Submit a news tip

10 of our favorite 3DS and Wii U online games

Posted on April 6, 2024 by in 3DS, Features, Wii U

Top 10 Wii U and 3DS Online Games

The 3DS and (to a smaller extent) the Wii U are some of Nintendo’s most beloved systems of all time. Both got off to something of a slow start, but the 3DS eventually steered itself back on-track and became a success. The same can’t be said for the Wii U, but both consoles are home to top-quality games. With online services shutting down for these platforms, we figured now would be a good time to list ten of our favorite games with online functionality in no particular order.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS)

We’re starting our list with a not-quite-obscure pick: Kid Icarus Uprising. Though the game is best known for its extensive and charming single-player campaign, it’s also home to a rather in-depth multiplayer system. Players can choose between free-for-all matches, team members, or the exclusive Light vs. Dark mode, which sees contestants turning into Pit or Dark Pit and gaining extra health and attack power. Fortunately, all of these modes will survive the shutdown, in a way – they’re also available to play locally. The odds that you’ll have three other friends with Kid Icarus: Uprising are kind of low, but the option will remain available to those who want to take advantage of it.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

Moving along into more standard territory is both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. If we’re being totally honest, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has essentially replaced both versions of Smash 4. That being said, during Smash Ultimate’s peak, players often criticized the game’s netcode and online play experience. These comments weren’t nearly as common for Smash on Wii U or 3DS – either the netcode for these games was far better or far fewer people played them. Both options are just as likely! In Smash 4, you can play online with friends or with anyone. If you choose the latter, you can then pick For Fun or For Glory. Whereas For Fun lets you play with any ruleset you want, For Glory limits you to Omega-form stages with all items switched off. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might be the better game, but it’s important to remember that it wouldn’t exist without Smash 4 as its base.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

Animal Crossing New Leaf (3DS)

As we mentioned in one of our previous posts, one advantage Animal Crossing: New Leaf has over New Horizons is its multiplayer. In New Horizons, you can essentially only have players over to explore your town. In New Leaf, that’s mostly the same – but it’s possible to play mini-games on Tortimer Island with friends and even random people, too. Back in the day, it was actually possible to text random players you met on island trips and invite them back to your town. There’s (perhaps understandably) no replacement for that in New Horizons. It’s important to mention the Dream Suite, too – every single town uploaded to the Dream Suite will be erased and inaccessible after the servers shut down. Explore them while you can! That being said, you’ll still be able to invite players over to your town via local play.



Splatoon is sort of an iterative series. Single-player modes aside, Splatoon 2 and 3’s multiplayer modes were essentially made to replace what came before. Even so, there’s still plenty to love about the original Splatoon – not all of its stages have returned to Splatoon 3. Furthermore, a few of its specials – the Bomb Rush, the original Bubbler and Inkstrike, and Echolocator – haven’t left this game either. It’s probably quite difficult to find a match in 2024 – if you can’t manage to find enough players, you can always go back and play through the story mode instead.

Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

It’s been impossible to upload new levels to the original Super Mario Maker for some time now, but you can still play all the stages present on the servers until they close. In fact, a team of dedicated players recently completed the lofty goal of clearing every single level ever uploaded to Super Mario Maker. This includes the super-difficult ones, too! It’s not a good time to get into Super Mario Maker’s level-creation business, but it’s as good a time as any to revisit the game and get your fix of levels before they become unavailable. Bonus points if you play a level with amiibo costumes integrated – these somehow didn’t return in Super Mario Maker 2.

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 was developed by Retro Studios, and it has a bit of a different feel from other Mario Kart games. Its online servers had some active players all the way to the very end. Mario Kart 8 and its remake may overall be better games, but Mario Kart 7 has a few pieces of unique content that never found its way into future games (at least, not at the time of writing). In terms of characters, you’ve got Honey Queen, who inexplicably appeared in this game but not Waluigi. In terms of courses, there’s Daisy Hills, Wuhu Loop, Maka Wuhu, Bowser’s Castle, and more. You’ve also got a fair few retro courses in there that didn’t make their way to Mario Kart 8 or the Booster Course Pass, either.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Speaking of Mario Kart 8, the original game’s servers will be closing too. We thought it’d be important to include the game on this list – it was an absolutely key title for the Wii U. When the game released, its incredible polish and attention to detail impressed nearly everyone who played it. Unfortunately for the original Mario Kart 8, the improved version on Switch outclasses it in nearly every possible way. With over double the amount of courses as the Wii U version, there’s very little reason to go back to this game. That being said, its contribution to the Mario Kart series is very clear and shouldn’t be overlooked!

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is certainly about to be outclassed by the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD on Switch. That said, this game’s online multiplayer was quite fun in its time! You could team up with other players to tackle the ScareScraper. This was actually required for 100 percent completion of the game, too. The multiplayer mode was home to several exclusive ghosts that posed quite a bit challenge! You do need access to three other players with the game to stand a chance here, but it still manages to be fun if you can get it all set up.

Every main series Pokemon game (3DS)

Pokemon Series (3DS)

It feels kind of cheap to lump all of the Pokemon games together, but they were very possibly the most played online games the 3DS had to offer. Pokemon X and Y were home to the PSS, which to this day is one of the series’ strongest multiplayer functions. Using the PSS, you could battle and trade with your friends – and these even supported voice chat using the  3DS microphone. Pokemon Sun, Ultra Sun, Moon, and Ultra Moon didn’t have the PSS. Instead, they had the Festival Plaza, which was a bit more work to get through every time you wanted to set up a trade or battle. It’s important to note that the GTS has long been out of commission for these games: hackers have uploaded corrupted data to it, which often causes your 3DS to crash whenever you hover over a Pokemon’s listing. Still, the ability to battle and trade locally is always there after the servers close.

Wii Sports Club (Wii U)

Wii Sports Club

We’re wrapping up our list with something of an oddball: Wii Sports Club, a sequel to the original Wii Sports. Though the sports are essentially the same here as in the original games, Wii Sports Club added online functionality to each one for the very first time. It’s probably impossible to find a match if you’re trying to play online before the servers close, but Wii Sports Club did serve as sort of an in-between from Wii Sports Resort to Nintendo Switch Sports. Not necessarily a good in-between, but an important one nonetheless that did what it set out to do: make the original Wii Sports mini-games available both online and in high-definition.

What were your favorite games to play online on 3DS and Wii U? Which will you miss the most? Let us know down below. Bonus points if it’s a game we didn’t include on our list.

The online servers for 3DS and Wii U games will shut their doors for good on April 8th at 4 PM PT / 7 PM ET. Make sure to get your fill of all the games you want before that happens!

More: ,
Leave a Reply
Manage Cookie Settings