My preteen has a (pink!) 3DS on her birthday wishlist this year. I can understand why. Of the current and upcoming gaming consoles (handheld or not), the 3DS has the broadest appeal, and the best game library for kids. Given past history and the direction the big names are taking their next consoles, I expect that will remain true over the next few years. Plus, it plays normal DS games, too, so she can play her old favorites and great DS games we hadn’t got around to picking up yet.
This list is partly my shopping list for my eleven year old for her birthday and christmas, but mostly to help others like me researching the best 3DS games to get for girls.
For younger girls we have Laloopsy Carnival of Friends. In 16 levels of carnival fun, girls can seek out the Laloopsy characters and play with their siblings, the Laloopsy Littles.
There are 40 characters to find and a special character to unlock.
Good for ages 5-6+.
Girls of all ages love Hello Kitty. In Hello Kitty Picnic, players help Kitty White and her friends get ready for a picnic.
This involves activities like decorating Hello Kitty’s house, dressing her up, and riding the bus. There are 10 minigames to play. The instructions are narrated, a big help for beginning readers.
This game is for 1-2 players. 2-player Pass and Play allows two players on a single 3DS system, with a single game, to enjoy the mini-games together.
Best for kids 5-10.
Another hit game for ages 5-10 is LEGO Friends for Nintendo 3DS. Girls who love to express their own unique style will enjoy the options of this game, which include everything from picking their favorite pet to decorating their rooms.
There is a world to explore and adventures to be had with friends, with activities including karate, dance rehearsal, horse riding competitions, and soccer.
The pets aren’t just adorable accessories – girls can dress them up, train them, and enter them in pet shows. The pets also have unique abilities to help their owners during adventures. And, for even more fun, players can choose to play as their pets, as well.
Disney Princess fans will love Disney Princess: My FairyTale Adventure.Girls play the Fairy Godmother’s apprentice on a quest to help the Disney Princesses. With their magic wands, they will help reverse the spells cast over the lands of Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Tiana.
Popular characters from the movies play supporting roles, allowing kids to interact with favorites like Lumiere and Pascal.
The instructions are narrated, so beginning readers will have no trouble figuring out what to do.
Great for kids 5+.
Nintendogs games are the benchmark in handheld virtual pet games. My daughter had the DS game, but she was dying to get her hands on the 3DS release, Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle and New Friends, from the time it was announced. The addition of cats made this a must-have, for her. And it didn’t disappoint.
Players can care for, train, walk, and enter competitions with their pets. They start with a puppy, but can earn a cat to add to their pet family by saving up for its adoption.
Fun accessories offer cute and quirky customization/dress up options for our pets.
Lots of fun for anyone ages 5+.
Disney Magical World is a life simulation game, like Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon. The lands of Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, Cinderella, and Winnie the Pooh are featured, while players can meet and interact with over 60 Disney characters.
Players take on the role of an original character, doing jobs in the Magical World of Disney – there’s a little light questing, hunting ghosts and exploring dungeons, and tasks like dancing, fishing, farming, or running a cafe. Customization options abound, from decorating the cafe and your home above it, to collecting outfits for your character.
Disney fans from ages 6 and up love this game.
The adorable farming and life simulation series, Harvest Moon has been a long-time favorite around here. Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning has more customization options available than ever before. Not only can you edit your avatar, from gender to skin tone, but elements of your farm can be moved, should you decide you don’t care for their placement.
Typically, Harvest Moon games contain a dating sim component with the option for marriage (all very G-rated). Because of this, I’d suggest this game for gamer girls ages 10+, although my daughter, at younger ages, simply ignored that aspect. Any strong reader who enjoys growing crops and nurturing animals can enjoy this game.
In Style Savvy: Trendsetters, girls can live a dream of owning their own clothing boutique, and even act as a fashion stylist for their customers.
Players start out working for another, working their way up by helping customers with their shopping needs – from new shoes to an entire outfit. Players even buy clothing to sell in the shop (I love the incidental educational value of this game!). As they work their way up to better positions, they can start to customize the shop itself.
By night, there are fashion shows to put on, complete with runway and cheering crowd.
Recommended for ages 10+
Professor Layton games are an experience of mystery, English-style, and puzzle solving. The puzzles are not easy by any means, challenging the player. Unusual characters, interesting locations, and clever writing make the entire series games not to be missed.
Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask, for 3DS, gives us hundreds of puzzles from riddles to logic puzzles as we work to solve the mystery of The Masked Gentleman in the town of Monte d’Or.
Recommended age: 10+.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is beloved by gamers of all ages, and completely kid appropriate. Players of earlier Animal Crossing games will note that they can customize their world more than ever in New Leaf. Players take the role of Mayor, and are able to make decisions that shape their town, for the first time in the series.
There’s not much of a plot (there never is in an Animal Crossing game) but there are endless things to do, for players who like collecting, gathering, fishing, decorating and upgrading their home, and interacting with quirky townsfolk. Creative and fun, with a real-time connection to real world seasons and events, offers countless hours of entertainment.
For families with multiple children who may play on the same cartridge, note that only the first player to make a character will be Mayor. Others will share the home and town of the first player, unless you pick up a separate game cartridge for each child.
Want to see even more games girls can play on their 3DS? Try my DS Games for Girls List.
Know an awesome 3DS game for girls I missed? Please share in the comments!