The Nintendo DS was a spectacular console whose catalog of games took very good advantage of the double screen and touch functionalities. In fact, there are so many great and must-play games out there that it's hard to include them all in one list. In this article, you will find 30 great games that every Nintendo DS owner should try. Discover them now!
1. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Journey to the Center
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Journey to the Center is an excellent RPG and platform game, one of the best you can play on the Nintendo DS. You will have to control Mario, Luigi, and Bowser through varied levels and, to progress, you will face enemies in turn-based combat. Minigames are not missing either!
It's a flashy title that places the main characters in an unlikely alliance. A common enemy is exposed and leads to a series of the most comical situations. The game seeks to give us a nice and refreshing experience, and it achieves it with a good note.
2. Pokémon HeartGold / SoulSilver
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver. There are many titles in the series that are very good and that every fan should play. Among them, HeartGold and SoulSilver stand out among the favorites due to their extensive content, be it because of the expanded story, scenarios to explore, or Pokémon to capture.
Whether you're a die-hard Pokémon fan or you've never played one before, these two games are a must-try. You can see the care in every detail of this title, seeking not only to bring a renewed experience in graphics but also in gameplay. You won't be bored for weeks!
3. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is one of the most beloved games by fans of the saga, and for good reason! With 20 zones to explore, you have a game for many afternoons. As the platform and action title that it is, you will need to fight your way through, solving puzzles and fulfilling missions.
Shanoa, the game's protagonist, is a member of the Order of Ecclesia who, after an incident, loses her memories and emotions. Little by little you discover why, in addition to understanding the true ambitions of some characters. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a fairly complete and solid game in terms of playability, which is its strong point in our point of view.
4. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
GTA: Chinatown Wars is a pretty fun action game in its own right, as it contains unique features that set it apart from the rest of the saga. It returns to the aerial view of the first GTA of the saga, and this time the graphics have a touch of cel-shading. We also return to Liberty City, although we will see many new faces.
The story follows Huang Lee, who is plunged into the drug business after the theft of a family heirloom. As you can imagine, this will lead to numerous confrontations, robberies, and chases. As a playable prop, the game takes advantage of touch screen features, and believe us, the action never slows down!
5. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Sky
Dragon Quest IX is one of the games that has received the best reviews and is considered one of the most difficult in the saga. As a quality JRPG that it is, it has its virtues in terms of plot, but its strong point lies in the playable mechanics. In fact, it is one of the games of the genre that gives you the most freedom in this area.
All the characters that make up your group are created by you. You read right! You can modify their appearances and designate who will play one class or another, with more to unlock in the future. As you learn all about the Celestials and what they're up to, it's fun to set up your characters any way you want. An amazing JRPG!
6. Mario Kart DS
Is there much to say about Mario Kart DS? Each game in this line of the franchise is tremendously entertaining, with varied modes and numerous characters to manage. Being a title for the Nintendo DS, it has tactile functionalities, although they are usually limited to being informative.
What else can we say! If you love racing games and the plumber saga, Mario Kart DS is a must-play title. It is a complete kart game that encourages you to complete all possible challenges, which are not a few. And, of course, it is one of the best games to enjoy in multiplayer.
7. Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a highly recommended game if you are looking for a good tactical strategy experience. The Black Hole group returns as the greatest threat, forcing others to join forces to repel their attacks. That's where you come in, who must command battalions and lead the alliance to victory.
This game is long not only because of the main campaign, which you can replay without problems but because of the extra modes. Besides, each army has its own officers, differentiated by their abilities, weaknesses, and special powers. This gives a further nuance to the tactical approach since the combats can be developed in many ways. A great game for strategy lovers!
8. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is a classic JRPG so loved and recognized that versions have been released for many platforms. As you may have guessed, Nintendo DS is one of them. And what can we say about this masterpiece? It takes us on a long journey through different eras, discovering worlds and characters as different as they are charismatic.
In the playable, Chrono Trigger is a fairly complete JRPG and, regarding the plot, the work of the creators has been masterful. Your decisions and actions impact the development of the story, so much so that there are more than a dozen endings. Prepare to live the consequences!
9. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
The evil Shroob threatens the peace of the Mushroom Kingdom, so Mario and Luigi must get to work! Like Bowser's Journey to the Center, this game has quite a few RPG elements, including combat, and has a good assortment of puzzles to solve.
