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The Best Nintendo DS Games Of All Time

Best nintendo DS games

The Nintendo DS is considered one of Nintendo best selling handheld consoles, selling over 154.02 million units worldwide. There are many reasons why the Nintendo DS is a favourite amongst cozy retro gamers.

The Nintendo DS introduced touchscreen controls and wireless compatibility, allowing for seamless online gaming. It was revolutionary for its time and changed the way we played handheld consoles.

I remember buying my first Nintendo DS with some bonus money that I earned from my supermarket job. It was lime green and I found myself investing so much time and money into their wide catalogue of amazing games.

Here are some of The Best Nintendo DS Games of All Time.

Mario Kart DS
cozy retro games

Released in 2005, Mario Kart DS is the fifth instalment in the franchise and is the first to be playable via the Nintendo WiFI Connection online service. Players have the choice of playing one of twelve characters from the franchise; including Mario, Luigi, Peach Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Wario and Bowser, with Daisy, Dry Bones and R.O.B being unlockable characters.

Just like any other Mario Kart game, the player can have fun racing other characters around a broad selection of fun and entertaining courses. There are a fair few game modes to choose from such as Grand Prix, Time Trials, Battle Mode and Mission Mode, ensuring that there are hours of fun with this.

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
best cozy retro games

The first Legend of Zelda game to be released for the Nintendo DS, Phantom Hourglass utilises the touchscreen to enable the player to move Link around effortlessly and guide some of his items- such as the boomerang. Although this control method might take some getting used to compared to traditional controls, it’s certainly unique and is executed well.

The game follows off of the back of GameCube’s WInd Waker, where Link must rescue Zelda from a ghost ship. Like the Wind Waker, the game focuses heavily on sea exploration, however it’s done in such a way where it doesn’t feel baron and long winded. If you’re a fan of the Wind Waker and love the cutesy, cell shaded art style, then I highly recommend Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

Animal Crossing: Wild World
cozy gaming animal crossing wild world

Although it’s certainly not the strongest out of series, Animal Crossing: Wild World was an amazing addition to the Nintendo DS. Despite the game being bare compared to the Gamecube version, it features a lot of new refreshing quality of life changes that players welcomed, such as character customisation. No more wearing those awful hats!

It may not be graphically outstanding compared to New Leaf or any of the Animal Crossing games in the series, but it does possess plenty of charm, which allows players to just cozy up on the sofa with.

For more Animal Crossing Content, Reviews and Lists- Click Here!

Pokemon Black/White
pokemon ds games

Released in 2011 for European audiences, Pokemon Black and White is probably one of the best Pokemon games ever- in my personal opinion. Set in the Unova region, this game follows the player who sets out in the world, defeating trainers and competing in gym battles, whilst also stopping the game’s antagonist Team Plasma.

Although the gameplay itself might not be considered revolutionary or anything new or exciting, the game has some interesting and powerful story arcs, which many players can relate to. Pokemon Black/ White also features some better graphical improvements, including dynamic camera angles and higher level of 3D graphics. Honestly, if you’re a fan of the Sapphire and Ruby, I highly recommend that you give Black and White a try!

For more Pokemon related reviews- click here!

Super Mario 64 DS
best nintendo ds games of all time

There are many awesome Super Mario games that were released on the Nintendo DS, however I have to say that Super Mario 64 really stands out amongst them all. Super Mario 64 DS is basically an enhanced version of the original Nintendo 64 title. In this version, the player takes control of not just Mario, but Luigi, Yoshi and Wario to help retrieve the power stars and save Princess Peach.

Super Mario 64 DS has improved graphics and has extended on the original gameplay. There are more levels to explore, with more in game features and items to collect. The game also featured an online VS mode, as well as hosting several awesome mini games to play, should you get bored of the main game. It’s certainly the better version out of the two and shows what Nintendo is capable of if they take the time out to uplift old beloved games.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
underrated Nintendo DS games

I know that this isn’t exactly cozy or sticking with the cozy gaming theme, however I think many people need to play this underrated gem. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS, and follows on from the events of GTA VI and is set in modern day Liberty City.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars goes back to its initial roots with the game being fully top down, with the DS version taking advantage of the touchscreen functions and allows the players to take control of the radio, GPS and to use certain items, like grenades. Although there have been many solid GTA games out there, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown wars is a unique and hidden gem of the entire franchise.

best nintendo ds games

A spin off of the original The Sims series, Mysims is a fairly unique game that sees the player redevelop a town that has become run down. Unlike the original Sims franchise, Mysims has more chibi like graphics, a stark contrast from the realism that we’re used to and doesn’t require the character to tend to their needs, instead the game solely focuses on building meaningful connections and friendships.

Although this game is not what a lot of fans of the Sims franchise would expect, it’s certainly a cozy retro game that I would recommend to those who loved Animal Crossing: Wild World, as the laid back gameplay is fairly similar.

Read more Sims related content and reviews - here!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
nintendo ds games list

Although this game was initially released for the Gameboy Advanced in 2001, Phoenix Write: Ace Attorney was later ported to the Nintendo DS in 2005. The game follows the game's main antagonist, Phoenix Wright, a rookie defence attorney whose aim is to ensure that his clients aren’t guilty.

The gameplay is highly unique, where players would carry out investigations, collect valuable information and evidence, then head into the courtroom to cross examine and question witnesses.

Sonic Rush
sonic rush gif

Modern Sonic games have always been a little hit and miss, let’s face it, however Sonic Rush is a fast paced 2D platformer that is very reminiscent to the original games that we remembered on the Sega Mega Drive. Released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS, Sonic Rush is just like any other Sonix game where players gotta go fast, collecting rings and killing enemies.

The game utilises 2.5D graphics, where majority of the levels play out as a traditional 2D side scrolling platformer, with bonus stages being fully rendered 3D, paying homage to the bonus stage in Sonic 2. For fans of the original games and Sonic Mania, I would highly suggest picking up Sonic Rush as it represents everything that is good about the series.

Professor Layton and The Lost Future
professor layton DS games

The Professor Layton series was a very dominant force throughout the Nintendo DS lifespan, with a choice of compelling games to choose from, I felt like Professor Layton and the Lost Future was truly a masterpiece. Also known as the Unwound Future, this game sees Professor Layton and friends must put right a somewhat chaotic future.

Just like any other Professor Layton game it feels plenty of puzzles and riddles that are set to test the brain and help progress the story along. As mentioned, although there are a few of the DS titles to choose from, this game truly explores a sadder side of Hershel that we’ve never seen before, giving audiences some truly heart wrenching cut scenes.

Pokemon Diamond/ Pearl
best selling pokemon games

Released in 2005, Pokemon Diamond/ Pearl sees players explore the Sinnoh region in order to become a Pokemon League Champion, by collecting and levelling up a wide variety of new Pokemon and defeating gym leaders. The game retains the basic gameplay like any other Pokemon title however introduces plenty of new features, such as Wifi connectivity, allowing players to voice chat during trade and battles and the inclusion of many minor features such as a clock, notepad etc.

To this Pokemon Diamond/Pearl continues to be the best selling title in the franchise, outselling and outperforming the GBA games and even Black/White that was released five years later. Although an amazing remake came out in 2022, the original DS titles still hold up to this day and are worth playing.

For more Pokemon related reviews- click here!


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*Gifs were sourced from Tumblr. This post includes affilate links.


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