Best Nintendo DS Games in 2023 – Our Top Picks

best nintendo ds games

The Nintendo DS handheld console is loved by many gamers. It offers more than 2000 games in various genres. Today, we highlight the top games of 2023, chosen for their fun, quality, and appeal.

If you love Pokémon, you can’t miss Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver. These 2005 remakes of Gold and Silver are a hit. They boast better graphics, more Pokémon, and improved play. They’re great for both seasoned or new players, with engaging stories and addictive features.

Mario Kart DS is another not-to-miss game. This 2005 release is packed with fun racing action. It offers many tracks and favorite characters like Mario. You can race solo or with friends, promise of excitement all the way.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass calls out to adventure lovers. In this game, players rescue Princess Zelda in a world full of puzzles and battles. It cleverly uses the DS’s features for an immersive experience. It’s a game that keeps you on your toes.

For fans of platform games, Super Mario 64 DS is essential. It revamps the 1996 classic for the DS, letting you play as Wario, Luigi, and Yoshi besides Mario. Its use of touch controls and engaging play makes it an instant favorite.

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter aims to take you on a unique adventure. It’s set in a bright, imaginative world. Playing as Red, the story unfolds with stunning visuals and fresh gameplay. This game stands out for its charm and creativity on the Nintendo DS.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver offer enhanced graphics and additional Pokémon, making them must-haves for fans of the series.
  • Mario Kart DS provides thrilling racing action for both solo play and multiplayer competitions.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass offers a captivating adventure with challenging puzzles and memorable battles.
  • Super Mario 64 DS allows players to play as Wario, Luigi, or Yoshi, adding a fresh twist to the beloved classic.
  • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter immerses players in a vibrant world with stunning visuals and innovative gameplay mechanics.

Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are adored updates of the old favorites, Gold and Silver. They have better looks, more Pokémon, and improvements in how you play. This has made them a big hit with fans old and new.

They hit the shelves on March 14, 2010, and fans fell in love with them quickly. More than 800 players reviewed them, giving these games 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Rated as #42 in the Nintendo DS Games group, HeartGold and SoulSilver draw you in with their vast lands, great storyline, and fun to play. They keep you hooked for a long while.

The reworking of Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen and Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver was well received. Players loved visiting new regions and all the extra content in these versions.

Players appreciate the added elements and features in the remakes of “Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen” and “Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver.”

One major plus in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver is their inclusion of nearly every Pokémon from the start up to the Sinnoh region. This lets players capture and gather a wide array of Pokémon as they go through this deep and engaging game world.

“Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver” is remembered for hosting the most legendary Pokémon so far. This is cool for fans who love hunting down these exceptional and powerful Pokémon.

These games will keep you busy for twice as long as other main series Pokémon games. There’s so much to do and explore, providing endless fun.

Even though new elements were introduced in Pokémon Black/White, SoulSilver is still a top pick for many. The classics, like “R/S/E,” continue to have a special place in the hearts of fans.

The internet’s arrival has also added to the games’ enjoyment, making guides and tips for playing available to everyone. This has made it easier for players to conquer the game’s challenges.

To wrap it up, Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver are standout games. Pairing wonderful stories with vast worlds and fun gameplay, they’ve earned their place as some of the best DS games ever.

Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS is one of the best racing games for the Nintendo DS. It’s loved for its fun gameplay, many tracks and characters, and multiplayer features. This has made it a favorite among DS fans for years.

Some argue that Mario Kart 7 is better because it has improved graphics, track design, and online play. Yet, many fans still think Mario Kart DS is the top game in the series. They enjoy the classic feeling it brings.

Mario Kart DS shines in its single-player mode. It offers exciting battle modes and tough missions. These features make the game stand out from its sequels. They’re perfect for gamers who prefer to play alone.

One player’s comment: “I love the battle mode in Mario Kart DS. It really adds an extra element of fun and strategy to the game. Plus, the single-player missions are a great way to test your racing skills.”

