10 best Nintendo DS games everyone should try

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As one of the best-selling consoles of all time, the Nintendo DS had a wide variety of games in its library. With the new features the DS brought to video games, including the touchscreen, built-in mic, and local Wi-Fi, DS games were able to try new things that other games were still unable to do.

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Thanks to these innovations, many DS games like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass still stands to this day. Since these games were ahead of their time, gamers have a plethora of challenging and fun games to play that rival anything produced for the current generation of consoles.


ten Animal Crossing: Wild World

Split image of a gardening girl and a group of people from around the world in Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Animal Crossing: Wild World is part of the social simulation game series Animal crossing which allows the player to control a customizable human who has just moved to a new village populated by anthropomorphic animals. Since the games are open, players can choose how they spend their time, which includes collecting items and chatting with other villagers.

This game is important because it introduced a lot of gameplay features that would become the mainstay of the series. For example, instead of the top down perspective of the first game, this game has the side view that later games would continue to use. Additionally, the game introduced online play, which has remained a big part of the series.

9 Apollo Justice: Ace Lawyer

Apollo shows someone offscreen in a courtroom in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

Taking place seven years after the third As Lawyer Game, Apollo Justice: Ace Lawyer is a visual novel adventure game where the player as a lawyer has to solve mysteries to prove the innocence of his client. Apollo Justice is a junior defense attorney who ends up working with the memorable lead character from the previous one. As Lawyer trilogy, Phoenix Wright, and his daughter, Trucy, to solve the old murder case that led to Phoenix being deregistered.

Along with the regular cross-examination in the courtroom and investigative footage outside of it, this game also introduces new ideas to the series. Since Apollo doesn’t have the Phoenix magatama, he instead has a bracelet that allows him to see the little movements of people betraying their lies. With a large cast of intriguing characters and a darker storyline, this fourth As Lawyer the game is absolutely worth the detour.

8 New Super Mario Bros.

A giant Mario walks towards the screen in the DS New Super Mario Bros. game.

A discussion of the best DS games isn’t complete without the best-selling DS game: New Super Mario Bros. In this 2.5D platformer, the player controls either the main character Mario or his brother Luigi as they navigate various worlds to save Princess Peach from Bowser and Bowser Jr.

As one of the best-selling video games of all time, it’s no surprise this game is hard to let go. The combination of simple gameplay with the variety of worlds to explore makes the game enjoyable and addicting. New bonuses such as Blue Koopa Shell have added a new element to the gameplay. Additionally, 3D Mario game moves like wall jumping have also been added to enrich the experience.

7 Dragon Quest IX

A boy holds a sword while a girl leans on his in Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky is an RPG released in 2009 that follows a fully customizable main character who is part of an angelic race that lives in the sky called “Celestrians”. A catastrophic event occurs that causes the Celestrians to fall into the mortal world, and the main character must find a way to return to their previous state while also reaping the lost fruits of the world tree.

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In addition to the higher difficulty, this Dragon Quest The game introduces many new game features that are worth it. While retaining the traditional role-playing mechanics and interesting storytelling of previous entries, Dragon Quest IX introduces multiplayer functionality, many customization options and enemy generation.

6 Ghost Trick: Ghost Detective

A woman raises her hands as a man points a gun at her in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.

Created by Shu Takumi, Ghost Trick: Ghost Detective is a 2010 puzzle adventure game that follows a recently deceased amnesic ghost named Sissel. Traveling with a female detective named Lynne, Sissel uses her newfound spectral powers to perform “ghost tricks” to save lives and try to reclaim her memories before dawn.

During the game, the player will own corpses in order to time travel up to four minutes before the person dies. During this period, the player can manipulate objects in order to influence what happens and change the future. This creates an intriguing gameplay loop that will keep the player hooked from start to finish.

5 Shin Megami Tensei: The Devil’s Survivor

Split image of a screenshot of the game and box art with 7 kids in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor.

Shin Megami Tensei: The Devil’s Survivor is a tactical RPG where a 17-year-old male protagonist and his friends witness an epidemic of demons in today’s Tokyo. For seven days, the protagonist, who acquires the ability to see how long a person has to live, must try to save as many people as possible.

Similar to other SMT games, the player can recruit demons as allies to fight other demons. Additionally, players can see enemies and must strategically move character teams around the map to fight enemies in one turn, which is similar to games like Fire emblem. With all the unique endings possible, the player will want to replay the game multiple times to fully experience what the game has to offer.

4 The world ends with you

Split image of a girl fighting demons and a gang of teenagers hanging out in The World Ends With You.

Produced by Tetsuya Nomura who also developed the Kingdom Hearts series, The world ends with you is an action RPG set in today’s Shibuya and follows a recently deceased teenage boy named Neku Sakuraba. With the help of several different companions, Neku must complete the Week-Long Reapers Game in order to have a second chance to live and not be wiped out.

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With a DS-specific style of play, this game is a console staple. Using both the touchscreen and the buttons, the player can simultaneously control the characters on the upper and lower screens. In addition, the soundtrack and various outfits are all drawn from the popular culture of Shibuya at the time, creating a unique moment that cultural capsule players will enjoy.

3 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Split image of Link outside and Link with his sword in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is an award-winning action-adventure game and a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the GameCube. The game follows Link as he travels between different islands using the SS ship Linebeck in order to save his friend Tetra from a life-eating monster named Bellum.

While the game contains dungeon exploration and item hunting from previous ones Zelda games, this game is unique because it also has a large central dungeon, The Temple of the Ocean King, in which the player must return throughout the story. With the help of the ghost hourglass and other items, the player has to use stealth to avoid the ghosts in the temple. The game’s innovative gameplay and gripping storyline make it the best The Legend of Zelda title to get a remaster for the Switch.

2 Sonic rush

Split image of Sonic running away from an enemy and Sonic giving the go-ahead in Sonic Rush.

Prior to his departure from Sega, Sonic’s father Yuji Naka produced another main Sonic game that many fans consider to be one of the best. Sonic rush is a 2.5D platform game where the player can control either Sonic or a new Blaze the Cat character. These two characters work together to stop Dr. Eggman and his counterpart, Dr. Eggman Nega, from Blaze’s alternate universe.

Both characters show their own side of the story, have their own specific order of levels, and have their own special abilities. The game’s smooth gameplay, stunning design levels, and the introduction of Blaze make Sonic rush one of the best Sonic the Hedgehog video games.

1 Pokémon: Black and White

Black and White Pokemon Box Art

As the second generation of Pokemon on DS, Pokémon: Black and White consists of two RPG games where the player controls a teenager who roams the Unova region in order to catch Pokémon, fight against other trainers, and defeat the Plasma team. The game focuses on the balance between humans and Pokémon.

Created shortly after Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl, this game has updated graphics and animations compared to its predecessors. With the large amount of new characters in the game and the darker storyline compared to other Pokémon games, it’s no surprise that Pokémon: Black and White has remained a favorite that fans of the franchise continually revisit.

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Split image featuring the Resident Evil 4 video game poster and an in-game photo of Leon and Ashley.


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