Ranking The 25 Best Nintendo DS Games Ever Made

best nintendo ds games

It’s safe to say that the Nintendo DS is Ninty’s most successful console ever, and we’ve compiled a list of the best Nintendo DS games for this iconic handheld! The Nintendo DS is a console that cropped up absolutely everywhere and was owned by pretty much everyone.

Business types with briefcases, mums and dads waiting for school to finish, kids in classrooms; everyone had or has one somewhere, and many people still play them to this day! Whether you bought the original DS on release day or held out for the Lite version a few years later, both consoles opened up a world of possibilities and a whole new way to play at your fingertips, or stylus tips, at any rate.

Essential Games
Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver

The epic remakes of our favourite Pokémon games, HeartGold & SoulSilver enhance the Game Boy Color classics and make for an amazing adventure on Nintendo’s dual-screen hero!

Fast-paced Fun
Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS is still one of our favourite titles from the series. It’s the third-best-selling DS game and features the perfect selection of characters, items, and courses for Mario fans of all ages!

Classic Zelda
The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Head back to the seas with Link once more in the follow-up to The Wind Waker on DS! Experience top-down Zelda action like the classic games of old as you save Zelda from the evil Bellum!

There are games ranging from puzzle games to monster collecting, to adventure games; this console has a mass of titles to choose from! Here are my personal favourites.

1. Pokémon HeartGold/Soul Silver

Pokemon HeartGold/Soul Silver game case

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Developers: Game Freak
  • Publishers: The Pokémon Company/Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG

You might be thinking that I should have picked just one of these games to serve as the best DS game of all time, but I simply can’t choose between them. Pokémon HeartGold & Soul Silver are both excellent and two of the best adventures for the console.

Pokémon Gold and Silver arrived on the Gameboy Color back in 1999. These two games are undoubtedly two of the best Gameboy Color games of all time, and the DS remakes in 2009 supercharged them all the way to number 1 on our list!

HeartGold and SoulSilver improved an already groundbreaking formula by further enhancing game graphics and adding more Pokémon. The clunky menu system was done away with, and online trading and battling functions were added.

And as legendary Pokémon go, Lugia and Ho-Oh are two of the best to have in your team. I know Zacian and Zamazenta might look pretty cool, but there’s something about the Gold and Silver mascots that still feels like you’re catching an original rare creation, like the first time you saw Articuno or Mewtwo.

2. Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS game case

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Racing

Everyone loves Mario Kart; that’s just a fact. Mario Kart DS is the easiest DS game to pick up and play, making it a firm family favourite. Mario Kart DS remains the third-best-selling Nintendo DS game to this day with 23.6-million units sold since 2005. That’s a phenomenal amount of sales, making it the second-best Mario Kart title of all time behind Mario Kart Wii!

So what’s new in Mario Kart DS? Well, players have access to new karts, with more becoming available as they progress through the game. There are new characters to unlock, and the touchscreen shows either a top-down progress view or the entire course map. Other than that, it’s a bonafide Mario Kart game!

Mario Kart DS features all the same item-throwing, banana-dodging action as the other titles with some of the best courses in the series, in my opinion. Gamers loved the Battle mode in Mario Kart DS and the WiFi functions before they shut down in 2014. All in all, a perfect racing game for playing on the go!

3. The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - Game Case

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Action-adventure

Phantom Hourglass takes place after the events in The Wind Waker. Link must save Tetra, who we now know as Zelda, from an evil enemy named Bellum. Coincidentally, Bellum is the Latin name for War, so Link will probably have a great fight on his hands!

Along with Captain Linebeck and the S.S Linebeck, Link tales to the seas once again in a mission to rescue Tetra from the clutches of evil. Gameplay takes place in a topdown format used in Links Awakening on the Switch, though cutscenes are usually displayed in 3D. Link can fire cannons from Linebeck’s ship, and the usual enemies encountered in the Wind Waker return to test him once again.

As with every other Zelda game ever, Phantom Hourglass won tonnes of awards. It’s another title that fans of the series won’t need much persuasion to buy. Grab a copy and complete your adult timeline collection!

4. Super Mario 64 DS

Super Mario 64 DS game cart

  • Release Date: 2004
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Adventure, Platform

How could Nintendo possibly make Super Mario 64 even better? How about by giving players the option to play as Wario, Luigi, or Yoshi instead of Mario? Yeah, that would do it!

