Looking for the best Nintendo DS games? Of course you are. Even though the Nintendo DS has been out of commission for several years at this point, it’s still an astounding console. Nintendo tried something completely new with the handheld’s two screen console and stylus, long before touch screens would become a normal occurrence on our phones.
While some of the biggest hits on the DS have seen remakes or at least sequels on the Nintendo Switch, a lot of DS games are only playable on the DS, so if you want to experience some great Nintendo games, maybe you should think about grabbing a DS, whether it be used or your old one. The Nintendo DS have us some of the best Pokémon games, The World Ends with you and plenty more top games. Best of all, most of these games have aged really well, as the DS really had some of the most beautiful titles around. Fancy 3D isn’t everything! However, if looking around for old games is too complicated or expensive for you, we understand – in that case, lets find you great Nintendo Switch deals instead.
But if you’ve always wondered what the Nintendo DS has to offer and why it was so beloved, look no further and check our list of the best Nintendo DS games right here.
Best Nintendo DS games
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Kirby Super Star, formerly a SNES game, is an excellent choice for a dual-screen game, and brings the epic Kirby adventure to your pocket. Of course, this isn't a complete copy of the original game – it also features upgrades like new modes such as Meta Knight Ultra and Revenge of the King.
You could argue that Super Star Ultra isn't as exciting as Kirby Canvas Curse (the first DS release for Kirby, also known as Kirby Power Paintbrush), but as a short and sweet adventure game, Super Star Ultra isn't one to miss out on, especially if you're a Kirby fan.
Animal Crossing: Wild World was the first step to a more social Animal Crossing experience. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons is clearly the game that offers the most interaction between players these days, not everyone is a friend of the currrent island setting. Going back to the cozy villages of Wild World is just the thing, then, especially because there are some villagers, quests and festivities that new Horizons never adopted.
Wild World is one of the best Nintendo DS games because, as with all of them, it successfully improves on the formula and gives players a good time all throughout the year. There's always something to do; from decorating your home to collecting new items to just lounging with your favorite villagers.
For all those looking to get into visuals novels, the DS has a great selection, and one of the best Nintendo DS games in that category is Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, commonly abbreviated to 999. If you’ve ever heard people gush about writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, 999 is one of the reasons why.
999 builds a mystery on a cruise ship, consisting of ‘novel’ sections where you get to follow the story and make branching decisions, and ‘escape’ sections where you puzzle your way through an escape room. 999’s story builds with every playthrough, and each new revelation comes with truly mind-bending twists – a true “you have to see it to believe it” kind of game.
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are great games, but fans of the early generations may find the number of Pokémon to catch a little daunting. HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of Gold and Silver for Game Boy Color, which are considered by many to be some of the best Pokémon games ever made, and for good reason.
The game takes place in the Johto region and offers updated graphics, touch controls, and even the ability to use the 'Pokéwalker' – essentially a Tamagotchi – to take your Pokémon wherever you go.
As a rare handheld entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Chinatown Wars gives you a setting and story you still can't experience anywhere else. Considering the wait until GTA 6 is still rather long, now's likely a great time to make your way around town. Despite the by today's standards modest hardware it runs on, the game carries on the tradition of roaming an open world and doing whatever you want, mostly crime.
Of course, there are also awesome missions to complete along the way, and while there are a few things that have been left out in this version of the game, plenty has also been added, making Chinatown Wars one of the best (and only) mature-rated Nintendo DS games out there.
While Spirit Tracks is perhaps a better game for the innovation it brings, Phantom Hourglass is its enjoyable predecessor filled with familiar features and well-worn gameplay.
This Zelda game centers around travel by boat, is a little more casual than other Legend of Zelda games and arguably a little easier too, but that doesn't make it any less of an entertaining pocket adventure, and definitely still one of the best Nintendo DS games.
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The Metroid games have been a mainstay of Nintendo consoles for years, spawning a whole genre of their ownSamus is obviously the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. Or is she? A total of six other bounty hunters are looking to gain that title, which is the premise behind Hunters.
Metroid Prime: Hunters doesn't just feature an awesome story, it features a great multiplayer mode too, allowing you to play intense battles with friends through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. You can play as any of the seven bounty hunters, with each of them having their own special attacks and skills.
You can't make a list of the best Nintendo DS games without Mario Kart. Mario Kart DS is exactly what you might expect from a Mario Kart for Nintendo DS game, featuring a multiplayer mode where you can face up to eight players at once, as well as the ability to race through some of the most classic Mario Kart circuits out there.
The DS version of the cart racer may not have the visual sizzle of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but if you're looking to take Mario and Co. on the road, this is still a great place to start.
Gotten in the mood for more kart racing? Try the best Mario Kart games that aren't Mario Kart.
Developed by Jupiter and published by Square Enix, The World Ends With You follows the story of Neku Sakuraba, a 15-year-old boy who wakes up in the shopping district of Japan and is told that he will die unless he completes a certain task.
What we admire most is that the developers started a completely new franchise, which nowadays can be considered a major risk. The chance Square Enix took was well worth it and has resulted in a cult classic JRPG and one of the best NIntendo DS games. It even made it onto the Nintendo Switch as a remake and spawned a sequel called NEO: The World Ends with You.
Closing out our list is Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, a sequel to the great-selling GBA game that was a sequel to the awesome, trail-blazing PS1 game. While Grimoire of the Rift didn't re-write the formula for the Tactics series, it did add several classes and features that greatly enhanced an already great franchise.
Combat is turn-based and deeply cerebral as you attempt to out-maneuver and overpower your enemy. In between battles, you'll equip characters with new weapons and skills and take on side-quests and new characters. It's a formula that never feels old and has yet to be beaten, even now, years after its release.
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