Mario Kart DS has remained popular even though it’s over a decade old. Its price still holds strong, showing its lasting appeal. This proves it’s still wanted by DS players.

Some players prefer Mario Kart DS because of a technique called “snaking.” It involves quickly moving the control stick to get speed boosts. They feel this brings more skill and strategy to the game than the later titles have.

Let’s look at some statistics about the Mario franchise on the Nintendo DS:

Game TitleRelease YearMetascore
Dr. Mario Express200976%
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!200982%
Mario Hoops: 3-On-3200669%
Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games200869%
Mario Party DS200772%
Yoshi Touch & Go200573%
Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games200972%
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March Of The Minis200676%

These stats show the variety and reception of Mario games on the Nintendo DS.

Mario Kart DS stands out with its exciting races, challenging gameplay, and lasting appeal. For both friends competing or solo players mastering missions, Mario Kart DS offers fun and excitement.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a game for the Nintendo DS. It takes players on a big adventure to save Princess Zelda. It came out in 2007 and became a big hit because of its story and puzzles.

This game uses the DS’s special features like touch controls and two screens. The DS stylus lets players move, fight, and draw on the map, making the game fun and different.

You can draw on the map to show where things are or just have fun. This makes exploring the game feel more personal and fun.

“Phantom Hourglass is both brave and silly, with a unique charm that sets it apart as a standout Zelda title.”

The game is also funny and its characters grow on you. Link shows his emotions and makes friends along the way. This makes the game more enjoyable.

There’s a tough dungeon in the game called The Temple of the Ocean King. Players must go there several times, testing their skills and adding depth to the game.

Even though it has some faults, like boring travel parts, Phantom Hourglass won many awards. It was a top game on the Nintendo DS, praised by experts.

Phantom Hourglass Sales Statistics

RegionSales Figures
Japan302,887 copies sold in the first month
United StatesRanked as the fifth-best-selling game upon debut, with 262,800 copies sold
GlobalApproximately 4.13 million copies sold by March 2008

Phantom Hourglass was successful because of its fun gameplay and multiplayer mode. It let players battle each other both locally and online.

It was developed by a team that had worked on a game called Four Swords Adventures. And to celebrate the game’s launch, special DS consoles were made.

If you like Zelda or adventure games, you’ll love The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. It’s full of unique features and a great story. Don’t miss out on playing this great Zelda DS game.

Super Mario 64 DS

Super Mario 64 DS is a remake of the original for the Nintendo 64. It keeps the heart of the game and adds new fun. Players can now pick from Mario, Yoshi, Luigi, or Wario, each bringing unique skills to the game.

Many talk about which version they like better, the N64 or the DS one. Most, about 63.95%, choose the N64. Only 36.05% say they prefer the DS edition.

“I love playing as the other characters and the fresh mini-games. It makes the game more fun and interesting.” – A player

Players really enjoy the new stuff like more stars, characters, and mini-games. It makes the game more exciting and offers more to do and discover.

“Even with new characters, the old N64 version is my pick for its controls. They’re just better and feel right.” – A player

Some think the N64 version is best because of its controls. They believe the DS’s touch controls don’t work as well. This can affect how much they enjoy the game.

Yet, others dislike the DS’s controls, extra characters, and the way levels are made. They find the touch controls hard. They think too many characters take away from Mario’s spotlight.

The mini-games in Super Mario 64 DS stand out as good. They are fun to play and offer a nice break from the main game.

“The mini-games were a highlight for me. They make the game even better.” – A player

Opinions about the DS version differ, with some feeling it’s lacking or not as good. They feel it doesn’t measure up to the N64 original. Different people have different views.

To wrap it up, Super Mario 64 DS changes up the classic game in exciting ways. It’s got new characters, mini-games, and other extras. But, not everyone loves its controls and design. Your choice between the N64 version and the DS one is a personal one. Whether you prefer the original’s controls or the DS’s new features is up to you.

