Or at least the cutting edge of gaming… as of 5 years ago.

Last night, Cassie joined the ranks of the handheld gaming community by buying a refurbished Nintendo DS Lite.

We also have 1 game… Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a game that looks pretty amazing. We both thought it was awesome on the Gamecube, so we’re looking forward to seeing the new one.

What we’d like to ask of all you wonderful hip cats (and Bears) is your expert advice on games to look for!

See, we know that it’s highly likely a lot of you, if not most of you, already bought a DS 5 years ago, and have tried out and played tons of games.

That being the case, YOU are the valued expert, and we.. well, we’d like to take advantage of you. :)

Wheras I am a player along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics when it comes to handhelds, Cassie is more a button mashing gamer, and proud of it!

She has, self-admittedly, no love for turn based Final Fantasy console games, or card based combat. We’d both like to think she’d love the new Kingdom Hearts, but it looks like it went away from the original combat style of the first two console games by using card based combat… which she doesn’t care for.

She likes, well, the old Guantlet style combat, or Paper Mario and the Thousand year Door, characters you run around with and kick and punch or hammer and jump the bad guys.

Yes, technically Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door is turn based. Sometimes. Shh!

I suggested she try out Castlevania, and she said she had read reviews, and it sounds like one of those where you have multiple party members that you can’t control, so pfft.

A woman of discerning tastes is she.

I do know what she’s talking about, though. We both loved Spyro… until they changed the Spyro game so you had Spyro, plus like 5 other team members, each with different playstyles, and in order to progress you were forced to have to play different zones as all of them, including one that handled as a first person shooter.

As an aside, wtf is wrong with people that, when they have a winning highly popular playstyle design, they shoot themselves in the foot for a sequel and toss in a bunch of multiple characters with different handling styles done to death in other games, and force you to play those to progress? If I want to play an FPS, I ain’t thinking, “Oooh, I know. Spyro!” It’s the same in WoW, “Oooh, they’re bored, let’s add a new mechanic, dragon riding combat and make it a raid!” 

Anyway, I ask for your suggestions on Nintendo DS games that you played that you thought were just brilliant, for someone that loves platforming or RPG styled action oriented games, and preferredly ones that are fairly inexpensive to find used or on Amazon, because we are poor.

There is a reason it took us this long to get a DS, after all.

Have fun, and a wonderful day!

32 Responses to “Help us join the Century of the Fruitbat!”
  1. Kayeri says:

    We got a DS for Christmas…. or I should say the MUNCHKIN got a DS for Christmas, along with two Tinkerbell games…. I was salivating, I’d wanted one for years… lol

    For awhile, I thought I’d get to keep it… she showed no interest in the little silver box…. and since I didnt have anything else (yet), I played the Tinkerbell game… Well, eventually Munchkin DID take notice and want to play… Tinkerbell is her favorite at the moment…but we do share so I got myself a Legend of Zelda game that I enjoy occasionally. :)

  2. JimA says:

    New Super Mario Bros.
    It’s a great throwback platformer and still has that new car smell to boot!

  3. steves says:

    Puzzle Quest. Combines the best of old-school console RPGs and a million different twists on Bejewelled.

    I’ll warn you though, if you think WoW is addictive, this, well…

  4. FerrioClef says:

    Scribblenauts is a great game that I recommend, especially to play with your kids — there are a lot of reviews that are hit and miss, but I bet they use the same solution for the puzzles, like “Black Hole” and “guns” and whatnot. I’ve found that if you play with a child, especially one that’s very creative, you’ll get all sorts of weird solutions that might or might not work, but at least they’ll be fun to try.

  5. Jill says:

    The problem with the DS is that it was made msotly to be a child’s plaything. While there are a couple adult games, most people would argue that the graphics tend to add a “child-like” quality to most of the games. For my FFSeries, and Zelda loving butt though, it’s just fine. (Not a graphic snob)
    I have had a ton of fun with both of the Zelda games. You use the stylus to hack and slash and move around, so it can take some getting used to. One disadvantage is the boat you control (phantom hourglass, the first one) (if you ever played The Windwaker, you’ll understand). But it’s a relatively simple hack and slash RPG puzzle, typical good Zelda game.
    Though it’s not a hack and slash, I also bought Chrono Trigger for the DS. Those who played it on the SNES rejoiced everywhere when it came out again. :D (me included).
    Unfortunately, you probably won’t find these for less than 30, since they’re “big” name titles, though the first zelda may have come down in price by now.
    Children of Mana is another Cutesy hack and slash, reminiscent of the SNES Mana title. I had this one on rent, so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with it and don’t quite remember the game mechanics.
    I’ve heard the Lego games are all cute but fun. I myself haven’t tried the DS versions, but the PS2 and X360 versions. Lego Indiana Jones on the 360 was good, can’t imagine the ds one being all that different. And it was a button masher.
    Contact was another fun little rpg button masher.
    There’s also a lot of Games I know about, but haven’t played myself. I worked at Gamestop for a few years, and payed for video game knowledge (lol). Any questions, just email me.
    I hoped this helped you some!