Super Mario 64 DS follows the main story of Super Mario 64, but Yoshi begins the game as the main character. Mario, Luigi, and Wario go on ahead into the castle and get captured, and it’s up to Yoshi to save them and unlock them as playable characters.

Along with the original hats from the previous games, each character has a special ability. The Power flower makes Mario float, Luigi invisible, Wario metal, and Yoshi breathe fire. Players can grow bigger with a Mushroom, and a feather makes characters fly in multiplayer mode and Mario soar in the main story!

These new additions help to spice up a classic story that many readers will have no doubt played to death since our Super Mario 3D All-Stars review dropped. Plus playing as Wario is always a treat! Touchscreen functions are reserved for the game map and camera angles. All in all, this is a must-have game for every Mario fan out there.

5. The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Spirit Tracks Cart DS

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Action-adventure

Regular readers know all too well about my love for The Legend of Zelda, and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was a fun Hyrule outing that felt very different to all of the other titles in the series.

Continuing the cell-shaded graphics style first used in The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker and later in another title you’ll soon hear about, Link and Zelda travel across New Hyrule on a cannon-powered steam train. Told you it was different!

For any other Zelda nerds out there, Spirit Tracks takes place 100 years after the Link and Tetra storyline in the Wind Waker and the Phantom Hourglass. It’s part of the adult timeline that sees Link disappear from Hyrule after Ocarina of Time. Check out Hyrule Historia if you want to know any more on the subject!

Anyway, back to the game! Zelda plays a bigger role in this game, providing the player with the ability to summon phantom guardians in Dungeons. Use the stylus to select weapons, draw tracks, and consult maps as you travel across New Hyrule by train or on foot through the various levels. Zelda fans need this game in their lives!

6. Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time

Best Nintendo DS Games - Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time game case cover art

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: AlphaDream
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time takes the Number 6 spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time. It’s an absolute classic with four main Mushroom Kingdom characters for the price of two. Time travel is the main feature of Partners in Time, with Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi taking centre stage for more role-playing action. Each character has special abilities that gamers will need in order to save Princess Peach as they travel through time.

Yes, unable to stay safe for more than three seconds, Princess Peach has been caught yet again. This time, the evil Shroobs have snaffled her, and it’s up to the Mario Bros. and their younger selves to sort things out.

Partners in Time and Superstar Saga share many similarities, including the turn-based battle system. The new game feels a lot more sinister than the first title, however, despite its vibrant levels and cutesy characters, of course.

Gameplay moves between the two screens, with some levels utilising the baby duo up top and the plumbers themselves down below. Learn new moves, work in unison, and save Princess Peach from an alien abduction. I still maintain that the Mushroom Kingdom needs a leader that isn’t captured every other week! Give Blaze the Cat a go at the job; she’s a Princess, after all!

7. Metroid Prime: Hunters

Metroid Prime: Hunters game case

  • Release Date: 2006
  • Developers: Nintendo Software Technology
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: FPS

Now, some of you might think that Metroid Prime: Hunters should have been way further down this list or not here at all, but I liked it! My DS came with a demo of the game, and I’m a huge Metroid fan so I took to is straight away.

Fans of the Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii will be all over Hunters like a Metroid at a brain-draining festival. This first-person shooter takes place between Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime: Echoes and received tonnes of awards when it first came out. Personally, I don’t know why people hate on it!

For me, Hunters is one of the best Nintendo DS games other than WarioWare: Touched for bringing the touchpad into play. While the top screen houses the main action, ammo, and Samus’ gun, the bottom screen shows a radar and is how players aim.

Dragging the stylus across the screen moves Samus’ arm cannon, giving you greater accuracy when blasting aliens to smithereens. It’s also great when using the grappling hook to reach higher areas too.

As well as the single-player mode, Hunters had a multiplayer mode with four bounty hunters jumping into battle. If you had time to chat between dodging bombs and plasma blasts, then the in-built microphone could be used to catch up with mates at the same time!

8. Pokémon Black & White

Best Nintendo DS Games - Pokemon Black/White game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

  • Release Date: 2010
  • Developers: Game Freak
  • Publishers: The Pokémon Company
  • Genre: RPG

Released in 2010, these two games were the first DS titles to reach 5 million sales and feature over 150 new Pokémon to catch! The game dynamic is the same as the other Pokémon titles, but the graphics and storyline set Black and White apart from other Poke-ventures. Triple battles and Rotation battles play a big part in the game’s mechanics, and the touchscreen can be used for WiFi connection settings.