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is an action-adventure game that leads players through a colorful world. This steampunk fantasy world is both immersive and fun. It was launched in Japan in 2010, reaching the West in 2011.

Players and critics loved the game’s beautiful graphics. A GameFAQs comment even said it had the best graphics on the Nintendo DS. These fine details really make the world of Solatorobo pop.

It tells a gripping story, and mixers action, and RPG elements. You play as Red, a hunter exploring floating islands. You meet interesting people and creatures as you progress.

Even with great quality and gameplay, limited advertising kept Solatorobo quite unknown. Still, it found a group of fans who cherish its depth.

Some interesting statistics about Solatorobo: Red the Hunter:

RatingBest Sellers RankProduct DimensionsRating
3.7 out of 5 stars based on 64 ratings#140,715 in Video Games, #2,200 in Nintendo DS Games5.7 x 5 x 1.1 inches; 3.2 ouncesRated for Everyone 10+
Date First AvailableBrand
June 24, 2011Xseed

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter brings something fresh to the Nintendo DS. Its beautiful looks, interesting story, and unique gameplay stand out. Fans of action-adventure games should not miss it.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Spirit Tracks is an outstanding part of The Legend of Zelda. It’s set in a world full of steam and train tracks. As Link, players get to steer a steam train around the lands. I found the game full of exciting moments but also some parts that were tough to handle.

The train’s mechanics didn’t work well for some players. Moving around on the train felt too slow and not very exciting. Yet, there is a part at the end where the train gets much faster. This makes players wonder why it wasn’t like that from the start.

The dungeons in Spirit Tracks offer a good challenge. Despite this, they’re not named in a very interesting way. For instance, names like ‘Fire Temple’ lack the cool titles we see in other Zelda games.

The Tower of Spirits was a highlight for me. It had tricky puzzles that tested my problem-solving skills. This part brought something fresh to the game.

The game’s use of the DS microphone was a letdown. To play the flute, you have to blow into the DS and do things on the screen at the same time. This was often uncomfortable and didn’t always work well.

The stylus controls in fights were also problematic. They didn’t work precisely, which made fighting the final boss a hassle. This experience with controls was disappointing.

“The train mechanics felt dull and slow, and the stylus controls detracted from the overall experience. Despite its flaws, Spirit Tracks still managed to deliver a captivating storyline and challenging puzzles.” – Our Player

Yet, Spirit Tracks had some shining moments. The music and horn you could toot on the train in sync with the banjo song were joyful parts of the game.

In all, it took around three weeks to play through Spirit Tracks. I liked the look of the game, especially the style used for toon Link. Also, the game made good use of Zelda and friends in the story. The music didn’t leave a big impression, and some mini-games were fun. But the rabbit chase was not very enjoyable.

Overall, I’d rate Spirit Tracks 8.5 out of 10. It falls slightly behind the beloved Ocarina of Time, but it’s still a great Zelda game. As my third Zelda experience, it was unique and kept me engaged.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Next Adventure: Majora’s Mask

Next up, I’m playing Majora’s Mask. I’m looking forward to the deep story and gameplay of this installment. Termina awaits, and I’m eager to see what challenges the game has in store.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time

In 2006, the much-loved Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time hit shelves. It stars Mario and Luigi joining forces with their baby selves. Together they venture to save the Mushroom Kingdom from the alien Shroobs.

This game blends action RPG and platformer styles with turn-based RPG gameplay. Players explore vivid worlds, solve puzzles, and fight enemies in strategic battles. They use various moves and items to win.

Your team includes Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi. Each one has special skills to help in battles and quests. Princess Peach and Toadsworth also join the adventure, aiding the brothers.

Critics and players praised Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. It ranked 21 out of 25 on the Top Nintendo DS Games. This recognition shows its wide appeal among gamers.

