The 10 best Nintendo DS games of all time

Some classic games are on this list.

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The Nintendo DS platform was groundbreaking for the world of gaming. The platform introduced a two-screen setup and allowed players to play with others from around the world or with people who were just a few feet away. Throughout the console’s lifespan, a number of critically-acclaimed games were released for the DS, but which ones were the best? Here are our picks for the 10 best games available for the Nintendo DS.

Animal Crossing: Wild World

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Animal Crossing: Wild World followed the same path as the original Animal Crossing for the Nintendo GameCube. Players were thrust into a new world and tasked with finding animals and objects and build their own world. One key difference between Wild World and its predecessor was its usage of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connect, which enabled players to connect with other Animal Crossing players from around the world — a major step for the franchise. Animal Crossing: Wild World sold over 11 million units for Nintendo.

Big Brain Academy

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Big Brain Academy and Brain Age were two original “train your brain” games. Big Brain Academy was filled with mini-games, including simple math problems, word and picture recognition, and other problem-solving games that tested a player’s speed and efficiency. Players could also partake in daily quizzes and track progress over time.

Big Brain Academy was one of the top-selling Nintendo DS games of all time. Since 2005, it has sold over five million copies.

Chrono Trigger

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One of the highest-rated games in Nintendo DS history was Chrono Trigger, released in 2008. Chrono Trigger, which received Metacritic’s DS Game of the Year award in 2008, is an RPG that follows the path of protagonist Crono. Crono is thrust into a travel through time to rescue a friend, all while preventing certain events from the past that will alter history forever from occurring.

Chrono Trigger received a 92 critic review score for Metacritic and a 9.1 from players.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

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Believe it or not, a Grand Theft Auto game was released for the Nintendo DS. Chinatown Wars was released in 2009 for the PSP and Nintendo DS, and brings GTA fans back to Liberty City. This title was a bit different in story-telling, though. In Chinatown Wars, players see the story of Triad member Huang Lee. Throughout the game, players must re-claim a family heirloom while also dodging the police and other obstacles along the way.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars received the highest critic rating on Metacritic among DS games, topping at 93 alongside the Flipnote Studio app.

Mario Kart DS

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Mario Kart received a revamp in 2005 with the release of Mario Kart DS. The game was a major step forward for the franchise, and that’s not just because the world of Mario Kart was made available for handheld consoles. In addition to its newfound accessibility and fresh courses, Mario Kart brought online games to the franchise, thanks to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connect. All of that combined for a mega-hit for Nintendo, and helped push Mario Kart franchise to the heights it is currently at today.

Over 23 million units of Mario Kart DS have been sold since the game was released in 2005.

New Super Mario Bros.

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Out of all the games released for the Nintendo DS, the one that may be the most critically acclaimed is New Super Mario Bros. New Super Mario Bros. brought Mario back to his platformer roots, tasking players to use Mario or Luigi across each level to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser and Bowser Jr. This title, though, included 3D graphics and new challenges and features that harkened back to the original days of the Super Mario games.

Since its release in 2006, Super Mario Bros. sold over 30 million units for Nintendo.


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Nintendogs made owning a pet fun while not having to deal with walking or feeding one in real life. The concept of Nintendogs was relatively simple: owners could choose from one of 20 different dog breeds, like Golden Retrievers, Beagles, to even Chihuahuas. From there, your job was to take care of the dog. Players were tasked with feeding, playing, and teaching dogs new tricks.

Nintendogs was a hit for Nintendo, selling almost 24 million units.

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

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Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver were released in the fourth generation of Pokémon games. The two were remakes of the classic Gold and Silver games but remastered in a way that welcomed both those who played either of the two classic Game Boy games and players new to the Johto region. HeartGold and SoulSilver featured a revamped Pokédex that featured monsters from the four active generations, new challenges, and events, while holding true to the story made years before the remakes.

Pokémon Platinum

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Pokémon Platinum was released in 2009, two years after the launch of Diamond and Pearl. Like Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Platinum was set in the Sinnoh region. Platinum, though, is seen by many as the ultimate version of the fourth generation of Pokémon. This game introduced fans to new forms of Girartina, Rotom, and Shaymin, brought back the Battle Frontier, and increased the difficulty of opposing trainers, among other new features.

Pokémon Platinum received an overall critic score of 83, per Metacritic.

Super Mario 64 DS

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Super Mario 64 DS was an offshoot to the iconic Super Mario 64 title for the Nintendo 64. Super Mario 64 DS was one of the first Nintendo DS games to be released, bringing Mario fans back to Peach’s castle. However, there were some new twists. Some of those included new side quests that unlocked Yoshi, Wario, and Luigi, and mini-games that took advantage of the DS’ hardware.

Super Mario 64 was a hit for Nintendo, selling over 11 million units.

HeartGold and SoulSilver was one of the best releases for the DS during its lifecycle, as the two sold over 12 million units for Nintendo.