  6. Rayvynn says:

    The Castlevania games are pretty nifty, and I love playing the Brain Age games (the Sudoku gets intense!). Worms is a lot of fun on the DS as well. Also, Mario Kart racing is a must. :) Enjoy your new investment, Bear and Cassie!

  7. Melpo says:

    I got Scribblenauts last year for the DS. Very interesting puzzle type game. Tagline is “Draw anything, solve everything”, or something like that. It’s pretty fun, yet tough enough that it is challenging for an adult.

  8. toque says:

    I have a DS, but I mostly use an iphone for my heldheld gaming at the moment. That being said a great game on the iphone which was originally on the DS is Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars.

  9. Tesh says:

    Ahem. The DS is my primary gaming platform these days. So…

    Kingdom Hearts 358/2 plays a LOT like the original. KH Chain of Memories is the one with the card system, and yes, it’s… different, but it turns out to be a pretty good button masher, too. 358/2 really is great, though.

    Both Final Fantasy Tactics (one GBA, one DS, both playable on a DS) are fun games. Neither is quite as good as the original FFT, but they are both well worth playing for this old Tactics nut. I also highly recommend Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis (GBA) and Disgaea DS to scratch that tactics itch.

    The Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton games are fantastic, and Brain Age 1 & 2 are really good as well. My wife loves Word Coach, though I’ve found it a bit… odd. It’s good, but most of the words are ones you’ll never actually *use*, which limits its practical effectiveness.

    Puzzle Quest is a weird mashup of Bejeweled and RPG mechanics, and I love it. Its spiritual sequels Galactrix and Puzzle Kingdoms are also good (and I recommend them), but neither is as good as the original PQ in my book.

    The Mario RPGs on the handhelds (Mario & Luigi Superstar and Bowser’s Inside Story… or something like that) have been getting great reviews. I loved the first one, but the cart ate my save one night when my machine lost power, so I gave up before finishing it. I’m a fan of the old SNES Mario RPG, and they capture a similar flavor.

    I’ve enjoyed all of the Castlevania games I’ve played. I’ve not touched the most recent one, but the GBA trio are all good.

    The Zelda DS games are great, and you can’t go wrong with Mario Kart DS if you have any love for the ‘Kart games.

    So… yeah. That’s just off the top of my head. It’s perhaps obvious looking at my list, but don’t forget GBA games, since the DS can handle them. There are some real gems from that generation of games, and you can pick a lot of them up pretty cheaply, whether it’s used or sometimes even new.

    Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Final Fantasy III, IV and Chrono Trigger for the DS. Yummy, yummy RPG classic goodness.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..EMMO =-.

  10. Carrie says:

    I got both Professor Layton (the first one) and Scribblenauts this past Christmas and love both of them. As far as Mario-style games, I have a Kirby one that’s in that playstyle, you eat your foes and your abilities change based on what kind of enemy it was.

    For something different, maybe she’d like Elite Beat Agents. I’d never heard of it, but I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s a stylus game, music plays (and it’s good music, for the most part) and you have to tap the stylus on the screen along with the song. Excellent fun!
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Epic WoW Marathon! (plus news.) =-.

  11. Elegantdeath says:

    Yeh, all good recommendations. Can really stand by Jewel Quest

  12. Voda says:

    I read the title and thought you were going to tell us about a Discworld based MMO!!! Dang it. I’d have to try out the Igor-healer or, omg a little blue Pictsie. Ah Crivens what are they waiting for!

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    Tesh, are you saying the new Kingdmo Hearts 358/2 isn’t card based combat? Because the reviews I read say it is…

    And Cassie says she’s having a hard time finding Puzzle Quest :( I will have to check the used bins at Gamestop.