Release and Availability

The game first came out in 2005 in North America, Japan, and Taiwan. It reached Europe and Australia in 2006 and South Korea in 2010. This made it available to a global audience.

Its success paved the way for a sequel, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, in 2009. This game further increased the series’ popularity on the Nintendo DS.

The original Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time was also re-released. It became available on the Wii U’s Nintendo eShop on June 10, 2015. This gave fans a chance to play it again.

Interestingly, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is unique in the series. It doesn’t have a stand-alone release for the Nintendo 3DS. But, it is compatible with all 3DS models, so everyone can enjoy it.

Locations and Gameplay

The adventure takes players through fun places like Toadwood Forest and Gritzy Desert. They also visit Koopaseum and Shroob Castle. Each place has its own challenges and secrets.

In battles, players can use the Jump and Hammer moves. They can also use special items tactically. These can turn the tide in tough fights.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time combines humor, clever gameplay mechanics, and an engaging storyline to create a memorable gaming experience.

Noteworthy Tips include the “Shroob Flogging” Tip from 2006. It offers valuable hints for beating game challenges.

Critical Reception and Continuity

The game won critics over with its fun combat, charming story, and mix of gameplay styles. These elements were highly praised by reviewers.

Its release laid the foundation for future Mario & Luigi titles. It is now considered a top favorite in the RPG series on the Nintendo DS.

Even after years, fans and newcomers still celebrate Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. It remains a standout game in the Mario world.

Sales and Glitches

Although specific sales figures are unknown, the game’s critical acclaim and lasting popularity are clear. It’s still praised as a top choice on the Nintendo DS platform.

Like all games, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has a few glitches. One fun example is the ? Block teleport glitch. It’s a quirky surprise for players.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Summary

Launched in 2006, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is a brilliant RPG. It blends action, wit, and smart mechanics. Players journey through challenges, puzzles, and meet unforgettable friends. It’s a favorite RPG on the Nintendo DS, bringing joy to gamers of all ages.

Metroid Prime: Hunters

Metroid Prime: Hunters is an outstanding game for the Nintendo DS. It’s a first-person shooter packed with action. Gamers love it for its intense gameplay.

In 2006, it brought players into the adventures of Samus Aran. They navigate the Alimbic Cluster, facing intense battles. This storyline kept everyone engaged.

The multiplayer mode supports up to four players. You could even talk to your friends while playing. It added fun and competition to the game.

With over 1000 votes, it’s a top-rated game, standing among the best Call of Duty titles. This success proves its excellence among other shooter games on the DS.

Upon release, Metroid Prime: Hunters shined. It impressed with its game mechanics and use of the DS’s features. In North America, it sold over 410,000 copies in the first month.

Player Feedback

“Metroid Prime: Hunters is a thrilling experience that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The intense action, intriguing storyline, and multiplayer mode make it a must-play for any fan of the genre.” – IGN

While Metroid Prime: Hunters deserves its praise, other games in the shooter genre stand out. Titles like GoldenEye 007 and C.O.R.E have caught players’ eyes.

GoldenEye 007 used to be very popular. But, without online features, its player base is small. On the contrary, the game Moon is known for its smooth action and variety.

C.O.R.E offers a long campaign and many weapons. Bionicle Heroes also has good graphics and exciting power-ups. They are all worth playing.

Yet, Metroid Prime: Hunters is exceptional. Its story, gameplay, and multiplayer features make it a standout. It’s more than just a shooting game.

Release DatesReviews and SalesDeveloperPEGI Rating
North America: March 20, 2006
Europe: May 5, 2006
Australia: May 23, 2006
Japan: June 1, 2006
Favorable reviews and over 410,000 copies sold in North America in the first month of release
Fourth best-selling game during the debut month in Japan
Awards for “Best DS Action Game,” “Best Graphics,” “Best Shooter/Action Game,” and “Best Wi-Fi Functionality”
Nintendo Software Technology Corp.12

Pokémon Black & White

Pokémon Black & White came out on April 3, 2011. They brought a new experience to fans. This was thanks to a new generation of Pokémon and cool gameplay features. They showed over 150 new Pokémon, the most ever in a new generation. This game also moved from 2D to 3D, starting a new era for Pokémon.

