Best Non-Mario Platformers on the Nintendo 3DS

Best Non-Mario Platformers on the Nintendo 3DS

When people hear “platformer” and “Nintendo,” they usually think about Mario. It’s little wonder, since Mario is the most iconic Nintendo character and one of the most recognizable video games characters overall. Mario platformers have appeared on every Nintendo system. However, the 3DS also has some excellent non-Mario platformers, too.

If you’re looking for 3D platformers, you’re pretty much limited to Rayman 3D. Even the resurgence of 3D platformers hasn’t hit the 3DS yet. On the other hand, you can find 2D platformers in abundance.

First up, Gunman Clive and its sequel Gunman Clive 2 are two sidescrolling action platformers similar to Mega Man. They’re fast-paced, with short levels, a Wild West setting, and simple gameplay mechanics. The one downside is that both games are quite short, but they come at a low price to match.


Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the most recent game in the Shantae series, and it’s a Metroidvania platformer with gameplay elements reminiscent not only of Metroid and Castlevania, but also the Legend of Zelda series. The previous games in the series (Shantae, for the Game Boy Color and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge for the DSi) both can be downloaded from the 3DS eShop, as well. A fourth game, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, is due out later this year.


Meanwhile, SteamWorld Dig combines platforming with mining, as you mine your way through the world to create platforms and travel through the mine. Its predecessor (SteamWorld Tower Defense for the DSi) and sequel (SteamWorld Heist) are also available on the 3DS, although only SteamWorld Dig is a platformer.


Finally, one of the games that has seen the most praise is Shovel Knight, a sidescrolling platformer inspired by Mega Man, Castlevania, DuckTales, other classic NES games, and even Dark Souls. As the title suggests, your character wields a shovel, which you can use to fight enemies, dig up treasure, or bounce on like a pogo stick. Shovel Knight also has a free expansion called Plague of Shadows.


In Conclusion

These are only a handful of the excellent non-Mario platformers on the Nintendo 3DS. What are your favorites–and are there any 3D platformers out there that we missed?

Samantha is a published horror and fantasy writer, a professional freelance writer, and a longtime gamer. As a result, writing about games is one of her favorite activities. She likes a wide range of genres, especially RPGs, survival horror, and visual novels. More information can be found at her website:


  1. Still have to play the Gunman Clive series.. and I am waiting to play Shantae since I prefer retail (October 18th release!).. luckily some of these great games are coming out for physical retail. 🙂 . Great list!

    • Ah yes, that’s great! 😀 I usually prefer physical copies too, but I got Shantae in the Nintendo Humble Bundle.

  2. I got gunman clive years ago for like, two bucks lol

  3. don’t forget about rayman origins for the 3ds, lol

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