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.
Check out the best games for this amazing handheld below!
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors kickstarts this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
If you’re a fan of mystery titles (and let’s face it, we all are), then this long-named game will be right up your street. It’s a mix of a visual novel with commands to read and choose from, and a point and click style adventure like Myst.
If you’ve watched Bandersnatch on Netflix or ever played D&D, then you’ll appreciate all the different paths that you can go down in this game. There are so many different possibilities that playing again is never a chore.
NHNPND is a truly immersive game that requires a patient mind and a steady hand. There are tonnes of puzzles to work through and lots of precarious situations to get yourself out of.
Think carefully before answering questions from NPCs, because every response changes future gameplay.
It’s the ultimate escape room game. Twinned with the exciting narration, this is a puzzler that you’ll find seriously tough to put down.
From a game that requires skill and patience to one that requires you to be borderline insane, WarioWare D.I.Y is up next!
We’ve all played a WarioWare game before now. They’re weird, they’re bonkers, and they’re so fast that a cheetah would have a hard time keeping up with them.
But now there’s an added twist – in WarioWare D.I.Y, players can build their own mini games from scratch!
It’s like Mario Maker, except Wario reckons he can make money from your creations…
… he’ll do anything for a quick buck…
There are tonnes of tutorials on how to make mini-games in this title. Draw your own features or use pre-made items from any of the the other games that come with it.
Yes, the idea is that users can make games and share them with other players on the web, but there is a classic mode available too.
WarioWare D.I.Y comes with 70+ mini games preloaded. So if your art skills are sub-par like mine, then at least you can still have some good old-fashioned fun!
Tony Hawk’s: American Sk8land takes the 48th spot in our list of the best Nintendo DS games ever made.
If you played and loved American Wasteland on the PS3 or Xbox 360, then you can take all the action around with you on the bus or to the office with this portable handheld version,
Ok, so ultimately this game feels a lot different to the home console versions, but it’s still a Tony Hawk’s game at its core…
… it’s just received the Wind Waker cel-shaded treatment and looks a little kiddier…
The top screen is where the action happens, with the bottom screen showing a map of the current city and where various challenges can be found.
Players can also get onto Wi-Fi and play with other users online. Still, if you’re not fussed about any of that, the one player mode is more than enough to keep you hooked.
Create your own skate parks, build skaters, and beat your friends on local multiplayer. It’s the game that keeps on giving and a bona fide skating title… even if it does look a little weird.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes brings action packed strategic RPG magic to the DS. Yes, that’s a lot of specific criteria to fit inside a game, but luckily Ubisoft know a thing or two about making games!
If you’re a fan of the series as a whole, then you’ll enjoy learning that this portable marvel takes pace 40 years before the fifth game in the canon.
You’re controlling younger versions of all famous faces from the previous games, conquering puzzles and upping your skills as you progress through each level.
Choose from different troops and face off against enemy armies in a sort of Strategeo-meets-Risk battle to the death.
In fact, the battles in Clash of Heroes are more like a board game than you might think. This is the most brain-taxing part of the title, with players taking painful amounts of time while moving their troops into the best areas.
Seriously, you thought chess was hard!
Go in all guns blazing (swords in this case) or charge up magic attacks to take down bigger foes. This is one for fans of Gauntlet and Fire Emblem!
Next up in our best Nintendo DS games list is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. So many of our lists feature a Shin Megami Tensei game. There’s just something about this series that I can’t get enough of…
… maybe it’s all the demon slaying. That’s why I’m a huge fan of all the best doom games too, after all.
After picking up a mysterious device, players discover a demon outbreak in locked-down Japan and find out that they each only have seven days left to live.
Talk about bad news coming all at once!
These RPG behemoth is jam-acked full of demon battling, demon auctioning, demon training; basically everything you can think of that’s remotely demon related.
So we know the story is engaging, but what about the graphics?
Well, the gameplay on the bottom touch screen looks tidy and plays smoothly. Character stats sit out of the way on the top screen, ready for when you want to do a bit of upgrading or battle shuffling.
If you’re a fan of the SMT games, then you can’t go wrong with Devil Survivor. Give it a try and let us know your thoughts!
Another game that moves the main gameplay to the bottom screen is Meteos, keeping most the action between the main buttons so you can properly hone in and get stuck into some hardcore puzzling.
Essentially, this is basically a space-age version of Columns. Asteroids fall from space (i.e the top screen) and then become coloured blocks on the bottom screen.