Unova is one of my favourite Pokémon cities as it feels very different from Johto, Kanto, and Sinnoh. Also, Black and White make use of the Dream World, an area similar to the Chao Garden in Sonic: Adventure 2 Battle.

Gamers encounter different Pokémon in the Dream World that are not available to catch in the main world. They can also grow berries and train Pokémon in a Dream House too. Look, I don’t need to sell this to you. It’s a Pokémon game, which means it’s awesome. If you haven’t bought it, then buy it already, alright?

9. Animal Crossing: Wild World

Best Nintendo DS Games - Animal Crossing Wild World game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Life Sim

This is a series that many Nintendo Switch fans should be well acquainted with. Animal Crossing has taken the world by storm recently, and Animal Crossing: Wild World was the first portable adventure in the series.

Wild World is the sequel to the original Animal Crossing title on the GameCube. Like Animal Crossing New Horizons, it revolves around conversing with talking animals and thriving in a remote village. Night and day play a big part in Wild World too, with the passing of time synced to the internal clock inside your DS and affecting certain actions such as the growing of crops or when characters are available to converse with.

Animal Crossing: Wild World is a game with dozens of possibilities and customisable options available to players. There is no right or wrong way to play; play your way and live by your rules. Fans of The Sims or Harvest Moon will love Wild World; it provides a much-needed escape from the stresses of day-to-day life without providing taxing challenges or intense gameplay.

The bottom touchscreen houses inventory and design tools for writing and drawing, and both screens move with a ‘rolling log’ effect to keep the sky visible at all times.

10. Professor Layton And The Curious Village

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Developers: Level-5
  • Publishers: Level-5/Nintendo
  • Genre: Puzzle, Adventure

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first puzzle title in the Professor Layton series. I bought this for my Mum’s birthday back in 2007 and proceeded to battle her for control of the DS from thereon out.

Fans of Sherlock and Poirot will love this adventure in the weird and wonderful Curious Village. The inhabitants of St. Mystere will only cooperate with your investigation once you have solved their brain-ticklingly hard quizzes. They’re weirdos alright, but smart ones!

Gamers must point and click their way around various static levels, interacting with characters and searching for clues as to the whereabouts of the Golden Apple. By interacting with objects such as pipes, animals, and trees, etc, players can find cheat coins that help to tackle tough problems.

The Professor Layton games are famous for their brilliant FMV scenes, a far cry from the weird video clips used in the best Sega CD games! Critics praised the game’s graphics, puzzles, and storyline, and the Curious Village sold over 3 million units, making it one of the most popular puzzlers ever made.

11. WarioWare: Touched

WarioWare: Touched game case

  • Release Date: 2004
  • Developers: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Mini-games, Action

Ah, WarioWare: Touched, the best coffee break game on our list. Fans of WarioWario: Smooth Moves will be all over this mental DS game featuring the Master of Disguise himself.

Back in mini-game mode, Wario is ready to party and has some incredibly bizarre and addictive challenges up his sleeve. This game uses the DS touchscreen to maximum effect, with mini-games requiring stylus-wielding action as well as shouting commands into the microphone.

Each of the micro mini-games only lasts around 3-5 seconds, meaning that gamers must be quick-witted and on the ball if they have any hope of succeeding.

Connect batteries, pick noses, shoot targets, and much more in over 180 crazy mini-games. Players encounter a boss every 15 micro-games, which is usually a trickier mini-game designed to trip you up and send you packing! Whether on the bus or on the loo (we know you do it, so why hide it!), WarioWare: Touched is one of those games that you can pick up and put down at any point, making it a great one if you’re short of time.

12. Pokémon Platinum

Best Nintendo DS Games - Pokemon Platinum Version game case cover art
Credit: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Developers: Game Freak
  • Publishers: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG

It’s time for the first of many Pokémon games! The DS certainly had a whole host of epic pocket monster adventures available, especially updated remakes of classic titles released on the GBC and GBA. Pokémon Platinum is an upgraded version of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl with new areas to explore and a second form for Giratina, one of the game’s legendary Pokemon and a key character in the storyline.

If you missed out on every other Pokémon game since Pokémon Red, then you’ll be pleased to know that Platinum keeps the same game dynamic of catching and battling Pokémon, alongside competing to become a Pokémon champion.

