As of now, the Nintendo DS has 3700 unique games released, counting every release from US, JP, and EU shore. Some of them did really well, such as Ace Attorney series, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Some new franchises also did really well on the DS. Games like The World Ends with You became a huge hit and are reprinted many times.
From 37 games available to the Nintendo DS, why did only a few became famous and sell well? Simple, those games are just being overshadowed with the other game series, and people tend to eventually forgot about them. It is games with this type that people classified them as ‘underrated games’ because it is being compared with a different game in the same genre. Here are lists of five underrated games for the Nintendo DS, which you might want to consider when you are not playing anything.
5th: Trace Memory
One of the First Mystery/Adventure Game on Nintendo DS
One of the first games released on the DS, Trace Memory was developed by Cing and is an adventure/mystery genre. It revolves around Ashley Mizuki Robbins, a 13 years old girl who was raised by her aunt, because her parents vanished when she was three years old. She believed that they were dead, until one day, exactly two days before her fourteenth birthday; she received a package containing a letter from her father to invite her to Blood Edward Island, named because of a certain reason; and a DS-like contraption called the DTS, which also functions as a camera. You are then able to play this entire game as Ashley, accompanied by a ghost—who Ashley will find in the graveyard, with the name of “D" and whom has memory loss. Over the course of game, Ashley will find out what actually happened to her parents, while discovering the truth behind the Blood Edward Island.
This game is clearly one of the most underrated DS games, selling only 240,000 units tops (sales courtesy of VGChartz). Japan actually received this game with more hype, with the first week selling over 55,000 units—but quickly dropping to only 1,000s units per week.
4th: Hotel Dusk – Room 215
Another Mystery/Adventure Game – A Forgotten One
Yet another underrated game by Cing. Ironically, this is yet another good game. You will play as Kyle Hyde, a former member of the New York Police Department, who was searching for his missing partner, Brian Bradley. His search leads him to a place called Hotel Dusk, in which there is a myth that anyone who stays at Room 215 will have their wish granted. Coincidentally, Kyle Hyde did receive Room 215, and only then he discovers that Hotel Dusk is related to Brian Bradley’s disappearance.
Similar to Trace Memory, this game’s genre is mystery/adventure. Hyde must speak with many hotel employees and patrons, and discovering the truth behind Room 215 and where his partner actually is.
This game can be considered as a unique game, with the DS played sideways like reading a novel, with captivating storyline—in which every character holds a secret and are different from each other. Sadly, this game only sells about 400,000 units, in which it holds well on the first three weeks, but suddenly dropped down to a mere 1,000s units per week.
An RPG That People Doesn’t Even Know That It Exists
Not many people have heard of this game. This game is an RPG game, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. The story is about a Professor who is flying through space, running from his enemies, end ends up crashing on a planet, losing the “energy" to power his ship. Then the main character, Terry, helps the professor find the energy needed to let the professor board his ship again. But the Professor’s enemies, the Klaxon army, are tracking both of them, with the cells (coincidentally) being hidden in dangerous areas. The problem is that the Professor’s intentions are slowly becoming more confusing and the game takes a turn to a darker tone.
This is one of the few games that include the player as a character in-game, meaning that the player is a separate character than Terry, which means it is breaking the Fourth Wall. From time to time, the Professor will give hints on how to use controls in-game, and even talks to us about how he was concerned about Terry.
While this proved to be an interesting—yet hard—game, Contact sells a mere 90,000 units and was easily forgotten. A sad fate for such a good game.
2nd: Lost Magic
An Ambitious RTS Project
This is the game that started RTS-RPG on the Nintendo DS platform. Lost Magic was an ambitious game—promising features such as creating your own army of monsters by capturing and controlling them, in real-time. This game is the first one to have the “rune-drawing" features, in which the main character of this game, Isaac, can attack enemies by drawing a certain glyph/symbol after pressing L. Later in the game, you will get the ability to do a dual rune drawing, with over 20 combinations, in which each of them leads to a unique magic.
Unfortunately, this game is not considered as fun by many people—only because it has a terrible AI that cannot find their own pathway (this is for monsters, you cannot point and click them at a long distance, or they will keep running into a wall), and some people whines of its hard difficulty. This game might be one of the hardest RTS game on the Nintendo DS platform.
Lost Magic sold for a mere 100,000s units, in which the sales keep decreasing every week.
1st: Lost in Blue
Stranded on a Deserted Island
Yes, this game is the most underrated game on the Nintendo DS. For those who didn’t know about this game, this game is about two people, a man and a woman, stranded alone on a deserted island (which is not always deserted) while trying to survive and escape from the island. For that, you, as the player have to explore the island, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and try to find clues/ways for you to escape the island. Of course, you cannot forget about surviving, as the character’s health is represented by a bar on the top screen, in which when either one of the characters reach 0%, it’s game over.
Out of the five games, Lost in Blue is actually the most successful one. It has reached the third game on the DS, and just recently debuted one game on the Wii. The problem in this game is that it always gets a bad review, in which people thought that it was “too repetitive" and “boring", and it is “too difficult to survive", which isn’t always the case, but only for the third game where you have to micromanage four characters at once (of course, when one of them dies, it’s also game over). But nonetheless, what people said is not wrong. It is really difficult to survive in Lost in Blue, especially when climbing cliffs and ledges decrease your energy/hunger by 1 point, and when your energy reached zero, you cannot run anymore and have to deal with a 1% health decrease every few seconds. For this, the first place goes to the Lost in Blue series.