Match blocks with the same symbols on them together. Get combos, and pull off special moves that take out other blocks that are still falling.
Honestly, that’s this game in a nutshell. It’s no different to Dr Mario or Colums or Candy Crush…
… still, there’s a reason those games (and Meteos) are so successful; it’s because they’re so damn addictive!
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days takes the 44th spot in our list. It’s pronounced 3-5-8 days over 2, which sounds a little like a fraction or some sort of American Football instruction.
Travel between worlds as you gain information about Roxas’ origins in a story that takes place between the two main Kingdom Hearts games.
Oh, and it’s got Mickey in it too.
358/2 Days has the feel of a hack-slash game within an RPG. The controls themselves are a little clunky, and the touchscreen elements don’t really add a lot to the title.
You can play the whole thing without even using them!
Still, the gameplay is fantastic, and the introduction fo the new character customisation panel system went down a storm with fans of the series.
A solid little game that provides some back story for the die-hard Kingdom Hearters!
Elite Beat Agents brings rhythmical fun to the DS. If you’re a fan of games like Samba Di Amigo and PaRappa the Rapper, then you’ll love this.
Play as one of the Elite Beat agents, a taskforce designed to bring happiness to the world through the power of song and dance.
That’s the kind of police force that we all want to see right there!
Like The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, gamers use the stylus to do all of the hard work in this game. Get rings in a certain order and hit beats in time.
Turn spinners, hit targets; it’s basically like a musical fairground!
This game is known for being a rib-tickler, though I guess with a police force that dance for a living, you wouldn’t expect anything else.
Dance and sing along to famous songs by Good Charlotte, Deep Purple, Jamiroquai, and more!
Multiplayer allows gamers to compete against each other via single-card or multi-card play.
Super Princess Peach takes the 42nd spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
I’ve been saying this for years, but there needed to be a game where Peach rescues Mario instead of the other way around.
And it turns out that the answer was in front of me all along and came out back in 2005.
Hey, I can’t play every game in the world as and when it comes out, but I’ve recently completed Super Princess Peach now and am glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.
It doesn’t really need the second screen, but it looks nice on the DS!
Bowser has finally realised that instead of capturing Peach to get to Mario, he can go straight to Mario. He’s taken both of the Plumber Bros, and now it’s up to Peach to save the day.
Using a parasol to kick ass and float from high platforms, Peach is on a mission to defeat all of King Koopa’s minions. She can also cry to make plants grow taller…
… not sure they needed to add that bit in…
It’s not as good as a traditional Mario game, mainly due to the ’emotional attacks’, but it’s still a fun game and a nice twist on the original formula.
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 a contrast to the other colourful war games, this one has a bit more of an adult feel to it.
I don’t meal 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 a apocalyptic party and everyones 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.
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.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes Of Light is the first official FF title made specifically for Nintendo’s dual-screen marvel!
It might be a spin off, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not any good. I mean, look at Frasier; that’s one of the best spin offs of all time!
In this adventure, Players take a lad named Brandt on a quest of epic proportions (isn’t that the case with every FF game?). There’s an evil witch, a country in peril, and a dodgy deal that sparked a whole load of trouble.
As with most RPGs, there’s a class system that runs through the game. In this case, it’s all about wearing different crowns. Pick up crowns as you explore the vast overworld through both the day and night, working with the flow of time and battling enemies every-which-way you turn.
Ok, so battling isn’t as technical as the fights on the home console games, but that doesn’t mean that collecting skill points and upping magic through fights isn’t incredibly fun.
And, there’s another cool feature to make an appearance in this DS exclusive game too.
The characters change their looks depending on what weapons they are using or what armour they are wearing. It might be a small cartridge, but this is one in-depth game.
Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney takes the 38th spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
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.
Some of you might be reeling by the fact that I’ve put Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars so high up 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.
Kirby Super Star Ultra takes the 36th spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
Yes, the pastel-coloured Superstar returns with a cracking set of adventures for gamers to sink their teeth into! The whole gang has arrived including King Dedede and Meta Knight, and they’re ready for classic Dreamland action!
Remember the original Kirby Super Star game for the SNES? Well, Ultra bumps it up a notch, adding new games into the mix as well as updated versions of the old ones.
Let’s talk about the new games. The Arena is a game that sees Kirby fighting every Boss that he’s gone up against throughout the game. There’s a shooting gallery style game called Kirby on the Draw, and party-style games such as Kirby Card Swipe that see’s players picking the right cards.
