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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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31) Space Invaders Extreme 2

Square Enix / Taito / 180,000 sold

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One of the poorest-selling games in our top 50 list is perhaps unsurprisingly also one of the craziest. Taking the vintage Space Invaders game and turning all the knobs up to twelve, Space Invaders Extreme 2 adds a much-needed does of speed to proceedings with multipliers, laser weapons, bonus stages and huge bosses, all to the beat of a pumping bassline. Just watch the trailer above to see what we mean. A criminally overlooked game.

32) Rhythm Paradise

Nintendo / Nintendo SPD / 3.03 million sold

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A surprise sales success for Nintendo, Rhythm Paradise (Rhythm Heaven in the US) offers a collection of bizarre mini-games that all use simple taps or flicks on the touch screen. The aim is to time your actions perfectly with the rhythm of the music, whether those actions be plucking vegetables, giving a singing lesson or making Easter Island heads chant at each other.

33) Trauma Center: Under The Knife

Nintendo / Atlus / 340,000 sold

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This is the tale of Derek Stiles, a rookie surgeon who realises he has the special Healing Touch power that lets him slow down time and perform miraculous operations. Equal parts addictive and infuriating (though the DSi XL allows for extra accuracy), this is worth a go if you don't mind a challenge.

34) Zoo Keeper

Ignition Entertainment / Success / 160,000 sold

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most fruitful, and Zoo Keeper is proof of this. At its core it's little more than a simple match-three game with chunky pictures of animals that have to be matched before time runs out, but that simplicity made Zoo Keeper one of the DS's essential titles long before the iPhone came on the scene and offered a million similar games.

35) Yoshi's Island DS

Nintendo / Artoon / 2.69 million sold

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The sequel to one of the finest platformers ever doesn't quite live to its predecessor but is still a brilliant game nonetheless. The inclusion of five different babies - Mario, Peach, DK, Wario and Bowser - each with their own abilities, adds some variation to proceedings and the classic scribbly Yoshi's Island art style is as adorable as ever.

36) Sonic Colors

Sega / Dimps / 1.14 million sold

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Ever since Sega stopped making consoles, Sonic fans have considered Nintendo handhelds the natural home of the blue blur - mainly because most of the Sonic games on GBA and DS have been side-scrollers and, as a result, actually pretty good. Sonic Colors is further proof, offering ace 2D Sonic action with nary a dodgy camera angle in sight.

37) Lego Rock Band

Warner Bros Games / Backbone Entertainment / 430,000 sold

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While the console versions of Lego Rock Band were the typical plastic instrument jamfests made popular by previous Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, the DS version is played with the D-Pad buttons and feels more like previous Harmonix games Frequency and Amplitude (not to mention the PSP's Rock Band Unplugged). The soundtrack only contains 25 songs, but it's a fun twist on the Rock Band gameplay nonetheless.

38) Picross DS

Nintendo / Jupiter / 490,000 sold

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What do you get if you take Sudoku, cross it with Minesweeper and chuck in pixel art drawings? If you don't know the answer then you aren't one of the clever souls who bought Picross DS, one of the finest puzzle games around. You'll be "just one more go"-ing long into the wee hours of the morning.

39) Final Fantasy III

Square Enix / Square Enix / 2.02 million sold

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A fully polygonal 3D remake of Square's much loved 1990 RPG Final Fantasy. With a redesigned and rebalanced job system, new events, a new dungeon and new abilities, this takes an already exceptional game and makes it even better.

40) Kirby: Power Paintbrush

Nintendo / HAL Laboratory / 710,000 sold

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Or Kirby: Canvas Curse, if you live Stateside. One of the earlier DS games, Power Paintbrush sees the player in charge of guiding Kirby through each stage by drawing lines and curves for him using the stylus. It's a simple idea but one that's implemented very well.
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