Best Nintendo DS RPGs – Nintendo Life


The Nintendo DS is one of the most successful gaming consoles in the history of the industry, so as you can imagine, it’s pretty well stocked when it comes to RPGs. During its glorious lifespan, this dual-screen wonder has hosted some of the best role-playing epics the genre has ever seen – and we’ve compiled a list of them for you here.

Below are 30 of the best RPGs for the Nintendo DS, presented in no particular order. As you can see, the system hasn’t been inundated with quality titles, many of which remain completely console exclusive and haven’t been reposted since.

Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links which means if you click on them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC disclosure for more information.

Chrono trigger (DS)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: November 25, 2008 (United States) / February 6, 2009 (UK / EU)

Chrono Trigger has stood the test of time, demonstrating the timeless durability that occurs when an impeccable synthesis of storytelling, gameplay, visuals and music takes place. The DS version is without a doubt the definitive edition of this beautiful work of art. Even if you’ve played it before, you should follow those nostalgic urges and grab a copy – it’s an essential purchase for any RPG fan. All in all, it’s a true masterpiece that is a testament to what games should strive to be.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Camelot

Release date: November 29, 2010 (United States) / December 10, 2010 (UK / EU)

One of the GBA’s most beloved RPG franchises, Golden Sun took its time to arrive on DS, but it was worth the wait. While Golden Sun: Dark Dawn may not be the major upgrade many have been hoping for, it’s yet another solid DS RPG adventure and a golden opportunity (no pun intended) to revisit a another classic RPG series.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky (DS)Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky (DS)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: July 11, 2010 (United States) / July 23, 2010 (UK / EU)

You can’t help but marvel at how the developers managed to bring a home console-sized RPG epic into the tiny DS, especially since the quest itself is massive. In addition to this awesome feat, they found a way to add a slew of new multiplayer gameplay and action features. It’s perfectly clear from the moment you start – absolutely no corners have been cut. If there’s ever been a title to really show how far handheld games have come over the years, this is it. Dragon Quest IX is everything fans of the series could hope for, let alone a game that no RPG fan should miss.

Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver (DS)Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver (DS)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Usual game

Release date: March 14, 2010 (United States) / March 26, 2010 (UK / EU)

The original Gold and Silver games are fondly remembered by Pok̩mon fans around the world, and for good reason: they introduced features that truly evolved the games. With breeding and an in-game clock Рboth from the staples of the series Рnot to mention many fan-favorite monsters, these remakes were always going to be well received. While they fail to move the series forward with any real innovations, they excel at retooling now nearly obsolete titles into must-haves for fans.

Final Fantasy IV (DS)Final Fantasy IV (DS)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: July 22, 2008 (United States) / September 5, 2008 (UK / EU)

Square Enix was on a roll when it came to remaking its classic Nintendo DS RPGs, like Final Fantasy III had already received the treatment before the release of this title. Final Fantasy IV is a very challenging RPG that will appeal to all fans of the genre: the graphics are stunning, the soundtrack is great and the gameplay is top notch. When all is said and done, this is a must have RPG.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS)Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: June 24, 2008 (United States) / June 27, 2008 (UK / EU)

Like its Game Boy Advance predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift lacks the complex storyline and mature themes of Final Fantasy Tactics’ first entry, and while that’s a shame, it doesn’t change the fact that the gameplay is still excellent. It offers deep systems, hours of challenge, and some really beautiful visuals, making it one of the best strategy RPGs for Nintendo DS. Even the “Judge” system – introduced in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance – returns and adds a clean twist to some of the missions.

Pokémon Black and White (DS)Pokémon Black and White (DS)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Usual game

Release date: March 6, 2011 (United States) / March 4, 2011 (UK / EU)

Pokémon Black and White are certainly some of the best in the series: unlike HeartGold and SoulSilver, they don’t have nostalgia as their main attraction, but they come closest to recreating the sense of discovery felt on that first trip with Pokemon.

Mario & Luigi: Partners over time (DS)Mario & Luigi: Partners over time (DS)

Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release date: November 28, 2005 (United States) / February 10, 2006 (UK / EU)

Although each has an individual preference, an argument can be made that Partners in Time is not the strongest game in the series. With how exceptional the series as a whole is, however, this is not a condemnation! While the story may hover just below the level of other installments, it’s still creative, engaging, and fun aloud, and mastering the four-button battle setup is just as fun as ever.

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS)Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Square Enix

Release date: November 20, 2007 (United States) / February 15, 2008 (UK / EU)

Located directly after the main entrance events Final Fantasy XII, Revenant Wings follows the progress of Vaan, Penelo, Balthier, and Fran as they take to the skies in search of a new challenge. While it shares a title with this epic PS2, it’s not your typical turn-based JRPG; instead, it’s closer to being an RTS with RPG elements and makes interesting use of the Nintendo DS touchscreen interface. While you don’t need to have played Final Fantasy XII to enjoy Revenant Wings, it does make a lot of references to this game, so if you’re already a fan you’ll love how this game adds to the game. story. Newcomers, on the other hand, will find a lot to like due to the deep tactical gameplay.

The world ends with you (DS)The world ends with you (DS)

Editor: Square Enix / Developer: Jupiter Company

Release date: April 22, 2008 (United States) / April 18, 2008 (UK / EU)

The World Ends With You is a mass of innovative ideas elegantly combined in a beautifully presented package. Its combat system, while complicated, can be tailored to suit any player’s style, and the flexibility displayed throughout the game is highly commendable. The end result is an RPG that’s just as unique as the person playing it, and that’s really rare.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.