Dual Pokémon battles are a feature in Platinum, and players can compete in minigames in the new WiFi Plaza. Record battles with opponents or trade anonymously over the Global Trade System to complete outstanding Pokedex entries.

Many critics consider Pokémon Platinum to be the ultimate remake of the ultimate Pokémon games. With praise like that, you can’t afford not to give it a go!

13. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Best Nintendo DS Games - Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story game case cover art

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Developers: AlphaDream
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG

Say hello to Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, a cracking Mario Bros RPG adventure with Mushroom Kingdom turn-based battles. What’s that: a Mario and Luigi RPG? That’s right; Bowser’s Inside Story is the third title in the Mario and Luigi RPG series, following Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and another game that you’ll be seeing shortly in this list.

Bowser’s Inside Story sees our two heroes being inhaled into Bowser’s body, along with Princess Peach, the Toads, and Starlow. Fawful, disguising himself as a mushroom salesman, spreads disease through the Mushroom Kingdom and takes over Peach’s and Bowser’s castle after Bowser falls unconscious.

The Mario Bros., now microscopic in size, must navigate their way through Bowser’s body and guide him on his journey to defeat Fawful and bring order back to the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and Luigi take up the bottom screen on the DS, whereas Bowser’s escapades happen on the top screen, lending a hand in battles as a playable character.

This is a classic Mario adventure and the best-selling Mario RPG of all time. It’s my second favourite, however, being pipped to the post by Number 6 on our list.

14. Nintendogs

Nintendogs game case cover art

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: Nintendo EAD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Pet Sim

If you had told me that Nintendogs would go on to become one of the best games of all time back in the day, I probably would have laughed and told you to make like a tree and ‘leave’. In fact, the Nintendogs series has sold almost 24 million copies, won numerous ‘best handheld game’ awards, and remains the second best-selling game series on the Nintendo DS!

In all honesty, it’s an awesome game and I had to eat my words. Everyone who had a Tamagotchi or one of the other popular virtual 90s toys will instantly see the appeal to Nintendogs, as well as kids who have been told they can’t have a real pet until they’re older.

Readers who spend a lot of time setting up camp in Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield will love it too! Use the touchscreen to pet, groom, or throw toys for your dog. Speak its name into the microphone to call it, and take your pooch on walks to the park, all without leaving the sofa.

Various versions have been released covering a wide variety of breeds. There is also a Nintendogs and Cats game for the 3DS too for anyone who loves felines more than canines.

15. Sonic Rush Adventure

Sonic Rush Adventure game case

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Developers: Dimps/Sonic Team
  • Publishers: Sega/Nintendo
  • Genre: Action-Adventure, Platform

Mario and Sonic might have once been competitors, but these days, Sega and Nintendo have buried the hatchet, so to speak. Sonic Rush Adventure is a cracking sonic title that cleverly uses both DS screens for a unique gameplay experience.

After finding themselves in an alternate dimension, Sonic and Tails seek the help of Blaze the Cat, the coolest female character in the Sonic franchise (sorry, Rouge and Amy, but it’s true). Blaze is a Mobian Cat Princess who guards Sol emeralds, and our dynamic Duo need her help to find both Chaos and Sol emeralds, as well as fighting back robotic pirates.

The gameplay is, as you might expect, pretty much like every other Sonic side-scroller. It is, however, one of the best portable Sonic games and feels as though it could have jumped straight from the Mega Drive. That’s high praise!

Expect all the same ring-collecting, speed-boosted action as Sonic and Blaze hurtle through the game’s many levels. In a nice twist, the characters move from top to bottom screens depending on how the path moves, and some mini-levels can also be controlled by using the stylus too.

16. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels Of The Starry Skies (2009)

  • Release Date:
  • Developers: Level-5, Square Enix
  • Publishers: Nintendo, Square Enix
  • Genre: RPG

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies recently featured in our list of the best Dragon Quest games of all time… funny that, isn’t it? Yes, the DS played host to some of the greatest titles from the canon, though IX (that’s 9 to anyone afraid of Roman numerals) was always my favourite.

Porting the game from the PS2 to a dual-screen handheld was always going to be tough. So much so, in fact, that many fans were worried it would flop terribly. The reality is that this is a spectacular title that plays superbly, bringing all the charm of the original game with you wherever you go!

