The Best 10 Nintendo 3DS Emulator for PC and Android

Nintendo games are a massive hit among gamers. Many gaming companies created and released emulators to make these games accessible. There are 3DS emulators for PCs like Citra. And no, Citra is not the only good 3DS emulator. There are many more powerful ones to woo you. You can also play 3DS on Android with DraStic DS. So, which one to get? Find out on my list of the best ten 3DS emulators for PC and Android. 

What is a 3DS Emulator?

A 3DS emulator can be a piece of hardware or software. Its purpose is to emulate a video game console. Use the correct ISO files with an emulator to play all the classic games. Buy yourself a 3DS emulator if you like Nintendo, Sony, and Sega games. Three-dimensional screens or 3DS handheld gaming consoles make the experience ten times better.  

People use game emulators because physical copies of old games are expensive and often hard to find. Using emulators is the only way to enjoy old-school gaming. Retrogaming is popular amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. It has become a favorite free-time activity for millions and millions of people. 

How Does it Work?

You can use different methods to emulate a video game console. One way is to build a device that is the same as the original hardware. Another way is to create a program that makes a device’s hardware behave like a console. It is not as easy as it sounds. Many developers work together to build the perfect gaming items for you. 

Citra is one of the most popular Nintendo 3DS emulators in the market. There are many free 3DS emulators like Citra. Enjoy it on Windows, Android, Linux, and macOS. You can get a 3DS emulator by running it on a suitable system. Citra, for example, needs at least an OpenGL 3.3 version to run. You also need a graphics chip that supports OpenGL 3.3 and a 64-bit OS running on a PC. 

Best ten 3DS emulators for PC and Android

The following list is for both PC and Android. The first five are for PCs, and the next five are for Androids. Enjoy!

1. Citra

Citra is a popular Nintendo 3DS emulator for PC. Its ease of use and top-notch 3D graphics make it a favorite by many. The best part is Citra is free. Citra is an excellent emulator that lets you enjoy games in high resolutions. Citra is still getting updated by developers who make small changes now and then. So, you know that you are always using the most updated version. 

The best part of Citra is that it can run all kinds of games, whether homebrew or commercial. You will have some problems running CIA files with Citra. But still, its pros are a lot more than the cons. You will also find Citra on Android. Visit the official website of Citra and install it from there. The simple steps will help you set it up. 

Key Features

  • Citra runs on Linux, Mac, Android, and Windows.
  • High-quality 3D graphics make the gaming experience more enjoyable.
  • Download it for free and enjoy all trade games. 
  • It also features two-screen visualization.

2. RetroArch

RetroArch is the second-best alternative for Citra. It is open-source and free with lots of cool features. RetroArch is not a 3DS emulator but a front-end running many emulators as cores. You have to download the exact cores to play the games. Many people doubt if RetroArch is legal. Yes, using it and playing your favorite games is very legal.

Play 3DS games in RetroArch PC by converting .cia files to 3DS after decryption. Add cores to RetroArch 3DS by opening the Cores folder and setting up the Cores you want. It is as simple as that. RetroArch can emulate several systems like Game Boy, GameCube, PlayStation, and Nintendo 64. 

Key Features

  • RetroArch is a hundred percent free and open-source.
  • Its front end offers features like save states and screenshots.
  • You can also filter screens and record videos.
  • Customize controller and hotkey.
  • Enjoy an ads-free gaming experience with RetroArch.

3. R4 3DS Emulator

R4 3DS Emulator lets you play a wide range of exciting games for free. A console’s process and a graphics system can be mimicked. First, you need to insert the cartridge. Then, you have to choose the exact files for the games. Finally, you have to select the files for the games. You also get to customize the keyboard controls. Pretty cool, right?

R4 cards cannot run 3DS software on the 3DS, but loading DS files is no problem. Nonetheless, it is safe to use an R4 card for 3DS if you want to try it. With the R4 card, you can boot homebrew and ROMs on the Nintendo DS handheld system from a microSD card. It allows users to play homebrew apps. You can also store several games on one memory card. 

Key Features

  • R4 3DS Emulator lets you customize keyboard controls.
  • You will have an easy time playing games with it.
  • It comes with full 3D support.
  • R4 can read data from every compatible model of 3DS R4 flash cards.

