Top Picks for Best NDS Games – Unmissable Classics

best nds games

The Nintendo DS (NDS) has many games loved by gamers worldwide. You’ll find everything from Pokémon to Brain Age. This article lists the top NDS games that everyone should play.

Key Takeaways:

  • New Super Mario Bros. brings Mario back to his 2D platform roots, which fans of all ages love.
  • Professor Layton and the Curious Village mixes puzzles and mysteries in a unique way, perfect for those who love to think.
  • Mario Kart DS is all about fast racing and playing with friends, a hit for gamers who like to compete.
  • Kirby Canvas Curse / Kirby Power Paintbrush lets you draw paths to guide Kirby, a fresh take thanks to the DS touch screen.
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike features intense strategy battles on two screens, expanding on the beloved series.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time combines adventure and RPG elements, great for lovers of the Mario universe.
  • Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon mixes farming with epic quests, for a truly unique gaming experience.

The Nintendo DS is a treasure trove for all kinds of gaming fans. It’s perfect for those into classic games, deep stories, or challenging puzzles. There’s surely a game for you on the NDS. Watch out for more must-play NDS titles!

Note: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. The mentioned games are subjective recommendations and may not appeal to everyone. Please refer to individual game reviews and ratings to make an informed decision about which games to play.

Pokémon Series – Captivating Adventures

The Pokémon franchise has been a big part of the NDS for over 25 years. It’s known for its exciting adventures and deep strategy. Games like Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Pokémon Black/White, and Pokémon Platinum stand out. They are loved for their great stories and characters.

Super Scribblenauts, released in October 2010, offers something different. It mixes the Pokémon world with puzzles and creative thinking. This game challenges players to think outside the box, attracting fans of puzzle games.

  1. Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver
  2. Pokémon Black/White
  3. Pokémon Platinum
  4. Super Scribblenauts

Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald added 135 new Pokémon species. It made the Pokémon world even bigger. This game became a hit by offering more Pokémon to catch and train.

In many Pokémon games, players start with a special Pokémon. Pokémon Legends: Arceus lets players pick Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott, each with their own skills. In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, new starters like Sprigatito, Fuecoco, or Quaxly will be available.

As the Pokémon series grows, it keeps getting better. Pokémon Sword and Shield, the latest, lets players enjoy 400 Pokémon. With each game, the Pokémon world gets more interesting and fun.

Whether you’re new or a long-time fan, the Pokémon series on the NDS has a lot to offer. It’s a mix of the classic games and the latest adventures. The Pokémon NDS games show why the series is so loved around the world.

Mario Kart DS – Racing Fun On the Go

Mario Kart DS is known as a top racing game on the NDS. It offers excitement and fun for players everywhere. With easy controls and gameplay that hooks you, you won’t want to put it down.

This game has a mix of old and new tracks. From the Mushroom Kingdom to Rainbow Road, every moment is thrilling. You can also race against friends, making it even more exciting.

Mario Kart DS stands out with its unique use of the DS screens. The top screen shows the race, while the bottom screen has a map. This setup makes the game feel real and interactive.

Its bright graphics and beloved characters bring the game to life. Racing with iconic figures like Mario and Bowser is an adventure through a colorful world.

The game’s multiplayer is a highlight. You can race friends nearby or compete online. With up to eight players, it’s always a good time.

The fun doesn’t stop with Mario Kart DS. There are many things to unlock, like new characters and karts. Plus, there’s a mission mode for extra challenges and rewards.

Many gamers consider Mario Kart DS the best NDS racing game. It’s exciting, full of new features, and keeps players coming back for more.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – Epic Adventure Awaits

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a key addition to the Nintendo DS (NDS). It offers players a tale full of puzzles, exploration, and amazing characters. This game came out on October 5, 2007, and it’s loved by Zelda fans everywhere.

This game uses the NDS touch screen very well. It gives players controls that are easy to learn and yet clever. This way, players are deep in the action on the bottom screen. Meanwhile, they check their progress on the top screen.

The story of Phantom Hourglass picks up right where The Wind Waker left off. Players follow Link on a journey to save Tetra and beat the evil Bellum. The adventure mostly happens in the Temple of the Ocean King, a dungeon that challenges players’ skills.

Many players found the stylus control system cool, even better than pressing buttons. This approach really makes you a part of the game, they say.

With graphics done in a cel-shaded style, Phantom Hourglass looks outstanding on the NDS. Thanks to the sounds from The Wind Waker and new music, playing is not just fun but also delightful to the ears.

