Twelve Years after the doors of the 3DS and Wii U eShop opened, they are sadly closing for good.
Nintendo has announced that on March 27th, 2023, it will no longer be possible to purchase games digitally from that generation of consoles. But for months now, it’s been impossible to buy anything ever since they revoked the ability to directly add funds to your account, so we shouldn’t care about this announcement, right? Well, turns out there’s a completely valid way Nintendo has allowed you to still add funds to your account, and it’s super simple to do.
So here is how you can still buy 3DS and Wii U games before they are gone forever–plus some game recommendations in case you don’t know what to get.
How to Still Buy Games on 3DS and Wii U.
To start, you’re gonna need a Nintendo Switch, this is the key to all of this. Click on your personal user icon in the top left of the home screen, then scroll down to “Friend Suggestions.” You’ll notice icons for the 3DS and Wii U in the top bar. Go ahead and click “Next” in either tab and it will prompt you to sign in to your “Nintendo Network ID Account.” This was the 3DS/Wii U equivalent of the modern-day MyNintendo account that was used to tie purchases to your email.Once you’ve linked your Switch with your Nintendo Network ID Account, you’re almost done! Next, go into the Switch eShop and click on the settings icon in the top right. Under the “Available Funds” section, you’ll see a little prompt saying “Merge Funds with Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.” Click this and you’ve done it! Now whenever you add funds to your Nintendo Switch eShop, they will also be available for use in the 3DS and Wii U eShops!
But which games are worth buying and what digital games will disappear forever once the store closes on March 27th? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some essential pickups now that you’ve made it back into the 3DS and Wii U eShops:
The Best 3DS and Wii U Games to Buy Before It’s Too Late
Dr. Luigi (Wii U)
Released during the Year of Luigi — remember that? — This entry in the Doctor Mario franchise starred our favorite green-hatted plumber. On top of the standard Pill puzzling we all know and love, this title included the “Operation L” mode which utilized L-Shaped pills. As far as digital-only first-party Wii U games go there aren’t too many to pick from, but Doctor Luigi is a welcomed surprise — And just like Mario, don’t ask him where he got his doctorate.
Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation (3DS)
Intelligent Systems decided to go the Pokémon route and split the 14th entry in the Fire Emblem series into two different games: Fire Emblem Fates Birthright and Conquest. One had Corrin choose their birth family, the Hoshido, while the other chose their adopted family, the Nohr.
But a third Digital only route was available in Revelation. This path was only purchasable after completing Chapter 6. This route has you choosing neither family and instead opting to build your army from the shadows in order to take down the threat causing both families to fight in the first place. Arguably the best way to play the game once the 3DS eShop closes, this essential title in the franchise will become unavailable to fans.
Virtual Console – DS, Wii, TurboGrafx 16, Game Gear, DSi
Back before Nintendo Switch Online, we had the Virtual Console. A system where you could buy retro games on the eShop from an assortment of consoles.
As of March 2023, certain consoles are not yet available to play on the Nintendo Switch. On the Wii U, you have DS, Wii, and TurboGrafx-16 games including The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Animal Crossing Wild World, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Bomberman ’93.
For the 3DS you have Game Gear and DSi ware including Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, Shinobi, and Dragon Quest Wars.
Pushmo is a classic from this era of Nintendo. Solve puzzles by Pushing and Pulling the stage itself in order to save the children at the top. There were a total of four games in this mini-franchise, all digital only, so if you enjoyed the first entry, we recommend trying them all out.
Pushmo was a unique puzzle game but still had many modern-day staples including level creation, which made this an incredibly hard-to-put-down title.
Dillon’s Rolling Western (3DS)
If you love tower defense games, Dillon’s Rolling Western is just for you. Monsters are invading towns in the Old West, and it’s your job as the armadillo Dillon to prevent their efforts. This game mixed action with exploration and was essential for 3DS owners. There were a few sequels, and Dillon even appeared in Smash.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
The next couple of games are available physically on the Wii U and 3DS but are gonna fetch you a pretty penny on the secondary market. So we recommend picking them up digitally.
First up is a game not yet on the Switch (hint hint Nintendo): The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. This is an essential play for die-hard Zelda fans, especially if you’re gearing up for the release of Tears of the Kingdom.
If you were able to get your hands on the Wolf Link Amiibo, there’s a special dungeon called The Cave of Shadows. The farther you make it in, the stronger Wolf Link gets once you scan him into Breath of the Wild. And if you didn’t know this was possible, then surprise!
All Mainline Pokémon Games
Consistently, Pokémon games will be expensive no matter what console you’re looking at. The 3DS is no exception with Pokémon X and Y, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, and the Sun and Moon games still fetching for just under retail price.
A great alternative to scavenging the secondary market is to pick up these titles digitally, so you can experience generations 6 and 7 without the worry of missing out on the series’ first mainline 3D titles. Sorry, Colosseum and Gale of Darkness, you don’t count.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (3DS)
Now we’re getting into big-boy territory. When two of the greatest gaming detectives finally came together in Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. Little did they know that it would cost over $200 for a physical copy on the secondary market.
Turns out the biggest crime was these prices. This game has you solving crime puzzles like Layton and proving your defendant innocent like Wright. If you’re truly itching to try out this legendary collab, our recommendation is to save a court load of money and pick it up for $30 instead on the eShop.
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Every Xenoblade Chronicles game is playable on the Nintendo Switch… all but one. On the short-list of Wii U games that have not been ported to the Switch is one glaring outlier in Xenoblade Chronicles X.
This game is completely isolated from the other entries in the franchise. However, there are still many familiar elements. Taking place on the uncharted planet of Mira, you are able to create your own avatar to serve as the protagonist. With the physical copy going for just over $60 price today, digital might be a safer option to ensure you have this in your library.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS)
If you played the rereleases of Persona 3 Portable and 4 Golden, then you’re in for a treat. This handheld title followed characters from both games, dungeon crawling and fusing personas in a replica of Yasogami High School. You know, a typical high school day.
This game has a super cute art style, a killer soundtrack, and is only $20 bucks on the eShop. The sequel, Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, includes Persona 5 characters and is significantly more expensive than the first game, so pick these up if you want before physical is the only way.
Lastly, I wanted to remind you to download updates for every 3DS game you can! Even if you don’t own the title, you’re still able to download update data just in case you decide to buy a game physically. Each update is really small in storage size, so that shouldn’t be too big of an issue. That way you’re guaranteed to play the most up-to-date version of any game.
Are there any game recommendations that we missed? Sound off in the comments below and help out a fellow 3DS and Wii U owner. These two consoles’ libraries are so incredibly rich with hidden gems that a lot of great games had to be left off our list. Kid Icarus Uprising is my favorite game of all time, plus DLC exists, so be sure to pick up these games before the eShop closes on March 27th.
Kalani Goda Newman is a producer for IGN.