The adult and baby versions of Mario and Luigi are fun to interact with and play with. This leads us to play them separately or all together, depending on the phase and the puzzles. The Mushroom Kingdom must be saved both in the past and in the present, and it is not an easy task!
10. The World Ends With You
You are facing a unique and incomparable title. The World Ends With You is an RPG where you control Neku in a universe that mixes the world of the living with the world of the dead. Although the game offers much more, the combat system is very striking due to the use of the double screen, with one character on each.
It is a game with a certain level of complexity but it is rewarding. In each phase, The World Ends With You invites us to explore different districts of Shibuya and complete missions in a set time. There are other important elements, such as the fashion theme, which will increase or decrease the characteristics of the characters according to the affinity.
11. New Super Mario Bros
If instead of the role-playing games that Mario & Luigi suppose you prefer a more classic delivery, New Super Mario Bros is your thing! This game is a return to the style of the old Super Mario Bros, always taking care of the quality of each level, the power objects, and the dynamics in the boss fights. It is a challenging adventure from start to finish and the game hides more than one pleasant surprise.
12. Dragon Quest V: The Heavenly Bride
The Nintendo DS version was the first time the West received Dragon Quest V in English. You will accompany the hero's life from a young age until he gets married (there are three options!). Throughout his life journey, the game develops like a JRPG in which you can even recruit creatures to your ranks.
In essence, the Nintendo DS version is a remake of the Super Famicon version, and it's an honor to be able to enjoy this installment outside of Japan.
13. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Dawn of Sorrow is another game in the Castlevania saga that we also recommend without hesitation. It not only has a powerful plot, but also a charming gameplay section. There is an extensive repertoire of weapons that you can use to take down enemies, and the touch screen is there for that. In fact, to finish with the bosses it is necessary to draw some patterns in a defined time. Sharpen your stylus!
14. Radiant Historia
Radiant Historia is a sublime JRPG with some resemblances to Chrono Trigger. In it we also travel in time, through parallel lines with the aim of saving the world of Vainqueur. The plot happens in a non-linear way and the degree of exploration will define one end or another. Each step will define the fate of the conflict in that region!
Like many JRPGs, you have to fight a lot to advance the story. These are developed in turns, being able to move the characters in the combat scenario and even manipulate the attack turns in this way.
15. 999 (Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors)
999 is a game that mixes elements of Visual Novel and puzzle-solving. The protagonist, Junpei, and others find themselves in the misfortune of being kidnapped on a cruise ship. Together they must collaborate to escape from there! The gameplay focuses on making decisions in long conversations and putting your mind to work to escape from rooms.
The game is worth playing several times, as there are different endings. In each of them, you will discover more clues about the truth behind the kidnapping and the so-called Nonario Game.
16. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations
We could really recommend any Ace Attorney on the Nintendo DS, as they are all excellent! In Trials and Tribulations, you must solve five cases as Phoenix Wright. In each one, which works as chapters, you must go through a process of investigation and judgment.
The game fully complies in the sense of entertainment, since each character is well differentiated with a marked personality. This gives a lot of play when it comes to investigating, interrogating, and gathering evidence, and then connecting all the pieces using logic and evidence. And you know, non-stop protest!
17. Kirby Super Star Ultra
This game is an incredibly fun title that takes the classic Kirby Super Star as its base and expands on it in its Ultra version. By then one had to overcome several mini-games and game modes. In this edition, you face different enemies in phases that develop in a very different ways. It's literally like playing multiple games in one.
If you're looking for a complete, varied, cute adventure platformer with a bright pink protagonist, Kirby Super Star Ultra gives it to you in spades!
18. Animal Crossing: Wild World
Animal Crossing: Wild World is love and sympathy in its purest form. You will live adventures in a town full of anthropomorphic animals and the social aspect is very present, so the interaction with the villagers is important. In this game, you progress by carrying out activities such as collecting objects, going fishing, or catching insects.
A rather curious detail is that the time and season of the game are according to the time and day of your Nintendo DS. So if you play on a winter night, you will likely see a nightly snowfall in the game. And if you play in the middle of the day in summer, it will be a perfect day to go to the water!