Phantom Hourglass adds fresh parts to the Zelda universe. You get to use wind to do cool stunts and gather ship pieces daily. Plus, you face many types of foes, such as Geozards and Pirate Ships.

Some features like Heart Pieces were not in this game, though. But, there are many new lands to see. Exploring these lands is fun and sometimes crucial to the story.

The multiplayer mode is fun, too. Some describe it as exciting as in games like Metroid Prime: Hunters. Playing with friends makes the game even more enjoyable.

Some people think Phantom Hourglass is more for casual gamers than hardcore fans. Yet, they say serious fans might miss using the D-pad. They find it more classic for gaming.

Player Feedback:

“The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass delivered an epic adventure filled with challenging puzzles and memorable characters. The touch screen controls made the gameplay engaging and unique.”
– Zelda Fanatic

“The graphical quality of Phantom Hourglass is on par with The Wind Waker. The cel-shaded graphics are visually stunning and add to the overall charm of the game. It truly brings the world of Zelda to life.”
– Graphics Enthusiast

“While Phantom Hourglass may not have included all the familiar Zelda elements, it made up for it with its immersive world and engaging story. The single central dungeon and the Temple of the Ocean King added a sense of progression and purpose to the game.”
– Adventure Seeker

Comparison Chart:

AspectThe Legend of Zelda: Phantom HourglassThe Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
GraphicsCel-shaded visuals, maintaining the standard set by The Wind WakerCel-shaded visuals with a unique artistic style
ControlsStylus-based touch screen controlsTraditional button controls
ExplorationFreely explore a variety of islandsOpen-world exploration with a vast ocean to navigate
GameplaySailing, puzzle-solving, and engaging combatSailing, exploration, and puzzle-solving
SoundSound FX from The Wind Waker and sophisticated musical compositionsDistinctive soundtrack and sound effects

Phantom Hourglass brings something new to Zelda fans and NDS players. It tells a great story and offers fresh gameplay on the NDS. This game keeps the magic of Zelda alive.

Brain Age – Exercise Your Mind

Brain Age is a series of games that boost brain function. It combines fun and learning. Players of any age can enjoy these games on the NDS. They test memory, focus, and problem-solving.

“Playing Brain Age can challenge you and help your brain. Professor Kawashima suggests just five minutes a day. This can improve your thinking,” says the character from the game.

Brain Age provides engaging mental workouts. It’s part of the Touch! Generations video games. Sticking to it daily is easy, fitting into any schedule.

Brain Age Check mode is unique. It measures your brain’s ‘age’ by how well you do in puzzles. It’s a fun way to track how you’re improving.

The Training mode has nine programs. Each helps with different thinking skills. You’ll do quick thinking, math, and even read stories out loud. It’s good for all-around brain practice.

Regular play earns you stamps. These unlock more in the game, which keeps you coming back for more.

“Studies show good things,” says Professor Kawashima. “Brain Age can make parts of your brain grow in just two months. That’s great news for brain health.”

But, not all experts agree on the real-life benefits. Some studies from 2014 said more proof is needed.

The game launched in Japan in 2005. It has sold over 19.01 million copies worldwide. That makes it one of the best educational NDS games.

Brain Age Pricing and Compatibility

Game TitleManufacturer’s Suggested Retail PriceConsole Compatibility
Brain Age: Concentration Training$29.99Nintendo 3DS

To play Brain Age: Concentration Training, you’ll need a Nintendo 3DS. The game costs $29.99 and the console is $199.99. This setup lets you try the brain-boosting exercises.

While some experts debate its effects, Brain Age is still a popular pick. It’s fun and possibly good for your brain. Try it out for yourself!

New Super Mario Bros. – Classic Platforming Fun

Are you into classic platformers? If so, New Super Mario Bros. is a must on your list. It was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS (NDS). This game took our favorite plumber back to his original 2D world. At the same time, it added new excitement to the Mario franchise.

The game’s cute look, music, and engaging play made it a hit. It brought in new enemies for Mario while mixing in familiar elements. This was something fans appreciated.

One cool thing in New Super Mario Bros. is playing with friends. You can share the fun through download-play and enjoy mini-games together. It’s perfect for testing who’s best at getting to the flag first.

It’s not all about the old Super Mushroom and Fire Flower. This game has unique power-ups like the Mega Shroom and Blue Shell. These add more fun and strategy to the game.

Love a good challenge? Hunting for star coins hidden in every level is for you. Finding these coins is fun and rewarding.

The game got a lot of love, but some said it was too similar to past games. They hoped for more new stuff in future Mario games.