  14. Elleseven says:

    Professor Layton made me want to pull my hair out. If you sucked at math wordproblems in school, then many of the puzzles will stump the bejesus out of you. Talk about feeling stupid >>. If you want to excercise your brain, I would recommend Brain Age instead. The only other games I still play are MarioKart and Super Mario brothers. Other than that DS is getting dusty since I got a PSP for Christmas.

  15. Phaedra says:

    I like games where you collect cute things: Animal Crossing Wild World (though, if you don’t play it for months, you’ll go back to a VERY weedy village), Pokemon (slowly working my way through Pearl), SimAnimals (you’re in charge of woodland critters).

    I also have a Legend of Zelda that I barely played and a Mario Party. Unfortunately, unlike the Gamecube versions, the DS version of MarioParty is not a solo friendly game.

    Another blog I read (Of Teeth and Claws) has several recommendations for DS games. While I don’t tend to agree with alot of Andrew’s playstyle, I do like how he and his wife play Prof. Layton together. I am hoping to start doing this with my husband – snuggling up together in bed, solving puzzles together.

    With WoW (and our newly aquired Dragon Age: Origins), my DS just sits in my bag, until I am traveling.

  16. Rhii says:

    If you guys like old style adventure/puzzle, I’d heartily recommend Hotel Dusk: Room 215. It was a huge surprise to me, but it was one of the best DS games I’ve played yet and the graphics are charming.

    Animal Crossing Wild World is older but still charming and I’m a stuff collecting nut.

    The World Ends with You: it’s a Squeenix title, with sort of a Kingdom Heartsy graphic style (spiky haired teenagers but no disney). It uses a touch screen based VERY fast paced battle system with a lot of customizable attacks. You do have a party member who you can opt to control or to let the computer auto-play. I’m not very good at controlling her, it takes a bit of coordination, and I preferred to let her do her own thing.

    Mario & Luigi Partners in Time: another older one, but very good… you control mario and luigi at the same time and they do joint attacks. Fun RPG style twist to mario games.

    Lost In Blue (1,2,3….425 they keep making sequels) is about surviving on an island. It’s another of those for the detail obsessed. It’s really niche, but it’s the best thing going in that niche. If you want to micromanage someone’s water and food intake for hours on end, this will do you. :)

  17. manydills says:

    The Castlevania games are all excellent, and they do NOT have party members that you can’t control. In most of them, you have the ability to switch between multiple party members, but only one is on-screen at a time, and you’re always in control.

  18. Stupid Mage says:

    Bangaio is a total button masher.

    ummmm….
    Nothing to do with Nintendo:
    http://www.elementsthegame.com/

  19. Watermist says:

    At the risk of getting laughed at, I play only one kind of game on my DS: Pokemon. It’s a collection game, it’s a strategy game, and it’s a RP game of sorts (really, rather limited compared to others but still). I’m not familiar with half of the games listed here, but Pokemon is different enough from WoW (and RTS games), people might would like it.

    Also, it’s not a kids’ game anymore – yes, it has a rating of E, but most players are in the range of ages 20-35; think about it. Pokemon came out in 1995… the players have stuck with it ever since, and they grew up. :P There’s nothing to be embarrassed about playing Pokemon. XD

    *dons flameproof vest and awaits scorn for suggesting Pokemon*

  20. Tesh says:

    Yes, KH 358/2 is very similar to the original KH in combat and overall “feel”, except that it’s broken up into mission-based play chunks for the portable gaming considerations. KH:Chain of Memories is the card-based one, later ported to the PS2 as KH:Re:Chain of Memories.

    I really liked 358/2, but then, the original KH is my favorite in the series, too, so that’s no surprise.

    Watermist, Pokemon is a solid game. It’s wrapped in kiddie sorts of sensibilities and storytelling, but the heart of it is really timeless, good game design.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..EMMO =-.

  21. Fnarth says:

    I would highly recommend both Zelda games. I think they are the best use of the DS controls and are very fun. Hard to put down once you get into them. I have Scribblenauts, and it was neat and novel, but it never really sucked me in. Chrono Trigger is a blast. The game that has seen the most play time on my DS though has to be Tetris DS. It is crazy hard to find though. I had to be a used copy off eBay at above original store cost.

  22. Stupid Mage says:

    Totally support Pokemon. It’s a lot better than some people think. Didn’t suggest it as it isn’t a button masher.

