Andrew's Top 10 DS Games of All Time

Now that the DS is in its twilight years, and Pokemon Black and White 2 pretty much marks the last major release for the system, I feel it's time to finalize my list of personal favorite games for the system.

I'm separating this from my older list for posterity. It was interesting looking back on that and seeing how (little) things have changed since 2009.

There are a number of games I really wish I could have included. For example, Iwanted to include a Phoenix Wright game on here because that's a name that's synonymous with DS. However, I'm sticking with games that I've played. I can't really comment on the quality of a game without having played it, after all, even if the game is legendary.

List items

  • It's a visual novel/puzzle adventure game, and you should play it. The writing is excellent, and even though the premise seems like something ripped from SAW, there's a whole lot more going on there to discover. My only knock against it would be the necessity in playing through puzzles multiple times in order to pick up on all the story hints and actually see all of the endings. You'll either need a good memory or a FAQ open to blaze through the ones you've done before to keep things rolling.

  • It's the game that launched a New Mario franchise! There's a reason for that, though. This is a solid 2D Mario platformer. I don't really need to say anything more than that.

  • If I'm going to recommend a Pokemon game, I might as well make it from the last of the DS generation of games with little streamlined perks like faster battles. They tossed out all those old Pokemon and gave us a fresh set to work with, which gives it a little bit of that feeling you got playing the first game so long ago with the mystery and learning process for finding the best Pokemon. Plus, the graphics got a boost to bring them ever-so-slightly closer to what they really should have been all along, given the power of the DS system. Pokemon is fun, guys. You really shouldn't be turned off thinking it's a kids game.

  • Maybe this is a personal thing, but portable Mario Kart makes a whole lot more sense than a console version. Playing local co-op/battle is a blast, and then there's always the internet if you want to traverse through Nintendo's nonsensical friend code system. I've spent just as many hours beating up on the AI in single player, too.

  • I really wouldn't have thought that controlling Link with a stylus could feel so right. The movement is precise, the weapons work really well, and drawing little notes on the maps is not only a nifty thing to do, it's a necessity to completing some of the more elaborate dungeon puzzles. Another game that takes advantage of the DS' unique capabilities.

  • It's still the best Animal Crossing game simply because you can take it with you. The only knock against it is the missing NES games from the original. Otherwise, I'd say if you're interested in Animal Crossing (and you should be, at least for one game), pick this one up!

  • Henry Hatsworth has a lot of charm and an interesting mechanic. Play a platformer and a puzzle game at the same time! It uses the DS for something that only that system can do properly, and it's a fun game.

  • Maybe there's a better Layton game to include here, but this is the first game in the series and so it makes sense to start here and work your way through from there if you enjoy it.

  • I like Aria a whole lot and Dawn of Sorrow picks things up from there. The Souls mechanic gives it something fresh over that other popular Metroidvania Castlevania game. Some say Order of Ecclasia is the definitive DS Castlevania game, I say, if you have to choose one, make it Dawn of Sorrow.

  • It's a top-down GTA game in the vein of GTA 1 and 2, while absorbing some of the modern GTA gameplay and humor, all packaged in a visual style that, while obviously used to overcome the limitations of the DS power, actually looks pretty. Again, my biggest problem with the game is the unnecessary touch screen minigames. It makes sense to use the touchscreen on the DS, but when you're so often forced to switch back and forth between standard controls and touch, it begins to detract.