Five Nintendo DS Games You Might Have Missed
Like the Wii before it, it’s pretty clear that the Nintendo DS is on its way out. There were a few franchises that stuck around in 2012, namely the Pokemon franchise; but with even that making the leap to the 3DS, it is reaching the time to finally retire the system for good. Since DS games are compatible on the 3DS, there’s no sense in ceasing the search for good titles to play though. Much like last month’s article highlighting overlooked games on the Wii, there are likely a few titles that you missed out on along the way. Games like:
Knights in the Nightmare
Of all of the titles on this list, this may be the hardest sell of all of them, but hear me out. This is the third release of Sting’s Dept. Heaven series, which is joined by the likes of Riviera, Yggdra Union, and Gungnir. The gameplay is something of a mix between a strategy RPG and a shoot-’em-up game, as not only do you have to issue commands to your troops, but your wisp has to dodge enemy fire. It’s an unusual blend of genres, and one that will take some time to learn, making the title’s tutorial something of a necessity.
Further throwing a wrench into things, is the presence of permanent death for your characters, much like the Fire Emblem series. Unlike that franchise though, there isn’t an emotional attachment to the characters, and the addition of a mechanic that lets you create new knights at the expense of the old knights further drives this point home. Still, it’s an enjoyable title and one of the most unique strategy RPG’s you’ll ever find should you take the time to learn.
Much like its predecessor, Okami, this game released during a busy release calendar that swallowed any opportunity for mainstream exposure. It’s a shame too, as this followup adventure is far better paced and the touchscreen controls lend itself well to the experience.
Okamiden follows the young Chibiterasu, the offspring of Amaterasu, as he journeys across the same world from the original game in order to ward off a new evil. Rather than Issun lending assistance, Chibi pairs up with various children that ride on his back and lend unique abilities depending on which of them you have on you at any given time. You will also obtain brush techniques throughout the game that will allow you to pause the action and draw symbols on the touchscreen using the stylus. It’s a game that any fan of The Legend of Zelda series is sure to appreciate, and doesn’t force you to control the character with the stylus like Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
Publisher: Square Enix
You wouldn’t think that a Dragon Quest title would be overlooked given how many of them released for the system, but the franchise has never really taken off in North America as it has in Japan, and Dragon Quest V was a very elusive title to track down for some time. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best entries in the series, which is why its absence during the SNES era was so tragic.
The core mechanics of the battle system are relatively unchanged from prior entries, but what makes this title so endearing is how your character ages as the game’s plot unfolds. The main character is but a child at the beginning, though soon grows into an adult with the ability to choose a bride and later spawn a few children (longtime RPG fans might recognize something similar from Phantasy Star III). Further, your party can be rounded out with not only random humans who wish to help your cause, but also creatures in the wild, something originally done long before Pokemon was a thing. If you need a game that nails all the bullet points on a good RPG, Dragon Quest V is it.
While it’s not Chrono Trigger, it’s certainly the next best thing. Radiant Historia takes the time travel gimmick and rather than make it about traversing the entire history of the game’s world, it’s more about making small choices that have very profound effects. The main character, Stocke, is given a book known as the White Chronicle that allows him to relive pivotal points in his history and make different choices. These choices lead to multiple timelines, though the knowledge he gains in one timeline carries over to the next. So often he’ll discover something and be able to use that knowledge in a different time period under completely different circumstances. It works well, and really encourages you to make new choices just to see what the outcome will be.
The combat, while a standard turn-based affair, borrows some elements from its more strategy-based brethren by including a grid by which to position your characters. Success lies in being any to knock your foes into each other and allowing your teammates to pound away on them unhindered in one massive combo. While your characters do have to adhere to turns, they can jump ahead in line for a penalty in order to keep a combo going. It’s incredibly innovative, and just one more reason to give it a look if you missed it the first time around.
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
Publisher: Aksys Games
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward just recently launched on the Vita and 3DS, though many may not be aware that it is, in fact, a sequel to 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. The game has been recently re-released with new cover art that highlights the fact that this is part of the Zero Escape series, so it should be easier than ever to track down. It’s a visual novel with a few puzzle sequences sprinkled in, that focuses on nine individuals that are trapped on a sinking ship and must play the Nonary Game in order to survive.
The Nonary Game involves passing through numbered doors that can only be accessed by adding together the numbers on the bracelets of each of the trapped individuals. The bracelets cannot be removed, nor can anyone pass through a door they are not supposed to, or an explosive will detonate from within the bracelet, killing the host. The story ends up being something akin to the Japanese version of Saw, though with much better writing. In between novel sections, you’ll be dropped in an escape sequence where you must use random items strewn about the room in order to find the way out, much like the point-and-click adventure games that are prevalent on the PC.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many quality DS titles out there that even I haven’t had a chance to check out yet. Let me know some of yours in the comments.