Top 10 DS Games Since Launch

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The Nintendo DS has found its way into the hands of millions of people. With its impressive range of hardcore to casual games, there is literally a game for just about anyone and everyone. Since its launch, there have been numerous games that stood out among the rest and are begged to be played and replayed. We're going to help you out by picking out 10 must-have gems that should be a part of every DS collection.

10. The World Ends With You! Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Release Date: April 22, 2008 Read Full Review

The World Ends With You offered players an action-RPG outside of the norm. Instead of a fantasy or steampunk setting, players were dropped into the shopping district of Shibuya in Tokyo to fight for their lives in the Reapers' Game. To accompany the modern settings, pins were Neku's sources of special abilities, while clothing and the constant shifting of fashion trends affected his attributes. Coupled with a unique fighting system which had you coordinating two characters - one on each screen - made this RPG a worthwhile investment.

9. Advance Wars: Dual Strike Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Intelligent Systems Release Date: August 22, 2005 Read Full Review

Touchscreen controls make the DS a prime candidate for real-time strategy games and Advance Wars: Dual Strike was a perfect follow-up to its GBA predecessors. While it retained much of the same RTS gameplay, it added new units and buildings, as well as new modes, the ability to use two Commanding Officers at once, and also the ability to wage two battles simultaneously on each screen. Watching your cartoon armies clash as they waged war looked marvelous, and multiplayer increased the already high replay value. A quintessential RTS that shines above the rest on the DS and should be a part of any RTS fan's library.

8. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Release Date: October 1, 2007 Read Full Review

Love it or hate it, Link's new look from Wind Waker took the world by storm. Link's jump from GameCube to DS allowed players to continue their sea-faring adventures once again. Running, sword-fighting, and solving puzzles was done entirely with the stylus, which worried some players, but ended up being completely organic. Zelda purists would rest easy knowing that elaborate dungeons and puzzles were still present, yet unfamiliar mechanics such as drawing the flight path of the boomerang ensured that even seasoned vets had some unforeseen challenges ahead.

7. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Publisher: Konami Developer: Konami Release Date: October 4, 2005 Read Full Review

The Castlevania series continued to provide new gameplay tweaks, even though the games largely stayed in 2D. For the series' debut on the DS, the story continued with Soma Cruz, the white haired reincarnation of Dracula himself. The RPG elements established in Symphony of the Night are still present while adding some new touchscreen capabilities in the form of seals that must be drawn to defeat bosses, as well as the Tactical Soul system which lets Soma acquire new abilities after defeating certain enemies and acquiring their souls. Dawn of Sorrow further solidified the fact that Castlevania is best played in two dimensions.

6. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Release Date: September 14, 2009 Read Full Review

The Mario & Luigi RPG games are some of the most comical titles on the system to date. This time the plumber duo finds itself shrunk down and swallowed by Bowser. The game is played both as a 2D sidescroller when inside Bowser, and in an isometric view when playing as the villain. The top screen showed Bowser and his reactions to your actions from within him, which always resulted in some hilarious situations. Bowser's Inside Story was arguably the best in the series, but besides the turn-based fights, played least like an RPG. Look no further if excellent gameplay coupled with topnotch humor is what you're in the mood for.

5. Mario Kart DS Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Release Date: November 14, 2005 Read Full Review

Arguably one of the best party games to date, as well as one of the most entertaining kart racers, Mario Kart DS took everything good about past entries and crammed it into its tiny cartridge. Boasting 32 courses, 16 taken from past Mario Kart games while the other 16 were completely new, 12 characters with three karts each, and finally an online mode letting you race or battle anyone across the world, this was one beast of a kart racer. No longer were players confined to their TVs but could race anywhere, anytime, and all the time.

4. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Level 5 / Square Enix Release Date: July 11, 2010 Read Full Review

Square Enix found themselves in a slump with some recent releases, but Dragon Quest IX was an exception. This was an epic JRPG with a grand storyline, amazing visuals and excellent gameplay. Though it wasn't as character driven as past entries due to the ability to create your own party, I still found myself completely engrossed in the story. This was a game that could easily last up to a 100 hours with its insane amount of side quests to complete, equipment to collect, and the ability to join other players on their grand adventures. RPG fanatics look no further.

3. Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Game Freak Release Date: March 14, 2010

Call me nostalgic but I still hold the original Pokemon creatures close to my heart. Now there are hundreds more, and it is nearly impossible to remember them all. Though SoulSilver and HeartGold featured the 2nd generation of Pokemon, it was still a fond trip down memory lane. The included Poke Walker accessory (essentially a pedometer) lets you take your favorite monster with you anywhere you go and even catch new Pokemon that can be transferred back to the game. Whether you want to reminisce or you skipped over Gold and Silver back in the day, this is one game (or two) you don't want to miss.

2. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: Rockstar Leeds Release Date: March 17, 2009 Read Full Review

When Grand Theft Auto for the DS was announced, I admit, I was a skeptic. Upon realizing that it was going back to its top-down gameplay, I was ready to dismiss it altogether. Chinatown Wars turned my expectations upside down. It still contained a large city with multiple islands to explore, tons of side missions, and clever uses of the touchscreen. Everything from making Molotov cocktails, hotwiring cars, and scratching off lottery tickets was implemented on the touchscreen. Rockstar was able to once again immerse players in the sick and twisted Liberty City, even on a tiny screen.

1. New Super Mario Bros. Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Release Date: May 15, 2006 Read Full Review

What can be said about New Super Mario Bros. that hasn't been said a hundred times over? It marked the return of Mario's 2D signature gameplay after 14 years, while infusing it with better graphics, new moves, and many more worlds to traverse. Players would show off their platforming skills through a whopping 80 levels, utilizing new power-ups such as the Mega Mushroom, Mini-Mushroom and the Blue Koopa Shell. It's a nostalgic trip to Mario games of old, as well as a reminder that 2D platformers can still thrive in a world taken over by three dimensions.

Charmander
Mike Splechta GameZone's Editor-in-Chief, retro game enthusiast, savior of kittens. Follow me @Michael_GZ
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