The Ultimate DS Library

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan

I’ve been playing my DS Lite so often now I should probably change the name of the site from “buttonMashing” to “screenTouching” or something like that. Touching is indeed good. I’ve been speding some time on eBay recently, hunting for some DS titles to round out my library. It got me thinking about what would make up the “Ultimate DS Library.” So I present to you my idea of the “Ultimate DS Library.” (Note that I don’t, as of yet, own some of these titles. But I have enough faith in them that I am actively pursuing a copy of them.)

Must haves:
Mario Kart DS – It may be true that the majority of the online races are now snake-fests, but Mario Kart is still an excellent racing game and truly fun multiplayer game. Playing by yourself or getting together with others to throw down in Mario Kart is great time. There’s enough single player options for this game to take up entirely too much of your time. And even if the online racing is almost completely borked, there’s always the dreaded Friend Codes!

Advance Wars: Dual Strike – I almost didn’t include AW:DS on this list because the Advance Wars series of games doesn’t appeal to all gamers. That being said, even if you had a passing fancy to play a turn-based strategy game, Advance Wars deserves a look. It will provide hours of good gaming. If strategy games are your thing, AW:DS will own your soul.

Meteos – I only recently added Meteos to my collection and I’m sorry I waited so long to pick it up. It’s a great puzzle game with fun game play and hypnotic music. This is DS gaming at its best – a game you can pick up, play for ten minutes and then put down.

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan – This is the only game in the “Must Have” section that I don’t own. Don’t let that stop you from importing this game. Every forum I read, every list I’ve seen, any time someone mentions the best DS games, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is always mentioned. I am in the process of importing this game as well. It is being “translate” for US consumption under the name “Elite Beat Agents” but I can’t wait. Everyone says this is a must own, so therefore I must own this title.

New Super Mario Brothers – It’s old school Mario Brothers. You might think that would be all you need for an explanation. You would be right.

Metroid Prime Pinball – Metroid Prime Pinball falls in the category of “no-brainers,” as in, if you like pinball games, MPP is a no brainer. The pinball is fast, the touch screen adds a little twist on the tilt and all the Metroid power-ups are at your disposal. The music is some of the best on the DS, echoing the great music from Metroid Prime 1/2 on the Gamecube.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife – I’ve had this game sitting, unopened, for months. I cracked into this past week and I am having a blast. My buddy Jeremiah asked me some games to recommend, and since I know he is an ER junkie, I think he’d love Trauma Center. With game play perfectly suited for using the stylus, you can’t go wrong. Who ever thought disinfecting a wound would be so much fun?!

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney – The second title on the list I don’t own, but am actively pursing. A cross between an adventure game and an episode of Law & Order, Phoenix Wright has all the makings of an excellent game.

Tetris DS – I’m still on the fence with Tetris DS. Part of me says, “we don’t need another Tetris game,” and another part says, “but it’s Tetris!” So I still haven’t picked up Tetris for the DS, but again, (I’m leaning on the forums I’ve read) everyone seems to love Tetris DS, especially the multiplayer games.

Animal Crossing: Wild World – I had originally planned on this being a “Must Own,” but in all honesty, Animal Crossing isn’t for everyone. I still play it weekly, but not as much I used to. The online multiplayer is fun, if not a bit clunky with the chat interface. But there’s still something about running errands for furry animals and fishing in the ocean that keeps me coming back to Animal Crossing.

Solid fun:
Metroid Prime: Hunters – MPH didn’t engage me like I thought it would, but it’s still a great game. Again, another game marred with online multiplayer issues, this is still a lot of fun to play with, single and multi-player. The controls take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got a handle on them, MPH is fast and furious FPS’ing. I just wish I could switch my trigger button!

Brain Age – I would be remiss if I didn’t include Brain Age in one of these categories. I still train my brain before I go to bed each night. Brain Age has sucked the buttonWife into DS gaming, and I’m hoping it’s a gateway to other games, like Trauma Center and others. Brain Age can be fun for just about anyone.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow – I haven’t played Castlevania in ages, but everyone sings its praise, so it must have something going for it. I don’t include it here in a higher category becuase I simply haven’t played it. But don’t let that stop you. If you love your vampire slaying, it’s probably right up your alley.

There are others that are on the “consider list” for me, including Kirby: Canvas Curse, Yoshi’s Touch and Go, and Age of Empires: The Age of Kings. They all look great, but I can’t recommend them, as I haven’t played any them.

The only type of gamer that gets the short end of the stick right now is the sports gamer. While the DS has a few sports games on the horizon, the only one that interest me right now is True Swing Golf. Tiger Woods PGA Tour is an atrocity that should never have been committed to silicon. I’d love to see some simulation-style games come over to the DS. I think it’s got the muscle power to handle it and I think the interface is perfect.

Finally, there’s still a lot of games on the horizon. Personally, I’m excited about: Final Fantasy III, Cooking Mama, Elite Beat Agents, Reel Fishing: Life & Nature (hahah, just playin’).

