The Best on DS: Best New Franchises

Some of our newest favorite video game series got their starts on our two-screened portable.

By Adam Sorice. Posted 03/04/2011 14:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

The Best on DS: New Franchises

With over six years and thousands of games, there’s bound to be some new series that captivated our hearts and excite us for their futures on other Nintendo devices. Here’s hoping 3DS, whose first-year library is so far replete with ports and sequels of stuff we’ve seen before, gets as many fantastic ideas as our favorite new franchises below.

Professor Layton

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future - Artwork

Generally these things shouldn’t make sense. I mean why has the gaming world unitedly fallen in love with a gentlemenly puzzle solving series that features a top-hatted fellow and his young blue-capped charge as its protagonists? Perhaps such things are not meant to be understood and simply appreciated, as the Professor Layton series has proved itself to be one of the hottest new franchises in recent years, spanning numerous games on DS, and soon 3DS, and his very own movie series.

The series combines gripping mysteries that Agatha Christie (if not Jules Verne) would be proud of and a variety of compelling brain teasers that span word-play to arithmetic and classic slide puzzles. The Layton series is just one success story of DS and is set to come together with another in Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton for 3DS in the near future. Hold onto your hats, gents, we have no objections.


Scribblenauts Artwork - Collage

You know a video game series is something different when the press release for the newest game in the series brags, “We’ve added adjectives!” Contra this is not, but it is Scribblenauts, a series that allows players to control a little kid with a magical pencil that can create whatever it writes. Maxwell, who also happens to have a hat that looks like a rooster, has to collect hard-to-reach Starites by traversing/adapting/destroying the surrounding landscape to acquire it. See a Starite at the top of the tree? Why not make a ladder! Or a chain saw. Or a lightning bolt. Or a giant purple flying pregnant octopus. The possibilities are endless, and this is part of Scribblenauts’ appeal. Instead of the conventional “no, do it this way” approach to game design, the series invites and encourages players to think outside the box. Or simply draw a box. And put a Jack in it.

Trauma Center

Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 Artwork

So far in our round up of the best new franchises to grace the DS, we’ve seen people in top hats solving puzzles and people in rooster hats solving puzzles. What’s different about the Trauma Center franchise is that not only does the protagonist not wear a hat, but he doesn’t solve puzzles, either. Instead, the gameplay of Trauma Center titles is much more intense and complicated: it’s practically open-heart surgery. Okay, that’s because it is open heart surgery, but still, the tense gameplay of this medical-themed franchise is somewhat unrivalled when a dying patient threatens to flatline mid-operation. Placing you in the role of a fledgling physician, players must rectify everything from patients’ broken bones to cancer tumours to terrorist-deployed pathogens. The Trauma Center series has shown itself to have real legs in its brief existence, spawning two games on DS and another three on Wii, bringing the operating theatre to life.

Is Layton your cup of tea? Or do you hold a candle for a different franchise that started off on DS? Let us know in the comments.

One Response to “The Best on DS: Best New Franchises”

  • 276 points
    Nicolas Vestre says...

    People really didn’t like the controls for the first Scribblenauts, but I’ve stuck with the game to the very end. I’m on world 10, and have only a handful of puzzles to finish before having a gold star on every level in the entire game. Sure, there were times when I wanted to throw my DS down in disgust because Maxwell kept doing the exact opposite of what he was supposed to do, but when it did work, the experience was something special.

    Interestingly, it will be a while before I tackle Super Scribblenauts, mostly because of that giant heap of other DS games I want to finish first (and then there’s Monster Tale). But someday I will discover the joy of adjectives. :)

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