Using cel-shaded graphics akin to the Legend of Zelda DS games, this RPG mixes things up a little. It concentrates more on NPC interaction rather than the main character completing a specific quest.  You’re basically a handyman with a sword sorting other peoples beef out, like a game with a never-ending amount of side quests. Still, the individual character stories are all intriguing and immersive, creating an RPG that is truly like no other while being a bonafide D.Q game at the same time… if that makes sense.

17. Pokémon Black & White 2

  • Release Date: 2012
  • Developers: Game Freak
  • Publishers: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
  • Genre: RPG

Do we need an excuse to go back to Unova? Well, Pokémon Black & White 2 provides such an excuse, with a story that takes place two years after the original Black & White… both in game and in real life!

With new locations and a total of 277 Pokémon to contend with, you’re going to have to cancel all those meetings and outings and hunker down for at least a couple of months.

I know that just sticking a 2 on the end of the title is a little unimaginative; heck, it would almost make some people not want to buy it if they thought it wasn’t going to be ultimately that different. But trust me – give Black and White 2 a chance. They’re more than just a money-making scheme, they’re epic games!

18. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground

  • Release Date: 2007
  • Developers: Neversoft, Vicarious Visions
  • Publishers: Activision
  • Genre: Sports (Skating)

I’ve always been a big fan of Tony Hawks games, and while the DS game is never going to beat the home console versions in terms of graphics and just seeing those tricks up on the big screen, it’s still a great portable title.

I wouldn’t advise trying to play while actually on your skateboard though; that’s an accident waiting to happen! It is quite cool using the stylus to move and pull off tricks as well as the face buttons. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s great once you get the hang of it.

Creating a skater adds a nice touch, as does making and customising your own skate parks. As I said above, it’ll never beat the home console versions, but for scratching your skate itch on the bus or the train, you can’t beat it!

19. Professor Layton And The Unwound Future

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Developers: Level-5
  • Publishers: Nintendo, Level-5
  • Genre: Puzzle, Adventure

The DS certainly had a lot of brain-tickling puzzlers, and the next entry in our list of the best Nintendo DS games formed part of the best series on the console. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is one of the finest ‘point and click’ series of all time. Fusing the gameplay of Carmen Sandiego and MYST with tricky brain teasers and a thrilling storyline, the Unwound Tower provides fun for gamers of any ability.

That’s what I and many other people love about this series. It’s not about how fast you can drive or your reaction times; it’s about brain power and solving things in your own time.

The games are a mixture of full motion video and still images, like the picture above. Using the DS stylus, players can click on characters to garner clues or take part in puzzles. They can also tap objects to see if there are any hint coins hidden inside.

Akin to the Crystal Maze, there are different types of puzzles to solve as you try to crack the game’s mysteries. The plotline draws you into a Sherlock Holmes-style adventure, and you’ll soon be considering wearing a top hat in public.

20. Chrono Trigger

Best Nintendo DS Games - Chrono Trigger Game Case Cover Art
CREDIT: Nintendo/Square Enix

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Developers: Square-Enix
  • Publishers: Square-Enix
  • Genre: RPG

Chrono Trigger remains one of the best rare SNES games out there on the market today. If like me, you don’t have $1,835 to spend on a brand new sealed copy, then you can pick up a used copy for the DS pretty cheap these days!

Chrono Trigger is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best RPG games ever made. It might get overshadowed somewhat by Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy titles, but Square and their all-star developer cast have ensured its place in gaming history, giving it the tools to hold its own against the big players.

‘All-star developer cast?”, I hear you saying. Chrono Trigger utilised the talents of the creator of the Final Fantasy series, the Dragon Quest series, and a famous Manga artist best known for his creations on a certain programmed named DragonBall-Z.

The plot is as epic and long-winded as you might have guessed from having these three legendary creators on board, and Chrono Trigger has won countless awards for both the best game and the best RPG ever made.

If RPG battles, item collecting, immersive quests, and multiple endings float your boat, then grab a copy for your DS and get gaming!

21. Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training

Dr Kawashima's Brain Training game case

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: Nintendo SPD
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Puzzle

Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training was one of the best Nintendo DS games for keeping your grey matter in good order.

Taking influence from Dr Kawashima’s career in neuroscience, this game is a daily puzzler designed to keep us sharp and on the ball. With Sudoku puzzles, Stroop puzzles, and mathematical problems to solve, Brain Training provided a fun and addictive way to learn. It also killed some time while chilling out on the toilet too.

