From the traditional role-playing trimmings of Dragon Quest IX and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn to the kooky creations of WarioWare: D.I.Y. and Super Scribblenauts, Nintendo DS has seen a pretty good year. As always, plenty of role-playing games abounded in 2010, arguing even further the handheld’s status as a harbinger of another RPG golden age, and yet with games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Nintendo’s little system that could kept showing the world why DS developers have creativity in spades. Of course, hijinks ensued when the Nintendojo staff got together to decide which games were the best; the fact that it was so difficult just goes to show that Nintendo DS continues to have some of the best offerings on any system.
BEST DS GAME
Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver
While Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver is a remake at heart soul its basest level, the fact that it’s a Pokémon game automatically makes it good. No, just kidding. But really, saying HeartGold & SoulSilver is just Pokémon Gold & Silver with new character designs, superb musical rearrangements and sound design, different gym layouts and puzzles and sometimes even new town locales– that’s a little underwhelming. Because HeartGold & SoulSilver doesn’t just have aesthetic changes, though they may seem only aesthetic: the inclusion of the Pokéwalker (both physical and in-game) lets you take your Pokélove nerdiness to a whole new level, and Pokémon veterans will even find new storylines and plot twists that have been a long time coming. (Kimono Girls, anyone?) Really, HeartGold & SoulSilver invite us to look even more closely at our united Pokémon obsessions, and the sheer amount of changes (that we can’t put here, but can link here) show that they’re obsessions that will not soon leave us.
BEST DS GAME RUNNERS-UP
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
It was a shock to almost the entire gaming world a few years back when Square Enix decided Level-5, a company known for its stellar Dark Cloud and Professor Layton games (as well as Dragon Quest VIII), would develop Dragon Quest IX for Nintendo DS. Well, any doubts have now been assuaged– Dragon Quest IX, with its nigh-endless gameplay in the form of grottoes and clothing/armor collection, as well as some great support from SE and Level-5 in the form of weekly downloadable quests (still running as we speak), has shown its mettle. Unfortunately, considering its multiplayer options are a tad weak, and the steep curve to get to said repeatable grottoes with any form of success, Dragon Quest IX falls to the runners-up position. But maybe when you’re done collecting all the Pokémon, ever, you can get started on collecting the hundreds of items in Dragon Quest IX.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations
Coming up tied for third place is Professor Layton and the Unwound Future and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, foreshadowing (perhaps) future success in their 3DS crossover. Sure, they’re very different games made by very different companies– though Level-5 is more and more experiencing the same kind of acclaim Capcom does, as evidenced by two of its games being in our best DS list– but what with Layton and Edgeworth’s constant puzzling and mental trickery, it’d be a crime to not include them here. A crime that Layton would immediately puzzle out and Edgeworth stringently prosecute– so we’re going to be law-abiding gamers and just say that these incredibly witty, mentally taxing (in good ways) games should not be missed.
BEST DS GAME HONORABLE MENTION
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Tell us which of the above titles you’d pick as the winner, or if you think another game is more deserving, select “Other” and tell us in the comments!