Yet, New Super Mario Bros. isn’t just about moving left to right. It features mini-games inspired by Mario 64. These games bring a Mario Party feeling to New Super Mario Bros..

Today, playing with DS systems in the same room is rare. But New Super Mario Bros. still shines with its solid gameplay. It’s a standout even among later Mario games in the same series.

Number of Levels8 WorldsSecret Levels
Close to 70 levelsYesYes

New Super Mario Bros. wowed everyone, scoring a full 10 for gameplay and visuals. The sound wasn’t far behind, getting a 9. This led to a perfect 10 overall, praising the game in every area.

Many loved the gameplay and new power-ups. Yet, some wanted the Racoon Tail back and more fresh ideas. They also weren’t fans of what they saw as small mini-games.

New Super Mario Bros. is a timeless winner that reminds us why we love 2D gaming. It showcases the best of Mario and is a must for DS fans old and new.

Professor Layton Series – Puzzles and Mystery

The Professor Layton series mixes fun puzzles with great stories. It offers a unique way to play games. You follow Professor Layton as he uses his brain to solve mysteries. The games’ beautiful art, intense stories, and smart puzzles have made many people fans.

The adventure of Professor Layton starts with Professor Layton and the Curious Village. This game welcomed many new players to the mystery and puzzle world. It introduced us to the smart professor and his young helper, Luke.

From there, the games kept getting better. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future are highlights. They improved the game’s style and offered tough puzzles.

Every game in the series has interesting stories and puzzles. For example, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. The Azran Legacy is a prequel that captures the series’ best parts.

Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition arrived on the Nintendo Switch. This means more Layton fun is available. And we’ll have a new game, Professor Layton and the New World of Steam, in 2025.

Aside from these, fans of Layton might like other brain games. Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, and Picross DS are great choices. Dr. Reiner Knizia’s Brainbenders is also recommended for its fun puzzles.

If you like solving puzzles and mysteries, try the Professor Layton games on your Nintendo DS. Go on exciting adventures with Professor Layton. Challenge yourself and have fun along the way!

Chrono Trigger – Timeless RPG Epic

Chrono Trigger is often named among the best RPGs. The Nintendo DS version has brought it to a new group of gamers. It tells a great story with awesome gameplay, amazing looks, and music that stays with you. All in all, it’s a game you won’t forget.

This game is a journey through time, where choices really matter. The story keeps you hooked with cool scenes and talks with lots of different characters.

People love Chrono Trigger’s way of fighting. It mixes turn-based and real-time styles. This combo makes battles exciting and smart.

Both gamers and experts have sung Chrono Trigger’s praises. For instance, Marow liked the DS version a lot, giving it 80%. They especially loved Frog and Robo. Meanwhile, Private did everything in the game, taking 28 hours and 6 minutes to do it all.

Selphurion also liked the game, giving it an 85%. They were happy there were no random fights and loved the music and look of the game. On the flip side, Crystar500 praised the PC version, playing for 35 hours and ranking it 100%. They think it’s one of the best JRPGs out there.

Yannis_Spirou feels the emulated game is at 90%. They highlighted the story, fun battles, nice characters, and no random fights. In contrast, thomas_joe97 thinks the DS version is the best game ever after beating it in 19 hours and 20 minutes.

Shortchimp played the PC version for 34 hours. They gave it 95% and said it’s a classic. They compared it to Final Fantasy VI for its deep story and well-made characters. This solidifies its place as a top RPG.

Chrono Trigger is a game every DS owner should try. It’s proof of how great the console’s games can be. It joins other favorites like Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, and Pokémon HeartGold.

Animal Crossing: Wild World – Create Your Own Paradise

In *Animal Crossing: Wild World,* you dive into a peaceful virtual town on the Nintendo DS. This game was a hit in 2005 and won many hearts because of its charming world and engaging activities. It’s known for its cute graphics and offers a calming gaming experience.

Players can create and run their very own digital town in this game. By interacting with village animals, you build friendships, join in on events, and tweak your surroundings. The game’s open world allows for endless town customization options, making it your unique paradise.

The game got lots of love for its charming look, fun activities, and its overall value. On eBay, with 356 reviews, it scored an impressive 4.8423 out of 5. Every single one of those reviews rated it 5 stars, showing how much players enjoyed it.

Fans often say *Animal Crossing: Wild World* is hard to put down, comparing it to The Sims. They love the fun of creating and managing in this world. It’s recommended for anyone with a DS, thanks to its adorable graphics and online play options.