And the best part; multiplayer.
Yes, gamers can co head-to-head or team up to play through the game modes. This is fun and frantic action at its best, and it’s all 100% portable too!
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 takes the 35th spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
If you’re a fan of adventure novels, then Hotel Dusk should be very high up on your wish list. Heck, you even hold the DS like a book to play the game…
… now if Nintendo could just figure out a way of getting you physically inside the game that would be perfect!
Hotel Dusk feels a lot like Heavy Rain and other detective titles. It’s a thrilling tale involving NPC interaction and searching for mysteries around every corner.
Players control a retired New York cop called Kyle Hyde. He’s searching for items at Hotel Dusk but quickly becomes embroiled in a serious of strange events, all pointing to the mystery of Room 215.
Kyle must talk with guests to learn their pasts, interrogating NPCs while trying to maintain an air of secrecy about his presence.
Solve puzzles that Link would have a hard time sorting out, search every nook and cranny, and marvel at the artistic graphics that look like a cross between Okami and Comix Zone.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia brings gothic ghouls and demons to the Nintendo DS. It also provides fans of the series with a new adventure that steps away from the original storyline.
In Order of Ecclesia, the Belmont Clan have gone into hiding, and an order to monks are taking charge.
Players control a woman called Shanoa, one of the monks who boasts the best magical skill to thwart the undead minions sent forth by Dracula.
Oh yeah, he’s still alive and kicking… or undead and kicking, at any rate.
Can you believe that the next title in our list of the best Nintendo DS games is Kirby’s first on the console? It’s time for Kirby: Canvas Curse!
I’m not surprised he looks angry on the cover; an evil witch has turned him into a ball, and now he’s got to roll everywhere with players guiding him using the stylus.
The witch drops a magic paintbrush, which unfortunately becomes a little plastic pencil in our real-life human hands. Make tracks and paths for Kirby to roll along as he bounces through each stage…
… just try not to let him die, alright?
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…
Spider-Man 2 was one of the most popular launch titles for the DS back in 2005, and it’s not hard to see why.
Everyone’s favourite wall-crawler always brings home the bacon on consoles; that much has been proven by Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the best PS5 games!
Spider-Man 2 follows the movie of the same name starring Toby McGuire as Spidey, so if you haven’t seen the film, then the game might prove a little confusing. It’s also a sequel to the first Spider-Man film based on Toby’s first movie.
Long story short; go and watch some Spiderman and then come back.
The touchscreen can be used for certain actions and comes into play for solving puzzles on some levels.
Another cool feature is the fact that levels move with Spidey, tilting and turning to show new angles as he runs and swings along. Camera angles also alter on occasion to give first person views while battling all of the best bad-guys from the film.
If you’re a fan of Marvel films and games, then this needs to be in your collection. The touch screen controls certainly don’t feel like a gimmick thumbed into a classic game, and swinging through those streets will never get old!
Rayman DS is another launch title that drew people into buying the DS in the early days. Honestly, I still don’t know how his feet and hands work without any arms or legs attached, but I guess that’s why Rayman is a gaming hero and I’m sat here writing about him.
Ever played Rayman 2: The Great Escape? Well, Rayman DS is a direct port of the N64 version of that very game, albeit with updated sprites and touch-screen controls.
Like Mega Man, Rayman is a bit of a hero and a name that appears on many consoles. This game appeared on the PS2, Dreamcast, Windows, and a host of other devices.
But, while the Dreamcast version boasts mini games to play through, the DS version poses a simplified adventure with fewer bells and whistles.
Still, the main core game is the same, and it’s a nice title to have for anyone who enjoyed the very first version of this game on the mighty N64.
Can you help Rayman save the Fairy Glade from Admiral Razorbeard and his Robo Pirate crew? I hope so, otherwise it’ll be a short game!
Rhythm Heaven: Tap Into The Rhythm takes the 27th spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
This game has few different names depending on your region , though the gameplay is exactly the same. It uses the DS held in the vertical position ala Brain Training and requires players to get into the groove.
Gameplay revolves around using the stylus, tapping, flicking, and sliding along the touchscreen panel to control players in WarioWare-style mini games.
There are 50 levels to play through providing great value for money, especially if you try to hit ‘superb’ rating on every stage. This unlocks new features and secrets, as well as the chance to get a ‘perfect’ rating.
