Gaming on the Go

Nintendo 3DS Themes

For some of us, we can get through a flight or train ride by reading a book or watching a movie. However, if you are like me, you prefer playing a game. So I put together a list of my recommendations from my library and what they are appropriate for. If you would like more info about the games, I will link to our review if we have one.


Bus or Car Rides

When riding on a bus or your parent is driving you to school you probably have about 10 or 20 minutes of free time. This means short bursts of gameplay. The games you want should to be able to save on the fly, or allow you to beat a level within that small timeframe , though you can utilize the sleep feature on the 3DS.

Azure Striker: GUNVOLT

This recently released title does not have a mid-level save feature, but my first run times for each level ranged between 7 and 12 minutes. If you need to quit halfway, then you can do that and save in the menu. Also, when replaying the levels, most of them can easily be beaten within 8 minutes. The challenges and hunt for Jewels also add to the replay value.

Looks complicated but it's actually simple

Looks complicated but it’s actually simple


When people recommend an eShop original title, you are likely to hear Pushmo. The push-and-pull mechanic is simple and yet complex. Even though it does not have a save feature, you can easily play and skip levels if they take too long. If you run out of puzzles you can find QR codes online that give you new stages, often in the form of familiar characters.

Sakura Samurai

This relatively short but fun IP is a game of timing and patience. You can attack foes directly, but the feel of mastery comes from evading at the right moment and striking then. If it’s too easy for you, there is a harder difficulty and a few minigames that test your skill.



For a train ride, you are probably on it for at least 30 minutes. This means you can probably get away with games that have save points. Also, you can play games that consist of longer levels that range from 15-20 minutes.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

This game is so good we’ve reviewed it twice! Despite it’s legendary difficulty, this game of skill is filled with levels you can complete within 10-20 minutes. If you have trouble, the simple difficulty adds an extra heart for each DK and Diddy. There are also items you can get to help you on your quest.

Easy to control, good to replay

Easy to control, good to replay

Kid Icarus: Uprising

If you have 15-30 minutes to play, this title is a blast. Some levels are much shorter, but once you beat them, you’ll want to replay at a higher difficulty and a chance for a stronger weapon. However, make sure you don’t grip the 3DS too tightly and avoid pushing hard against the touch screen or your wrist will hurt.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

This sequel to the classic A Link to the Past is a solid title in its own right, despite being significantly easier. However, if you like the ability to choose the order of dungeons, this is the first title in a long time that lets you do that thanks to the rental system. That means you can pick up that awesome hookshot towards the beginning of the game instead of halfway through. While there are only save points, each dungeon is fairly short and can be completed within 30 minutes. If you have trouble, you can call the broom to escort you to a save point.


Picross E series

These downloadable titles are good for puzzle fans. Using series of numbers, you deduce which plot on a grid is part of a picture and you mark them. Once that is done, you reveal the image. It’s a simple concept but there are so many different cases and each one can take 5-30 minutes to complete. This is great for people who like Sudoku but want a different kind of logic puzzle. Note that this is great for planes too. If you don’t think $6 is worth it, then there is the cheaper alternative in the form of Mario’s Picross in the virtual console. It plays just as well and adds restore point functional.


This is the reason why I’m writing this list. Being on a flight in the middle seat is fairly uncomfortable and you probably don’t want to be button mashing the entire time. This is where strategy and turn based games shine. They boast long gameplay to survive even the trip home.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

One of my favorites on the 3DS. This game is great for beginners and veterans alike. You are also able to save during a level. This is helpful especially if you want to try a tactic without risking your unit’s life. However, great gameplay isn’t the only thing that makes this title special. The story  is good and the characters are fantastic. Also, the added bonus of extra levels and characters provided through spotpass and paid DLC means there is plenty of content. Considering I’ve logged around 200 hours in two playthroughs to unlock all of the support conversations, it’s a fantastic game.

Best Fire Emblem Game Ever

Best Fire Emblem Game Ever

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Link’s Awakening, and Ocarina of Time 3D

The trio of Gameboy color games are great for traveling. With the added Restore point and Suspend point features on the Virtual Console, it’s easy to pick up these games and have a classic experience. Each game is different but if you beat one of the Oracle games, you unlock a password that gives you more content in the other. The best part is the games cost only $6 a piece. Now if your budget is bigger and you want a more console experience, Ocarina of Time 3D is the definitive version of my favorite game of all time. You just probably don’t want to be using the gyroscope functions on the plane.

Updated graphics and touch screen functional make this classic even better than before

Updated graphics and touch screen functional make this classic even better than before

Pokémon X

If you are a fan of Pokémon, then you probably already have this game. If you are on the fence, then it’s not a bad game to pick up. While the story might be simple, the mechanic of catching Pokémon is still as enticing as ever. And if you are like me and only grew up with the original, being able to choose from the original starters just might seal the deal.


Project X Zone

A collaboration between SEGA, Namco, and Capcom but developed by Monolith Soft, this tactical RPG is filled with fan service. Actually, it might have too much fan service in one sense, but it’s definitely a unique title. There is some “action” but it’s mostly strategy and positioning. Also, like Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade, it’s very long. I think I eventually took about 2 hours for each mission, capping at around 64 hours before I beat it. However, I will recommend you read a good review before deciding if this is your type of game.

Fanservice Galore

Fanservice Galore


Other Recommendations:

These are games that members of the Always Nintendo Staff also recommend for travels and commutes.

Bravely Defaultplane

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – train

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – train

Tales of the Abyss- plane


What games do you like to play on the go? Tell us in the comments below.

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About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise