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The best Nintendo 3DS emulators for Android

There were a ton of great games for the 3DS that you can play on Android.
By

Published onMarch 31, 2023

ASUS ROG Phone 3 with Xbox Controller Citra Nintendo 3DS Mario
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Nintendo 3DS is an excellent console. It houses some undisputed classics like Mario Kart 7, several Pokemon games, The World Ends With You, Bravely Default, the very underrated Etrian Odyssey series, and more. As it turns out, it is possible to emulate the handheld on your Android phone. Citra is the top dog here, and it’s included in our best emulators for Android list. Every emulator on this list uses Citra in some form or another, so that’s your best bet. In fact, if you find another 3DS emulator that doesn’t use Citra, we might not recommend it as of this writing. In any case, here are the best Nintendo 3DS emulators for Android.

The best Nintendo 3DS emulators for Android

  1. Citra (and Citra MMJ)
  2. Lemuroid
  3. RetroArch

Citra Emulator

Price: Free / $4.99

Citra Google Play screenshot for Android Apps Weekly #320

Citra is likely your best option when it comes to 3DS emulators. It includes a high compatibility rate, support for built-in functions like the camera, and even some settings to improve your graphics. Of course, it also comes with the usual stuff like save states, load states, external controller support, and more. It worked pretty well in our testing and played the games we threw at it without much issue. There’s some quirkiness here and there, but it’s nothing to write home about. The only downside is that it doesn’t seem to work with Exynos-powered phones, so you folks are out of luck.

There is an unofficial fork of Citra called Citra MMJ (GitHub). It may work better in some cases, depending on your device and which games you play. It requires a third-party install, and we have a tutorial for installing third-party apps if you need help with it.

Lemuroid

Price: Free

Lemuroid screenshot 2023

Lemuroid is an all-in-one type of emulator. It supports dozens of consoles through the Libretro core library. That includes the Nintendo 3DS. It uses the Citra core, so it’s powered by the same underlying emulator as Citra emulator above. Thus, it boasts similar game compatibility and functionality. The benefit of getting something like Lemuroid is the ability to emulate multiple game consoles within a single app. It’s also fairly easy to use once you get the hang of things.

RetroArch

Price: Free / $4.99

RetroArch screenshot 2023

RetroArch works a lot like Lemuroid. It uses the Libretro core library to emulate a bunch of different consoles. It also uses the Citra core to emulate the Nintendo 3DS. RetroArch is every bit as powerful as Lemuroid but includes a fully customizable setup. That means the learning curve is much higher with RetroArch than it is with Lemuroid. However, in terms of pure functionality, you’ll get about the same performance out of 3DS games either way. This one has an optional premium version, but the free version works too.


If we missed any great Nintendo 3DS emulators, tell us about them in the comments.

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