  23. Cassieann says:

    Wow, thanks for all the suggestions! I’m looking through all of them and trying to decide what to buy first :-)

    And just a clarification that it doesn’t have to be a button masher for me to play it. That statement was more about combat types of games where I don’t like turn-based or card type systems. I want to just have buttons and abilities to use easily, but it can be complex/require thought though (after all, I play WoW and have 4-80s, so I can do complex). :-)

    So definitely keep the ideas coming! Or let us know about games that are coming out soon that we might not have heard about since we haven’t paid attention to DS stuff up to this point.

    Thanks again!

    Cassie

  24. Erthshade says:

    From experience I can recommend Puzzle Quest (though it has one annoying ‘feature’ in the DS version: the first board is always the same after startup), New Super Mario Bros (excellent oldschool platforming with some tricky coins), Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (I enjoy roguelikes, okay?), Sonic Rush (though the 7th chaos emerald stage will have you tearing your hair out), and Kirby Super Star Ultra. I have Scribblenauts, but keep getting frustrated by the lack of interaction in the ways I want it and NPCs doing weird things, as well as creatures you write in quite often turning right around and killing you — if I write in a bodyguard, I kinda expect it to guard me.

  25. Derek says:

    Why am I not surprised that BBB is a Pratchett fan? As one myself this just makes sense to me.

  26. bigbearbutt says:

    I was afraid I was going to crush the hopes of Pratchett fans, but the title leapt out at me like a cougar after Rick Springfield.

  27. Sukugaru says:

    The Castlevania with uncontrollable party members might be Portrait of Ruin. It has both party members on screen at once, and you switch between them. It’s been a while since I’ve played it, but I seem to remember that the other party member runs along behind you and does very little on their own.

    The other Castlevanias are all one character, or ‘one character of a party at a time’.

    The most recent Castlevania, Order of Ecclesia, is brutally harder than previous entries in the series. I haven’t yet completed it, but this could be due to it coming out around the same time as Wrath of the Lich King. :)

    If you can track it down, and like rhythm based music games, Elite Beat Agents is lots of fun. You tap and slide the stylus around the screen according to on-screen prompts, to the beat of the music.

    Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is an almost entirely stylus-driven version of Ninja Gaiden, on the DS, with slightly-less-ridiculous female character designs than you see in the XBox and Playstation 3 versions. Rather than being a button masher, it is a ‘screen scratcher’. I found it lots of fun.

  28. Rahl says:

    If you have a Wii or GC there are button mashing RPGs (60 or so hrs long) in the form of the Tales of …… games.

    Typical JRPG fare but button mashing combo generating fighting plus you can chose whether to go into combat or just avoid the mobs in the open field instead of the usual random battles.

    DS:

    Prof Layton – Great puzzles but no action
    Scribblenauts – Great puzzles, innovative game, not that much action
    Zelda Games – Usual zelda stuff. In other words great games. All stylus controlled rather than buttons.
    GTA : One of my fave GTA games ever. Very reminiscent of the first 2 games.
    Mario RPGs : Again very good games, not the most challenging but very fun!

  29. Kauket says:

    I hope you are being taken by the hand and led gently into the new century, as opposed to being dragged kicking and screaming.

  30. mires says:

    I saw it once in the comments but i feel it needs to be reiterated- The Ace Attorney series of games (aka Phoenix Wright) are fantastic and come heartily recommended.

  31. Spawnofmoose says:

    On of the new pokemon games coming out (Soul Silver, Heart Gold) and both Zelda games (Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks)

    I don’t know if you guys have played the new and improved Zelda on Wii (Zelda: Twilight Princess) but if you have, then you know how interactive it is. Swing at this, shoot at that. What they have done with the DS is also make it interactive. All movement is done via stylus and things like closing your DS to press pages together, blowing on the microphone to blow out candles. Pure genius and fun for all!

  32. Spawnofmoose says:

    wish I could edit my previous post.

    Like Tesh said, there are some GREAT GBA games, especially since you bought a Lite and not a PoS (no not Pit of Saron =p) DSi (wtf are people gonna do with a camera and smaller screen?). For BBB I HIGHLY HIGLY recommend the Golden Sun duo. I’m not a big RPG fan but these 2 games are soooooo good I have played through multiple times.

    Golden Sun plays like a Final Fantasy and uses techniques similar to that of FF8 (GFs = more stats/abilities). Summons are amazing, puzzles are sometimes elaborate and the storyline is just wonderful.
    When they released the sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the kept everything the same just gave you the opposite characters and new summons. Also you can carry your previous save data over, so that way you can have your old characters too, with all their badassery =)

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