We love a game that keeps us coming back to perfect our performance!
It does take a little time to get used to, but once you’ve mastered the touchscreen controls, you’ll be flicking that stylus and grooving before you know it. The graphics are vibrant, the games are bizarre, and it’s a great party game for the toilet or the train.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box marks the first of three Professor Layton titles in our list of the best Nintendo DS games.
Not only are these titles well put together with great video cut scenes and comic-book-style sequences, but they’re also super fun to play!
I like games that make players think; it’s why I’m such a fan of the Legend of Zelda games. Well, in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, gamers solve a series of puzzles of increasing difficulty in order to uncover a mystery.
Sherlock Holmes hasn’t got anything on the Prof, and his protege Luke completes the crime fighting… or mystery busting duo in this case!
Collect Puzzle coins to receive hints on different problems or save them up for really tough mind-ticklers. The various problems make Dr Kawashima’s Brain training feel like a walk in the park, but it’s a great way to keep your brain ticking over while enjoying a great story line.
Can Luke and the Professor uncover the mystery of Pandora’s Box, or the Diabolical Box if you’re a US reader? Have a go and find out!
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?
Ok, there are a lot, but you get the idea.
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 in 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 in our list!
Ōkamiden is, in many ways, the spiritual sequel to the beautifully illustrated original title, and features all of the same brush-stroke action in a brand new adventure.
Ōkamiden follows the story of Chibiterasu, a mythical wolf born from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. The Celestial Brush from the original title returns once more, as does the need to bring life back to a colour-parched world.
Now, some of you might be thinking that the picture above looks a little Zelda-like, what with the cell-shaded graphics and the Midna-Wolf vibe going on. The Zelda series played a big role in influencing the developers of both the original game and the DS sequel, which can only ever be a good thing!
Gamers can click the shoulder buttons to access the Celestial Brush, a mystical brush used to alter the world. By selecting this item, the main screen shifts to the bottom touchscreen, allowing players to get creative.
Like Procreate on the iPad, bold movements with the stylus create bold strokes, while light movements make delicate lines. Enemies can also be killed using brush strokes.
Chibiterasu can also team up with human partners to access otherwise unreachable areas and attack foes. If you like Zelda games (and let’s face it, who doesn’t!), then give Ōkamiden a go!
Next up on our list of the best Nintendo DS games is a character that everyone should know very well. Kirby is one of Nintendo’s most lovable characters, and now, gamers can experience what it’s like to have a whole host of pink perils on the screen at once!
Like Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Mass Attack uses a different control system from the norm and one that complements the DS perfectly.
Rather than moving your Kirbys around using the D-Pad, the player uses the DS stylus to direct the pink army through each level.
Kirby has been split into 10 miniature versions of himself by a wicked sorcerer, and it’s up to you to defeat him and use his magical staff to make the pink crusader whole once more.
Multiple Kirbys are required to complete some tasks, while some levels can only be tackled with three or more Kirbys in your team. Collect fruit to grow your team, and keep an eye on their colour as they lose health and slowly drift away!
I love Wario games, and this next entry on our list of the best Nintendo DS games is one of my favourites in the series!
Not content with stealing from people in the real world, Wazza has made a helmet that allows him to infiltrate a TV Programme. He steals a magical wand that allows the user to use multiple disguises… and then steals loads of stuff.
I have always liked the fact that Wario games don’t take themselves too seriously. The main characters you meet are called Cannoli, Carpaccia, and Tiramisu, for crying out loud!
Tiramisu becomes an evil demon named Terrormisu too; it’s all just a good laugh really!
While Master of Disguise feels more like an Advance title than a DS touchscreen game, it’s still a great little puzzle/platformer that’s worthy of appearing in this best Nintendo DS games list. Players certainly won’t forget it in a hurry, and it’s a fun title to kick back and relax with.
Next up on out ultimate list of the best Nintendo DS games is Advance Wars: Dual Strike.
Critics awarded Dual Strike the accolade of ‘Bet Strategy Game’ for the DS, and it sold over 35-million copies in its first 10 days!
If that doesn’t pique your interest, then I don’t know what will!
Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a turn-based military strategy game between battling armies. Think Strategeo or Risk, but just on the DS instead.
Set in Omega land, players control the Allied Nations who must fight the forces of Black Hole in a bid to stop them from draining energy from the land. Using land, sea, and aerial assaults, gamers must capture the enemies HQ or defeat all of their troops in each battle to proceed.
