In a time when video game costs have been steadily increasing over the years, software for the Nintendo DS has thankfully been fairly reasonable in price (in the $30 to $40 range for new titles). Unfortunately, many of these games, while enjoyable, have also been somewhat on the short side. If you're looking for an "evergreen" game for your DS — that is, a game that will never lose its pizazz — here are five games that should be right up your alley!
Tetris DS — The first entry on our list of the best games for Nintendo DS needs no introduction. Most gamers are familiar with Tetris, the falling blocks puzzler originally invented by Alexey Pajitnov in 1985. The game itself is widely recognized as one of the most addictive and long-lasting video games ever created. In fact, studies have even been done to see if it was possible to play a game of Tetris that would never end. Well, as if that kind of core gameplay wasn’t enough, the DS version of the game ups the ante by adding in a host of additional modes, such as Puzzle, Push, Touch and Mission modes, as well as both local and Wi-Fi multiplayer. It simply is an incredible package, and there’s no doubt that Tetris DS is a game that will definitely keep players coming back for more.
Animal Crossing: Wild World — Like Tetris DS, this handheld sequel to the GameCube hit Animal Crossing features addictive gameplay and Wi-Fi Internet play. In Wild World, players create a character and then venture into a virtual village, where they can create a new home, explore, interact with their neighbors, fish, find fossils, collect bugs, design clothing, and so on. There’s no combat, no enemies to overcome, no need to beat the clock or anything like that. This is a game that’s all about community. While it may not sound like the most exciting or most intense video game in the world, Animal Crossing: Wild World is simply teeming with things to make, collect and do. If this sounds appealing, then rest assured, Wild World is a game you’ll keep coming back to.
Clubhouse Games — In terms of sheer depth and number of different games available on a single game card, Clubhouse Games is the undisputed king. While games such as Touchmaster and other parlor game collections aren’t terrible values, Nintendo’s own offering packs a whopping 40-plus different types of games into one incredible package. Between classic card games like Blackjack or Texas Hold ‘Em, board games like Checkers or Chess, or skill games like Billiards and Darts, there’s undoubtedly something for everyone in Clubhouse Games. The single-player modes are strong, but the single-card local wireless play and the ability to go online via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and play opponents from all over the world makes this a must own for fans of traditional board and card games.
Metroid Prime: Hunters — The Metroid Prime series got its start as a one-player first-person shooter (FPS) on the Nintendo GameCube, and that mode is included in this game as well. As it is, the single-player mode offers a somewhat flawed, fairly lengthy quest centering around Nintendo’s famous bounty hunter, Samus Aran. That’s all well and good, but in reality the main attraction of playing the game alone is to unlock new bounty hunters and new levels for use in the game’s robust multiplayer modes. Hunters supports both local wireless play as well as Wi-Fi internet play, and boasts several different modes, including variations of Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and Last Man Standing. Despite being released in early 2006, Metroid Prime: Hunters remains one of the best and most popular online games available for the Nintendo DS system.
Disgaea DS — One could argue that just about any strategy RPG could make this list, but what gives this PlayStation 2 port the edge over, say, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 or Civilization: Revolution is the sheer amount of depth contained in the game. Yes, FFT: A2 contains hundreds of missions and Civilization is an addictive and highly re-playable game. However, not even they can match the content of Disgaea DS. As if having the ability to power level troops to level 9999 and using a New Game + feature to experience one of the multiple various endings wasn’t enough, gamers can explore randomly-generated dungeons created within their own items and even play a bonus mode through the eyes of one of the primary supporting characters.
Of course, while these five titles will definitely provide hours upon hours of entertainment, they are far from the only DS games on the market that can make such a claim. Honorable mention for our list of the best games for Nintendo DS goes out to these evergreen games: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Mario Kart DS, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, as well as the aforementioned Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift and Sid Meier’s Civilization: Revolution. All of these games are noteworthy for their quality multiplayer modes, the depth of the single-player gameplay they provide, their addictiveness and replayability, or the fact that gamers can download additional content to further enhance their gaming experience.