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Nintendo DS: 9 years, 50 must-own games

As it nears the end of its life, we summarise the best games for Nintendo's dual-screened wonder

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11) Professor Layton And The Lost Future

Nintendo / Level-5 / 3.08 million sold

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We could have gone with all four of Professor Layton's DS adventures for this list, but for the sake of variety we've opted instead to just go with our favourite, the third game. The time travel plot's as hokey as the others in the series but the genuinely touching sub-plot involving Layton's former lover leads to one of the saddest endings in gaming. Sniff.

12) Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Konami / Konami / 370,000 sold

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The first Castlevania on DS is arguably the finest (though they're all brilliant). The trademark Metroidvania exploration combined with the extra power provided by the DS made for a worthy successor to the GBA's excellent Aria Of Sorrow.

13) Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Capcom / Capcom / 310,000 sold

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A devilishly clever and darkly comic game from Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi, Ghost Trick sees you playing as the amnesiac ghost of a deceased man as he possesses objects in an attempt to find out who he is, who killed him and why. A brilliant story with memorable characters.

14) New Super Mario Bros

Nintendo / Nintendo EAD Group 4 / 30.38 million sold

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The best-selling DS game of all time, New Super Mario Bros. sold more copies than there are people in Australia and Denmark combined. It's little wonder, as it was the first brand new side-scrolling Mario game in 14 years and a return to the classic formula that made Nintendo's mascot so popular in the first place. Its only downside was its difficulty level, which left some experts wanting more.

15) Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

Nintendo / Intelligent Systems / 570,000 sold

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While the 3DS's Fire Emblem: Awakening may be the game currently collecting all the plaudits, it's worth remembering that Shadow Dragon - a remake of the original NES Fire Emblem - is also an exceptional strategy game. Focusing on Marth (he of Super Smash Bros. Melee fame), it's slightly less accessible than Awakening but still engrossing once you get into it.

16) Hotel Dusk: Room 215

Nintendo / Cing / 500,000 sold

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The story of ex-police detective Kyle Hyde, who comes across a hotel said to have a room that can grant wishes. A noir-style crime story with a lovely art style, both this and its sequel Last Window (which made it to Europe but didn't make it to the US before Cing went bankrupt) are highly recommended for those who feel story is just as important as gameplay.

17) Okamiden

Capcom / MGS / 360,000 sold

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A sequel to the much-loved Platinum Games gem Okami, Okamiden borrows heavily from the DS Zelda games with its entirely stylus-based control system. With the typical Okami style and some interesting puzzles thanks to the game's partner mechanic, this is a wonderful adventure.

18) WarioWare D.I.Y.

Nintendo / Nintendo SPD Group 1 / 540,000 sold

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When it was first announced, the idea of a game that let players make their own WarioWare microgames might have seemed far-fetched, but the doubters were proved wrong. This does actually give a fairly impressive introduction to making basic games, and its many tutorials have you learning how to create sprites, animate them, give them AI, create hit boxes and even compose music. As long as you're creative, this is a surprisingly deep piece of software.

19) Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

Square Enix / Think & Feel / 1.34 million sold

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A real-time strategy game with elements borrowed from the turn-based Final Fantasy Tactics series, Revenant Wings is a DS-only sequel to Final Fantasy XII starring Vaan and other characters from the PS2 title. With large battles and relatively straightforward controls it's easy to play and immensely rewarding.

20) WarioWare: Touched!

Nintendo / Nintendo SPD Group 1 / 2.27 million sold

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One of the earliest DS games, Touched! was originally designed to show off the different ways the new handheld's touchscreen could be used for games. Get through the main stages through and you could unlock the endless high score challenges, making this a game with hidden extra longevity.
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