Anyone who has used any Nintendo 3DS or GameBoy Advance ever will remember that exciting gaming experience that current consoles might overrun but can’t rejoice you. Google Play Store has an armament of apps across various categories and that includes gaming emulators as well. I am talking explicitly about Nintendo 3DS Emulator for Android. Well, we have curated a list of best Android 3DS emulators that you love to use.
Here is the list of the best Nintendo 3DS Emulator for Android that we have found after extensive research and after trying these emulators as well.
DraStic DS Emulator
Apparently, the best Nintendo 3DS emulator for Android, DraStic DS Emulator has one of the most smooth graphics that I found on any emulator. In fact, the app upscales it to twice on a phone with quad-core chipsets. Instead of cramping two screens on Nintendo 3DS devices, this emulator has six display modes that users can check out and play. This ensures that everything is stable and the graphics are at the top-notch compared to other emulators.
I tried for a while and found out users can attach controllers and even physical controllers with it. There is a colossal cheat code available with it that users can enter and get an edge over their competitors.
The emulator is overall optimized to save battery and takes backups of all the data so that you never lose your game’s progress and can continue where you left. It has a feature called ‘Fast Forward’ which bypasses any long conversations before or after any game in case if you don’t want to go through it.
Most reliable performance
Access to cheat codes
Doesn’t performs well with all DS games
No multiplayer mode
No Wi-Fi emulation support
There is no demo available
Price: $4.80 | Download from PlayStore: DraStic DS Emulator
RetroArch is basically a powerful emulator that can run multiple systems including PlayStation SNES, Nintendo DS, and others. It is equipped with location support, cross-platform camera support, OpenGL and has a tonne of features that are either already available are will be added to it.
It does act as a program to create or play games and more. RetroArch receives constant updates and has options to enter cheats, multi-language support, etc. RetroArch 3DS Emulator works a bit different since you need to download all the games that you actually want to play on the emulator.
The best thing is that it is open-source and doesn’t have any ads that would annoy anyone. But the grass isn’t all green because there are some backlogs. The app is a bit complicated to use compared to the alternatives available while the bugs kick in at time although not all times.
Supports multiple systems
Free from any advertisements
Save States & take screenshots
A bit complicated than others
Minor bugs here and there
Price: Free | Download from PlayStore: RetroArch
This is a particularly new emulator for Nintendo 3DS. It is a reliable emulator on Android smartphones and has a considerable consistent update although it does have its own share of bugs and a few instability issues here and there. The NDS4droid app is an open-source program and can play almost any ROMs you want to check out. It is also plugged in with a bunch of features that make it one of the Best Nintendo 3DS emulators although not the only the best.
You can save game stats allowing players to simply get back to the point where they left without going through each level again. Note that the developers have themselves acknowledged the fact that the emulator isn’t full-fledged. Search for a 3DS Android emulator on Google Play Store and you would find it for sure.
Supports .nds, .rar, .zip, & .7z
Save States in SD Card
It is based on DeSmuME
Doesn’t have fast-forward option
A few performance issues
Slow even on newer devices
Price: Free | Download from PlayStore: nds4Droid
Citra 3DS Emulator for Android
Noted as one of the best Android 3DS emulators, Citra 3DS Emulator is not officially released yet. This means that you will have to stick to an unofficial APK version. Anyways, the emulator is considered the best on the Android platform and has plenty of features on-board. It jacks up the resolution and since it is open-source, it can be easily installed and you can add more features, games, ROMs as well.
The app itself is based on Dolphin Emulator which means it will be a great choice for old school gamers for sure. The app has one of the best settings and configuration controls all within the GUI. Simply install the app, load the Nintendo 3DS ROM and you are good to go.
Citra 3DS runs many of the 3DS games impeccably although there might be a bit of glitch and bugs here and there since it isn’t yet an official stable version. Furthermore, the gameplay might be a little slow at well.
Plays games at a higher resolution
It is open-source
Easy to tweak controls via GUI
Not official yet for Android
May induce gameplay & lag
Local Wifi but won’t connect to servers
Price: Free | Download from XDA: Citra 3DS Emulator for Android
Pretendo NDS Emulator
Live that nostalgic Nintendo 3DS gaming experience again on your Android phone or tablet with Pretendo NDS Emulator. It stands as one of the top ten Android 3DS emulators if you search the web and that is why I have listed it here after trying it out personally. The app is pretty easy to install and works flawlessly as it supports multiple formats include .zip, .rom, .ds, .rar, etc. You can simply load any ROM to it and bang, the app will let you experience the old school gaming on your phone.
The app itself has features like self-guard which actively saves the progress of your game state so that you can simply load where you left. It also has features like precision controls in areas with lower resolution. You can also boost the emulation speed by disabling graphics and sounds with a dedicated option to it as well.
The app is fit for everyone who wants to play games from Nintendo 3DS or other supported systems. But it is also plagued with ads that are constantly popping up on the screen and ruining the gaming experience. This is basically its biggest flaw but if you really have a look at it, you can actually let go of this ‘con’ for all the ‘pros’ listed.
It supports multiple ROMs format
Self-guard to save games automatically
Heavily customizable controls
The app is plagued with advertisements
It is no longer available on Play Store
Price: Free, Contains Ads | Download from PlayStore: Pretendo NDS Emulator
Play Final Fantasy to Super Mario Bros to Pokemon sage all NDS Boy, the best Android 3DS emulator compatible with any games that run on hand-held Nintendo 3DS gaming console. The emulator itself is packed with a plethora of features such as support to various file formats that include .zip, .rar, .7z, and .nds, etc.
