With the new-fangled Nintendo 3DS gaining as much steam and attention as you’d expect a brand new Nintendo to get, what better time than to look at the most memorable games it’s predecessor, the Nintendo DS, has to offer?
That’s right, I’m going for most memorable here, not best. It’s too easy to get stuck in long flame-bait arguments about what games are and were best, so there’s no use going into that. This list is purely for games that have stood out as an experience on their own and that are just plain memorable. If a game you like isn’t on this list, there’s a good chance both me and the people I have asked to supplement to it have simply forgotten about it. In that case, the game really can’t have been that memorable now, can it?
And don’t worry, I’m not saying the DS is fully dead with the release of the 3DS just yet. The current generation of Pokemon titles have given it too much life for it to be called such a thing any time soon. Not to mention the future release of Devil Survivor 2.
With the diversity in games, not to mention the sheer amount of them, it’s very hard to get every game out there. The DS has been one of my favorite handhelds out there, and it’s life has left a mark on the gaming world. Any missing titles are certainly not from a lack of playing them. If you have anything you feel should be added, drop in a comment and add your game in there, give it a good description.
I’ll kick it off with what I’ve got so far.
The Ace Attorney Series
Do I really need to say anything more about this series? Really? I’ve said quite a few words about this series already. It’s a graphical adventure series in which you search for the truth during murder trials, trying to get a Not Guilty verdict for your client. Marvelously executed, and forever famous for its objectionable catchphrase.
Bowser’s Inside Story
I know what you’re thinking. Why not just both Mario and Luigi games? Honestly, as good as Partners in Time was, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as memorable and good as both the original and Bowser’s Inside Story. Bowser’s Inside Story got things just right. A perfect balance between absurd story telling, weird humor and famous Nintendo cameos together with a fantastic battle system. Absolutely worth checking out. I have Fury!
The Castlevania Series
Another obvious one, handheld Castlevanias have proven their worth during the GBA days, and have continued doing what they do best on the DS. Just like on the DS, the one starring Soma Cruz, Dawn of Sorrow is easily the best of the three. Portrait of Ruin tried something new with controlling two characters that didn’t work out well and Order of Ecclessia was just plain awkward at point.
You, the player, accidentally make contact to a weird old scientist in a space ship using your DS. You both accidentally kidnap a young boy named Terry and end up collecting crystals together. Certainly one of the more out there RPGs on the system, Contact is a rare gem that never takes itself seriously and is full of weird references to pop-culture and other games. One of the major selling points on the back of the box was that it lacked spiky-haired teenage boys with amnesia. So there.
Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime
No, this isn’t a Dragon Quest game where the Hero (You!) fights against some evil or another with 3 party members. Instead you play as one of the most iconic monster types, a Slime, and try to save all the people from your town. The entire game is controlled with just the D-Pad and a single action button that lets you attack, jump and throw objects and enemies. The best part? Giant robot battles.
Elite Beat Agents/Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!
This one might need some explaining. You’ve got the original Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, a title in which you control an afterschool activity group that cheers on people who need help so they’ll perform better. Since this idea wouldn’t work as well outside of Japan, they decided to completely change the look and style of the game when releasing it here. So they gave us the Elite Beat Agents, a secret underground group that comes to save people in need… By dancing to loud music to encourage them. Personally, I favor the Ouendan for reaching a much higher level of hot-bloodedness in their games.
You’re dead. You have until next morning to figure out who you are and why you died. The only way to do this is by using your special ghostly powers to haunt and manipulate objects and travel through time. Easily the most stylish and graphically impressive game on the DS yet. Made by the same guy who created the first three Ace Attorney titles!
Interested? Be sure to check out my review!
Hotel Dusk Room 215
You play as Kyle Hide, a former NYPD detective who gave up his badge and is now doing door to door sales inside a small hotel called Hotel Dusk. He’s given the key to Room 215, a room that’s said to make dreams come true. One of the few DS games you hold sideways, like a notebook, just like Kyle hold his notebook for most of the game. In a lot of ways it feels like a typical adventure game, but it still has this amazing charm to it that most others fail to deliver.
Kirby: Canvas Curse
There has never been a bad Kirby game, ever. The worst that franchise can do is an okay title and Canvas Curse is much more than just okay. Instead of the traditional platformer style that we know and love Kirby for most, Canvas Curse has Kirby turned into a ball. The only thing he can still do is roll. As the player, you have to draw his path for him using the touch screen, guiding him past obstacles to reach the end of the level. And yes, there are puzzles that involve the absorbing of enemy powers. Slightly more difficult and longer than the average Kirby, absolutely worth checking out, even if you’re not a fan of the franchise.
Mario Kart DS
Almost too obvious not to put on the list, but the DS version of Mario Kart is still my favorite. It’s the first to allow us to race people online. Since almost everyone has this title, it’s not too hard to set up offline multiplayer matches either, even though you can still have enough fun with a single card multiplayer match.
I’m just going to put all titles together as Pokémon to save space, because unlike previous handheld generations, we’ve had 3 different major Pokémon releases. Generation 4: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum. Generation 2’s remakes: HeartGold and SoulSilver. Generation 5: Black and White. Not to mention the dungeon crawling Mystery Dungeon titles, as well as other spin-offs. Not every release is for everyone, but each had their impact in their own way. Personally I’ll always remember HeartGold and SoulSilver for including Voltorb Flip. I love Voltorb Flip.
Professor Layton Series
A professor and his young apprentice, always making their way to solve a big case, never too tired to stop and solve every single trivial puzzle they find on their way to the end. If you want more words on this, you can have them.
Words do not describe this game.
Did this make any sense? No? Go play it. It’ll make even less sense then.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
You and two of your friends are given mysterious handheld devices that let you summon and control demons. Not only that, a large part of the city you’re in is being quarantined by the military. No reason as to why is being given. Electricity is cut off. Food quickly becomes scarce. And you start getting e-mails on your handhelds that tell you what is going to happen in the future, most e-mails bring news of death and despair. Besides that you see a special clock hovering above everyone, telling you how many days they have left. Nobody in the area has more than 7 days. You and your friends have even less. Easily the game with the best damn setting on any handheld made. Absolutely worth checking out if you can get your hands on it.
The World Ends With You
Another RPG featuring another lockdown in the exact same area. Don’t worry, Square-Enix’s The World Ends With You has absolutely no connections with Devil Survivor out there. Instead, it’s a highly polished and stylish RPG that has battles on both screens at the same time. Certainly one of the more interesting RPGs on the system, and if one thing is certainly memorable, it’s the theme song. It’ll be stuck in your head long after playing it.