The story happens in the Unova region, which is quite unique. It grabbed players’ attention. With new heroes, a lively world, and fun ways to play with others, the game felt fresh.

In these games, seasons changed just like in real life. This made the game world feel alive and connected to players. It was a cool feature not seen before.

Players aimed to become a Pokémon Master by filling the Unova Pokédex. They had to catch every Pokémon there. This, along with battles and connecting online through Wi-Fi, made the game fun for hours.

The game’s success led to two versions: Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. They had different Pokémon, so players could trade to complete their collection.

There was also the Pokémon World Tournament. Here, fans could fight all the gym leaders and more. It was thrilling and nostalgic for long-time fans.

Fan Opinion and Legacy

At first, fans were unsure about Pokémon Black & White because they didn’t have the classic Pokémon at first. Yet, they grew to love the engaging stories and tough challenges.

The Unova region became a favorite for many. It felt like a fresh start for the Pokémon series, with great stories and hard games.

Later, Black 2 & White 2 built on this success. They brought new adventures, more Pokémon to find, challenges, and even movie making. These additions kept fans loving the Unova region.

Pokémon Black & White really made their mark. They are still adored by many fans. They are seen as landmarks in the Pokémon series thanks to their memorable adventures and innovations.

Votes Comparison – Pokémon Generations

When fans had to choose between Gen IV and Gen V Pokémon, both got the same votes. This shows fans love them equally. Each generation brings something special to the Pokémon world.


We’ve come to the end of our journey exploring the top Nintendo DS games. It was quite a ride! This console had 24 amazing games in various genres. The DS truly had something for everyone.

Games like Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and Mario Kart DS offered fun and adventure. They kept us entertained for hours on end, making unforgettable memories.

Love puzzle games or maybe action-adventure is your thing? The DS stepped up with titles such as Aliens: Infestation and Super Mario 64 DS. Even if you prefer RPGs, games like Metroid Prime: Hunters were there to amaze you with their innovation.

Even though the 3DS came after, the DS holds a special place in gamers’ hearts. It’s remembered for its unique games and the joy they brought us. If you want to explore the best DS games, start with this list for a memorable journey.


What are the best Nintendo DS games in 2023?

We have picked top Nintendo DS games of 2023. They are based on fun, popularity, and being well-made.

What are Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver?

These are new versions of the old Gold and Silver Pokémon games. They look better, have more Pokémon, and play smoother.

What is Mario Kart DS?

Mario Kart DS is an exciting racing game. You can race alone or with friends. It’s a favorite for playing together on the DS.

What is The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass?

It’s a game that uses the DS’s touch features and two screens. You play as Link, going on a big adventure to save Princess Zelda.

What is Super Mario 64 DS?

This game is a redo of the old Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64. It keeps the classic fun but lets you play as new characters too, like Yoshi and Wario.

What is Solatorobo: Red the Hunter?

This game is an action adventure. You control Red, a hunter, exploring amazing flying islands. You’ll meet many cool characters and creatures.

What is The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks?

This Zelda game is special and takes place in a world filled with steam. You play as Link, going on adventures using a steam train.

What is Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time?

It’s an RPG with Mario and Luigi, teaming up with their baby selves. You explore different worlds, solve puzzles, and fight enemies in a turn-based way.

What is Metroid Prime: Hunters?

This first-person shooter stars Samus Aran, the bounty hunter. She fights other hunters in the Alimbic Cluster to find hidden secrets.

What are Pokémon Black & White?

Pokémon Black and White brought in new Pokémon for fans. They have a great story, fun battles, and cool new features.

Share This Article