The Best on DS: Niche Games

Nintendo DS is an absolute haven for games that don’t follow conventions but beg to be played.

By Nicolas Vestre. Posted 03/02/2011 17:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

The Best on DS: Niche Games

Nintendo DS has been home to games that sometimes defy being placed in a genre, or even create their very own. These games satisfied cravings many gamers didn’t know they had. Here are three such niche games (in alphabetic order) that the staff favored.

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Animal Crossing Wild World art

The sequel to one of the most beloved GameCube games of all time, Animal Crossing: Wild World improves upon its predecessor in a multitude of ways. Just like before, there’ s still fishing, bug catching, weeding, home decorating, social relationships with animals, mortgage payments, special events and so much more. But now there’s no cumbersome password system for trading items– you can connect to the Internet and make the swap live with your pals! Wild World is one of the first DS games ever to have online multiplayer, and it helps the experience in so many ways. Now players can visit another town just to chill out with their friends across the world. Clothes patterns can be traded instantly. Can’t seem to find that one last piece of furniture in the set? Find out if a friend has it and perhaps arrange a deal for something they’re missing. Stylus controls are welcomed with open arms, as previous ordeals like typing or arranging your inventory become a snap with the touch screen. Of course, being portable is a huge boon to the experience, because it just feels so natural to bring your town with you wherever you go. Waiting room or bus time easily give way to Animal Crossing time. Wild World is extremely charming, and has tons of humor, which keeps the player laughing and engaged every time they turn on their DS. It sold like crazy, and little wonder: Animal Crossing: Wild World can charm its way into almost anyone’s heart.

Retro Game Challenge

Retro Game Challenge screenshot

Retro Game Challenge screenshot

You won’t find a better DS game to scratch your itch for old-school mid-’80s gameplay than Retro Game Challenge. It’s inspired by a Japanese game show that gives contestants interesting missions to complete in very difficult video games. Game Master Arino just can’t stand these newfangled games everyone’s playing, and takes you back in time for some classic ’80s gaming. But despite looking older, you’ve never played these games. They’re actually clever adaptations of games released in the mid-’80s; for example, we have Robot Ninja Haggle Man, which pits a ninja equipped with jumping skills and throwing stars, who just wants to save his princess. There’s Cosmic Gate and Star Prince, which play conspicuously like Galaga. Rally King is a top-down racer with a lot of drifting. You’ll even find a full-featured 10 hour RPG called Gaudia Quest.

What you have to do in all these games is complete specific objectives that make players think out of the box, such as clearing a Ninja Haggle Man level without using shurikens, finding a hidden 1-up, or earning 250,000 points. The retro experience is further enhanced with gaming magazines filled to the brim with tips, and actual cheat codes that can be used in each of the games. After all the objectives are completed, you can enjoy every game at your leisure. What a truly great testament to retro games this is, and one that is beloved by anyone who has their gaming roots in the past. That shouldn’t stop younger or newer gamers from giving Retro Game Challenge a whirl, as it will definitely educate you about the inner-workings of ’80s games– you don’t know what you’re missing. Sadly, this title didn’t sell well enough outside of Japan for the sequel to be released in North America, which is a crying shame.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife

Trauma Center

Set in the year 2018, where medical advances have made many maladies a thing of the past, we find ourselves in the world of Trauma Center: Under the Knife. Medical terrorists are spreading a malicious man-made disease called GUILT. Derek Stiles is the main character, who is a young doctor that just joined Hope Hospital. He’s endowed with a special gift when it comes to surgeries, where he can slow down time for more precision and a better final result. The touch screen is used to perform all sorts of operations and surgeries, starting with simple procedures, then graduating to complex and very difficult times in the operating room. You’ll use many crucial medical tools, such as a surgical laser, special antibiotic gel, forceps, ultrasound and scalpels. Saving each patient will require quick hands and fast thinking, but in the end, you will have a ton of fun with this niche game. Since its release, there have been sequels for both DS and Wii, with very positive results. But it all started with this game.

Of course, everyone has his or her own favorites. Out there are so many genre-defying niche DS games that you likely have one or several that you love. Be sure to tell us in the comments!

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