My Top 10 Favourite Nintendo DS Games
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Sonic Rush - Nintendo DS
Sonic's first outing on the DS and his brilliant outings on the Gameboy Advance has convinced me entirely that Sonic belongs to the handheld. Thinking about it, I have never played a bad handheld Sonic game, most of them are quite good. Sonic Rush is probably one of the best Sonic games I have ever played, even if it is way too easy. The soundtrack is incredible, the gameplay is tight, the 2D split screen mechanics works wonders with speed and the visuals were great for the DS.
Nintendogs: Lab & Friends - Nintendo DS
I was actually quite surprised how much I really enjoyed this game. Technically speaking, it isn't structured as a typical game. You get puppies, you feed them, you train them, you take them on walks, all the stuff that you do with a real dog though a lot cheaper with no overarching pet insurance but the thing that struck me was how deep all the pet mechanics were. Pampering your puppy is quite intuitive and includes the best uses of the touch screen and teaching your puppy tricks with a mic was just awesome and picks up what you say quite well, though sometimes the puppy won't even listen. Unlocking many items and bonuses by walking them or entering them in competition was a bit of a chore but there are many surprises that make it worthwhile. I did wish that your puppies grew up and bred, that would've made it more deeper than it is.
New Super Mario Bros. - Nintendo DS
As typical of a Nintendo console, you can't go making a list without Mario can't you? New Super Mario Bros. was a welcomed return to the 2D platforming that Mario was born from. While it is on the easy side, it was still the tight controls, inspired level designs that the Super Mario series is very well known for.
Mario Kart DS - Nintendo DS
On a broader sense, Mario Kart DS is probably the best Mario Kart game ever made. Mario Kart Double Dash is my favourite Mario Kart game for personal and nostalgic reasons but Mario Kart DS' tight controls, numerous solid tracks, competent multiplayer and interesting additional content just gives it a lot of edge. I probably recommend playing this with a 3DS since using the d-pad for steering does feel a bit awkward.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars - Nintendo DS
Grand Theft Auto on a Nintendo console was a damn rarity and unfortunately, they only come in on handheld forms. Fortunately, Chinatown Wars is a GTA game that is perfect for the handheld, let alone on the DS. A return to the top down perspective from the old GTA games, Chinatown compacts all the great things from other GTA games and makes it work on the DS. It is still the open world, do whatever the hell you want, gangster crime game that GTA is known for with a very interesting story to boot. The touch screen is utilised very well, especially when hijacking cars and the PDA that you carry gives it a portable feel. It does have some control problems such as the driving and camera and it is quite annoying that the map and the in game screen are completely separate, which can misdirect you when driving.
Final Fantasy IV - Nintendo DS
Final Fanasy IV on the DS is probably one of the most impressive remakes I have ever played. It was still the same good old Final Fantasy IV (II on the SNES) but with better graphics, competent voice acting, great visuals and expanded gameplay elements. From all the version of FFIV, I highly recommend this one as its story, the game's best feature, is enhanced by its voice acting and emotive character designs while still getting the same good gameplay.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (EU) - Nintendo DS
It's predecessor Aria of Sorrow is my favourite Castlevania game, and the sequel does not disappoint. Dawn of Sorrow expands on what made Aria so awesome. The animation is a lot more vibrant and a lot more reminiscent to Symphony of the Night's style. The gameplay is still the same as Aria and the other Metroid style games but hey, why fix what's not broken? The soul system comes back since it was the best thing on Aria and has a very interesting Magic Seal mechanic which makes boss fights a lot more intense.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - Nintendo DS
Repeating myself from New Super Mario Bros, as typical of Nintendo consoles, you can't go making a list without Zelda can't you? If you know me, I am a giant Zelda fan and I love everything that is Legend of Zelda so this game isn't a surprise. Spirit Tracks is my favourite handheld Zelda games as it gets story, atmosphere and gameplay right in handheld terms. It has the best incarnation of Princess Zelda as not only is she the damsel in distress, she's also your sidekick, adding many opportunities for a more three dimensional personality and interaction with Link. The gameplay improves upon the touch screen controls that Phantom Hourglass introduces and while the train travel is a bit more tedious than sea faring, it's a nice alternative.
Is it a bit of a stretch that I think this is one of the best games to carry the Final Fantasy name? Grimoire of the Rift is so fun, so packed with content and so engagingly deep, I just jump with joy just thinking about it. Some say that the judgement system is a little bit unfair but I think that adds to its fun factor, giving the playfield a lot more variety when it comes to thinking of strategies. The tactical elements are as deep as they were back in Tactics Advanced but with newer, better characters and classes and a more difficult challenge.
Pokémon HeartGold Version - Nintendo DS
Before this game, Pokemon Gold was the best Pokemon game I have ever played and to an extent, still stand by that. Getting a remake that completely improves on what made it so great is a dream come true for me. Pokemon HeartGold is my definitive Pokemon game as it is pretty much the best version of the best Pokemon game ever. With the addition of the Pokewalker and enhanced visual style and graphics, it was like adding more chocolate and cherries to an already awesome sundae. Addicting, time consuming, content packed and incredibly fun, HeartGold is my favourite DS game ever and my all time favourite Pokemon game.
The Nintendo DS is the best handheld console I have ever owned. With a plethora of great games, incredible battery life and its unique touch screen controls, the DS was just awesome. Here are the 10 games that I think defined the console and the reasons why you should own one.
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