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Buying Guide: The Best Nintendo DS Games

by: M.S. Smith ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Do you have a DS, but no good games to play on it? This article rounds up five of the best Nintendo DS games from a variety of genres. If you're bored with your DS be sure to check out these classic titles.

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    Nintendo DS - Best Gaming on the Go

    The Nintendo DS (and its variants, including the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL) have been hugely popular. Almost 130 million units have been sold world-wide, making it the most popular handheld game console ever and the second most popular game console (behind the Playstation 2).

    This huge popularity means that there is no shortage of good games for the Nintendo DS, but if you're just picked up your DS you obviously can't play everything at once. Below you will find five great Nintendo DS games which are perfect for people who have just purchased their DS or for experienced gamers who are wondering what great titles they might have missed.

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    Advance Wars: Dual Strike - One of The Best Nintendo DS Games

    Best Nintendo DS Strategy Games   Strategy games have been surprisingly popular on handheld game consoles, and the most popular game in this genre is undoubtedly Advance Wars. Advance Wars: Dual Strike is generally agreed to be the best game of the series, although it is not the most recent, and a good choice for gamers who want some strategy on their Nintendo DS.

    The premise of Advance Wars is pretty simple. An evil force called the Black Hole Army is invading, and it is up to the Commanding Officers of the Allied Forces to make the invaders pack up and go home. The story is nothing to worry about, but the game's characters - the mentioned Commanding Officers - take center stage. Each Commanding Officer has he or her own on-screen personality and comes with special abilities which can turn the tide of a battle. You can use two commanders at once, and matching up commanders for devastating combos is an important part of the game.

    The actual strategy of Advance Wars is geared towards puzzles. Each level in the game provides a unique challenge which the player will have to overcome, and as the game progresses the challenges become tougher and tougher. The key to winning is figuring out the right strategy for defeating the challenge in front of you.

    Advance Wars: Dual Strike's popularity has allowed the game to keep its value, so you'll probably have to pay around $40 for a new copy. Despite the high price, Advance Wars is well worth it. It is simply the best Nintendo DS strategy game.

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    Chrono Trigger

    Chrono Trigger DS   Many games for the Nintendo DS are in fact ports of older games which are being given a second lease on life. Some of these games are forgettable, but others are real classics which end up being the best Nintendo DS games.

    One such game is Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger was initially released in 1995 and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best RPG games of all time. The game's story follows a band of heroes who have to travel through time to save the world. While this sounds like nothing new, the brilliance is in the details. The character are well written, the settings are unique and the pace of the story is spot-on.

    The battle system is fairly standard fair for turn-based RPGs. Characters take turns executing attacks and defensive moves. However, the battles move more quickly than is common in these games, and this helps keep combat from feeling tedious. The game also benefits from a lack of load screens - battles take place right on the exploration map.

    Chrono Trigger is usually found for $19.99. At that price it is a steal, and a must have for every Nintendo DS gamer.

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    Elite Beat Agents - One of The Best Nintendo DSi Games

    Elite Beat Agents   Some of the best Nintendo DS games are rhythm games. The naturally quick pace of rhythm games makes it easy to open up the DS, play a few rounds, and put it away. The touch screen is also the perfect peripheral for interacting with a rhythm interface.

    There are numerous rhythm games available for the DS, but the best is Elite Beat Agents. As an Elite Beat Agent it is your job to travel the world and help people in need through the power of song. The agents themselves are a squad of silly-looking suit-and-tie guys with microphones, and the songs in Elite Beat Agents are accompanied with a short but hilarious bits of backstory.

    You'll recognize the songs, as well. Elite Beat Agents, unlike some other rhythm games, are targeted at a western audience. Songs such as Madonna's "Material Girl" will help you get your groove on. Elite Beat Agents is inexpensive, too - you can often find it for around $15 bucks.

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    Mario Kart DS

    Mario Kart DS   Racing games are not a genre which is often encountered on portable game consoles. Nintendo knows how to make the best DS games, however, and so it is not surprising they were able to create a great rendition of Mario Kart for the DS.

    If you've ever played Mario Kart you already know what to expect. Up to eight carts, driven by popular characters from Mario games, can compete in a race at once. The tracks are based on levels from previous Mario games and provide plenty of action. There are some minor changes variations - the jump button is back, but the special attacks from the Gamecube hit Mario Kart: Double Dash are not - but ultimately this is Mario Kart, plain and simple. And that means it is great. Mario Kart has always been among the best games for any console, and it is no different on the DS.

    Mario Kart DS can be found for between $20 and $30 at most retailers.

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    New Super Mario Bros.

    New Super Mario Bros   Portable consoles like the DS always work well with platformers, and one of the best Nintendo DS games is one of the best platforms to come out in recent years - New Super Mario Bros.

    New Super Mario Bros. is instantly identifiable. This is Mario, after all - unless you're completely new to gaming you've probably had some previous encounter with a Mario platformer. New Super Mario Brothers isn't just a port of an old Mario Brothers game, however. It includes numerous new twists and features. New Super Mario Brothers takes place on a world map, with individual levels existing on that map. New Super Mario Bros. also includes new power-ups, such as the hilarious super-mushroom which can make Mario or Luigi take up the entire screen. These new features are not revolutionary changes, but they help update the franchise.

    New Super Mario Bros. can usually be found for around $30 bucks.

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