Instead of holding the DS in the usual fashion, users turned it sideways as though holding a book. Questions appeared on the left-hand side, and answers could be written using the touchscreen on the right. The idea of this game is to give us a brief indication of how fit and healthy, or ‘young’ our minds are. There are multiple training exercises that can be completed as much or as little as you like, but the daily brain age test is the bit that keeps gamers continuously striving to improve.

Draw pictures from memory, recall things you did a month ago, and complete fun puzzles. Over 19 million people bought this game, so it certainly deserves a place on our list!

22. Super Scribblenauts

Super Scribblenauts Game Case

  • Release Date: 2010
  • Developers: 5th Cell
  • Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Konami
  • Genre: Puzzle, Action

Super Scribblenauts is one of those games where literally anything is possible. I had never played a game like this before and was amazed at the possibilities of the weird stuff I could come up with.

This title is the sequel to the hugely popular Scribblenauts, expanding on the exciting game mechanic introduced in the first game. The aim of the game is to solve puzzles by typing in any object you can think of. As long as it’s in the games huge database, then that item will appear!

A mini tractor, a super-fast dinosaur, a ginormous hammer; the possibilities are endless, and the game becomes more fun the more creative you get. I’ve never known a game with so many ways to solve puzzles. I loved Scribblenauts so much I grabbed it for the iPhone too! How many other games can you request a blue hedgehog to appear other than Sonic?

23. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars game case

  • Release Date: 2009
  • Developers: Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North
  • Publishers: Rockstar Games
  • Genre: Action-adventure

Some of you might be reeling by the fact that I’ve put Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars so low down on this list of the best Nintendo DS games. The truth is that, while I like it and obviously rate the series highly as a whole, there are just other DS titles that I’ve connected with more over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the top-down, open world shenanigans on offer in Chinatown Wars and get stuck in with the Triad Wars just as much as the next person… just as long as it’s in virtual mode and not real life!

As with every GTA game, crime pays. That’s every type of devious act imaginable too; the main rule is there are no rules. As I mentioned above, Chinatown Wars is played from a top down perspective which feels odd compared to the usual third-person camera angle from the console games.

Another weird thing that you might have noticed is the cel-shaded graphics. I guess this was Nintendo’s way of making a mature game fit into the family-friendly title list? Either way, it doesn’t look as good as the PSP version; there’s just no escaping that. Still, driving a cel-shaded car into everything and anything causing explosions and mass pandemonium is still super fun, if a little kiddy.

24. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game case

  • Release Date: 2005
  • Developers: Capcom Production Studio
  • Publishers: Capcom
  • Genre: Visual Novel Adventure

If you’ve ever wanted to be a lawyer but not had the drive to go through all of the university lectures, then this game gives you a taste of all the sweet courtroom action. Play through the original cases from the Ace Attorney GBA title and get stuck into a fifth new title too.

Plus, if your mic still works, you can should Objection out loud and have an effect on the gameplay. For fans of detective dramas, Ace Attorney will provide hours of fun. Search for fingerprints, blow dust off using the mic, and check out items up close and personal using the inventory mode.

The graphics look fantastic too, with most of the gameplay appearing like clips from a Manga cartoon series. It might not be as fast and furious as the next title in our list, but this is certainly one for those gamers that like to keep their grey matter on top form. Objection… OVERRULED!

25. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

Game cover of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Credit: Nintendo

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Developers: Intelligent Systems
  • Publishers: Nintendo
  • Genre: Tactical

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is up next, continuing the brilliance of the very first Advance Wars title, once of the best Game Boy Advance games of all time! There’s a strong chance that you’re going to see the first Advance Wars game for the DS further down this list, but the second title (that’s this one!) is an absolute belter of a game.

In contrast to the other colourful war games, this one has a bit more of an adult feel to it. I don’t mean like one of the best PC 98 games; I’m talking about a game that feels more like a serious war title, with moody backgrounds and tense battles. It’s an apocalyptic party and everyone is invited!

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a strategy game where players take it in turns to fight against enemy armies. Capture territories, destroy generals, and make use of commanding officers with special abilities that can help to turn the tide of a battle.

The gameplay does look a little like a bomb has gone off in a clip art factory at times, but its a fun game to play with lots of exciting and nail-biting features. It’s one of my favourite strategy games for a handheld and the perfect title for puzzle fans.

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