If you haven't picked up a 3DS XL yet you're really missing out on a spectacular device. With its bigger screens, easier-to-grasp system design and vast game library, it's a welcome purchase for newcomers. If you have an original 3DS it's well worth the upgrade just to see how much better your games look on the new system. (It's fairly easy to transfer over your data from one system to another as well.)
Still, you might be asking the question, "What games should I test out the new 3DS XL with just to see if I'm getting my money's worth from it?" After doing an exasperating amount of research (hours worth of gameplay, etc.) we've come up with a list of six splendid games that really bring out the most of the new 3DS XL display while still delivering something good on the gameplay front. If you think we missed out on one of your favorites, don't feel bad; there's nothing stopping you from going out and playing it any way you feel like.
With that, let's get to our elite picks!
Super Mario 3D Land
Even though New Super Mario Bros. 2 came out this week and proved to be a pretty good successor to the original Nintendo DS game, there's one Mario adventure that stands out above all others on the 3DS XL: Super Mario 3D Land. Originally released last year at the height of the original 3DS' popularity, 3D Land is the ideal game that shows you just what kind of depth you'll get out of your new system. It utilized the third dimension better than New Super Mario Bros. 2 ever could, especially when you're grabbing coins in a top-down level and see them practically taunting you from above. These worlds also come to life better than 2D levels, so you can do some exploration and find hidden areas and fly your way through the clouds to collect bonus coins and those all-important 1-UPs. If you're going to take Mario through his paces on your XL, 3D Land is the game to do it with.
StarFox 64 3D
When StarFox 64 first came out for the Nintendo 64, it created an interesting new opportunity for split-screen multiplayer while also packing a single player campaign that was both exciting and fun to play. StarFox effectively went into stereoscopic 3D territory with its 3DS revamp with great sights to see and options to take on your friends in local wireless play. If you thought the game was a delight on your original 3DS, wait till you see it on the XL. The worlds really come to life on the larger screen whether you're shooting at enemies underwater with torpedoes or taking on a really massive boss in the deep reaches of space. And that lava level? It's almost like it's ready to completely wash over you. This is one game that's definitely worth warping to your local game store for…even if Slippy won't shut up. ("Sheesh, Falco. YOU TOO?!")
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
While we're talking about Nintendo 64 revamps that fared well on the 3DS, let's discuss one of the greatest Zelda adventures ever made: Ocarina of Time. When this game came out over ten years ago, it drew gamers into a brilliant new 3D world filled with surprises, hidden treasures and overwhelming boss battles that really took your breath away. Fast forward to the game's release on the 3DS and it's doing it all over again... especially on the much larger XL screen. The world of Hyrule has never shined brighter than it does on this system, whether you're riding around on Epona or taking on a spider boss that likes scaling the walls. If you've never experienced the game before this is the place to do it, and if you have, isn't it worth revisiting?!
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Even though some people saw it as a "misfire" due to slightly overcomplicated controls, we can easily say that Kid Icarus' rebirth on the Nintendo 3DS is one of the most beautiful games we've seen for the system to date. Tranquil 3D worlds, combined with great action sequences and 3D shooting stages (ala Panzer Dragoon) really bring this game to life in ways we could've never imagined. The online multiplayer is cool as well, letting you take on friends and battle for the best times on the Nintendo Network. Playing this thing on the 3DS XL lets you see what kind of time and effort went into its development - don't miss it.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
The 3DS has a library of some very good fighting games including Dead Or Alive Dimensions and the recently released Tekken 3D: Prime Edition. If we had to pick one top-of-the-line brawler, however, we'd have to go with the one that initially came out when the system was first released last year: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. Although it isn't as fully stocked with fighters as the Arcade Edition that came out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, there's no question that Capcom got this portable release right. Great controls, a variety of options, and some of the best graphics you'll see in a fighter of this magnitude are more than enough reason to draw you in. And the online multiplayer? Still going strong today.
Also, here's a bonus pick from the eShop front…
Zen Pinball 3D/Marvel Pinball 3D
Zen Studios has managed to produce a pair of stunning pinball sims for the Nintendo 3DS that sell for a meager $7 a pop for four tables each. The Marvel one is the best choice, featuring familiar heroes like Iron Man and Fantastic Four fighting for freedom... with your help, of course. But Zen Pinball isn't half bad either and both games support online leaderboards and unlockable trophies. Nothing wrong with a little something extra, right?
Get our official strategy guide for Super Mario 3D Land!