4. DeSmuME

DeSmuME is an excellent DS emulator for PC. Even if you have difficulty pronouncing it, you cannot deny its awesomeness. ROMs in ZIP, RAR, 7Z, and GZ work well with DeSmuME. All you need to do is click on the File then Open ROM. Customize the interface in whichever way you like to make it more user-friendly. 

Key Features

  • DeSmuME is compatible with both 62-bit and 32-bit Windows OS.
  • Several advanced functions help you have a smoother gaming experience.
  • It can run well on a variety of platforms.
  • You can enjoy gameplay with no ads to disturb you.  

5. 3DMOO

3DMOO is the next one on our list for PC. A Nintendo 3DS emulator that Windows and Linux users can run. 3DMOO supports numerous Nintendo 3DS games. But you may not be happy with its processing time. It is a bit slow in performance compared to the others on the list. However, its ability to run almost all commercial games will compensate for that lacking. 

3DMOO runs only through the command line. Find and learn the emulator’s source codes on GitHub. 3DMOO download is also available on the internet. So, go ahead if you want to learn more about it from a tech geek’s perspective.  

Key Features

  • 3DMOO software has a license for free use.
  • It is an open-source program that can run Nintendo 3DS games.
  • Only Windows and Linux users can play games with it.
  • The source codes of 3DMOO are available on GitHub. 

6. DraStic DS Emulator

DraStic DS Emulator is the best and the fastest Nintendo DS emulator for Androids. It comes at $4.99. You will be impressed by the performance. If you want to play games at their original speed, get a DraStic. You can play 3DS with DraStic only after they are emulatable. Gamers love it for its smooth graphics. 

DraStic offers six different display modes. You also get to see two screens on Nintendo 3DS devices. The best part is that there are no crashes. Enjoy a smooth gaming experience with DraStic. The gaming item lets you link other gamepads without any struggle. You will be happy and satisfied with its performance. 

Key Features

  • DraStic DS Emulator features a database with 1000 cheat codes.
  • It can synchronize all saved games with the help of Google drive.
  • You can enjoy games with 3rd party controllers.
  • It offers users top-notch gaming graphics.

7. NDS4droid

NDS4droid is a free Nintendo 3DS emulator offering a wide range of ROMs. Developers are constantly updating it to try and fix bugs. The emulator is one of the best ones for Android smartphones. Save your player’s stats so you can get back to the last checkpoint. Now you do not have to repeat all the game levels. 

NDS4droid is not violating the General Public License by being open-source. You will have no problem experimenting with this gaming item. Additionally, it supports the OUYA game console. NDS4droid provides many gaming options to let you enjoy it to the fullest. There is no doubt why it is one of the best ones for Android phones. 

Key Features

  • NDS4droid lets you play games faster and smoother.
  • It supports several formats including .nds, .rar, .7z, and .zip.
  • The NDS4droid program is based on DeSmuME.
  • It allows you to save states on the SD card.

8. Citra 3DS Emulator

Citra 3DS Emulator works wonderfully on Android phones. Its superb performance makes it one of the top apps. Get it on the Google Play Store and enjoy many more customization options. Your phone can run Citra, and you do not have to pay a penny. It is an open-source and free emulator. 

Citra is known to run a wide range of commercial and homebrew games. It runs well on Linux, Windows, and macOS. If Citra crashes on your device, then try reinstalling the Citra app. If the crashing still happens, then go with the ROM dump. Make sure that the GM9 is up to date and that there is enough free storage space on the SD card to perform the dump.  

Key Features

  • Citra 3DS Emulator features enhanced 3D graphics.
  • Enjoy playing high-resolution games with Citra.
  • Gui helps to tweak the controls.
  • It features dual-screen visualization for your convenience.

9. Pretendo NDS Emulator

Pretendo NDS Emulator is another golden app to consider. Enjoy playing as many Nintendo 3DS games as you want. You will have an easy time installing and running the app. It supports formats like .rom, .zip, and .rar. All you need to do is launch the app and load any ROM of your choice. Now you are ready to play the classic games. 

Pretendo does not need to pretend to be superb. It is a powerful app. Self-guard is a feature that can save your progress. You can start from where you left off in the game. Another feature is precision control which is present for areas with lower resolution. You also get to increase the speed of Pretendo by turning off the sound and graphics.

