The 25 Best Nintendo DS Games. A list easy to compile because there so many great games out for this wonderful little system. Nintendo has had a stranglehold on the portable gaming market since its inception. First came the Game Boy, which was an unadulterated success, then the equally successful Game Boy Advance. Then came the Nintendo DS, which achieved the perfect balance between technological advancement and limitation. Game creators had enough freedom to think big, but not so much freedom that they lost sight of keeping the player happy. So, without further adieu, we give you...

The 25 Best Nintendo DS Games!

  • 25

    Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia


    You might not know it, but tattoos can be deadly weapons. At least they are when they're Shanoa's tattoos in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Like every Metroidvania game, the basic premise of OoE is to run around, grow more powerful, gain new abilities and open up previously inaccessible areas with the use of said abilities. And, like every Metroidvania game, there's a twist on the formula. In this outing, Shanoa absorbs the powers of fallen enemies, Mega Man-style, and uses them to traverse spooky villages, decrepit castles, and ghastly nether-realms.

  • 24

    Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes


    With any type of entertainment, the prospect of blending two genres can often lead to something wonderful. Resident Evil 4 blended third-person shooting action with survival horror. Batman: Arkham City blended open world brawling with tactical espionage action. Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes blends thoughtful puzzle solving with an RPG shell, leading to one delicious mix of flavors. You pick and choose which of your units to take into combat, and make your attacks by matching units to set them charging. It's technical, but accessible, and it's an easy shoe-in for one of the 25 Best Nintendo DS Games.

  • 23

    Super Mario 64 DS


    It's almost cheating to list a port of one of the greatest games of all time, but when a game's great, it's great. Super Mario 64 provides the same kind of exploration and fast-paced fun of the original, but with a brand new coat of paint, and the addition of several new areas and characters. It's a welcome addition to any Mario fan's library, from those who never played the original N64 title, to those who have conquered and analyzed it so thoroughly they could beat it with their eyes closed.

  • 22

    Kirby Mass Attack


    Do you like Kirby? Great! How about an army of Kirbys?! The Kirby games often like to deviate from typical Kirby gameplay, and this one has you in control of a legion of the pink cream puffs, swarming over badguys like a cute ant colony. This one's a bit more cerebral that most games starring the eponymous hero, but it still retains that sense of charm the series is known for, which is why is deserves a spot in our list of the 25 Best Nintendo DS Games.

  • 21

    The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks


    All aboard! By now you know the drill with Zelda games -- dungeons, treasures, heart containers. Spirit Tracks' defining feature are the spirit tracks themselves, train tracks you traverse using the spirit train. You'll upgrade your train, master its operation, and occasionally pick up a passenger. There's some nice multiplayer options, too, so if you and some friends are looking to play all you need is a single copy of the game and the will to conquer your friends in a race for Force Gems.

  • 20

    Animal Crossing: Wild World


    When you take the same open-world gameplay of Animal Crossing and compress it down to handheld form, it's still just as fun. Who knew? There's enough activities and side-quests in this game to keep you occupied until your thumbs fall off, and an astounding number of customization options. You can have the rustic dream home you've always wanted, or find the most creep-tacular wallpaper in existence and terrify any players foolish enough to visit your village.

  • 19

    Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time


    Following the successful formula of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, Partners in Time is an action-RPG with a time-traveling twist. The Mushroom Kingdom's under attack in the present and the past, and it's up to the Mario Bros. to save it ... with the help of themselves as babies. While the story is a little darker than most Mario games, it's still light-hearted enough for even the wimpiest of kids to enjoy. The item-based combat is a unique system that evolves over the course of the game, meaning that no two fights feel exactly the same.

  • 18

    Kirby: Canvas Curse


    Remember earlier, when we mentioned that most Kirby games vary wildly from each other? Well, this one has Kirby rolled up into a little ball for a majority of the game. Rather than controlling him directly, you guide the pink paragon along a path drawn via stylus, creating platforms, arches, and curves to help him maneuver.

  • 17



    Meteos is a strategy/puzzle game about blowing up planets. Yeah, you read that right. This game is like Bejeweled on crack -- it's fast, it's frantic, and it's oh-so-satisfying. There's also a nice variety to the gameplay, with different planets often bringing their own elements to the table ... just before you blow them up.

  • 16

    Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin


    Our list of the 25 Best Nintendo DS Games continues with another Castlevania game. Taking some inspiration from Super Mario 64's formula, Portrait of Ruin has you traversing a series of different worlds, all connected to a hub world via paintings. You'll play as a brother/sister duo (something you don't get to do very often), and switch between them at will. Whichever one you aren't controlling directly stays at your side, fighting, jumping, and sticking with you like a good partner should. Portrait of Ruin's a little less forgiving than the other Metroidvania games, but enthusiasts of the genre can relish in that extra challenge as they traverse psycho circuses, pyramids, and, of course, Castlevania itself.