The Best DS Games of 2010

Our dear old Nintendo DS has had a pretty good year, and it’ll take more than one investigator to find out why. Also vote for your favorite.

By Andrew Hsieh. Posted 01/05/2011 15:00 5 Comments     ShareThis

The Best Games of 2010: DS

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.


Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver

Pokemon Screenshot - Red

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.


Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Dragon Quest IX art

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

Layton and Edgeworth

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.


Super Scribblenauts


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!

[poll id=”29″]

5 Responses to “The Best DS Games of 2010”

  • 1379 points
    xeacons says...

    I gotta go with Golden Sun on this one. An awesome RPG with perplexing puzzles and glorious graphics and summons. This is the sequel we’ve Bern waiting for, for years!

  • 690 points
    KisakiProject says...

    I’m gonna go with WW DIY. It should have had more control inputs but it was still awesome.

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    There were a load of great DS games like those mentioned but also there was my 2nd favourite for the year; Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey & my personal favourite for 2010 Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.

    • 1332 points
      Andrew Hsieh says...

      You’ll be glad to know that both of those games were actually nominated for the awards! Shin Megami Tensei might have eked out a honorable mention if more of us had managed to play through it, though that didn’t happen :( I’m still on the opening stages of 4 Heroes though, so I’m looking forward to that one.

      • 441 points
        Terr says...

        Yea I knew SMT would be a favourite as soon as I started playing it, but I seriously did not expect 4 Heroes of Light to take my favourite DS game spot like it did. To beat out Miles & Pokemon & DQ? I never even dreamed it would be so good. I am looking forward to playing it again (have loads more DS games to play). SMT also impressed me greatly. It’s just really what I wanted when I played it & it was so well done.

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