So that’s my list to assemble the “Ultimate DS Library.” Don’t consider it definitive, but if you’ve followed this site for a while, you’ll know how my tastes line up with yours and can gauge accordingly. Finally, I ask whether or not I’m missing anything?


  1. Thanks for this list. I share your surprise at how great the DS lineup is and lack of free time:p Having a list like this helps, since I have to troll people’s Amazon lists otherwise. One title you may want to check out is Lost in Blue. It’s an adventure, platformer, puzzle game. Plus it throws in the real twist of having to care for an NPC. Including a sense of responsibility (on a timer) puts a level of effort and urgency on this I never would have expected. It’s up there for me with Animal Crossing:WW. Also, if you’re doing all-time-best or most popular or most neat, you should also probably include Nintendogs and Trace Memory.

  2. i wil now (in my signature way) attempt to say somthing negative about eah of those games!

    MKDS: too easy to beat, and unless you have wifi, gets boring fast, as the hardest level can still easily be double lapped, i sold this a week ater i got it.

    Advance wars: awsome games, but if you have 1 or 2 on the GBA, all your missing is the stylus actoin

    Meteos: i tried it on the DS downlaod an play, it just didn’t apeal to me

    Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan: i dont do imports, to much hassle for a game that you can’t understand, i’ll check out the US versoin sometime

    New Super Mario Brothers: too short, not a lot new here, feels like links awakening DX to me

    Metroid Prime Pinball: well, i do need to check this one out, alouth i must say, the only pinball game i ever really LOVED was pokemon pinball, on the GBC (advance sucked)

    Trauma Center: Under the Knife: i….want…..this….game…..

    Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: looks interseting, i’ll have to check it out, once i have enough for my wii and a few launch titles

    Tetris DS: i never really cuaght the tetris bug, to me wario ware touched is more fun

    Animal Crossing: Wild World: this game is amazing, in the way that it can keep you playing everyday for a month strait, and suddendly one day you just stop, and it ends up eing sold for $15 at your next garage sale

    Metroid Prime: Hunters: i have the demo (it’s awsome) but the whole idea of an FPS on the ds dosent sit well, goldeneye rouge agent wasent very good (another DS FPS)

    Brain Age: see: animal crossing

    Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: see: Trauma Center: Under the Knife

    Kirby: Canvas Curse: looks interesting, but not somthing i would send $30 on

    Age of Empires: The Age of Kings: never liked that style much, and it’s better on PC

    Yoshi’s Touch and Go: havent ever checked it out, so i wouldent know

    True Swing Golf: dont really like golf much, i did play it, interesting, but i wouldent spend more than $5 on it

    Final Fantasy III: see Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

    wow, that was intense, well, i hope i said at least one thing negative about each game!

    i didn’t know it would be THAT long!

  4. That pretty much sounds like my DS games shelf. (Still waiting for Ouendan myself.)

    Also, can I recommend Super Mario 64 DS? Unless you played the original to death, this is pretty much superior in every way to the original, while still keeping everything that made it one of the best platformers ever made. I hate platformers, and I still think this is one of the best game choices I made for my DS.

    I’m playing Trauma Centre now – so unique, so addictive when you’re doing well, and so throw-your-DS-at-the-wall frustrating when you’re not. You definitely need some frustration tolerance for that game.

  5. ThatFuzzyBastard says

    An excellent list! Couple things…

    You really, really need to play Kirby Canvas Curse. It’s a great example of how the DS interface creates really new types of gameplay—while it’s still more or less in the same platformer category as Kirby, the drawing system radically reinvents the whole genre. As a friend of mine said, “It’s like Sonic, except you get to make the map!” And doesn’t that sound like the most fun thing ever?

    I would be really curious to hear what you think of Lost in Blue. It got savaged on release, and is definitely very slow-paced, but someone with the MMO experience you have might find it’s structure, which is fundamentally level-up-to-unlock-new-challenges, more congenial than a lot of handheld reviewers. I loved it, but I also didn’t like Animal Crossing (addictive without being fun, imho), so your mileage may vary.

    And hey, no love for Electroplankton? Along with the delight I take in this lovely un-game (I’ve actually missed subway stops due to its massive absorbtion factor), I’ve found it to be the killer app for converting non-gamers—everyone from my 8-year-old li’l-brother-in-law to his 52-year-old mom is completely charmed by it.

    Mario and Luigi Partners in Time: If you played Superstar Saga, you know how good this can be. It’s a lot less minigame-heavy than Superstar, which I think is kind of a pity, but makes up for it with an even better combat system (this is coming from someone who normally hates turn-based RPG combat with a white-hot passion) and still more funny dialogue. Also very smart of Big-N, I thought, to make a game that had almost no touch-screen input but lots of original uses of the two-screen view, as a reminder to developers that the touch screen isn’t the only unique thing about the DS.