The emulator further has high RAM requirements since lower RAM would slow it down a bit. It also comes equipped with additional configuration options along with auto-save and load game states, custom controls, etc.
Adjust screen orientation, size, and buttons on the display as per your requirements and you are good to go. The app is free of charge and has ads placed on it allow a premium version is available which will help get rid of any ads whatsoever.
Save, auto-save, & load game states
Screen orientation & customizable screen size
Occasionally crashes & may lag
Bloated with ads
Requires RAM above 2GB and quad-core CPU or higher
Price: Free, Contains Ads | Download from PlayStore: NDS Boy!
Except for the ads part which is annoying and sometimes there are three ads back-to-back, the NDS Emulator is worth trying out. It works on devices with Android 6.0+ and supports .nds and .zip files and caters to a wide range of audiences thanks to its support to a large variety of games. It can also edit screen layouts and controls can be modified as well. Next up, players can connect the phone running on NDS Emulator with external controllers as well.
It is one of the best 3DS Android Emulator according to me also you will have to bear the ads-part as I mentioned above. The NDS Emulator is also equipped with saving and loading game states that allow users to simply jump into the action without waiting or playing through the levels to reach the point where you actually left. It also accepts cheat codes that will give a tough competition to the rival but some cheats might not work and show an error message around it.
Works on Android 6.0+ and above
Editable controls and screen layout
Save game states, load them directly
Support .nds, .zip
Plagued with ads
Error with certain cheat codes
Price: Free, Contains Ads | Download from PlayStore: NDS Emulator
Ultimate x3DSx Gold
I bought it intriguing just with the name of this emulator which doesn’t appear good but it is. The Ultimate x3DSx Gold is literally the ultimate 3DS Android Emulator one can have as it can run almost all the games you have on Gameboy Advance and Nintendo 3DS. It has a bunch of sensors that are used in its faster emulation which in terms lowers the power consumption. It supports both external and wireless controllers.
You can use or disable cheat codes while playing any Nintendo 3DS game on this emulator as well. It has a fast-forward feature and has OpenGL in the backend that takes away the excessive stress on the GPU itself. Finally, the app has a clean user interface which is something not all emulators have so I praise it for that.
Supports External Controllers
Runs all the games from GBA & 3DS
Faster emulation, less power consumption
Slow & bloated with tonnes of ads
Accepts & runs only legally bought games
Price: Free, Contains Ads | Download from PlayStore: Ultimate x3DSx Gold
The latest addition to the bunch, EmuBox supports multiple systems including Nintendo DS, PlayStation SNES, and others. It is also the first emulator to get multiple-system support with Material Design that offers it an impeccable look and feel. This Android 3DS emulator surely knows how to pull off the plugs on its rivals with fast forward support, save and load game states at up to 20 slots per compatible ROM.
The emulator is free to use although it does have ads that keep it running. But there could be a Pro version too although we don’t know anything about it at this moment. EmuBox comes with many pros and cons similar to any other 3DS emulator for Android which includes bugs when the player uses too many cheat codes.
The app itself is similar to DraStic although not as good. It does lack configurable controls which is a bit of a bummer but once you get the hang of it, this is one of the best emulators you would have.
Suggests multiple ROMs
First emulator with Material Design
Supports Fast Forward
Save/Load game states up to 20 slots
Bugs when using cheat codes
Slow at times in transition
Lack of configurable controls
Price: Free, Contains Ads| Download from PlayStore: EmuBox
AseDS is basically another 3DS Android emulator that you should try if you aren’t yet settled for any of the above-mentioned emulators. The app isn’t available on Play Store but I have posted the like to download it below so don’t worry about it.
The emulator has plenty of features such as it lets users keep the actual size of the screen as per the resolution the game is to stretch it out. The users have options to go into portrait and landscape orientation without any hassle. Note that the emulator does have a tendency to crash at times showing you a white or other screen but it does have support to almost all Nintendo 3DS games and runs it pretty swiftly so you can ignore the rest.
The next thing you should know is that it doesn’t have a fast forward button but has frame skipping with flicker reduction so that you can skip the boring part. The app also has saved and load game state that makes the gaming experience much more friendly.
Faster game speed
Supports multiple file formats
Auto-portrait and landscape orientation
Supports microphone & external controllers
There is no fast forward button
Ads are often annoying
Price: Free, Ads Ads | Download from PlayStore: AseDS
Choosing Nintendo 3DS Emulator for Android might not be as easy as it sounds. Every emulator listed here has a different trait, feature, capabilities and backlogs or shortcomings which is what sets it apart from other emulators.
At the end of the day, you cannot expect to get the same experience while playing on an emulator than on an actual Nintendo 3DS console which means choosing any of these apps might never give you that pleasure.
But these emulators are made for those who want to try out old school consoles on their Android smartphones due a number of reasons such as they don’t want to spend on an actual console or they aren’t able to do so, etc where most of the people would stick to buying ‘Pro’ version of an emulator to escape buying a console worth $300 more or less.
I personally like DraStic DS Emulator, Ultimate x3DSx Gold, NDS4Droid but you need to try a few of them because deciding on latching onto one for all your gaming sessions.