While simple in set-up, this is a brain-teasing puzzle that will leave you itching for more. War has never looked so bright and colourful!
The World Ends With You brings urban street vibes to the classic RPG-style adventure. The game is set in Shibuya, one of the most famous shopping districts in Tokyo and takes great influence from the youth culture of the area.
The title has hints of The Hunger Games and The Running Man about it, in which chosen souls are transcended to another realm and must compete to make it back to the real world.
Here’s a piece of useless information that I know about Shibuya before we go on; it is home to two of the world’s busiest railway stations. There you go; you can impress your mates with that one!
The World Ends With You really shows off the capabilities of the DS. Battle often takes place on both screens, as shown above, and gamers can use the skills they picked up from watching the Harry Potter kids to ‘swish and flick’ their stylus across the touchscreen carrying out kick-ass moves.
This game take a bit of getting used to, especially when it comes to what on earth you’re supposed to do in the battle modes. Still, it’s an immersive titles that makes use of every inch of the DS, including shouting commands into the microphone.
Everything from the setting to the graphics inspired gamers and critics alike. You can even watch the Anime series or read the Manga comics based on the game once you complete it!
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective takes the 21st spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
Listen, if you liked Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney, then you’re going to love this game. It’s made by the same creator, so the gameplay and graphics style are very similar.
Players control a ghost that must possess nearby objects to solve a crime. He can travel back in time before a murder in order to prevent it from happening…
… but only has four minutes in which to do it!
The premise of this game is incredible. It’s certainly unusual and a different take on the typical detective title, that’s for sure.
As players move through the levels, they must save NPCs while also trying to find out how they died.
If they don’t find out by dawn, then they disappear from this world entirely.
If you’re looking for a thrilling game with a supernatural overtone, then grab a copy of Ghost Trick! It’s hauntingly addictive…
… that made way more sense in my head…
Chrono Trigger remains one of the best rare SNES games out there on the market today. If like me, you don’t have $1835 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!
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.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon takes the 17th spot on our list of the best Nintendo DS games.
If you can remember Marth appearing on Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube and wondering ‘who the heck is this guy?’, then Shadow Dragon will reveal all.
Set in Archanea, Shadow Dragon tells the tale of Prince Marth and his exile at the hands of en evil wizard and a devious dragon. It’s the eleventh game in the series but, in true RPG confusing fashion, is also a remake of the first-ever Famicom title, ‘Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light’.
Like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem is known for its epic storylines, turn based battles, and character development as players progress through the game.
Both DS screens come into play in this game, with the lower touchscreen showing gamers a map of Archanea and all of the story-action and battling happening up top.
If you enjoyed the Famicom game or love a bit of Dungeons and Dragons, then Shadow Dragon should be on your wish list.
Sonic and Mario 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.
We love Castlevania games here at Retro Dodo, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has to be one of our favourites in the canon.
Dawn of Sorrow marked the first Castlevania adventure on the DS and a move away from the continuous battle of the Belmonts vs Dracula.
Players take control of Soma, Dracula’s reincarnation that thankfully avoided becoming the next Vampire Lord thanks to help from his allies. An Evil cult wants to kill Soma so a new Dracula can be born, but understandably, he isn’t too keen for that to happen!
Although Simon Belmont or Reinhardt Schneider do not feature in this game, the same Castlevania elements that we know and love remain. It’s a side-scrolling adventure for starters, which instantly takes me back to the early SNES classic, Super Castlevania IV.
Like Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the GBA, the soul-absorbing ‘Tactical Soul’ system returns as an ability that Soma can use.
The DS touchscreen provides a new technique called ‘Magic Seal’ by which players can draw certain patterns to defeat enemies, keeping gamers on the ball with multiple actions.
Dawn of Sorrow is designed perfectly, maintaining that gothic feel that Konami always delivers so well in these games with levels and enemies that will send a chill down your spine.
If you had told me that Nintendogs would go on to become one of the best Nintendo DS 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.
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 gave 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.
Next up on our list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time is 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 Bowsers castle after Bowser falls unconscious.
The Mario Bros., now microscopic in size, must navigate their way through Bowsers 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, where as 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.
It’s time for the first of many Pokemon 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.
Pokemon Platinum is an upgraded version of Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon 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 Pokemon game since Pokemon Red, then you’ll be pleased to know that Platinum keeps the same game dynamic of catching and battling Pokemon, alongside competing to become a Pokemon champion.
