with games
  • Fun for all skill levels: Accessible challenges but enough variety/difficulty to keep experienced gamers entertained
  • Multiplayer action: Supports 2 or more players on the same device
  • Pick-up-and-play: Short sessions you can quickly enjoy between other activities
  • Interactive: Creative use of a console‘s special features like touchscreens or motion controls
  • Replay value: New content, unlockables or unpredictable gameplay keeps the party going
  • Personality: Bright visuals, catchy music and fun themes/characters make for an enjoyable atmosphere

The Nintendo 3DS has all the right ingredients to deliver exciting party games thanks to its dual screens, augmented reality camera, touch interface and gyroscopic motion sensors. Let‘s look at some all-time greats from its impressive library of titles.

6. Mario Tennis Open

The Mario Tennis series has offered family-friendly virtual sport action since its Nintendo 64 debut. Mario Tennis Open brings the mushroom kingdom crew to the 3DS with fast-paced multiplayer matches, touch and gyroscope controls for serving/swinging your racket, and courts based on Super Mario locations.

Exhibition mode lets up to 4 players locally pass one system around and take turns in singles/doubles tennis battles. You can choose from 16 playable characters from the Mario universe and unlock new costume pieces or additional player types. With straightforward gameplay ideal for all ages yet enough skill involved to remain competitive, Mario Tennis Open serves up portable party fun.

Mario Tennis Open – Nintendo 3DS

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5. WarioWare Gold

The WarioWare series features wacky "microgames" that only ask you to figure out their simple premise and succeed within a few seconds. WarioWare Gold for the 3DS compiles over 300 of these rapid-fire minigames that randomly switch every few moments to keep players on their toes.

The microgames run the gamut from simply tapping objects correctly to clearing your nasal passages with the microphone. Up to 4 players can pass the system around and see who lasts the longest or scores highest. With increasingly bizarre challenges, expressive reactions from Wario and friends when you fail, and a fresh batch of microgames waiting around every corner, WarioWare Gold delivers instant party playfulness.

WarioWare Gold – Nintendo 3DS

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4. Mario Party: Star Rush

The Mario Party franchise set the standard for party games on Nintendo consoles. Mario Party: Star Rush on the 3DS shakes up the classic formula with simultaneous multiplayer. Rather than taking set turns, now all players roll dice and scurry around the board at once competing for stars and coins.

This energized pace keeps the action going as you outwit opponents in collecting the most stars from the randomly generated game boards. Over 50 zany minigames also let up to 4 players in on the party. With boss battles, unlockable characters/modes and all the trappings of a Mario Party game delivered at a faster tempo thanks to the new Toad Scramble mode, Mario Party: Star Rush is primed for portable festivities with friends or family.

Mario Party Star Rush – Nintendo 3DS

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3. Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS

The Super Smash Bros series takes Nintendo‘s most iconic characters and lets them duke it out in thrilling battles. Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS shrinks the outrageous weapon-filled fighting action onto the small screen. Up to 4 players can choose from over 50 playable fighters from Nintendo franchises and flex their skills in Smash battles.

Several multiplayer modes like Smash Run and StreetSmash amp up the competition and variety. You can also battle other 3DS owners online or customize your fighter‘s strengths and move sets. Representing decades of Nintendo history with fan-favorite characters and easy to learn but challenging to master fighting mechanics, Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS is a multiplayer smash hit.

Super Smash Bros – Nintendo 3DS

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2. Mario Kart 7

The fan favorite Mario Kart racing series reaches new speeds on the Nintendo 3DS with Mario Kart 7. Up to 8 players can enjoy local and online multiplayer racing mayhem across new and classic Mario Kart tracks in grand prix, battle mode or custom race configurations.

Mario Kart 7 takes racing vertical as well with new anti-gravity segments that have you gliding up walls and ceilings for disorienting new twists. You can fully customize your kart to match your playstyle, perform midair tricks off ramps, and even immerse yourself in first-person racing. This deep well of content including 16 new tracks alongside the competitive combat racing gives Mario Kart 7 supreme replay value at your next group get-together.

Mario Kart 7 – Nintendo 3DS

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1. Luigi‘s Mansion: Dark Moon

The 3DS sequel to the cult classic Gamecube launch title Luigi‘s Mansion expands the ghostbusting adventure into multiple mansions with an assortment of paranormal puzzles to solve. Typically timid Luigi must once again overcome his fears and vacuum up an army of ghouls and goblins in this whimsical action game.

But the real party lies in the multiplayer ScareScraper mode supporting local Download Play. Here up to 4 Luigis tackle floor after floor of spooky challenges, hunting down pesky ghosts as a team. With competitive minigames between floors, unlockable upgrades to earn and a charming multiplayer adventure helping the reluctant hero Luigi, Luigi‘s Mansion: Dark Moon is entertaining for single or multiplayers of all ages, earning it the top party spot.

Luigi‘s Mansion: Dark Moon – Nintendo 3DS

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The Nintendo 3DS gave classic portable party games a fresh coat of paint with its 3D display and motion controls while also introducing innovative titles. Our selections highlight the very best social experiences on the system – guaranteed to entertain a group with multiplayer madness.

From sports showdowns in Mario Tennis Open to lightning fast minigames in WarioWare Gold or battling bosses with friends in Luigi‘s Mansion: Dark Moon, these Nintendo 3DS party staples check all the boxes.

Each featured pick offers delightfully simple gameplay fine-tuned to produce hours of carefree fun anyone can enjoy. When combined with colorful graphics, playful themes, and that classic Nintendo charm, these handheld party games keep gatherings going long into the night.

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