10 3DS Retail Games That Might Be Cheaper To Buy Digitally While You Can

Some 3DS games are super cheap to buy physically, which makes sense considering the success of the system. There are others, however, which have seen their secondhand prices shoot up in recent years. It’s easy enough to find copies of big-selling first-party titles at acceptable prices (even if that means playing near-enough original RRP for your Pokémons), but other games have really shot up in price in a relatively short space of time.

We’ve covered quite thoroughly the digital-only games we think are worth picking up before the 3DS, DSi and Wii U stores close up shop forever in March 2023, but we thought it was worth taking a brief look at the prices of retail games versus their digital counterparts. While it might seem counter-intuitive for lovers of physical media to resort to digital downloads — especially from a store which is soon closing its digital doors — physical prices will only increase once the digital version is no longer available. Pleasantly, it seems that Nintendo has reprinted various retail releases, so you should be able to find the most popular games for a while yet. Still, the clock is ticking, especially for the not-Kirbys and the not-Zeldas.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, if it’s a choice between never playing a game or grabbing a digital copy, that’s no choice at all for us. If you’ve been waiting to find any of the titles below in pre-owned cartridge form for a reasonable price, we’d say it’s at least worth comparing prices with the digital version before that option is gone forever.

Below we’ve rounded up 10 games that you might want to consider purchasing from the 3DS eShop while you can. We’ve included both the eShop price and an approximate average of the physical cart was taken from pricecharting.com.

Note. We’ve given the prices of PAL region copies in GBP and US versions in USD, both Complete-In-Box. Some of these titles vary in rarity depending on region, with the physical version being cheaper than digital in one region but not the other, so please take the physical prices only as a rough guide.

Also, some of these games are on sale at the time of writing — we’ve made a note of which ones in their respective entries.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS)

Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release Date: 20th Jan 2017 (USA) / 20th Jan 2017 (UK/EU)
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS)
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Square Enix

Release Date: 16th Sep 2016 (USA) / 17th Sep 2016 (UK/EU) / 7th Feb 2013 (JPN)
Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: MercurySteam

Release Date: 15th Sep 2017 (USA) / 15th Sep 2017 (UK/EU)
Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Intelligent Systems

Release Date: 19th Feb 2016 (USA) / 20th May 2016 (UK/EU)
Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)

Publisher: Atlus

Release Date: 16th Jul 2013 (USA) / 30th Oct 2014 (UK/EU)
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (3DS)Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (3DS)

Publisher: Aksys Games / Developer: ChunSoft

Release Date: 24th Oct 2012 (USA) / 23rd Nov 2012 (UK/EU)
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Project Sora

Release Date: 23rd Mar 2012 (USA) / 23rd Mar 2012 (UK/EU)
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth (3DS)Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth (3DS)

Publisher: Atlus / Developer: Atlus

Release Date: 17th Oct 2017 (USA) / 3rd Nov 2017 (UK/EU)
Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Capcom

Release Date: 8th Sep 2017 (USA) / 8th Sep 2017 (UK/EU)
Ever Oasis (3DS)Ever Oasis (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Grezzo

Release Date: 23rd Jun 2017 (USA) / 23rd Jun 2017 (UK/EU)

And, of course, the Nintendo Selects Line

  • 3DS eShop price: 15.99GBP / 19.99USD
  • Physical price: various

That’s 10 recommendations we think are worth investigating in digital form, but it’s worth considering the Nintendo Select line of first-party titles which sell for 15.99GBP / 19.99USD.

While these include various million-sellers and absolutely aren’t difficult to find cheap in physical form, buying them digitally means you won’t have to look at copies of classics like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Super Mario 3D Land, or Zelda: A Link Between Worlds with that ghastly ‘budget line’ box art. Which is a win.

And let’s face it, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the sort of daily game that is handy to own in digital form, right?

Those are our picks, but let us know below if you think we’ve missed some gems — there are certainly plenty to choose from.

Oh, and before you say it — no, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater isn’t available digitally, unfortunately. Off to ebay with yer!



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