Dual Pokemon 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 Pokemon Platinum to be the ultimate remake of the ultimate Pokemon games. With praise like that, you can’t afford not to give it a go!
Up next is WarioWare: Touched, the best coffee break game in our list of the best Nintendo DS games.
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.
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 aright, 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.
Up next in our list of the best Nintendo DS games 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.
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.
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.
Pokemon Black & White take the Number 8 spot in our list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
Released in 2010, these two games were the first DS titles to reach 5-million sales and feature over 150 new Pokemon to catch!
The game dynamic is the same as the other Pokemon 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 games mechanics, and the touchscreen can be used for WiFi connection settings.
Unova is one of my favourite Pokemon cities as it feels very different to Johto, Kanto, and Sinnoh. Also, Black and White makes use of the Dream World, an area similar to the Chao Garden in Sonic: Adventure 2 Battle.
Gamers encounter different Pokemon in the Dream World that are not available to catch in the main world. They can also grow berries and train Pokemon in a Dream House too.
Look, I don’t need to sell this to you. It’s a Pokemon game, which means it’s awesome. If you haven’t bought it, then buy it already, alright?
Samus Aran is up next in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time!
Now, some of you might think that Metroid Prime: Hunters should have been way further back up 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!
Remember I said that there was another Mario Bros. RPG that I liked more than Bowser’s Inside Story. Well, here it is!
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!
We’re down to the final 5 titles in our list of the best Nintendo DS games, which means it’s time to start talking about the big guns.
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!
Solatorobo takes the 5th spot in this list of the best Nintendo DS games of all time! It’s also one of the most bizarre games ever too…
… were talking pirates that just so happen to be kittens, crabs the size of houses, and robot mech warriors that resemble dogs.
Just a standard adventure then, right?
Players control Red and his Robot as they island hop around the beautiful scenery of the Shepard Republic in an attempt to thwart the Kurvaz gang.
To say that there’s a lot of info to fit into this tiny handheld game, the worlds are intricate and look fantastic. It’s also a real pleasure to play!
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.
The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass takes the Number 3 spot on our list of the best Nintendo DS games!
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!
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!
It’s time for the two best Nintendo DS games of all time to take the Number 1 spot in our list!
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. Pokemon HeartGold & Soul Silver are both excellent, and two of the best adventures for the console.
Pokemon 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 Pokemon. The clunky menu system was done away with, and online trading and battling functions were added.
And as legendary Pokemon 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.
When Was The Nintendo DS Released?
21 November 2004.
It’s hard to believe that this handheld has just turned 16 years old as I write this article. It only feels like yesterday when I first played Number 4 in this list (no scrolling down past the others to find out what it is!).
The Nintendo DS Lite was released on 11 June 2006, in case you were wondering.
How Many Nintendo DS Consoles Have Been Sold?
154.2 million units.
Just take a minute to think about how many that is. That’s two and half times the population of the United Kingdom holding a Nintendo DS in their hands.
The Nintendo DS is the second-best selling console of all time, selling 800,000 units fewer than the PlayStation 2.
Still, it’s the best selling handheld by a long shot, beating the Game Boy & Game Boy Color by 35,330,000!
How Many Nintendo DS Games Are There?
There are 2007 Nintendo DS games for the system.
That figure covers Nintendo DS original titles and not Nintendo 3DS games.
Picking the best Nintendo DS games is a tall order when you consider how many there are, but thankfully, yours truly is a bonafide Nintendo nerd!
Which Games Launched With The Nintendo DS?
The Nintendo DS had 17 launch titles, giving gamers a great selection to be getting on with straight away.
What Are The Best Nintendo DS Games?
I’ve made a list of 38 of the best Nintendo DS games I’ve ever had the privilege of playing below. Many of these titles have the biggest sales for the console, while others are wild cards that I think you’ll enjoy very much!
How Do I Buy Nintendo DS Games?
Most of the best Nintendo DS games listed below will be second hand, though some gamers will have kept copies in mint condition if you would like to hold a brand new copy in your hands.
By clicking the title of each section, the pictures, the ‘Buy Here’ button, or the name of the game in the text, the official buying page for the game that you are looking at will magically appear in a tab next to this article.
Ok, it’s not magic, it’s just cold hard techno-wizardry!
The same wizardry applies for other hyperlinked games for other consoles that I have mentioned throughout this article too!