19. Professor Layton and the Lost Future
There are four Professor Layton games for the Nintendo DS, and of all of them, we consider The Lost Future to be the best. It has an interesting plot in which you must prevent the future of London from ending in complete disaster. To do this, the game challenges you with constant mini-games that require you to use your intelligence and reasoning. Do you accept the challenge?
20. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass / Spirit Tracks
Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are good games that draw from Wind Waker, not only because of the graphics but because they are, in a way, continuations. In both, you move from one place to another with a vehicle, be it a ship or a train, to then enter the typical phases of The Legend of Zelda games.
They are adventure and action games that make good use of the touch screen, both for exploration and combat and for interaction with different characters and objects on the stage. They are not the most appreciated titles in the series and they are not likely to become your favorites, but they are entertaining!
21. Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS received a noticeable visual upgrade by moving to a fully 3D environment. In addition, it received some tweaks such as a somewhat more refined and increased difficulty. This manages to improve how excellent that title was already in 1991.
In this case, the characters are predetermined, so there is not as much freedom in classes and abilities, but this allows each component of the group to be better differentiated. On the other hand, the plot is more elaborate and complicated, with plot twists that will keep you hooked until the end of the story.
22. Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Hotel Dusk is a mystery and investigation graphic adventure that puts you in the task of solving puzzles and making decisions. We accompany Kyle Hyde, who, staying at the Dusk hotel, discovers that room 215 has a lot of history behind it. It is convenient to pay attention to the scenarios and each conversation because you must perform well in order not to receive a Game Over!
A particularity of Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is that it is played with the Nintendo DS on its side as if you were reading a book.
23. Elite Beat Agents
Can you imagine saving citizens to the rhythm of music? Well, that's Elite Beat Agents! It is a rhythmic and humorous game, where the story is not as important as the gameplay. Armed with the buttons and the touch screen, your performance, and skill in each song will be what defines the success of each mission.
Meteos is easy to explain and easy to play, but not easy to master! This is a frenetic puzzle game in which you have to match blocks of the same color before they accumulate and fill the screen with them. At first, it's easy, so you get used to the rhythm, but little by little it picks up speed, and it's non-stop!
25. Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
Final Fantasy Tactics are pretty solid games in terms of gameplay, so it's no surprise that we recommend A2: Grimoire of the Rift. Luso Clemens, the protagonist, is immersed in a magical world because of a book. Immediately, he sets out to carry out missions with Cid's clan and find a way to return to his true home.
The fights take place on stages divided into grids, which means that you can move your units around the battlefield. Strategic thinking is important to victory, especially at major plot points and conflicts involving Ivalice.
26. Ghost Trick: Detective Fantasma
Another graphic adventure and another mystery game! You will control a man who has just died and is turned into a ghost. As he uncovers clues to his cause of death, you'll have to help him prevent other people from dying by manipulating the environment. It is a good and interesting game that is worth trying, even if it is just for curiosity!
27. Metroid Prime: Hunters
Metroid Prime: Hunters is a first-person shooter that falls between Prime 1 and Prime 2: Echoes. Searching for a source of power, Samus Aran finds herself caught up in the hunt for various bounty hunters. Because of that, she is forced to face new enemies, all of them dangerous.
The game was well-received in part for its graphics, which are one of the best in the entire Nintendo DS catalog.
28. Rhythm Paraside / Heaven
One more rhythm game in which you must play with the console on your side! You hardly use the buttons, but it is mostly controlled with the Nintendo DS stylus. Through 50 mini-games, you'll have to tap, drop, swipe or throw at just the right moments. The better you do, the higher your score!
The game is subtitled Paradise or Heaven depending on the region, but it is the same game.
29. Sonic Rush
Sonic Rush knew how to maintain the classic flavor of the first ones, although this delivery is faster and you have more field of vision due to the use of the double screen. This game is the first to come out for the Nintendo DS and also features Blaze, a cat that you will also control in addition to Sonic. If you love saga or high-paced action platform games, this game will not leave you indifferent!
30. Super Scribblenauts
We finish the list with a very interesting game. Super Scribblenauts is an action platform game with a good selection of puzzles to solve. To advance, you must write words to summon objects and beings with particular characteristics. A very creative, fun title that doesn't get tiresome at any point in the game. Sharpen the pencil of your imagination!