Game Freak’s latest Pokemon game duo is finally here. Pokemon Sword and Shield may not have been a huge step forward for the franchise — the games scored a 3.5 out of 5 in GameRevolution’s review — but they’re still a solid entry in the series. While they stick to the same formula mainline Pokemon games have followed for some time, Pokemon Sword and Shield’s journey through the Galar region is likely to be an enjoyable trek for any die-hard Pokemon fan. Those who have played the Pokemon series’ last few entries on the Nintendo 3DS, then, may be wondering: Is there a Pokemon Sword and Shield 3DS version? We’ll cover everything we know in this guide.
Will Pokemon Sword and Shield come to 3DS?
Despite Game Freak’s long tradition of releasing Pokemon games only on handheld Nintendo consoles, Pokemon Sword and Shield released only on the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019. While the Switch is technically a home console, it also transitions seamlessly into a handheld system. It makes sense, then, that Pokemon Sword and Shield on Switch are the first main Pokemon series games on console, since it’s really only partially a traditional couch-and-TV game system. Rumors of Pokemon Sword and Shield 3DS model recycling before the games’ release suggested Game Freak was indeed using the Switch’s hardware just like it did the 3DS’, but those rumors appear to have been false.
So, Pokemon Sword and Shield aren’t on the 3DS now, but could they come to the portable in the future? Nintendo executives have continually insisted the Nintendo 3DS isn’t dead, with Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser saying, “As long as consumer demand is there, we’ll continue to provide both hardware and software on the front.”
Despite this, the probability of new, first-party (Nintendo-published) games or software coming to the two-screen handheld is slim. The latest Nintendo title was Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, a port of a 2010 Wii game released for the 3DS all the way back in March 2019. If anything, the 3DS is most likely to get another port from an older system like this, meaning the chances of Pokemon Sword and Shield — two games designed for hardware newer than the 3DS — are extremely low.
If you’re a longtime Pokemon fan or you’re shopping for a 3DS owner with Pokemon Sword and Shield on their gaming Christmas list, we wouldn’t recommend holding out for a 3DS release. The Nintendo Switch Lite, a portable-only version of the Switch, serves as a sort of de facto successor for the 3DS, and is especially perfect for kids. Plus, it’s $100 cheaper than a full Switch, coming in at only $199, and there’s even a Pokemon Sword and Shield Switch Lite special edition for the most hardcore fans of the series.