    And to end on a negative note: Phoenix Wright = Teh Overrated. It’s got good points—the art is delightful, the stories are funny, and some of the puzzles are fun. But for the most part, it runs head-on into the same problems that cursed its text-adventure bretheren—I constantly found myself yanked out of the game as I fought the interface, crying “I know what I need to do, now how the hell am I supposed to do it?” There’s definitely potential in the series, but I doubt its going to get there short of a Metroid-style rethinkning.

    Oh, and Feel the Magic is funny. Way short, but funny, and mad stylish, and all over eBay for, like, $10, which its well worth.

    Now, how’re you doing with the GBA library available to DS owners? Played WarioWare Twisted yet? Or Astro Boy, the game that’ll remind you why we loved 2-D shooters?

  6. Great list.

    I sold my PSP and got a DSlite…

    really enjoying it.

  7. Thanks for all the comments, it looks like I’ve got a handful of games to try out. Lost in Blue is one I’ve been considering, so I might go down that route next. I was excited about Trace Memory when it was announced, but the reviews didn’t turn out very positive, so I never gave it a chance. Maybe I will if I can pick it up on the cheap.

  8. I just got a DS on Sunday and already have 4 on the list. I’m well on my way, and enjoying the system very much.

  9. does trauma center have any depth to it? is it a puzzle game or action game?

    and how about GBA games that are still good?

  10. Flamingsquirrel, there is absolutley nothing to understand with Ouindan. The stories are so self-explanatory. It was well worth the import for me.

    Funniest story so far is the one of the violinist with the runs.

  11. hhhmmm….
    whats it about? like gamplay? puzzle?

  12. Think of it as DDR for the DS, only not as insane.

  13. hhhmmm….
    still, i’ll wait untill the US release, and even then, i still probably wont get it

  14. I agree with your list except 2 details.

    Where’s BIG BRAIN ACADAMY!? Nobody gives this game any love.
    It’s the most fun with at least 3 people. It’s very WarioWare-esqe, but you feel smarter afterwards.

    AW:DS really didn’t do it for me. After 3-4 solid hours of playing the first levels, I couldn’t keep track of which little orange boxy tank-thing was the weakling, and which one was t3h 4w3s0m3. And the interface was really tough to negotiate.

  15. dmarsee – I probably should have at least mentioned BBA, my bad for leaving it off the list. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, so I really should give it a try. As far as AW:DS is concerned, did you play the other two Advance Wars on the GBA? If not, that might explain why the interface was a pain. A lot of us that love AW:DS are veterans of the previous AW games.

  16. Patty Cakes says

    I have recently started to build what I was calling the “Ultimate DS Library.”

    Because of financial restrictions I have not yet accomplished this, but I am pleased to see that the eight games I currently own are all on the list.

    Trauma Center (I was lucky enough to find it used)
    Advance Wars DS
    New Super Mario Bros.
    Animal Crossing
    Metroid Prime Pinball

    I am dying to get Phoenix Wright, as well as a ton of upcoming releases (FF III, Cooking Mama, Mario Hoops, Contact, Elite Beat Agents, Children of Mana, the list goes on and on…), not to mention the Wii which is quickly approaching…

    My DS Lite pretty much controls my universe at the moment, I was with the original DS from the very beginning (I pre-ordered) and I stayed with it through some tough times…

    I am glad to see that it is finally getting the games it deserves.

    The release of the Lite (which I also pre-ordered) could not have come at a better time.

    Man, just think about what FF III will look like on those beautiful screens…

    Oh, and I would have to recommend “Drill Dozer” for anyone looking for a solid GBA platformer.

    I believe that it is currently priced at $10 in Best Buy locations, although most still have it marked at $30…

    The system should ring it up as $10.

    Heck, screw financial restrictions, when am I going to have enough time to play all the games I want to?!?!

  17. Patty Cakes says

    Oh yeah, and much love to:
    Kirby Canvas Curse
    Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
    Electro Plankton
    Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time

    Sorry I got rid of you guys, I promise I’ll pick you all back up soon!

  18. Totally agree with this list.
    I would include Bomberman DS! It’s great with 8 players! and it’s a decent version of Bomberman.

  19. Patty Cakes and Jimmy – thanks for the suggestions, looks like I’ve got quite a few more games to check out!

  20. I want to buy a hand-held system but i’m hesitating… Go for the DS or the PSP? I want the system which has a larger library of games which will keep me entertained for hours, best online play and allow me to browse the internet on the move.

  21. well, both systems require a wifi connectoin to accses the internet, as of now, the DS cannot actualy browse it though, nintedo is releasing a game cartridge that will have Opera on it, and you can use the touch screen. as to which one, I would instantly point you in the directoin of the DS, but I am sellng mine, becuase I can’t find any game good enough to justify me keeping it, plus I found someone who will pay just as uch as I did for it.

  22. Don’t bother with Yoshi’s. It looks fun, and it is – for about half an hour. It’s limited, repetitive, and pretty much nothing more than a tech demo (in the bad sense). It feels like a minigame. Get Warioware instead.

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