Key Features

  • Pretendo NDS Emulator runs on Android phones and tablets.
  • The safeguard feature lets you start where you left off in the game. 
  • There are many options to customize your gaming experience with Pretendo.
  • It allows you to use different ROM formats. 

10. Ultimate x3DSx Gold

Ultimate x3DSx Gold is another free software on the list. You can download and install Ultimate for free. You will enjoy excellent graphics that offer high-quality resolutions. The app is compatible with Apple Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It uses many sensors in its emulation that consume a lot less power.

The program supports many games for Nintendo 3DS and Gameboy Advance. It works well with wireless and external controllers. You also get access to numerous cheat codes. The backend has OpenGL to lessen the damage to the GPU. Ultimate also has a fast-forward feature. There is also a clean GUI that many of its contemporaries lack.  

Key Features

  • Ultimate x3DSx Gold is a supporter of link cable emulation with fast speed.
  • It works well with 3DS games and GBA.
  • The app consumes less power due to its fast emulation.
  • It lets you use cheat codes while playing games like Code Breaker and Action Replay.


Can you play 3DS games on the NDS emulators?

No, you cannot play 3DS games on a standard Nintendo DS Emulators. 

How do I get a 3DS emulators on Android?

Check out my list and read the instructions for each on the internet. Many are free and open-source, so you will have no problem gathering resources. 

Is there a Nintendo Switch emulator?

Yes, there is a Nintendo Switch emulator. The first one is called Yuzu which is an open-source developed by Citra. You can download Yuzu for free on Windows. 

Can you play 3DS games on switch?

Yes, you can play 3DS games on the switch. DS games can be enjoyed with Nintendo Switch. Installation is easy with the help of custom homebrews and emulators.

How do I play ps1 games on my 3DS?

The good news is that you can play PS1 games on your 3DS. These are the steps to follow to play your favorite classic game:

  • Buy a PS1 Player for 3DS. Google to check if there are any 3DS items available for playing PS1 games.
  • Search for an original PS1 game or a PS1 game that has been ported to 3DS.

Now, insert a PS1 game into your PS1 Player for 3DS. You can insert two PS1 memory cards for saving files. Lastly, insert the PS1 Player into the 3DS.

You are now all set to begin your quest.   

What is the best Nintendo 3DS emulator for Android?

The winner for me is the DraStic DS Emulator for its incredible features. Its rave reviews and its growing popularity makes it the best.  

Are 3DS games still being made?

3DS games are not being made anymore. Its end came in March 2022. 

Can I play 3DS games on a PC?

A hundred percent yes! Citra is the most recommended emulator to use for PC. Citra is open-source and available to download for free. 

Do DS emulators exist?

Yes, DS emulators exist and are widely used for retro gaming. An example is the Drastic DS Emulator.

Can you play 2ds games on Android?

You can play Nintendo DS games on Android. You can now enjoy NDS games on the phone thanks to an emulator app like NDS4Droid. Users can find such emulating apps on Google Play. Most of them are open-source and are free to download.  

Is there a 3DS emulator for Mac?

There is a 3DS for Mac, and an excellent example is Citra. It can play commercial games at speed, and the visuals are mind-blowing. 

Can 3DS play GBA?

No, 3DS cannot play GBA. The hardware of the Nintendo 3DS is not designed to play Game Boy Advance games. 

What is the largest 3DS game?

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is the longest 3DS game lasting 108 hours.  

Final Thoughts

So, are you ready for some retro gaming? Now that you have everything you need to know about 3DS emulators, you can begin your quest for old-school gaming. I hope my article was insightful to give you a clear picture of the best one to choose. My personal choice would be Citra for PC and DraStic for Androids. Let me know in the comments which one you like. Thank you for reading till the end. I hope to see you again. 

I am a passionate blogger and an enthusiastic Tech geek. I am surfing this technology world last 15 years, and I am quite an expert on Chromebook, Linux, Android, and iOS Platform. Here, I want to share my age-old experiences about the Technology aspect with’s loyal audiences. I hope you all will be benefited with the suggestions, recommendations, and experiences that I am going to share in this top-notch Apps and Games review site.

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