My Top 20 Nintendo DS Games

While my time spent with the Nintendo DS is far from over, I figured that I'd have a look at the games I best enjoyed. Yes, I'm trying to justify doing a list. I don't know either.

List items

  • One of my favourite games of all time, let alone for the Nintendo DS. Virtue's Last Reward fixes the few issues I had with it, but there's just something about the puzzles and the story in the original that just makes it the better of the two, in my opinion. If you can read, you should play this game.

  • The original Black/White games would have been in this position had these never been released. These games made me remember exactly why I fell in love with the franchise in the first place, and B/W2 just add more extras to what was already an excellent couple of games. A good place to start for newbie Pokemon fans, as well as those looking to get back into the series.

  • Do I even need to say anything? Second in story on the DS only to 999, which I'm sure can be debated. Not only does this game look beautiful (seriously, check out those animations and tell me they don't look amazing), but the general gameplay never got old. A fun puzzler, and an example of how to best portray pomeranians.

  • There are RPGs with branching narratives, and then there is Radiant Historia. This takes story branching to a whole new level, giving you two timelines running side by side, with plenty of events and interactions in both to keep you hooked on the story. The gameplay is also pretty unique, taking grid-based RPG combat and adding combos, multipliers and all sorts of other neat stuff.

  • I freaking love the Ace Attorney series. Yes, that includes Apollo Justice. AA: Investigations is also pretty good. However, Trials and Tribulations is definitely my favourite of the lot. Here's hoping that the fifth game in the main series can hold up to the DS titles!

  • What the hell is this crazy Japanese thing? That cylinder is way too uguu kawaii for my tastes.

    Taiko no Tatsujin is a damn good drum game. You have no excuse not to pick this up unless you dislike rhythm games. The language barrier isn't an issue (unless you're playing the third DS game, this is the second), so no problems there. Buy it, then proceed to bash your DS with plastic drumsticks.

  • Seemingly the last time Square Enix understood what a Tactics game was. It seems a shame that their latest "game" in the series is some mobile offering, but here's hoping we can get an A3 or similar on the 3DS or Vita. The first Advance game is still my favourite, but A2 adds plenty to want to dive back into Ivalice.


  • If you are not opposed to Japanese audio, I'd suggest you go for that version. However, this game can be picked up for a couple of quid in most game shops these days, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to give it a go.

  • Tetris is awesome, it makes people toss up their hands and scream obscenities. Really though, the fact that you can play multiplayer from one cart is darn amazing. I used to play this is college with numerous other folks when waiting for lectures to start. The retro aesthetic is also very cool!

  • I found a paperclip.

  • I'll be honest and say I haven't quite finished this game yet. I know, I'm a failure of a human being, but I started it during a busy period at University (which seemed weirdly common) and couldn't find the time to get back. That's my excuse if you think it should be higher up. However, the time I did spend with it was so damn awesome that it had to make it on here in some form. Also, I'm a sucker for RPGs with systems similar to TWEWY and the pin system.

  • Pokemon Tactics? Hell yes! Very happy to hear there could be a second one in development, as I'd very much like to play it again. I have a few issues with this version, but it's plenty fun enough, problems aside.

  • *Controversial opinion alert!*

    Even though a lot of people seem to think otherwise, I really think that Phantom Hourglass is one of my favourite Zelda games. That's not to say I think it's perfect, in fact that dungeon's repetitiveness really got on my tits too, but I liked that it experimented with ideas and I genuinely enjoyed my time with it.

  • A great visual novel that slipped under most peoples radar. Don't pay too much for it though, as the story only lasts a few hours. A shame, as it really is quite good.

  • I couldn't rate the Layton games based on puzzles, but the Last Specter makes the list over the other three mainly because of how they handled the ending of the story. I thought for sure that, considering the intended audience of this game, they would do something stupid towards the end, but I was very surprised to see them follow it through. That's probably the best non-spoiler description I can give you!

  • My first game for the Nintendo DS, and one I got over a month after buying the handheld. Yeah, I was too young for a job and a steady supply of money back then, so I had to make do with the DS Phat bought with the birthday money, then save up for an actual game. WarioWare was that game, having really enjoyed the GBA version, and I was quite glad to see it was just as fun. It's a little on the short side, something that disappointed me a lot at the time, but considering the going price of the game now I'd say there's nothing stopping you giving it a go.

  • I know a lot of people didn't really get on with this game, mostly due to a pain-in-the-arse three-person timed surgery that you have to complete before moving on, but I really had fun with it. I bought it while I was on holiday in America, and the travelling I was doing gave me enough time to perfect my suture skills and the ability to command the healing touch.

    (I just played that mission a whole bunch and got mad good.)

  • This'll only really interest you if you have some basic knowledge of manga/anime characters, as this is second of two DS Shonen Jump beat-em-up games. The roster is insanely big, and I've been meaning to get back to it now that I'm way more familiar with a lot of the playable characters. I had no idea what Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Hunter x Hunter were at the time, and I was using Luffy without having seen One Piece. Madness!

  • Another pretty good visual novel on the DS, and one with some pretty nifty uses of the DS's twin screens. It was made by the same folks who did Hotel Dusk/Cape West, so you should get an idea of what it's like from those two games. It's a bit short, seemingly a running theme with these games, but never mind!