Nintendo DS: hidden treasures and underrated games


The Nintendo DS has a huge library full of classics that everyone knows, but it also contains many hidden gems that are well worth a second look.

From a certain point of view, the Nintendo DS is the start of the movement within Nintendo that will lead to the huge success of the Nintendo Switch. In the era of the Nintendo GameCube, the house of Mario languished behind offers from Microsoft and Sony. Even big franchises like Super Mario was floundering, and I felt Nintendo was running out of ideas.

The release of the Nintendo DS made it impossible to think about it again. Two screens, a touchscreen, a stylus, a microphone and games that all took advantage of it at the same time. The DS library is full of innovations and wonders, some of which unfortunately were overlooked in their time.

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Any platform as prolific as the DS is bound to have games that get less attention than they deserve, but the DS also presents a special case. As it would become the standard for Nintendo platforms in the future, the DS’s unique configuration meant that its games struggled to migrate to other platforms, even those released by Nintendo. There have been attempts to port and reissue, but nothing ever comes close to the experience on the original material. Because of this, there have been a lot of great Nintendo DS releases that have gone under the radar. Here are a few that might deserve a second look.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Weather

Conceived by Super Smash Bros. Director Masahiro Sakurai and produced by Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Meteos is a falling block puzzle where the blocks shoot skyward instead of just disappearing. This affects the board and the new blocks arriving, as the blocks carry whatever is on top of them when they take off. The game received follow-up on XBLA, but the original touch controls are the definitive way to play.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Fossil Fighters

Fossil Fighters Champion Box art

Nintendo has already locked down the monster-catching genre with the incredibly merchantable Pokemon, but they have been keen to invest in alternatives over the years. One of them is Fossil fighters, a dinosaur-centric franchise that debuted for the Nintendo DS in 2009. There are three games in total, each providing a fun experience for anyone looking to collect raptors and tyrannosaurs.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Retro Gaming Challenge

Arino retro game challenge

Based on the cult Japanese variety show GameCenter CX, Retro game challenge is a series of NES-inspired challenges designed to prove a gamer’s courage in retro gaming. The game has two sequels in Japan but sold poorly in America despite universal critical acclaim.

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This is likely due to the source material’s unofficial presence on the western shores, a situation that has also made the game a popular collector’s item for many Nintendo DS enthusiasts.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Elite Combat Agents

Elite combat agents

A westernized translation of Japan only Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Elite combat agents is an exaggerated pacing game in which the three titular government agents are tasked with bringing various citizens through difficult times in their daily lives. Despite the exterior concept, Elite combat agents nails its touchscreen gameplay and delivers a bit of nostalgia through several of the pop songs from its licensed soundtrack.

Hidden gems of the Nintendo DS: Henry Hatsworth in the puzzling adventure

Henry Hatsworth Puzzling Adventure Nintendo DS

Combine 2D platform with Tetris attack– confusing style, Henri hatsworth is a nice mix of genres that was developed by a small team hosted at Madden NFL EA Tiburon developers. The two screens of the Nintendo DS are very important for the adventure, as players can see the platform and puzzle stages at all times.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Jump for the Ultimate Stars

Jump Ultimate Stars Box Art

A hidden gem mainly because it never arrived in America, Jump the ultimate stars bring it Super Smash Bros. formula to the world of Shonen Jump. With characters from Dragon ball z, Yu Yu Hakusho, JoJo’s bizarre adventure, and countless others, the list is everyone’s dream who watched Toonami after school grow up. All this plus a gameplay that blows Jump force out of the water makes it a must have game.

Nintendo DS Hidden Gems: Alien Infestation

A Metroidvania based on the Extraterrestrial The franchise developed by WayForward should be a well-known classic, but it’s not the fate of the often overlooked Alien infestation. WayForward released the best game translation in the franchise until Alien: isolation has come, and the world is fun to explore even for those who don’t care about the franchise. It is certainly a licensed game worthy of a remaster.

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