Best of 2009: Top 10 Games for DS/DSi

The Nintendo DS has been a strong handheld since its launch in 2004.  It’s definitely been the portable of choice for many gamers, and the PSP has hardly been able to top it.  With its dual screens, vast library of touch-based games, and three different models, the DS is a proven powerhouse in the portable gaming front.  It was tough choosing just 10, but here are the top DS games released in the last year.

Pokémon Platinum Version

Essentially a remake of 2007’s Pokémon Diamond/Pearl, Platinum adds more Pokémon to the mix, refines the gameplay mechanics a bit, and includes a crazy new dimension that keeps players busy for more than just a handful of hours.  Pokémon fanatics, this game is for you.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

It’s sad that this game didn’t sell too well, because it really is an amazing game.  It’s everything you could ever hope for in a GTA game right in the palm of your hands.  The handheld’s touch screen is put to good use, and players will find themselves building guns, deciphering codes, and dismantling bombs with the stylus.  Who said the DS was just for kids?

A great puzzle game hampered only by the lack of D-pad support.  Regardless of that, Scribblenauts really lets you solve puzzles any way you see fit.  Simply type in some words and watch them appear as their real-life counterparts.  Need to grab the Starite at the top of a tree?  Why use a ladder when you can use a jetpack to get up there!

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Devil Survivor is yet another successful installment in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise.  Great role-playing gameplay, a wonderful story, multiple endings, a unique sense of style, and robust character customization options all make Devil Survivor a top-notch RPG.

Big Bang Mini
It’s definitely a fist-pumping moment when you find a great game at bargain price.  Big Bang Mini brings you a unique shoot ‘em up experience that blends blasting with awesome music and beautiful visuals.  The game also provides a nice challenge as well.  All that for under 20 bucks (sometimes even 10)!

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is the second game of the Layton series’ first trilogy.  It offers the same brand of puzzle-solving we all enjoyed when we played its predecessor, and it introduces over 100 new puzzles.  While the folks in Japan are enjoying the fourth game in the series, we’ll stick to the second installment for now.

Dragon Quest V
Franchises such as Dragon Quest should be admired for their longevity.  They should also be admired for their great gameplay, interesting design, and fascinating story arcs.  Dragon Quest V comes to the DS with branching storylines, amazing RPG gameplay, and Slime!  We all love Slime, don’t we?

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
It took me forever to figure out how to say the “358/2” part of this game’s title.  At one point, I was even saying, “358 and a Half Days.”  Regardless of how long it takes you to figure out the game’s title, it won’t take you long to figure out just how great the DS installment of Kingdom Hearts is.  It’s more of that Kingdom Hearts goodness you’ve come to love, all on your DS.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Questionable title choices aside, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is just what we’ve come to expect from a Mario RPG: it has great gameplay, a cool story, and it’s flat-out hilarious at times.  Throw Bowser into the mix, and you’ve got an interesting new mechanic to work with.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
The Legend of Zelda is an iconic video game franchise to say the least, so every time a new game is released, you can expect it to be on a top 10 list of some sort.  Spirit Tracks brings more of that amazing Zelda gameplay to the DS, and fans as well as newcomers are sure to enjoy this lovely gem.  Princess Zelda now aids our young hero Link, and it’s very endearing listening to the Princess of Hyrule losing her cool whenever she sees a rat or a scary demon.  Oh, and Link gets to ride a train this time around!  That’s just plain awesome!

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