Game Statistics:

Since its release, it has sold 11.75 million copies, making it one of the most loved on the DS. Until 2014, up to four players could share a town and play together online. This was done through the now-closed Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

The game featured 150 animal villagers to meet and chat with. In the update, 18 new faces joined the game, while 188 left. Players got to know nine new characters and enjoyed seven new events. The previous version’s holidays didn’t make it into this installment.

A special feature allowed players to move their save data to the sequle, *Animal Crossing: City Folk.* This was great for continuing the game journey. Unfortunately, online play via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection stopped in 2014, ending that part of the fun.

User RatingsNumber of Users
5 stars356
4 stars49
3 stars11
2 stars1
1 star6

Today, *Animal Crossing: Wild World* is still a cherished game. Its gameplay, visuals, and mood make it essential for anyone who loves life simulation games on the NDS.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story – Hilarious RPG Action

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Get ready for a hilarious RPG adventure with Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Join Mario and Bowser on a quest filled with epic battles and puzzles. Meet charming characters along the way.

The game’s battle system is quite unique. You’ll engage in turn-based battles with Mario and Luigi. Use Bowser’s powerful attacks too. It’s not just about strategy but also about having fun, especially when Bowser grows huge to fight massive foes.

The excitement doesn’t end with battles. There are many entertaining mini-games throughout. Use the touchscreen for special abilities. Explore sidequests and find hidden items.

The game lasts about 25 hours, giving you plenty to do. You’ll also love its funny conversations and engaging story. Laugh as you explore the wild adventures of Mario and his friends.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story was released in 2009 worldwide for the Nintendo DS. It quickly became a fan favorite. A remake for the Nintendo 3DS, “Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey,” was released in 2018. The game’s unique gameplay and humor make it a must for anyone who loves the Mario & Luigi series.

Game TitleRelease DateDuration
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story2009Approximately 25 hours
“Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey” (Remake)2018N/A

Live the fun RPG action of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Join Mario, Luigi, and Bowser on an unforgettable adventure. Explore Bowser’s insides, fight giant enemies, and save the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s a charming and fun NDS game.


The Nintendo DS has really made its mark in the world of games. It has a wide variety of great games. You can find games like Chrono Trigger, Pokémon, and Mario that gamers of all kinds love.

These include puzzle games, action adventures, strategy games, and exciting shoot ’em ups. This diverse selection means there’s something for everyone.

Even though developers have moved on, the Nintendo DS is still loved by many. Its unique games and continuing popularity show it’s not forgotten. The later Nintendo 3DS built on its success, making it a favorite worldwide.

The gaming industry keeps getting bigger, with 2.6 billion gamers expected by 2020. The NDS’s impact can be seen in games on consoles, PCs, and phones. Any game lover should try the top NDS games, from mind-bending puzzles to epic quests and non-stop action.


What are the best NDS games to play?

The top NDS games include Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Mario Kart DS, and more. This list has something for everyone. You can catch and train Pokémon or race with friends on Mario Kart.

Which Pokémon games are available on the NDS?

If you love Pokémon, the NDS has great options like Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver and others. These games bring exciting adventures and battles right to your fingertips.

Why is Mario Kart DS highly regarded among NDS gamers?

Mario Kart DS stands out with its fun tracks and multiplayer mode. It has easy controls and looks great, making it perfect for quick gaming sessions.

What makes The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass special?

In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, you’re on a grand journey. This game is known for its clever use of the NDS touch screen, making gameplay unique.

How does Brain Age benefit players?

Brain Age games are like workouts for your brain, improving memory and problem-solving. They’re fun and have something for everyone, no matter their age.

What makes New Super Mario Bros. a beloved game in the Mario franchise?

New Super Mario Bros. gives the famous plumber a new twist. It keeps the classic fun but adds new challenges and secrets. Fans love its mix of nostalgia and fresh content.

Why is the Professor Layton series praised by NDS gamers?

Professor Layton mixes clever puzzles with great stories. You get to help Layton solve mysteries with your own skills. The game has earned a lot of love for its smart puzzles and art.

Why is Chrono Trigger considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time?

Chrono Trigger is known for its amazing story and gameplay. With time travel, multiple endings, and great characters, players get an unforgettable RPG experience.

What can players expect from Animal Crossing: Wild World?

In Animal Crossing: Wild World, you live in and build your own town. This game is about relaxing and making friends with its adorable world and residents.

What makes Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story a fan-favorite?

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is both funny and smart. You play as Mario, Luigi, and even Bowser in this RPG. It’s known for its cool battles and fun puzzles.

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